TOD 043 Petrified Trees, Enchanted Mirrors: The Gothic Universe of Female Mexican Horror Writers Panel from Worldcon 76

In this podcast The Outer Dark presents ‘Petrified Trees, Enchanted Mirrors: The Gothic Universe of Female Mexican Horror Writers,’ a panel from Worldcon 76 featuring Gabriela Damián Miravete, Raquel Castro, Andrea Chapela and moderated by Pepe Rojoplus an exclusive interview with Gabriela Damián Miravete, also a guest at The Outer Dark Symposium 2019. The panel and presentation were recorded live at San Jose McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California, on Saturday August 18, 2018.

The Outer Dark Symposium on the Greater Weird is a unique immersive one-day event featuring more than 40 program participants and approximately 16 hours of panels, readings, signings and social activities centered around contemporary Weird and speculative fiction. The third annual event will be held March 22-23, 2019 at Silver Scream FX Lab  and Hotel Indigo-College Park in Atlanta, GA. Limited to 75 attendees. Buy your memberships here.

Intro: Special Guest Gabriela Damián Miravete

World Fantasy Award-nominated Mexican author Gabriela Damián Miravete joins Scott to introduce this ‘beautiful panel.’ She describes attending her first Worldcon in 2019 invited by Chris N Brown, co-editor with Eduardo Jiménez Mayo of Three Messages and a Warning: Contemporary Mexican Stories of the Fantastic (Small Beer Press) which included her WFA-nominated story ‘Future Nereid’, and then the ‘life-changing experience’ of returning as one of 50 Mexican and Mexican-American authors at Worldcon 76 as part of the Mexicanx Initiative created by Artist Guest of Honor John Picacio. The conversation includes a ‘bright side’ to the current political horror through ‘resisting through art and community’, the rise of fantastic literature in Mexico and imagining other ‘kinds of futures’, parallels with Afrofuturism and authors Nnedi Okorafor and N.K. Jemisin, the canonical importance of Amparo Dávila’s ‘The Houseguest’, and looking forward to Gabriela’s attendance at The Outer Dark Symposium 2019, thanks to Platinum Sponsor Innsmouth Free Press and Silvia Moreno-Garcia!

Show Notes

(00:28:30)The Outer Dark presents ‘Petrified Trees, Enchanted Mirrors: The Gothic Universe of Female Mexican Horror Writers’ a panel from Worldcon 76 featuring Gabriela Damián Miravete, Raquel Castro, Andrea Chapela and moderated by Pepe Rojo. The conversation begins with the panelists introducing themselves and describing their personal relationship to horror in horrifying times, then turns to tracing the historical road of Mexican female horror mothers who haunted the panelists including the powerful domestic horror of Amparo Dávila (born 1928), whose first collection in English The Houseguest: And Other Stories (after her iconic story) was published in November 2018 by ND Books; the horror of being stigmatized as a spinster as conveyed by Guadalupe Dueñas (1920-2002) and Adela Fernández y Fernández (1942-2013); forced infidelity, problematic relationships with domestic service, and women’s secret fears in the ‘indescribable’ writing of Elena Garro (1916-1998); and the grandmother of Mexican horror, Nellie Campobello (1900-1986), author of Cartucho (1931). Then they recommend favorite women writers they’ve read lately. Raquel suggests several authors from  (00:49:52) Festín de Muertos, an anthology of zombie stories by Mexican authors which she co-edited with Rafael Villegas, including Norma Lazo and Karen Chacek, plus Magali Velasco Vargas (who submitted a story so gory that her co-editor didn’t believe it was written by a woman!), chef/horror author Erika Mergruen, and doctor/author Lourdes Walls Laguarda. Gabriela recommends Iliana VargasLola Ancira, and how her own story in that anthology reflects how she is ‘still haunted by spinsters’. The panel concludes with horror literature as a form of ‘resistance’, yet more author recommendations (see Additional Links), and questions from the audience.

(01:16:37) After the panel, Gabriela returns to tell listeners about A Larger Reality. Speculative Fiction from the Bicultural margins, #TheMexicanxInitiative anthology, which is available for free download here.

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Additional Links

The Crying Cat: Amparo Dávila’s translator discovers the truth behind her fiction. (The Paris Review, Feb. 14, 2017

Columbia Journal Review of ‘The Houseguest: And Other Stories’

LatinX SFF Story Bundle

Lolita Bosch and Mexican drug-trafficking

Letras Libres: Lola Ancira, la Tusitala de óbitos

Inés Arredondo

Gabriela Rábago Palafox

The Mountain with Teeth webcomic by Alejandra Gámez

Show Credits

Host/Executive Producer: Scott Nicolay

Co-Host, News From the Weird: Justin Steele

Producer/Show Notes: Anya Martin

Logo Design: Nick “The Hat” Gucker

Music: Michael Griffin


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  • For $4 you get the full interview, no two-parters.

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