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Tuesday, 2 November 2004
Well, I am Going to Redeem Myself By Actually Posting Something Here
Now Playing: rumbling slowly into gear as I fly to France
From: mop80889*
Subject: [RGParaliteraria] the manifesto
Date: November 1, 2004 8:01:20 PM CST
To: RGParaliteraria*
Reply-To: RGParaliteraria*

I just happened to re-read the RGP manifesto and I realized I hadn't
really contributed with any article or email that would present non-
Anglo sf as was in the heart and core of this mailing-list...

I had to redeem myself :)

I wanted to share with you a long article on recent Portuguese sf,
written by a scholar. The English version was available in the
Romanian website Wordmaster, but alas it has gone to the limbo of

So instead I'm sending a couple of articles I published on some
websites and that came out of an email interview I had with a French
journalist about Portuguese sf. They're short and hardly thourough.
Consider them just as introductions.

As I've learned from my travels abroad, foreigners usually see
things with a lighter eye than locals. So, if you read too much
bleakness in it, please take it with a grain of salt... :)

The question was: what do you think sets Portuguese sf apart from
other sf?

"The theme that Portuguese science fiction most dwells upon must be
History. It there is a thing that a Portuguese person knows
about is its country's history. We perspire it so much as a culture
that it's hard not to look upon it as a telling sign of the nation's
current uneasiness with its international low-key status. It's just
an opinion, of course, and as such, it should be supported by other
evidence; but its existence does cause some attrition in the
development of the culture: still in our modern days, it doesn't
sound right in calling the ship's captain Felgueiras, and not John

Such uneasiness is heightened by this simple fact: Portuguese
writers are not scientists by training, and much less by profession.
The closest example must be that of a writer who used to be an MD
(Jo?o Aniceto). Hard sf - being the speculative fiction that uses
the tools of the hard sciences, mathematics, physics and such - is
practically non-existent (I can't think of any book or story that
uses a new and bold scientific idea as a plot device - you won't
find a Greg Egan or any of the Killing B's).

Even Portuguese History as a plot device for speculative fiction -
which usually means alternate history - is fairly recent. Some years
ago, on the 20th-something anniversary of the 1974 revolution that
overthrew the fascist regime, there were a couple of novels about
what would have happened if the revolutionary forces hadn't come
through. They were badly written and poor in their historical
analysis, or heavy-handed in the presentation of the alternate
facts. Nevertheless, someone had finally done it.

Jos? Saramago would "almost" make its own (unwilling?) contribution
to the AH canon, with his book, _The History of the Siege of
Lisbon_. One of the stories in this novel is about the conquest of
Lisbon by King Henriques from the Muslim hold, and what might have
happened if the crusaders in his army, who in actual History were
essential to the victory, had said no to him. The story is actually
very interesting and the depiction of that kind of life very
graphic... but Saramago doesn't carry his assumption to the end, he
backs away from it, and instead we see that most of the crusaders
(but not all) end up turning their minds and engaging into battle.
So that all ends up happening as it did... not the best food-for-
thought for the average sf reader...

The myth of King Sebastian (more on it here:


is finally addressed by Maria Moura-Botto in O Regresso de D.
Sebasti?o (The Return of King Sebastian). An interesting novel.

Alternate History written in Portuguese is usually best done by the
Brazilian author Gerson Lodi-Ribeiro. "?tica da Trai??o" ("Ethics of
Treason") - also published in France - is a novella from the
Portuguese-Brazilian anthology of the 90's: O Atl?ntico Tem Duas
Margens (The Atlantic Ocean Has Two Shores) that tells the story of
a Brazil which has lost the War with Paraguay and has been split
into two independent states, one of which, the Guarani Republic,
became the largest country in South-America.

Meanwhile, a Brazilian
scientist has discovered a means to travel back in time and help in
the defeat of Paraguay. That would place Brazil in the history path
that ends up in our own present world, but the scientist doesn't go
through with it - he understands that Brazilians would have a
harsher, poorer way of life in this timeline. A very interesting,
political, well-written story. And it's not the only one he has on
alternate Brazils. (link:

Going back to the statement about the absence of hard science in
national sf, the lack of strong scientific plots doesn't mean that,
even as laymen or researchers, the writers completely ignore science
elements and ideas from their stories - most of them are borrowed
from English-written sf, since its ideas have been sufficiently
digested for an audience of non-scientists. Such is the case of
nanotechnology, that Jo?o Barreiros uses in the short stories of his
_ Toy Hunter_ anthology, of Daniel T?rcio (the novel _Stone of
Lucifer _), and also some of my stories (just for reference)."


PS - the next article needs to be translated. Maybe only after

*See you in Nantes! -- bruces

Posted by reteglobal at 11:06 AM BRT
Monday, 4 October 2004
THE RGP MANIFESTO by Bruce Sterling
Welcome to the mailing list of Rede Global Paraliteraria (RGP).

RGP is a global net-based organization dedicated to finding, creating, editing, sharing, and archiving information about paraliteratures in languages other than English.

We in RGP tend toward a particular interest in a genre known as "fantascienza," "fantastyka" and "ciencia ficcion." (We will refer to this genre by the arbitrary acronym "SF". )

It is our basic premise that the advent of the Internet has changed the nature of literature. As net-active paraliterateurs, we should respond effectively to this new reality. The price of moving words on a screen has collapsed. The speed of transmission has intensified. Censorship has largely collapsed, making the movement of text across political boundaries much easier than ever before. Even the commercial strictures of copyright and intellectual property seem shaky. The only major barrier that hasn't collapsed is the language barrier. The language barrier is our primary interest in RGP.

English has become the default net.language. The huge Anglophone market for fiction and the extreme sophistication of Anglophone publishing and distribution have changed the paraliterary game for non-Anglophone writers and publishers. A distinct possibility exists that the American military-entertainment complex will simply crush everything in its path.

The commercial structures of Anglophone "science fiction" are direly prejudiced against the planet's majority populations. Since most people on Earth don't write in English, this dominance of English perversely shrinks the global talent pool. We find this outcome unacceptable, so we are working to change it.

The dominance of English and its Internet has other interesting aspects, however. It means that the rest of us have a new advantage. We now have a cheap and dependable means to talk to one another. Our purpose in RGP is to exploit the energy and creativity of people who love and write and publish fantastic paraliterature, but who find themselves excluded by contemporary commercial publishing and distribution structures.

It is not the purpose of RGP to promulgate any particular literary or political ideology. On the contrary, we are particularly interested in radically expanding the variety of points of view.

Beginning, therefore in January 1998, we are engaging in a long-term, net-based project to find, generate and distribute paraliterary information, free of charge, around the world. We urge you to become an active contributor to RGP and help yourself by helping us.

These are our areas of interest.

1. Bibliographies and biographies of prominent non-Anglophone SF writers.

We would like to establish a global canon of SF writers in languages other than English whose work has global cultural importance.

2. Works in the public domain which might be translated and published worldwide with a minimum of economic overhead. RGP is a strictly noncommercial enterprise. Though we abhor piracy, we are not engaged in the defense of copyright and intellectual property. If your work is too commercially valuable to be read and freely copied by RGP members worldwide, please don't send it to our mailing list. We are giving away everything that we transmit, in the hopes that people worldwide will freely copy it, translate it, distribute it, and archive it. We will not be "publishing" any fiction or poetry on the RGP mailing list.

2. Practical guides to publishing and distribution in non-Anglophone languages. We would like to learn by one another's successes and mistakes.

3. A guide to net-connected SF translators, worldwide. Tools and resources for translators. Computer-assisted translation -- myths and realities.

4. Non-Anglophone publications interested in buying and selling non-Anglophone SF. Finns selling Finnish SF to Finns, while laudable, does not strike us as very interesting. Finns selling Finnish SF to Czechs and Mexicans is much more the end we have in mind.

6. Paraliterary manifestos and not-for-profit, freely distributable, critical material on non-Anglophone paraliteratures. Histories of paraliterary movements in non-Anglophone countries. Genre and category structures in non-Anglophone literatures. Useful critical terms in non-Anglophone languages (such as all known synonyms for "SF"). Theoretical work. Social and technical impacts of networks on languages.

7. Non-Anglophone SF websites, mailing lists, and relevant archives. With luck we will find that someone else on the Internet is already doing our work for us.

RGP is not a "discussion group" or a "newsgroup." It is a rigidly edited mailing list dedicated to putting useful material into the hands of serious-minded professionals. The current editor is Roberto de Sousa Causo of S?o Paulo, Brazil ( Submissions to the list should be sent to All editorial decisions are final and without appeal. Submisssions may be edited severely in the interests of time and bandwidth. Traffic on this list will be light.

If you write for us, don't worry about a shaky command of English. We have volunteers on staff who have an excellent grasp of the English language's impossible grammar and spelling. They will make you sound at least as good as this introduction.

To join our list, just reply to this message, or send an E-Mail message to RGP. After 120 days you will be ask to renew your subscription. A simple reply to that message should be enough. If you don't want to receive every message when it's written, but rather receive them once a week (as a file attachment), then send a message to the list server with "DIGEST ON" in the subject line.

Thank you for your attention.

Rede Global Paraliter?ria / Global Paraliterary Net

Posted by reteglobal at 11:09 PM BRST
Sunday, 26 September 2004
At last, a mousepad suitable for translators
Mood:  celebratory

Posted by reteglobal at 10:12 PM BRST

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