May 12, 2021

Asimov against Bradbury: a Latin American battle | Babelia


Lto Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL) has opened an alien debate: Isaac Asimov or Ray Bradbury? Until the end of the week, you can vote through your social networks and on its website in favor of one of the two science fiction titans born in the same year 1920, but parents of two very different canons. The winner will be rewarded with a public reading of his summit work Foundation or Martian Chronicles during Book Day, next April 23, on Rambla Cataluña. The COUNTRY transfers the debate to six Latin American writers. Mathematics as the oracle of the foundation and decomposition of humanity; or the colonization of Mars at the stroke of poetry, nostalgia, innocence and fantasy? Asimov or Bradbury?

Mariana Enriquez (Argentina) “Bradbury has put in Martian Chronicles his long empty Sundays, his American boredom, his loneliness ”

Mariana Enriquez, Herralde Award 2019 for 'Our part of the night' (Anagrama)


Mariana Enriquez, Herralde Award 2019 for ‘Our part of the night’ (Anagrama)

Bradbury is a writer that I am a fan since I first read October country. They are tales of terror, disturbing, intelligent, lyrical; a beauty. I believe that Martian Chronicles It is at the height. I share what Borges said in the prologue for the Argentine edition: How can these fantasies touch me, and in such an intimate way? All literature (I dare to answer) is symbolic; There are a few fundamental experiences and it is indifferent that a writer, to transmit them, resort to the “fantastic” or the “real”, to Macbeth or RaskoInikov, to the invasion of Belgium in August 1914 or to an invasion of Mars. What does the novel, or novelty, of the science fiction? In this spooky-looking book, Bradbury has put his long empty Sundays, his American boredom, his loneliness. ”

Francisco Ortega (Chile). “Asimov was the first best seller of anticipation Without Asimov there is no Philip K Dick; there is no Marvel; there is no Star Trek or Star Wars ”

Francisco Ortega Author of 'The verb Kaifman' and 'Chilean aliens' (Planet)


Francisco Ortega Author of ‘The verb Kaifman’ and ‘Chilean aliens’ (Planet)

It is often said that Asimov was the least literary of the classic science fiction triad, that kind of canon completed by Arthur C. Clarke and Ray Bradbury. And it is true, Bradbury and Clarke were always more writers, with a recognizable narrative voice and a unique personality, difficult to clone. Especially Bradbury, maybe the great poet of the cifi. I insist, all of that is true, except for the detail that Bradbury is a fantasy writer who flirted with science fiction, a genre in himself, and Clarke a scientific popularizer who learned to tell stories; while Asimov is, was and will be, the purest spirit of science fiction. I understand that today his detractors add up in heaps. Defending the exaggerated, slow, uselessly descriptive prose and poor in aesthetic and stylistic resources of Asimov is a hard task, but I do it, because Asimov is by far the author who best defines what science fiction is. Even alien name had! Asimov did not invent the cifi as a genre but outlined how we understand it today. He built with his literary limitations the most complete universe and although it sounds redundant, universal anticipation. Ideas such as the Galactic Empire, planetary federations, mutants, hyperspace and robotics are his legacy. Without Asimov there is no Philip K Dick and without Philip K Dick there is no cyberpunk; without Asimov there is no Marvel and without Marvel there is not everything that breaks the ticket office today; Without Asimov there is no Star Trek or Star Wars and without Star Trek or Star Wars there is no massive consolidation of the CIFI. Asimov was the first best seller in anticipation, who opened the niche and gave Bradbury readers.

Alberto Chimal (Mexico) “Bradbury’s work is an exploration of what tradition means american made of multiple migrations and violence, even when they are invisible to many ”

Alberto Chimal Author of 'Manos de Lumbre' (Foam Pages) and 'Los slavos' (Almadía)


Alberto Chimal Author of ‘Manos de Lumbre’ (Foam Pages) and ‘Los slavos’ (Almadía)

Bradbury and Asimov have – each one in their own way – importance in the literature of their country, and of the world; but of the two, Bradbury was the best writer: the one who cared most about trying something new and memorable through language. What he did was – like many other greats in his country, from Shirley Jackson to Bob Dylan – to take back parts of his country’s speech and popular culture and transform them into something different. The essential component of his great works is invariably some kind of american, one or more of the traditional cultural elements: from the pay from apple to baseball, from space rockets to the Halloween party, which by the twentieth century had become official patrimony even of American populations that were not of European origin. His work is an exploration of what that tradition made of multiple migrations and violence means, even when they are invisible to many. And if in his last years he became conservative, and rejected the most progressive parts of the literature he had helped to generate, he always wrote from a humanistic perspective and passionate about art and the world.

Michelle Roche Rodríguez (Venezuela). “Bradbury inscribes in the sky a moral discourse on the relationship that humanity has established with the world, the ways in which he understands and treats otherness”

Michelle Roche Rodríguez, author of 'Malasangre' (Anagrama)


Michelle Roche Rodríguez, author of ‘Malasangre’ (Anagrama)

The stories of Martian Chronicles Ray Bradbury’s are classics for their succinct prose that with few adjectives describes unknown atmospheres, such as the prairies of Mars. But the main thing is how he narrates the relationships between the characters and the planet that nobody has ever walked in real life; they are metaphors of how we treat resources and the inhabitants of the Earth. The texts of the series Foundation Isaac Asimov interests me less, obsessed as the author is with describing the ways in which electronics could condition (or condition already) our life. Before worrying about the psychological or ethical implications of the relationships between humans and androids, even if they describe plausible conspiracy theories, I prefer to evaluate my individual responsibility or as part of the human species in the denigration of the other. This is allowed by Bradbury’s work. Unlike Asimov, he inscribes in the sky a moral discourse on the relationship that humanity has established with the world around him, the ways he understands and treats otherness and the consequences that exploitation of the environment and people have had. .

Ramiro Sanchíz (Uruguay).“Bradbury’s voice, the eternal technophobic humanist, is deep down in the reaction. Asimov, on the contrary, always believed in the future ”

Ramiro Sanchiz. Author of 'The Expansion of the Universe' (Random House)


Ramiro Sanchiz. Author of ‘The Expansion of the Universe’ (Random House)

I stay with Asimov, without a doubt. First of all for emotional reasons: thanks to Asimov I discovered science fiction and fantasy back in 1992, and although my fascination with his novels and stories has changed several times since then, I am still convinced that there is no gateway to the genre anymore appropriate than the best tales of Asimov, The last question, The ugly boy, Duskr. As for Bradbury, I have for me that, as with Black mirror, his is the kind of science fiction that readers who do not frequent science fiction appreciate. And, in fact, in terms of literary policy, given that all its resources are as well-known as visible and removable without effort, since its position towards the literary is ultimately totally conservative, it is easy to invoke Bradbury at the time of pretending to postulate the validity in “strictly literary” terms of science fiction. More than fifty years ago this was necessary; Now it is not. Bradbury’s voice, the eternal technophobic humanist, is in the background that of the reaction. Asimov, on the contrary, always believed in the future.

Bernardo Equinca (Mexico) “Bradbury always knew it, as we now know, although we don’t want to accept it: the real ones Aliens we are the humans ”

Bernardo Equinca, author of 'The incredible adventures of the amazing Edgar Allan Poe' (Almadía)


Bernardo Equinca, author of ‘The incredible adventures of the amazing Edgar Allan Poe’ (Almadía)

Martian Chronicles It is the only book I have read more than three times. I have done it in different moments of my life, so I have been able to verify that, far from getting old, it never loses its validity. Ray Bradbury’s lyrical prose and the depth of his message continue to disturb and stir in times when we have lost the astonishment. While Hollywood insists on flooding the collective imaginary with the endless and increasingly bland saga of Star wars, the Martian world that Bradbury shaped seventy years ago, with its houses of glass columns, its fossil sea and its phones that ring in empty cities, resists as a triumph of the imagination. He always knew it, as we now know, although we don’t want to accept it: the real ones Aliens We are the humans.

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