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The most successful and controversial Cuban Science Fiction writer of all time, Yoss (aka José Miguel Sánchez Gómez) is known for his acerbic portraits of the island under Communism. In his bestselling A Planet for Rent, Yoss pays homage to Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles and 334 by Thomas M. Disch. A critique of Cuba in the nineties, after the fall of the Soviet Union and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, A Planet for Rent marks the debut in English of an astonishingly brave and imaginative Latin American voice.
Praise for Yoss
“One of the most prestigious science fiction authors of the island.”
—On Cuba Magazine
"A gifted and daring writer."
"José Miguel Sánchez [Yoss] is Cuba’s most decorated science fiction author, who has cultivated the most prestige for this genre in the mainstream, and the only person of all the Island’s residents who lives by his pen.”
Born José Miguel Sánchez Gómez, Yoss assumed his pen name in 1988, when he won the Premio David Award 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, Praise for, and compilations, and actively promotes the Cuban science fiction literary workshops, Espiral and Espacio Abierto.
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.
This heavyhanded collection of interlinked stories written between 1993 and 1998 depicts a future Earth conquered by a confederation of alien races collectively known as xenoids and turned into a Galactic Protectorate: part museum, part resort, with an economy dependent on xenoid tourism. Humans are second-class citizens with little hope of advancement. Some try to escape by becoming sex workers, law enforcement, athletes, or artists. Some literally sell their bodies as "horses" for alien visitors. Others try to flee across the heavily-guarded planetary border, a desperate and often fatal move. Yoss's allegory of his native Cuba and the exploitation of its people is not subtle, and the prose tends toward textbook-like descriptions. The description of most female characters relies heavily on their sexuality, which is particularly disconcerting (though a sadly plausible portrayal of sex tourism) when committed by the prepubescent narrator of "The Platinum Card." But the human characters' palpable desperation and the impossibility of their circumstances become increasingly moving, and some stories, such as the blistering "Performing Death" and its protagonist's excruciating, literally suicidal performance art, provide a wrenching depiction of the corrosive effects of prejudice and colonialism.