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Alternate Pasts: International Uchronia

January 2015

Image: Kacper Kowalski, China, Wuming, Guangxi Zhuang. Stone pits cut away into the mountainous area of Wuming near Nanning.

Image: Kacper Kowalski, China, Wuming, Guangxi Zhuang. Stone pits cut away into the mountainous area of Wuming near Nanning.

This January, join us as we travel through new worlds in an issue dedicated to divergent histories and uchronias. The stories in this issue present historical events with a twist, asking what if? Sweden’s Karin Tidbeck posts an otherworldly explanation for a town’s disappearance and France’s Xavier Mauméjean wonders how a matinee idol’s accident might have changed the face of international cinema. Mexican writer Bef describes a confrontation between Emperor Maximilian I and the digital ghost of Benito Juárez while Argentine Hernán Vanoli delves into the world of a female soccer gang protecting the reanimated cyborg of Lionel Messi. Gerson Lodi-Ribeiro pictures Portugal’s King Dom Luís II’s escape to Brazil while Aldo Nove tells the peculiar life story of St. Francis of Assisi from the perspective of his nephew Piccardo. From Chile, Jorge Baradit explores what might have happened if Allende had thwarted the coup attempt of 1973, and Peruvian Jorge Eduardo Benavides describes an allohistorical Peru in which Shining Path defeated the armed forces.

Our special thanks to guest editor Gabriel T. Saxton-Ruiz for opening these allohistorical worlds to us.

Alternate Pasts: An Introduction to International Uchronia
By Gabriel Saxton-Ruiz
Uchronia is a narrative mode that has enjoyed both critical recognition and popular acceptance throughout literary history.
Contreras’s Dream
By Jorge Baradit
Augusto Pinochet Ugarte and Gonzalo Leigh Meza are arrested under the charge of sedition on the evening of September 10.
Translated from Spanish by Gabriel Saxton-Ruiz
The Beast Has Died
By Bef
“Juárez has died, Your Majesty.”
Translated from Spanish by Brian L. Price
Cousins from Overseas
By Gerson Lodi-Ribeiro
His pains originate in another continent. They are graver, and more ancient.
Translated from Portuguese by Sarah Ann Wells
By Aldo Nove
The father could no longer tolerate the oddities of that son who was turning him into the laughingstock of Assisi.
Translated from Italian by Elizabeth Harris
By Xavier Mauméjean
You look away. The yolk’s yellow circle reminds you of an eye.
Translated from French by Edward Gauvin
Distinguishing Marks: None
By Jorge Eduardo Benavides
You had known Ramiro from the years of the First Dictatorship, those long-ago days of pick-up soccer games and fruit popsicles.
Translated from Spanish by Gabriel Saxton-Ruiz
By Karin Tidbeck
Above an opening in the robot’s chest are the words “In the name of Jesus protect man and beast from the followers of Satan.”
Translated from Swedish by Silvester Mazzarella
Saint Lionel
By Hernán Vanoli
The smell of the cyborg-gasoline gives me a pang of withdrawal which makes my hands sweat.
Translated from Spanish by Juan Caballero