Book Corner: Speculative Fiction by Hispanic Authors

Sure, realistic fiction is great, but nothing sparks the imagination like speculative fiction, which is basically the umbrella term that covers anything outside of our own world. This includes science fiction, horror, the supernatural, and fantasy, within which are many subgenres such as alternate history or dystopian fiction (a personal fave). Speculative fiction asks the question “What if?” What if an asteroid split the Moon in two? What if ghosts were real? The possibilities are only limited by the authors’ and readers’ imaginations.

You may be familiar with authors of speculative fiction such as Ray Bradbury and Isaac Asimov, or more contemporary authors such as Stephen King and Margaret Atwood. But there exists a whole world of authors from different cultures and countries that weave their unique experiences, traditions, and imaginations into answering that alluring question “What if?” 

For National Hispanic Heritage Month, I’d like to highlight some horror, science fiction, and fantasy written by Hispanic authors:  

The Hacienda, opens a new window by Isabel Cañas
In this novel of supernatural suspense, Beatriz’s father is executed and her home destroyed during the overthrow of the Mexican government. In search of security, Beatriz allows herself to be seduced by the dashing Don Rodolfo Solórzano, despite rumors of what happened to his first wife, in order to have a home in his countryside estate. But when Rodolfo returns to work in the capital, things get strange in the Hacienda San Isidro. Beatriz feels invisible eyes watching her, and Rudolfo’s sister, Juana, refuses to enter the house at night. Beatriz’s sleep is disturbed by strange visions and voices. And what really happened to the first Doña Solórzano? Desperate, Beatriz turns to young priest Padre Andrés for help. It is Andrés’ skills as a witch that are needed to combat the evil presence haunting the hacienda.

Five Midnights, opens a new window by Ann Dávila Cardinal
Visiting her father’s family in Puerto Rico for the summer, Lupe’s love of true crime becomes all too real when she visits one of several crime scenes overseen by her police-chief uncle. When Lupe discovers that someone (or something) is going after a group of estranged friends who called themselves “los cangrejos” and that her cousin was also a cangrejo, it becomes personal. Lupe pairs up with another cangrejo and recovering addict Javier to try to save her cousin before it’s too late. Delving into the world of addiction and gang-related drug crimes, while simultaneously illuminating the spirit of Puerto Rico, Cardinal’s debut is an intriguing tale of horror.

Reclaim the Stars, opens a new window edited by Zoraida Córdova
This anthology by a variety of science fiction and fantasy authors from across the Latin American diaspora invites you to stretch your imagination further than you ever thought possible. Organized into three broad categories, each story is its own gem, tackling outer space, Shakespearean blood feuds and doomed lovers, social justice, and beyond. Carefully curated by editor Córdova, this exciting anthology stands out.

The Devil Takes You Home, opens a new window by Gabino Iglesias
Southern noir meets genre-bending storytelling in this dark thriller by the award-winning Iglesias. Desperately in debt from his young daughter’s illness and with his marriage collapsing, Mario reluctantly takes a job hijacking a cartel’s cash shipment before it reaches Mexico. With an old friend and a cartel insider named Juanca, Mario sets off on a mission that could either leave him $200,000 richer or dead. As the trio makes its way through Texas, across the border and back, hidden motivations emerge alongside inexplicable, chilling encounters. Even if Mario makes it back alive, he will never be the same.

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau, opens a new window by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
In this reimagining of the classic H.G. Wells story, young Carlota Moreau lives on a remote Mexico estate along with her father, the eccentric Dr. Moreau, his assistant Montgomery Laughton, and their experiments. Known as hybrids, these experiments are part-human, part-animal monstrosities, designed to blindly obey their creator. The project is financed by the wealthy Lizalde family, and, when the heedless but charming patron’s son Eduardo Lizalde shows up unannounced, the estate’s balance is overturned. His arrival ignites both Carlota’s questions about her father’s many secrets as well as unrealized passion.

Little Eyes, opens a new window by Samanta Schweblin
“Kentukis,” or little eyes, have pervaded the world. Little plush toys with cameras for eyes and wheels for feet, they’re connected to an anonymous global server and are everywhere, from homes in Hong Kong to shops in Vancouver, schools in Tel Aviv, and bedrooms in Ohio. Some kentukis can serve as cute pets, even with a stranger watching from behind their eyes. Or, you might be the kentuki, a voyeur in someone else’s life where you control the creature’s actions. Kentukis have helped save lives, uncovered illicit love affairs, provided new virtual families, and fostered vicarious experiences around the globe. There is beauty in the possibilities of connection created by kentukis, but what happens when things go awry?

Visit, opens a new window to explore more books, films, and resources in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.

Tracy McPeck is the adult services coordinator at Central Rappahannock Regional Library. This column first appeared in the Free Lance-Star newspaper.