Found in Translation: Super Extra Grande by Yoss

by Sunny Sone

“Science fiction,” says Yoss, “is the only literature today capable of capturing not only the decisions we’re making in the present, but also the consequences these decisions can have on our future.”

Cuban science fiction writing has become more prevalent in the past several years, and at the head of the movement is Yoss.

A biologist by training, Yoss – born José Miguel Sánchez Gómez – is one of Cuba’s premier sci-fi writers. He is much believed to be the torch-bearer for the father of Cuban sci-fi, Augustín de Rojas. In 1988, the same year he took his pen-name, Yoss won the prestigious Premio David in the science fiction category for his book Timshel. Super Extra Grande, a 2016 release from indie publisher Restless Books (and 2012 release in Cuba), won the UPC award in Spain. He is the author of more than 20 books, a champion of science fiction in Cuba and the world, and the lead singer of the heavy metal band Tenaz.

(Yeah, you read that right. Just look at this picture.)

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In the world of Super Extra Grande Latin Americans pioneered faster-than-light space travel and practically the whole universe speaks some version of Spanglish, translated in the English version delightfully by David Frye. The book opens as the protagonist, Doctor Jan Amos Sangan Dongo, is wading through the intestines of an enormous alien worm. Sangan is a veterinarian to the largest animals in the universe – and at 7 feet tall, he’s just the man for the job. And when the galaxy’s peace is threatened after two ambassadors are stuck inside a gigantic creature, Sangan is the only man for the job.

Super Extra Grande is raunchy, witty and incredibly funny. It is a must-read for any science fiction fan.

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