Dossier: Yoss


Works by and about Yoss in LALT No. 3:


"Heavy Metal and Protoplasmic Pressure: A Conversation with Yoss" by George Henson

"The story tells of the adventures of Jan Amos Sangan Dongo, a Cuban veterinary biologist who specializes in gigantic animals, in the Milky Way of the twenty-first century. It tells about his misadventures, how he recovers his wedding bracelet from the wife of the governor of a planet in the intestines of a giant beast called “the tsunami,” his workplace problems with his two secretaries, one human and one alien,  and how he gets wrapped up in an interplanetary intrigue related to the lagotones, amoebas weighing millions of tons that are considered the largest lifeforms in the galaxy and that live on the planet Brondinnagg (like the giants from Gulliver’s Travels). I won’t say anymore to avoid spoilers. I had a lot of fun writing it: it’s full of humor, of ironic comments and Cuban flavor, and the version translated by David Frye has some excellent Spanglish for added value."


"The Taste of Light" by Yoss

"Her name may be Svieta, 11 years old, but she may look older. One of those typical girl-women of the tropics. From a poor family, a neighborhood on the outskirts, a broiler. Naughty, sure of herself, she may enjoy music, she may be a student. She may dream of Prince Charming, like all girls her age, but she’s more afraid that others will know about her dreams. That’s why, she’ll turn her body into her best toy. Transgressor. She’ll drive older men mad then leave them, with money, with a car, with power and prestige. One will leave her, and spite will cause her to take revenge against one of her classmates. Against the youngest, the most defenseless, the most… and the least."


"Static" by Yoss

"Underneath, on an improvised bookcase of boards and bricks, tomes that no one has read for decades sit and rot. Verne. Salgari. Sabatini. Dumas. Louisa May Alcott. El Tesoro de la Juventud.

Laden-down coat stands sway in the wind like retired birds of prey. Leather jackets for the winter, a uniform from the National Literacy Campaign, a blue suit from El Corte Inglés from the fifties. The smell of naphthalene breaks up the moths’ party. The back room. A Russian air conditioning unit that’s known better times, taken apart. An antediluvian bicycle, from the same place, also in pieces. Two-inch pipes, nickel steel, several meters. A homemade ventilator, with palettes cut from a sheet of duralumin. Bricks. Blocks of siporex. Granite baseboards. A typewriter that looks like it’s been run over by a tank regiment."


"Flashback" by Yoss

"Mother fiddling with the bolts while she screams in her stentorian voice, with the veins of her neck swollen to the point of bursting: “Ungrateful bitch! Don’t you care about all the strings I had to pull so that all they did to you was transfer you to a different school…? How could you even think of something so stupid?! Going to the funeral of that skinhead sow, after all the harm she’s done to you! I’m the one who should go, to spit in her mother’s face… because, say what you will, I swear that bald pig was the one who perverted you, that it was her idea, because you’re too stupid, you always have been. But, that you would go? Not on your life! Over my dead body! You’ll stay here, so long as I have anything to do with it… And I’m warning you right now: if you so much as think of touching that telephone, I swear by all that’s holy that I’ll beat you to death, bitch! God, what a punishment, what a shame… and listen up, little miss delusional, if we have to move to Santiago de Cuba we’ll move, anything, as long as I don’t have to put up with these blabbermouth neighbors telling me to my face that my daughter is one of those… I would die first, you hear me?! And you too; I’ll see you good and dead before…”"


A Review of Yoss's Super Extra Grande by Alberto Chimal

"This is a prejudice I’ve been hearing since the twentieth century: many people believe science fiction, as a “commercial” genre of literature, could never accommodate style or almost any aesthetic aspiration. Of course, this isn’t true: the idea that all writers deemed “sci-fi authors” (whether because they write science fiction deliberately or because that’s what readers, critics, or librarians say) instantaneously become untalented hacks without a genuine interest in language is absurd.

Even at its greatest levels of popularity and abundance as a specialized literature, science fiction has included an enormous quantity of mediocre practitioners, but it has also given rise to a few great artists, just like any other subset of the literary production of an era or a culture. While some of the great exponents of speculative fiction stand out for other reasons - Philip K. Dick is famously blunt and prosaic, for example - others had a verbal capacity that far surpassed not only airport paperbacks but also more than a few “canonical” authors, writing about “appropriate” subjects in the “correct” way. We have the pastiches of Joyce or Burroughs (or the other Burroughs) of Philip José Farmer; the enigmatic verbal filigree of Samuel R. Delany in Dhalgren; the entire oeuvre of Roger Zelazny or of the much better known Ursula K. LeGuin."