Cardona Peña, Alfredo

Tagged: Author

(1917-1995) Costa Rican poet, essayist, journalist, academic and author who lived in Mexico from 1938, but who preserved ties with his native country throughout his life. Together with the Chilean Hugo Correa, he could be considered the Latin American version of Ray Bradbury. He began to study arts in San José, Costa Rica, and finished in El Salvador, where he also started working as a journalist. Since 1945, he was appointed teacher of Spanish Language Literature at the National University of Mexico. Cardona is best known as a poet, earning awards in Guatemala, Costa Rica and also in the US, where he was presented with the Continental Poetry Award by the American Atheneum of Washington, in 1951. His "Recreo sobre la ciencia ficción" ["Recess about SF"] (1967 Cuadernos Americanos) – published two years later in the Spanish magazine Nueva Dimensión (March-April 1969) – is an annotated long poem which pretends to be a history of the genre, a speculation about its origins, and a review of its most significant authors, concluding that sf is a modern day Mythology, "pues cada época tiene un estilo de enamorar a la fantasía" ["because every era has a way to love fantasy"].

Cardona began publishing short stories in 1944, covering various genres from fairy tales to Horror and sf. Humour and sharp irony were his speciality. Outstanding among his sf production is "La niña de Cambridge" ["Cambridge's Girl"] (1973 Xilote #35), the tale of two Computers from different generations which are treated as mother and daughter by their creators. When the younger machine is consulted about a very abstract concept, it turns insane. This creates a precedent about the rights of computers. A terrestrial Generation Starship is built to trade volcanic ashes with an Alien species in "Basura infinita" ["Infinite garbage"] (1980 Los ojos del cíclope), but an accident makes them exchange it for ashes of their ancestors. "El cerebro futuro" ["The future brain"] (in Los mejores cuentos de magia, misterio y horror, coll 1990), is a tribute to H G Wells, whom Cardona mentions along with his speculations about Far Future Evolution, going on to imagine the life of the inhabitants of the year 2,000,000, who discuss the possibilities of becoming spiritual beings (see Transcendence). Perhaps Cardona's best short story is "Detrás del silencio" ["Behind silence"] (in Los mejores cuentos de magia, misterio y horror, coll 1990), about the problems created by a device able to recover sounds and voices from the past (see Time Viewer).

As journalist, his interviews with important names of world's culture were very successful. Of interest to the sf world is his original interview with Ray Bradbury for a Mexican newspaper (4-8 June 1971 Excelsior). Along his writing trajectory, Cardona received many awards, among them the Magón Culture Award (1985), the highest honor given in Costa Rica for lifetime achievement; and the Alfonso Reyes Award for Short Story (1983) in Mexico. He was also editor in chief, from 1969 through 1980, of the comic-books section of the celebrated Novaro Publishing House, a period which could be considered its golden age. Cardona received a posthumous tribute, in Mexico City, at the fourth National Convention of the Mexican Association of SF and Fantasy, in 1996. [MAFD]

see also: Central America.

Alfredo Cardona Peña

born San José, Costa Rica: 11 August 1917

died Mexico City, Mexico: 31 January 1995

works

  • Cuentos de magia, de misterio y de horror ["Short Stories of Magic, of Mystery and of Horror"] (Mexico City and Paris: Finisterre, 1966) [coll: pb/]
  • "Recreo sobre la ciencia ficción" ["A Recess about SF"] (1967 Cuadernos Americanos 150.1) [pp189-195: mag/]
  • "El cronista de Marte (conversaciones con Ray Bradbury)" ["Mars Chronicler (conversations with Ray Bradbury)"] (4-8 June 1971 Excelsior) [mag/]
  • Fábula contada ["A Fable Told"] (San José, Costa Rica: Editorial Universitaria Centroamericana, 1972) [coll: pb/]
  • Los ojos del Cíclope ["Cyclops' Eyes"] (Mexico City: Diana, 1980) [coll: pb/]
  • La nave de las estrellas ["The Ship from the Stars"] (San José, Costa Rica: Editorial Costa Rica, 1980) [coll: pb/]
  • Festival de sorpresas ["Surprise Festival"] (San José, Costa Rica: Editorial Costa Rica, 1983) [coll: pb/]
  • Los mejores cuentos de magia, misterio y horror ["The Best Magic, Mystery and Horror Short Stories"] (Mexico City: Diana, 1990) [coll: pb/]

about the author

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