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The invention of Argentine science fiction

The work of Adolfo Bioy Casares deserves a separate reading of the shadow of Jorge Luis Borges.

 Adolfo Bioy Casares  (Buenos Aires, 1914-1999) was an Argentine writer precursor to the fantasy and renovating genre of the police. His interest in the formal aspects of the story, and a fine irony to reveal the ever-fleeing present, led to a constant questioning of how the world and human relations are understood.“Our habits represent a way of happening, a vague coherence of the world. Now reality is proposed to me changed,” says the fugitive   of Morel's Invention  (1940) on an island marked by an atrocious plague. Not for nothing, in the pandemic 2020, the prestigious   New York Times   places this book of “reasoned imagination” among the unfailing ones to understand this fateful moment, although Americans know the story of Bioy very well. The authors of the successful series   Lost   (2004-2010) admitted that our first science fiction book was a decisive source of inspiration. 

Son of a family of upper middle class landowner, and with the background of a father writer and rancher , Bioy  had no impediment to jumping into writing. In addition, the fortune of his father, Adolfo Bioy, made it possible to avoid the need for literary contacts. So he soon published his first books on his own, those that were censored by the same writer in fame,  Vanity or a terrifying adventure at only fourteen.However, they are of interest because they mark their inclinations for police and fantastic plots, the bitter exploration of the Creole myth, and an astonishing look that dissolves time and space. All of them anticipate his most successful novel,   The Dream of Heroes  (1954). The friendship with a major J orge Luis Borges , started before he was twenty, was fruitful in creative terms, especially in the forties with the hilarious Six Problems for Don Isidro Parodi ( 1942), and where the first collaboration between them appears under the alias H. Bustos Domecq. These are also the years that  Bioy Casares  published the novel   Plan de evasion   (1948) and the stories   La trama celeste   (1948). He obtained definitive recognition as a figure of the so-called 40 generation — his wife  Silvina Ocampo,  Ernesto Sábato,  Manuel Peyrou, Enrique Anderson Imbert , among others —, who were highlighted in the lines inaugurated by   Morel's Invention, the  archetypal, mythical and fantastic.

 Bioy's characteristic paternalistic disdain, and the strangeness of a writing uncommitted to immediate reality, caused his work of novels, stories, diary and essays to be buried by his figure of dandy porteño and intellectual of righteous words. Faced with this gaze, the  Diario de la guerra del Pig (1969) can be read as an allegation to the deiosation of contemporary youth or  The Adventure of a Photographer in La Plata  (1985) could be one of the best novels about  they appeared  unintentionally. And the bronze came to him definitely with the Cervantes Prize and the Alfonso Reyes International Prize.  He died  in 1999 as more a biographer of  Borges than  he is the father of Argentine science fiction.

 Bioy Casares says 


“It is curious that so many people, in a time of hardship like the current one, turn to the task of enriching the vocabulary. Frantically invent words, or dig them up from books (isn't it amazing?)... gives them incorrect meanings, fantasies, but new. Think perhaps that not only man lives on bread and that afflicted by countless privations, maybe we find some compensation, or, for what I amwe, some consolation, in the certainty that at any time of day or night we can resort to the words fracture, structure, infrastructure, not to say anything about the verb to listen, which undoubtedly has to engulf us, because it does not fall out of our mouth”, in  “Dictionary of the exquisite argentinian andrdquo;  Buenos Aires: Profile. 1990

 They say of Bioy Casares 

“It reveals to us that the illusion of time and space are made to not disappear from our lives; it forces us to reexamine the boundaries of terms such as “reality” and “appearance” and leaves us in the face of what is most real in existence: that plot of efforts with which we must resume it, day by day”, in Pezzoni, E.  The text and its voices . Buenos Aires: South American. 1986

Rating: 5.00/5.