We arrive at our first destination: South & Central America. A beautiful area of the world, with a rich, colourful history and culture, there is unfortunately not a lot of Fantasy or Sci-Fi to come from South & Central/Latin America. Magical Realism is more popular, which you could say is a variant on fantasy.
It’s a continent that has a massive gap in the market for aspiring authors to set their SFF books within. It’s pretty surprising there aren’t loads of novels given the potential subject matter for great stories. There’s the dense Amazon Rainforest, Machu Picchu – city in the clouds, Aztec, Inca and Mayan history, the unique city of Rio de Janeiro – ripe for an urban fantasy. That’s before we even touch on Mexico’s Day of the Dead and the stories that can be based on that. I’d love to see more fantasy and sci-fi from this area of the world.
We have some very interesting books to visit despite this!
Gods of Jade and Shadow – Silvia Moreno-Garcia
The Mayan god of death sends a young woman on a harrowing, life-changing journey in this one-of-a-kind fairy tale inspired by Mexican folklore.
The Jazz Age is in full swing, but Casiopea Tun is too busy cleaning the floors of her wealthy grandfather’s house to listen to any fast tunes. Nevertheless, she dreams of a life far from her dusty small town in southern Mexico. A life she can call her own.
Yet this new life seems as distant as the stars, until the day she finds a curious wooden box in her grandfather’s room. She opens it—and accidentally frees the spirit of the Mayan god of death, who requests her help in recovering his throne from his treacherous brother. Failure will mean Casiopea’s demise, but success could make her dreams come true.
In the company of the strangely alluring god and armed with her wits, Casiopea begins an adventure that will take her on a cross-country odyssey from the jungles of Yucatán to the bright lights of Mexico City—and deep into the darkness of the Mayan underworld.
Servant of the Underworld – Aliette de Bodard
Year One-Knife, Tenochtitlan the capital of the Aztecs. The end of the world is kept at bay only by the magic of human sacrifice. A Priestess disappears from an empty room drenched in blood. Acatl, High Priest, must find her, or break the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead.
One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel García Márquez
The brilliant, bestselling, landmark novel that tells the story of the Buendia family, and chronicles the irreconcilable conflict between the desire for solitude and the need for love—in rich, imaginative prose that has come to define an entire genre known as “magical realism.”
City of the Beasts – Isabel Allende
Fifteen-year-old Alexander Cold is about to join his fearless grandmother on the trip of a lifetime. An International Geographic expedition is headed to the dangerous, remote wilds of South America, on a mission to document the legendary Yeti of the Amazon known as the Beast.
But there are many secrets hidden in the unexplored wilderness, as Alex and his new friend Nadia soon discover. Drawing on the strength of their spirit guides, both young people are led on a thrilling and unforgettable journey to the ultimate discovery. . . .
The Summer Prince – Alaya Dawn Johnson (Brazil)
The lush city of Palmares Tres shimmers with tech and tradition, with screaming gossip casters and practiced politicians. In the midst of this vibrant metropolis, June Costa creates art that’s sure to make her legendary. But her dreams of fame become something more when she meets Enki, the bold new Summer King. The whole city falls in love with him including June’s best friend, Gil. But June sees more to Enki than amber eyes and a lethal samba. She sees a fellow artist.
Together, June and Enki will stage explosive, dramatic projects that Palmares Tres will never forget. They will add fuel to a growing rebellion against the governments strict limits on new tech. And June will fall deeply, unfortunately in love with Enki. Because like all Summer Kings before him, Enki is destined to die.
Jorge Luis Borges – The Aleph
This one is a little different from many of the books suggested on this blog and will be unfamiliar in comparison to a lot of the SFF you’ll have read.
In Borges’ story, the Aleph is a point in space that contains all other points. Anyone who gazes into it can see everything in the universe from every angle simultaneously, without distortion, overlapping, or confusion. The story traces the theme of infinity found in several of Borges’ other works, such as “The Book of Sand”.
In a 1970 commentary on the story, Borges explained, “What eternity is to time, the Aleph is to space.” As the narrator of the story discovers, however, trying to describe such an idea in conventional terms can prove a daunting—even impossible—task. So if you want to really stretch your mind and escape, here’s something very different.