Guest Letter From the Editor - Issue 27 - March 2012
When I first moved to Brazil, over ten years ago, I visited a bookstore and
discovered I couldn't find a single science fiction book by a Brazilian author.
When I asked the owner why he didn't carry any Brazilian science fiction, he
responded, "Brazil doesn't need science fiction. Brazil is science fiction."
After sweeping a half-dozen used bookstores, I turned up a few dusty tomes by
Brazilian SF legends Jorge Luiz Calife and André Carneiro, and that's about it. It
didn't take long to discover that science fiction in general was frowned upon in
Brazil, and that even those who did read it disregarded out of hand the local
authors, purchasing only imported titles.
In a climate like that, I would never have dreamed of attempting anything like the
But what a difference a decade can make. Since those first depressing visits to the
booksellers, the Brazilian speculative fiction community has grown exponentially.
Publishers like Devir, Draco, Tarja, Argonautas, and Estronho have taken up the
banner of science fiction and fantasy, and authors have responded in kind.
Anthologies and novels are launched weekly. A few Brazilian SF writers are
selling hundreds of thousands of copies, and the major publishers are rushing to
put out their own lines.
Fantasticon, Brazil's largest gathering of speculative fiction, celebrated its fifth
edition in 2011, and we're hosting a "Fantastic Literature Odyssey" in Porto
Alegre in 2012. Over seventy writers and editors have already confirmed their
participation for this inaugural event, which shows how the community has come
Short fiction is booming, but the Brazilian short fiction scene doesn't revolve
around the magazines as it does in the States. Instead, print anthologies serve as
the primary proving grounds for new and old writers alike. These anthologies
improve every year, as writers have the opportunity to work with editors and
interact with their peers. However, only in rare cases does that fiction make it to
the English-speaking world (one example being Jacques Barcia, who translates his
own stories). The rest of it remains trapped within the country's borders, unable to
find an outlet.
And that is what inspired the Hydra Competition. The Brazilian SF community is
a welcoming one which has always treated me well, so last year I decided I needed
to give something back. The most valuable thing I felt I had to offer was a
translation - something extremely difficult and costly to come by in Brazil - and
thanks to IGMS we could offer the sweetest prize of all: publication in a renowned
While Brazilian SF still isn't as mature as that being produced in the English-speaking world, it offers its own flavor, and I felt the quality had come along
enough to put it on the line and show the world what is being produced here. I'm
thankful that Edmund Schubert and Orson Scott Card agreed! Orson served as a
missionary in Brazil and has kept a special tie to the country ever since, so from
the beginning it felt like the perfect match.
The competition produced three excellent finalist stories, all of them with markedly
"(Story with Pictures and Conversation)" by Brontops Baruq, published in issue
#26 of IGMS, is a meta-fiction which tells the story of an alien invasion through
the drawings and text in a child's sketchbook, in itself described by dry
commentary added at a later date.
"By a Thread" by Flávio Medeiros Jr., published in this issue, is a steampunk story
that mixes alternate history with alternate fiction.
Finally, Giulia Moon's "I, Mother-in-Law" is a humorous tale about a witch
meeting her foreign daughter-in-law at the worst possible moment.
The Hydra Competition has been a huge boost to a community always struggling
to prove itself. Many in Brazil have described it as a "kick in the pants": an
incentive for readers to try out local authors and an incentive for authors to
produce more and produce better, and it wouldn't have been possible without the
support of IGMS.
So I hope you enjoy the stories, and if you want to find out more, feel free to
contact local authors or come visit one of our conventions. As Orson Scott Card
himself can tell you, the Brazilian SF community will welcome you with open
SF Author and Hydra Competition Organizer