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Top Ten Hispanic Authors of SFF

I’m not a fan of identity politics. I won’t play that game. When I’m asked to submit work as a ‘woman writer’ I’m more likely to walk away silently. Either I’m a writer, or not. The fact that I’m female has absolutely nothing to do with it, and I refuse to be given a stepstool that metaphorically lifts me up to the level of other, male, writers. No. Which, I imagine, is how some of my friends who are being identified as ‘minorities’ feel about being identified as such coupled with their writing. But I’ve spent enough time hanging out with Sarah Hoyt (who does not consider herself Hispanic, the American government does) and Larry Corriea to know that they have rolled their eyes and made a joke out of it. So it didn’t surprise me when Jason Cordova brought it up, gently mocking himself as the second-best Hispanic author in SFF, that both Sarah and Jason would egg me on to create a list. It’s what I do, after all, I make lists. When I’m not being all womanish, that is. 

So without further… oh, I suppose I should explain my methods before I reveal the results, eh? I was highly unscientific. Having determined that I could set up a poll, I did so in three places, making sure to check the boxes to allow the addition of options by participants, and the one to allow more than once choice to be selected. Two large and active groups on facebook, with a total combined membership of 9000+ (and likely some small overlap) and my public wall on MeWe. So we already have a larger voting pool than the Hugos involved. Then, I stacked the deck. “…if you were to play the game of identity politics, who is your favorite Hispanic/Latin author? I’m going to start the list off with a few names, please feel free to add more and comment away! This will be part of the data I’m going to use to create a ranked top ten list, and it will be published elsewhere. You can vote for more than one…” On cue, they started to vote for all their favorites, and to add names.

That’s where it got interesting. Because it turns out that these thousands of people taking part don’t actually, you know, pay attention to the author’s ethnicity if the story is good. Also, you can’t judge a person’s background from their name. Someone added Lester del Rey, someone else added Phillip Jose Farmer. Um, Sarah pointed out, neither of them are Latin or Hispanic. That’s ok, someone else added Michael Z Williamson, and even the least observant reader knows he’s not at all Hispanic or Latin or…. fans are contrary and have an evil sense of humor. Which is why “Wait, I was supposed to be paying attention to their race?” got added as an option and had 34 votes at the time I was tallying the count. As I said in the comments “if their fans identify them as such, who am I to argue?”

The point of the exercise was thus made neatly. We don’t know, unless you tell us. And even then, we might not care. You could be any shape, size, or color, heck, you could be a cat, as long as you can tell a story. What we want, what we have always wanted, is a good story. Stories which stretch our imaginations, open us up to new worlds, expose us to cultures real and imagined, characters we can identify with and learn from. We want that. We really could care less what ethnicity or color the author was, although a new race would perk our ears up, since so far only H. sapiens has seen fit to regale us.

Having winnowed out some of the sillier suggestions, the list stands as below. My hypothesis about ranking, which is what got me into this, was supported nicely by the data. Also, as with any of the lists I curate, I wound up buying books.  I picked up Mario Acevedo’s book University of Doom on Sarah’s recommendation to read and review for the Fantastic Schools blog. I picked up Gustavo Bondoni’s Siege after chatting with him in comments, and the opening is deliciously tense, I’m really looking forward to finishing it!

  1. Larry Correia

  2. Sarah Hoyt

  3. Jon del Arroz

  4. Jason Cordova

  5. Miguel de Cervantes

  6. Gama Ray Martinez

  7. Jose Ortega y Gasset

  8. Mario Acevedo 

  9. Sergio Aragones

  10. Gustavo Bondoni

43 Comments
  1. George Crichton #

    I have to admit to laughing while reading this and seeing a major early contributor to Mad Magazine Sergio Aragones listed.

    March 24, 2018
    • Well he did draw and write (I think) Groo. So that would qualify him for fantasy at least.

      March 24, 2018
      • Draven #

        Yup, Groo the Wanderer was his.

        March 24, 2018
    • Hey, I took ’em as they added ’em! But it was kind of nifty to look them up as I was adding links and see who they were. I think he fits nicely, and I didn’t originally define the criteria as SFF (an oversight on my part).

      March 24, 2018
  2. Interesting list. Only a few that I haven’t heard of. 🙂

    March 24, 2018
    • the ones I haven’t heard of are always the fun part of making these lists. I love that I can ask people for author recommendations, or books, or series, and they respond so enthusiastically.

      March 24, 2018
  3. I would have put Gabriel García Márquez on that list, myself.

    March 24, 2018
    • And that’s where you get into genre nitpicks. The differentiation between fantasy and magical realism is smaller than the difference between, say, romance and mystery, but it’s pretty clear that if you’re expecting one and get the other, you’re going to bounce off the style. (Or to make it even more apt, it’s like the difference between paranormal romance and urban fantasy with a romantic element. They sound like they should be the same, but the beats and tropes are all different.)

      March 28, 2018
  4. Off-topic, but seems appropriate here: e-book cartoon: http://www.gocomics.com/brevity/

    March 24, 2018
  5. Dang it, I’m trying to cut back. I don’t need any new— Ooh, that looks interesting!

    March 24, 2018
  6. adventuresfantastic #

    “I’m not a fan of identity politics. I won’t play that game. ”

    I won’t either, and if forced to, I will play dirty.

    “So we already have a larger voting pool than the Hugos involved. ”

    Bwa-ha-ha-ha!

    Thanks for the list. I’m going to check the ones I’m not familiar with out.

    March 24, 2018
  7. Brett Baker #

    The conspiracy to get us spending more on Amazon racks up another win!

    March 24, 2018
  8. The basis of identity politics is the notion that there’s more white guy authors than girls/minorities because of pure hate. All those girls and brown authors were kept out on purpose by racists.

    Except, nobody knows what race/sex/whatever you are on the far side of a typewriter. Pretty much shuts the whole thing down right there.

    Gee, how come Lefties are so invested in this diversity thing? Ulterior motive, maybe?

    March 24, 2018
    • Christopher M. Chupik #

      It’s because they judge people based on race/sex/orientation and assume everybody else does too.

      March 24, 2018
    • More of that leftist Compartmentalized thinking I’ve talked about before. Evil publishers keep out the women and minorities they say (To the extent that the majority of authors published are women….) but also, the Left controls publishing. So who exactly are these evil bigots in publishing keeping the women and minorities out?

      Hmmmm…..

      March 24, 2018
      • “…but also, the Left controls publishing.”

        Yes, indeed they do. And have, for a very long time too….

        Hmm…

        March 24, 2018
      • No, no, the EEEEVil Overlords of Publishing are keeping out the right kind, er, sorry, the proper kind of women and minorities! You know, the anti-Jon del Arroz.

        March 25, 2018
  9. TRX #

    Gisele Bundchen is Hispanic, being from Brazil, but Penelope Cruz, being from Spain, is European. Because Spanish is not Hispanic, according to the Feds.

    We used to laugh at Himmler’s “Aryan, non-Aryan, and non-non-Aryan.” Old Heinrich would have ruptured himself laughing at how the various US government agencies classify people…

    March 24, 2018
  10. I’d be mildly miffed to be left out of the list (my initials stand for Carlos Jose, Spanish is my first language and I outsell at least two or three of the names above) except I’ve never made a big deal about my ethnicity. And my readers, bless them, don’t seem to care either 🙂

    March 24, 2018
    • See? I would never have known.

      March 24, 2018
    • So do you pronounce it “Ka-rey-ya” or “Car-ella”?

      March 24, 2018
      • The Italian way Car-eh-lah. 🙂

        March 24, 2018
        • Okay, I’m not so bad at matching names to ethnicity – I was thinking an Italian somewhere for you. Of course, there are a lot of “foreign” names where the person is less of that ethnicity than Fauxcahontas is Cherokee; the name just survived through the male line for several generations. (Plus plenty that are “pure” something that have completely Anglo names. Sarah is one, my wife is another – “pure” northern Slavic, but her paternal grandparents came through Ellis Island…)

          March 25, 2018
          • My actual name is Carlos Martijena; Carella is my mother’s maiden name (she’s the daughter of Sicilian immigrants who settled in Peru). I decided to use C.J. Carella as a pen name because Martijena is a mouthful in English and Spanish (it’s Basque). Which is just one example of how futile it is to draw conclusions about ‘Hispanic’ as a group; the term covers a multitude of nationalities, ethnicities, and races. And don’t get me started on the idiots who are trying to force Latinx as a term.

            March 25, 2018
            • I wonder if the idiots realize that Otto-Corrupt tries to turn Latinx into LaTex? (Aaaaand now my evil kitty brain is wondering what a Latinx cat looks like, as compared to a Manx or Sphinx or Rex?)

              March 25, 2018
            • Basara549 #

              I wonder how many people consider the current pope “Hispanic” given his family ancestry compared to his place of origin?

              March 26, 2018
  11. Terry Sanders #

    Cervantes is number five. I grin.

    Robert Heinlein should be in the list. STARSHIP TROOPERS and THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS make it clear. He just used an Anglo name to fool the haters.

    March 24, 2018
    • Cervantes is one of the best and always will be.

      March 25, 2018
  12. Once upon a time an idiot ran for Governor of Massachusetts…but I repeat myself. And said idiot chose a running mate, someone to lock up the Italian vote, a good Italian by the name of iirc…Gabrielli.

    Gabrielli is a good Hungarian name, and the media had a field day.

    March 24, 2018
  13. George Phillies #

    This ethnic name thing is not a winning approach.

    March 24, 2018
    • But if you are using the ethnic name thing, Del Rey is Spanish. I am amused to note that the crazy people in DC think that Spaniards are not Hispanic, while Brazilians…they speak Portuguese there…are Hispanic.

      March 25, 2018
  14. Hey thanks!

    March 25, 2018
    • No thanks needed for me, you have fans! I just record what they vote for 🙂

      March 25, 2018
  15. John R. Ellis #

    “Sergio Aragones is one of the best loved cartoonists in the entire world. I’m often asked ‘How did you meet him?’ Well, I looked up his name in a phone book. True! …don’t bother looking it up now, though. He had it switched to an unlisted number soon afterward. I’ve often wondered if these two things were connected.” – Stan Sakai, cartoonist and occasional collaborator with Sergio. 🙂

    March 25, 2018
  16. I’d have put in Pliny the Elder or Cato or Julius Caesar, since you DID say “Latin”, but perhaps would be forced to vote for Plutarch and Cervantes.

    March 25, 2018
  17. Mike Houst #

    So, if I write under a pseudonym of Miguel de Hastur, does that mean I can check the Hispanic box on my government forms?

    March 25, 2018
  18. Ana #

    I can understand Miguel de Cervantes being list under SF/F authors, but Jose Ortega y Gasset? I can’t imagine someone listing a philosopher there, or American SF/F readers knowing about him (OK, I read wide, philosophy is not my preference, but I can imagine others), or at least not so many American readers knowing about him to get in the list.

    March 26, 2018
    • Fandom is broader, and deeper, than you might imagine. There were several votes for him – I’m not at home to check the data for a precise count. Also, my original query wasn’t strictly for SFF authors, so it’s a mixed bag.

      March 26, 2018
      • Basara549 #

        I think I actually used a quote or two from him as epigraphs in a fanfic, after running into the quotes in an issue of OMNI. So, it’s not much of a stretch.

        Here’s one of them.
        “Life is a series of collisions with the future; it is not a sum of what we have been, but what we yearn to be.” – Jose Ortega y Gassett

        There were also quotes by Santyana, Guitton, and others in that same issue, that I ended up reusing.

        March 26, 2018
  19. Matthew #

    “Also, you can’t judge a person’s background from their name. Someone added Lester del Rey, someone else added Phillip Jose Farmer. ”

    What if we called him Phillipus Josephus Agricolo? Is that Latin enough?

    March 26, 2018
  20. GB #

    Thanks from me, too. Never thought I’d actually crack the top ten.. And lovely to know that you are enjoying Siege! :

    March 29, 2018

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