Red Dust

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red dust.jpg

Red Dust

16.99

By Yoss

Translated from the Spanish by David Frye

Cuban Science Fiction

“Yoss (Super Extra Grande) is an eminent Cuban SF writer who also fronts a heavy metal band; his iconoclastic spirit and rock-and-roll aesthetic are on full ingenious display in this daring, rollicking, and joyous novel…. This extended dirty joke is also an impressive science fiction novel with much to say about sex, culture, and what it means to be alien.”  —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

Book Details

Paperback list price: $16.99 • ISBN: 9781632062468 • Publication: Jul 7, 2020 • 5.5" x 8.25" • 208 pages • Science Fiction—Cuban / Space Opera / Detective • Territory: World

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About the Book

From beloved Cuban science fiction author Yoss comes a bitingly funny space-opera homage to Raymond Chandler, about a positronic robot detective on the hunt for some extra-dangerous extraterrestrial criminals. 

On the intergalactic trading station William S. Burroughs, profit is king and aliens are the kingmakers. Earthlings have bowed to their superior power and weaponry, though the aliens—praying-mantis-like Grodos with pheromonal speech and gargantuan Collosaurs with a limited sense of humor—kindly allow them to do business through properly controlled channels. 

That’s where our hero comes in, name of Raymond. As part of the android police force, this positronic robot detective navigates both worlds, human and alien, keeping order and evaporating wrongdoers. But nothing in his centuries of experience prepares him for Makrow 34, a fugitive Cetian perp with psi powers. Meaning he can alter the shape of the Gaussian bell curve of statistical probability—making it rain indoors, say, or causing a would-be captor to shoot himself in the face. Raymond will need all his training—and all his careful study of Chandler’s hardbitten cops—to meet his match. 

As he did in his brilliantly funny and sharp science-fiction parables A Planet for Rent, Super Extra Grande, and Condomnauts, Yoss makes the familiar strange and the strange familiar in Red Dust, giving us an unforgettable half-human hero and a richly imagined universe where the bad guys are above the laws of physics.

 

Praise for A Planet for Rent:

"A Planet for Rent is the English-language debut of Yoss, one of Cuba's most lauded writers of science fiction. Translated by David Frye, these linked stories craft a picture of a dystopian future: Aliens called xenoids have invaded planet Earth, and people are looking to flee the economically and socially bankrupt remains of human civilization. Yoss' smart and entertaining novel tackles themes like prostitution, immigration and political corruption. Ultimately, it serves as an empathetic yet impassioned metaphor for modern-day Cuba, where the struggle for power has complicated every facet of society."

—Juan Vidal, NPR, Best Books of 2015

 

"In prose that is direct, sarcastic, sexual and often violent, A Planet for Rent criticizes Cuban reality in thinly veiled terms. Cuban defectors leave the country not on rafts but on 'unlawful space launches'; prostitutes are 'social workers'; foreigners are 'xenoids'; and Cuba is a “planet whose inhabitants have stopped believing in the future.” The book is particularly critical of the government-run tourism industry of the ’90s, which welcomed and protected tourists—often at the expense of Cubans—and whose legacy can still be felt today."

—Jonathan Wolfe, The New York Times

“Some of the best sci-fi written anywhere since the 1970s.… A Planet for Rent, like its author, a bandana-wearing, muscly roquero, is completely sui generis: riotously funny, scathing, perceptive, and yet also heart-wrenchingly compassionate.… Instantly appealing.”

—André Naffis-Sahely, The Nation

"This hilarious and imaginative novel by Cuba's premiere science-fiction writer gets my vote for most overlooked novel of the year. Yoss's book imagines a world where Earth is run as a tourist destination by capitalist aliens who have little regard for the planet or its inhabitants. A Planet for Rent is a perfect SF satire for our era of massive inequality and seemingly unchecked environmental destruction."

—Lincoln Michel, VICE

 

"A Planet for Rent is devastating and hilarious and somehow, amidst all those aliens, deeply human."

—Daniel José Older, author of Half-Resurrection Blues

 

“A compelling meditation on modern imperialism…. A fascinating kaleidoscope of vignettes…. A brilliant exploration of our planet’s current social and economic inequities…. Yoss doesn’t disappoint, sling-shotting us around the world and the galaxy…. Striking, detailed.… Yoss has written a work of science fiction that speaks to fundamental problems humans deal with every day. This is not just a story about alien oppression; it’s the story of our own planet’s history and a call for change.”

—Rachel Cordasco, SF Signal, 4.5-star review

 

“What 1984 did for surveillance, and Fahrenheit 451 did for censorship, A Planet for Rent does for tourism.… It’s a wildly imaginative book and one that, while set in the future, has plenty of relevance to the present.”

—Adam Ley-Lange, The Bookseller

 

“Cuba has produced an author capable of understanding science fiction by writing it like it’s rock and roll. Yoss is a thoughtful author who simply seems to understand his work and science fiction better than many of us.”

—Ryan Britt, Electric Literature

 

“For readers of Stanislaw Lem and William Gibson's Sprawl trilogy.... An excellently written piece of sci-fi, with its rich world-building and well-crafted characters.... Yoss has told a fictional tale that rings all too true despite the aliens and spaceships. A Planet for Rent is science fiction of the highest caliber. It tells us to imagine a strange new world, and as we explore it we come to understand our own a little better."

—BH Shepherd, LitReactor

 

“[Yoss’s] work is modern, dynamic and yet deep and thoughtful.… There is a dark, almost bleak tone to the novel but with small sparks of hope, along with a good deal of dark humor.… It's wildly inventive, imaginative fiction, with a real edge to the writing—there is an energy to the prose that is almost tangible and to get all this through a translation is nothing short of remarkable.”

—Ant Jones, SFBook.com, Five-Star Review

 

“The true power of science fiction lies in its capacity to convey the reality of human existence, and the threats we face from internal and external sources, while using language, images, and concepts that transcend common experience. This could not be truer of A Planet for Rent by Cuban science fiction legend José Miguel Sánchez, better known as Yoss.… Highly relevant. Joining a literary tradition of writers who envisioned Earth’s future in terrifyingly comprehensible ways, such as H.G. Wells, Arthur C. Clarke, J.G. Ballard, Philip K. Dick, Aldous Huxley, and Margaret Atwood, Yoss’s portrayal of Earth’s dystopian downfall weaves together fantasy and reality—at times troublingly close to the latter.… Yoss skillfully weaves themes and characters together into a rich tapestry, and each section gives us a more fulfilling, and fearful, vision of a dominated Earth–now an intergalactic tourist destination.”

—Rosie Clarke, Words Without Borders

  

Praise for Super Extra Grande:

“Intergalactic space travel meets outrageous, biting satire in Super Extra Grande…. Its author [Yoss] is one of the most celebrated—and controversial—Cuban writers of science fiction…. Reminiscent of Douglas Adams—but even more so, the satire of Rabelais and Swift.”

—Nancy Hightower, The Washington Post

 

“A lighthearted space-opera adventure by Cuban author Yoss…. This novel's madcap tone is very similar to Douglas Adams'—so much so that it's almost impossible to avoid drawing such comparisons (although Adams didn't joke about oral sex with aliens, as Yoss does here). As in Adams' works, the galaxy's species are terrifically alien, sporting six breasts and no teeth or breathing methane instead of oxygen…. An exceptionally enjoyable comic tale set in a fully realized, firmly science-fictional universe.”

Kirkus, Starred Review

 

“Science fiction is a place where minority authors have brilliantly mixed the possibilities of the future with the sociopolitical problems of their time. Everything from politics and sexism to racism and the silence of the subaltern (the one Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak wrote about) have been explored within the context of a narrative that takes place in a fictional future. Cuban science fiction author Yoss’ Super Extra Grande does all these things.… [Yoss] marries hard science with wild invention and throws that mix into a hilarious, politically and sexually charged universe where all alien races have stopped being unknown to each other. The result is a witty narrative that proves that, when done right, science fiction can be the most entertaining genre even when delivering a message.… Spanglish dialogue enriches the narrative and makes it crackle with authenticity.… Kudos must be given to translator David Frye for his outstanding work.… Besides the space it creates to discuss alternate realities, the best science fiction is that which delivers on the promise of its name, and Yoss pulls it off with flying colors in part thanks to his degree in biology and in part thank to his fearless approach to creation.… Yoss tackles science fiction with the attitude of a rock star, and he has the talent to make even his wildest ideas work. Super Extra Grande follows the parodic tradition of Cuban science fiction and treads new grounds in terms of the amount of imagined science and fauna found in its pages. This is a narrative in which anything is possible, love and desire are thrown into the tumultuous new territory of interspecies relationships, and Spanglish is the unifying language of the galaxy. In other words, this is science fiction at its best: wildly imaginative, revolutionary, full of strange creatures, and a lot of fun to read.”

—Gabino Iglesias, PANK Magazine

 

“This newly translated novel by Yoss, considered one of the masters of contemporary Cuban sci-fi, transports us to a bizarre vision of the far future, where humanity has mastered space travel and discovered it is but one small corner of a vast, very strange intergalactic tapestry.”

—Joel Cunningham, Barnes and Noble Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of 2016

 

“A brawny, gregarious roquero who looks like he just walked off the set of a Van Halen video, circa 1984, Yoss is one of the most visible members of Cuba’s small but dynamic sci-fi scene. He is also one of the more prolific writers on the island, having published more than 15 novels and books of short stories, and two books of critical essays, as well as numerous anthologies of science fiction and fantasy short stories…. As someone who has made his living as a writer since 1988, when his novel Timshel won Cuba’s David Prize for first-time authors, he has been a keen observer of Cuban society (and its literature) for almost three decades…. Yoss’s more recent novel …  dares us to hope for a universe in which all things (super extra) large and small can find their place.”

—Emily Maguire, Los Angeles Review of Books

 

“Get ready to enter the world of the fantastic, phenomenal and downright freaky. If you like huge space monsters, faster-than-light travel, erotic six-breasted aliens with strange reproductive habits, atomic blasts, gastrointestinal diseases and interplanetary warfare, then this is the book for you…. It sounds crazy doesn’t it? And it really is. This book is utterly unlike any other sci-fi novel you will have read before…. The marvelous thing with writing about the future is you can really let your imagination run wild and Yoss certainly decided take full advantage of this poetic license.”

—Jade Fell, Engineering & Technology Magazine

  

Praise for Condomnauts: 

“Yoss (Super Extra Grande) is an eminent Cuban SF writer who also fronts a heavy metal band; his iconoclastic spirit and rock-and-roll aesthetic are on full ingenious display in this daring, rollicking, and joyous novel…. The novel is recognizable as a space opera, but everything from human history to the economics of galactic trade is seen from a richly irreverent angle. Josué is a three-dimensional, well-rounded protagonist whose flaws can be genuinely aggravating without overwhelming his natural charm. When hilarity ensues, as it often does, the laughs are earned and heartfelt. This extended dirty joke is also an impressive science fiction novel with much to say about sex, culture, and what it means to be alien.”

Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

 

“The book pays off in a climax that a well-trained Condomnaut would be proud of. What I loved about Condomnauts isn’t just its unusual structure or how Yoss (mostly) avoids the obvious smutty gags, it’s how he makes this a story about the marginalized. Those earlier scenes detailing Josué’s nightmarish upbringing tie into the book’s overall discussion about those who exist outside the mainstream, whether it’s because of their color, their class, or their sexuality, and who find themselves, due to a strange set of circumstances, empowered to act…. Condomnauts, brought brilliantly into life by David Frye’s translation, is an unconventional space opera that’s heartfelt, brazen, exciting, and just a little bit naughty.”

—Ian Mond, Locus Magazine

 

“In Condomnauts, Yoss takes readers to the 24th century-Rubble City, Cuba, where Josue Valdes makes a living racing cockroaches. But he finds his true calling as a sexual adventurer in space, where he serves as an ambassador for the Nu Barsa colony. Yoss is Cuba’s preeminent writer of science fiction, and this raucous novel is a fun introduction to the universe he’s populated with humans who use sex to seal intergalactic treaties.”

—Lorraine Berry, Signature

 

“Following the success of Super Extra Grande and A Planet for Rent, Yoss brings us another uproarious space adventure with Condomnauts, a wildly inventive and unapologetic tale that would make even Barbarella blush.”

—Kayti Burt, Den of Geek 

 

“A hilarious and a fantastic read. Human sexuality and stereotypes are questioned all while delivering page after page of heart-pounding and belly-laughing fun.” 

—Tracy Palmer, Signal Horizon

 

Condomnauts is everything a good space opera should be—far-reaching, glimmering, gut-wrenching, perilous—but stickier. Much, much stickier.”

—The Arkansas International

 

About the Author

© Les éditiones Mnémos

© Les éditiones Mnémos

Born José Miguel Sánchez Gómez, Yoss assumed his pen name in 1988, when he won the Premio David in the science fiction category for Timshel. Together with his peculiar pseudonym, the author's aesthetic of an impentinent rocker has allowed him to stand out amongst his fellow Cuban writers. Earning a degree in Biology in 1991, he went on to graduate from the first ever course on Narrative Techniques at the Onelio Jorge Cardoso Center of Literary Training, in the year 1999. Today, Yoss writes both realistic and science fiction works. Alongside these novels, the author produces essays, reviews, and compilations, and actively promotes the Cuban science fiction literary workshops, Espiral and Espacio Abierto.

 

About the Translator

When he isn’t translating, David Frye teaches Latin American culture and society at the University of Michigan. Translations include First New Chronicle and Good Government by Guaman Poma de Ayala (Peru, 1615); The Mangy Parrot by José Joaquín Fernandez de Lizardi (Mexico, 1816), for which he received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship; Writing Across Cultures: Narrative Transculturation in Latin America by Ángel Rama (Uruguay, 1982); and several Cuban and Spanish novels and poems.

 

Books by Yoss