- Carolina Quiroga-Stultz
41 - Science Fiction
What if animals developed language? The Mexican writer Amado Nervo tells us that language is the spark that ignites a revolution that establishes the "before and after" of humanity.
In the comments, we talk about the author, reflect on our relationship with animals and how it could be an analogy of our future relationship with robots.
By Amado Nervo
"Do you want all this to begin again?"
"Yes!" the chorus replied.
THUS SPOKE ZARATHUSTRA
In all the eternities
that preceded our world,
how can we refuse to believe that there have already
been other planets with human beings,
whose Homers have declaimed
their first heroic deeds
and whose Shakespeares have shared wisdom gleaned
from delving into the depths of the soul?
Serpent biting your tail,
uncompromising circle, black
ball that turns without ceasing,
monotonous refrain of the same song,
is this story of yours ever to have an end?
Source: Poem "Kalpa" by Amado Nervo (Spanish). Translation into the English Language by Dave Bonta. Website ViaNegativa.US. The translation of the poem is under Creative Commons License: https://www.vianegativa.us/2015/06/eternity-for-an-inheritance-eight-poems-by-amado-nervo/
Welcome, dear listeners of Tres Cuentos, the bilingual podcast dedicated to Latin America's literary, historical, and traditional narratives. I am Carolina Quiroga-Stultz, and today we finalize our series on Science Fiction.
The first poem was initially written in Spanish by today's featured author, the Mexican poet Amado Nervo. The translation by Dave Bonta is under a Creative Commons License, and Mr. Bonta graciously permitted us to reproduce it in the program. You can find the poem and more of Amado Nervo's poetry in English at vianegativa.us. I will leave the link in the episode's transcript.
A couple of years ago, at a summer camp for Pre-K kids in San Antonio, Texas, I had one of those "before and after" anecdotes.
So, I told a warm-up story and then moved on to tell an African folktale called "Why the elephants have long noses." I began by saying, "A long time ago when the animals could talk, ..." But I was abruptly interrupted by a girl of about five years old, shouting with skepticism: “Animals can't talk!”
I tried to continue, but she kept shouting “Animals can't talk!” I realized that it was pointless to stop the whole show to explain to a child that animals do communicate. After that event, I began opening my storytelling performances by invoking the Imagination as a way to guide the children to open their minds to ideas such as "the animals talk." So far, it has worked like a charm!
Moving on, I want to give a big thanks to Mrs. Alexa Jeffress from the University of Virginia. Once again, we have collaborated with her students Micah Rucci and Alex Pirouz, who translated today's cuento "The Last War."
Finally, it is an honor to present Rachel Ann Harding, who delights us today by reading Nervo's story. She is the host of the podcast Story Story, but I will tell you more about her and her fantastic show in the comments.
In the history of humankind, revolutions have ignited new religions, human rights, and other worldwide events. This time we focus on the rise of animals whose language and consciousness have evolved to the point where they ignite a revolution that overturns the "before and after" of humankind.
The Last War
Translated by Micah Rucci and Alex Pirouz
Reviewed by Don Hymel and Carolina Quiroga
Narrated and adapted by Ann Harding
There had been three great revolutions that were reported. The first was called the Christian Revolution, which in a way modified society and life throughout the planet. The second was the French Revolution, which, although eminently justified, was fueled by the guillotine and found equality in rights and severed heads. The third was the Socialist Revolution, the most recent of all, although, in spirit, dated back to the year two thousand and thirty of the Christian Era. It would be useless to dwell on the horror and inhumanity of this latest revolution. While it shook the earth to its foundations and brought with it radical reforms, it made such a change in ideas, customs, and conditions that future generations would mark time by labeling events "before or after the Social Revolution." Thanks to this great commotion, we should point out that even the very physiognomy of the human species was in a certain way modified.
In fact, it is said that before the Social Revolution, there were – especially in the last years that preceded it-- certain very visible signs that physically distinguished the so-called privileged classes from the proletariat. For example, women had hands with long, sharp fingertips that were more beautiful than the petal of jasmine. By contrast, the hands of the proletariat were not only rough and thick but also tended to have six fingers on the right hand. The sixth (slightly rudimentary and rather formed by a semi-articulated callus) was usually found between the thumb and forefinger.
It is said, that many other marks gave away the difference of the classes, but I do not want to fatigue the listener's patience by listing them. I will only say that the guilds of vehicle and locomotive drivers of any type – such as airplanes, aircraft, aero-cycles, automobiles, and magnetic expresses, were easily identified by the perpetual immobility of their legs. In other words, the absolute atrophy of their legs. And for this reason, after their duties were completed, they would go to their homes in special, small electric cars; which, by the way, were used for any personal displacement.
However, the Social Revolution came to change the human condition in such a way that all these characteristics disappeared over the course of the centuries, so that by the year 3502 of the New Age (that is, 5532 of the Christian Era), there was not a trace of such painful inequality among the family of man.
And, as all schoolchildren would know, with the events of many centuries, the Social Revolution matured. The truth is that the French Revolution paved the road for it, and it became the second link in the chain of progress and freedom that began with the Christian Revolution. It was not until the 19th century of the Old Calendar that the widespread movement of men towards equality began to define itself.
In the year 1950 of the Christian Age, the last king died. He was a king from the Far East who was considered a positive curiosity by the people of that time.
In the early XX century Europe, a great military captain – today considered a mythical legend by many historians – predicted an event that came to happened, that Europe would become the United States of Europe in 1916. A federation created in the image and likeness of the United States of America (whose memory in the annals of mankind has been so brilliant, and which, at that time, exercised an all-encompassing influence on the destinies of the Old Continent.)
But let us not stray away from the topic. I have already used more than three phonoteleradiograph cylinders to relate these reminiscences. I have still not reached the key point of our narrative.
As I said at the beginning, there have been three great revolutions that were known. In the years that followed, thanks to the remarkable scientific discoveries, and the wisdom of laws and the high morality of traditions, humanity got accustomed to an unshakable peace, and stability. Unfortunately, albeit with the achieved advancements, mankind lost the notion of what vigilance and caution were. And despite what humanity had learned for so long through their sweat, blood, and tears, they did not suspect the terrible events that were about to take place.
Several factors can easily explain the ignorance of this immense conspiracy. First, the language spoken by animals, primitive yet picturesque and beautiful, was understood by very few men. This is logical since living beings were then divided into two unique groups. The first was the men, the upper class, the elite of the planet, all equal in rights and almost, almost in intellect. The second group was the animals who were inferior to men and progressed along the same path very slowly throughout the millennia. However, back then, mammals were well on their way towards evolutionary perfection. So, it was for this reason that the elite status of man, considered undignified for most of them to learn any of the inferior, animal dialects.
The second factor was the evident separation between both portions of humanity, that is, men from animals. Even though most families of men housed two or three animals in their homes who performed all the services, even the most tiresome ones. These included kitchen chores like the chemical preparation of pills and juices for injections, housekeeping, as well as the cultivation of the land. It was not common to interact with them, except when giving them orders in the patrician language, that is the language of men, which all animals had to learn.
The third factor was that despite the sweetness of the yoke to which the animals were subjected, and the relative laxity of their break-time, it gave them time to conspire quietly, especially in their meeting centers where it was rare for any man to attend.
Then, what were the determining causes of this fourth revolution, the last (I hope) of those that have bloodied the planet? Overall, they were the same as those that resulted in the Social Revolution, the same ones that have caused; one might say, all the revolutions: old hunger, old hereditary hatred, the tendency to equal rights and prerogatives, and the aspiration for the best, latent in the soul of all beings…
The animals could not complain, though. Man was paternal toward them, much more paternal than the great gentlemen were toward the proletariat after the French Revolution.
Still, man indeed forced the animals to perform relatively harsh tasks. For he, by the excellence of his nature, preferred to devote himself to contemplation. There was a noble, yet magnanimous reward exchanged that came with these jobs as well with relative comforts and pleasure. While the atavistic hatred of which we speak accumulated over so many centuries of ill-treatment, led the animals to long for rest, respect, and control over their lives. In sum, it resulted in a conflict worthy of including in the annals of the world.
So that those who hear this story can get a more accurate and more graphic account of the events that preceded the revolution -- the rebellion we should say -- of animals against man, we will invite the listener to attend one of the many secret assemblies that would define the process of the tremendous struggle. The assembly was held in one of the great focal points of unrest: Mexico. In this way, it fulfilled the prophecy of the 19th-century sage Eliseo Reclus, who predicted that the center of the world would be found in the middle of the Americas, between the two great oceans.
On the hillside of Ajusco, where the last neighborhoods of the city were located, there was a gym for mammals, in which they met on holidays, and almost attached to the gym was a great concert hall that they often frequented. In this hall, with perfect acoustic conditions and considerable amplitude, the assembly in question was held on Sunday, August 3, 5532 (of the New Age).
Equis Robertis, a magnificent horse indeed, presided. The first designated speaker was a celebrated propagandist of the time, Can Canis, a dog of remarkable intelligence and a very hot-headed nature. I must warn you that the speech in question would have repercussions all over the world, thanks to special emitters that recorded all vibration, and transmitted it only to those who had the corresponding receivers, utilizing certain magnetic currents; devices that are disused today because of their impractical nature.
When Can Canis stood up to address the audience, murmurs of approval were heard everywhere.
"My fellow brothers -Can Canis begins-
The hour of our definitive liberation is near. On our signal, hundreds of thousands of brothers will rise as a single mass and fall upon men, upon tyrants, with the speed of lightning. Man, and all his remnants will disappear from the face of the earth. Then we will be the masters of the land. We will be masters once again like we were at the dawn of the millennia before the anthropoid appeared in the virgin forests, and its howl of terror echoed in the ancestral caverns. Ah! In globules of our blood, we all carry the organic memory of those blessed times in which we were the kings of the world. When the sun, still tangled with flames to the naked eye, enormous and torrid, warmed all surfaces of the earth with love. We were kings when from the forests, the seas, the ravines, and the hills, a warm and deep breath was exhaled, inviting laziness and bliss. In those times, the divine sea was still forging and destroying its inconsistent archipelagos, woven with algae and madrepores. The distant mountain range was blowing smoke from the thousand mouths of its volcanoes, and at night it was a fiery region, bright red, strange, and fearfully glorious. We were kings when the moon, still young and lush, shaken by the continuous bombardment of its craters, appeared vast and red in space; and under its mysterious light the lion saepelius came from its cave, the aurochs rose his powerful head between the brush, and the mastodon contemplated the profile of the mountains, which, according to the expression of an Arab poet, made them look like a giant grandfather. We dominated when the flying saurian of the early ages, the iguanodons with short heads and colossal bodies, the slow and clumsy megatherium, were not disturbed except for the resounding buzz of the first sea, that forged the future of the world in its entrails.
Oh, how happy our parents were in the warm and pious nest of the land then, wrapped in the soft emerald hair of the immense vegetation, like a virgin coming out of a bath…! How happy…! Only the echoes of the mountains responded to their roars and inarticulate cries, …
But one day, between the thousand varieties of quadrumanes that populated the forests and filled them with unpleasant squeaks, our ancestors skeptically saw a species of blonde monkeys appear that more frequently than others, maintained straightened and upright posture. Their hair was less coarse, their jaws were less strong, their movements were smoother, more rhythmic, more undulating, and in their large curly eyes burned a strange and enigmatic spark that our parents had never seen in other eyes on the planet.
Those blonde monkeys were frail and miserable… How easy it would have been for our gigantic grandparents to exterminate them forever…! And indeed, how many times when the monkey's horde slept in the middle of the night, protected by the flickering light of their bonfires, a herd of mastodons, frightened by some cataclysm, broke the wall of fire and passed with great triumph, grinding up bones and crushing lives; or better yet a mob of felines stoking the bonfires to extinction, entered the camp - and once the custodial fire was gone - found a feast of memorable succulence.
Despite such catastrophes, those quadrumanes, those fragile beasts with mysterious eyes and who knew how to ignite the fire, multiplied. One day, a fateful day for us, it occurred to a male of the horde to defend himself, grabbed a tree branch and sharpened it with a stone, like the gorillas had never dreamed of doing. From that day, our destiny remained fixed in existence: man had invented the machine, and that pointed stake was his scepter, like a king’s scepter given by nature.
Then, why remember our long millennia of slavery, pain, and death…? Man, not content with assigning us the roughest tasks, and rewarding us with poor treatment, made many of us his usual feast. Man condemned us to vivisections and analogous martyrdoms. Hecatomb after hecatomb went on without protest, without a moment of commiseration.
Nevertheless, nature reserved for us greater destinies than that of being perpetually eaten by our tyrants. Progress, which is the condition of everything that improves, did not exempt us from its law. Over the centuries, something divine in our rudimentary spirits, a luminous germ of intellectuality - of future humanity - at times glowed sweetly in the eyes of my grandfather, the dog (whom a wise man in the eighteenth century called a candidate for humanity). That germ of intellectuality also glowed in the pupils of the horse, of the elephant, and of the monkey. The seed developed in the most intimate core of our being until, after centuries and centuries, it flourished in unspeakable manifestations of cerebral life… Then language emerged, monosyllabic, rude, timid, imperfect, from our lips; the thought opened like a celestial flower on our faces, and one day it could be said that we were the new gods of the land. For the second time over the course of the years, the creator announced a fiat, et homo factus fuit.
Humans did not look favorably upon this gradual emergence of humanity; rather, they were forced to accept the consummate facts, and unable to extinguish it, they opted to use it… Our slavery continued, then, and has continued under another disguise: we are no longer eaten, we are treated with apparent sweetness and consideration, we are sheltered, we are housed, we are called to participate, in a sense, in all the advantages of social life; but man continues to be our guardian, scrupulously measuring our rights… and he leaves for us the rudest and painful part of the labors of life. We are not free, we are not masters, and we want to be masters and free. That is why we have been meeting here for quite some time, that is why we have thought and plotted our emancipation for many centuries, and that is why very soon the last revolution of the planet, the rebellious cry of the animals against man, will explode, filling the universe with dread and defining the equality of all mammals that populate the land..."
Thus, spoke Can Canis, and this was by all odds, the last speech pronounced before the dreadful catastrophe.
The world, as I have said, had already forgotten its history of pain and death. Its armaments rusted in museums. It found itself in the luminous age of serenity and peace. But that war that lasted ten years, like the siege of Troy, that war that had neither likeness nor parallel because of its frightfulness, that war in which terrible machines were used, compared to which the electronic projectiles, the gas-filled grenades, the frightening effects of radium utilized a thousand ways to bring death, the formidable air currents, the microbe-injector darts, the telepathic shocks…, in short, all of the elements of combat that served humanity in ancient times were laughable children's games. That war, we say, constituted new, unspeakable learning of blood…
All over the world, men, despite their ingenuity, were caught by surprise. The movement of the aggressors had a unanimous, accurate, skillful, and formidable character that was in no way possible to prevent…
The animals managed all kinds of machines that fulfilled the needs of the elite. Chemistry was eminently familiar to them, given that every day they used its secrets. They also owned and guarded all of the provisions. They drove and used all the vehicles… Thus, imagine, the struggle that must have been fought on land, at sea, and in the air… Humanity was on the verge of complete extinction. Its absolute end was believed to be certain (we still believe it to be certain)... and when I, one of the few women* that remained on the earth, sit before the phono-radiograph and think of these lines, which I don't know if I will conclude, this incoherent account which perhaps tomorrow will constitute as a very useful piece of history… for the future humanity.
Barely a few hundred survivors dwell on the face of the planet, slaves of our destiny, already deprived of all that was our prestige, our strength, and our glory. Our small numbers are incapable -despite the incalculable power of our spirit-, of reconquering the lost scepter. And although the victors are full of that secret instinct that confirms their cautious and enigmatic behavior, they are as well convinced that we are destined to die, every last one of us. Perhaps, they fear that the will of our own sovereign mental resources will lead us again, despite our few numbers, to the throne from which we have been thrown out...
It was written that way. Let's remember our own history. The natives of Europe disappeared at the hands of the Latin vigor. The Latins vanished at the hands of Saxons, who ruled the world, and the Saxons disappeared at the hands of the Slavic invasion. The latter also vanished at the hands of the yellow invasion, which in turn was overthrown by the black invasion. And thus, from race to race, from hegemony to hegemony, from preeminence to preeminence, from domination to domination, man arrived perfect and dignified at the limits of history…
Man's encoded mission was to disappear. He no longer needed to continue perfecting himself. He was already complete in his perfection. Who could replace man in the empire of the world? What new and vigorous race could replace him in it? The answer was the first humanized animals, whose turn it was to tread the stages of time… Come, then, congratulations: for us, for having arrived at the divine serenity of complete and definitive spirits.
There is nothing left but to die sweetly. They are now humans, and they will consider it holy to kill us. Later, in turn, perfected and serene, they will too pass to leave their post to new races that today rest in the still dark bosom still of inferior animality, in the mystery of an active and impenetrable genesis… All this until the old flame of the sun is gently extinguished, until it's enormous, already dark globe rotating around a star in the Hercules constellation is fertilized for the first time in space, and from its womb, immense new humanities emerge… so that everything begins again!
*gender of narrator adapted by the storyteller
Very well, let us come back to the present and leave behind the arrogance of humankind and its dreadful outcome. We can only hope that Nervo's tale was just an exercise of Imagination and perhaps a warning or a call to treat all beings with respect.
Before I tell you more about Amado Nervo allow me to present today's contributors.
Let's begin with the woman that gave voice to Nervo's story. I met Rachel Ann Harding in one of the Tejas Storytelling Festivals in Denton, Texas. Ann, like me, had been invited to the festival to perform and we clicked talking about our podcasts. Since then, we have crossed paths several times in conferences and festivals, and I have told a story or two at her show.
Rachel Ann Harding is a traditional storyteller and musician passionate about telling beautiful folk, myth, and traditional tales. In 2018 she was a featured storyteller for the Exchange Place at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN.
She is the creator and producer of the Story Story Podcast, which showcases traditional storytelling from around the world. Rachel Ann weaves story and song together to create unique and entertaining storytelling events that display the relevance of storytelling in our lives. She believes that fairytales are for all ages. Visit her beautiful storytelling show at: storystorypodcast.com
Also, as I mentioned in our last episode, Rachel Ann is friends with Cooper Braun, who read Unamuno's story, and together they produce the Stories With Spirit project. Please take a minute to check them out on Facebook as @storieswithspirit, and enjoy their commitment to bringing traditional live storytelling into the new millennium.
Before I showered today's translators with flowers, I wanted to mention that if you are working on your Spanish, it would be helpful to check out the voice that read Nervo's story in the Spanish episode. Cecilia Bona produces a podcast called Audiolibros Por qué leer; she reads short pieces of Latin American literature. I am leaving the link to her show in the episode's transcript www.porqueleer.com
It is time to a big thanks to our translators. We have Mrs. Alexa Jeffress and two of her students Micah Rucci and Alex Pirouz, from the University of Virginia. If you missed our first episode and its introduction to Mrs. Jeffress, here's a reminder.
Alexa Jeffress is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese at the University of Virginia.
She has taught translation, Spanish grammar, and introductory Spanish literature over the past six years. Alexa has also published two short story translations, "A Repulsive Happiness" and "The Reversed Miracle", and co-translated two anthologies of poetry, Detroit Doesn't Love Us Anymore and Contemporary Colombian Poetry. She just finished her PhD exams, and we wish her the best in her future endeavors.
The two students that cracked the code on Nervo's story "The last war," which I confess is a very tough story to translate, are Micah Rucci and Alex Pirouz.
(From left to right: Micah Rucci and Alex Pirouz
Micah Rucci is a 3rd-year undergraduate at the University of Virginia from North Wildwood, New Jersey. He is completing a distinguished major in Media Studies and a double-major in Spanish, concentrating in Literature and Culture. Micah hopes to pursue a bilingual career in broadcast journalism, investigating stories in minority communities.
Alex Pirouz is a 3rd year undergraduate at the University of Virginia, majoring in pre-Professional architecture and minoring Spanish. Alex is passionate about cultural emersion, and this year has begun studying French. In high school, she participated in a foreign exchange program in Mar del Plata, Argentina where she lived with a family for two months. Aside from language, Alex is involved with the student council and has been the head of the student arts fund for her three years at UVA.
If you have been wondering how you could collaborate with Tres Cuentos, well, here are some fantastic options.
These days we welcome those who have experience translating from Spanish to English or Portuguese to English or Spanish. There is still a lot of Latin American literature that needs your help to reach wider audiences.
Also, if you are an actor, storyteller, voice-over, or have some experience reading stories aloud, perhaps in your classroom, we need your voice.
In both cases, we guarantee you that we will guide you in the process of collaborating, and we will give you credit for it! And with that comes our most sincere thanks.
So, please sign up for our mailing list on our website www.trescuentos.com, or reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org and stay in touch. And of course, share your favorite episodes!
Very well, it is time to move on. Before I read Leo Quiron's comments regarding Nervo's literary career, I wanted to briefly reflect on one of Nervo's quotes: "Who could replace man in the empire of the world? What new and vigorous race could replace him in it?"
It is part of the planet's earth law that everything must change, live and die, rise and fall. The dinosaurs went extinct, civilizations have risen and fallen, so it is a valid question to ask, who will come after us. I will not dwell on the subject for too long. Instead, I want to share another quote from the historian Yuval Noah Harari, from his book Homo Deus, A Brief History of Tomorrow.
Harari says: "Some readers may wonder why animals received so much attention in a book about the future. In my view, you cannot have a series discussion of the nature and future of humankind without beginning with our fellow animals. Homo sapiens does it best to forget the fact that it is an animal, and it is doubly important to remember our origins at a time when we seek to turn ourselves into gods. No investigation of our divine future can ignore our own animal past or our relations with other animals because the relationship between humans and animals is the best model we have for future relations between superhumans and humans. You want to know how super intelligent cyborgs might treat ordinary flesh and blood humans? Better start by investigating how humans treat their less intelligent animal cousins. It's not a perfect analogy, of course, but it is the best archetype we can actually observe, rather than just imagine."
I remember hearing from an old book that nature exists to be tamed or dominated, giving mankind free range to conquer and destroy. Well to that, I say, life works like a boomerang. We reap what we sew. A hint of that can be found in our very first episode, "The Spirits Return," a piece of wisdom from Maya folklore that might give you another reason to treat animals with love and utmost respect.
With no further ado, here's Leo Quiron's comment on Amado Nervo.
About Amado Nervo (1870-1919)
I first met the Mexican modernist Amado Nervo through his poetry. However, the aesthetic of the author's narrative proposal is also memorable. On this occasion, we have heard one of his sci-fi creations, "The Last War."
José Amado Ruiz de Nervo was the first son of a modest family of Spanish descent, born in Tepic, a small town in Nayarit, on the Pacific coast of Mexico, on August 27, 1870. After his father died in 1883, Nervo moved with his family to Michoacán, where he studied at a school that was also a Catholic seminary.
Because of financial difficulties, Nervo had to drop out of school and look for a job to help his family. However, in 1891, Nervo began his studies in theology, hoping to be ordained as a priest. But again, he is forced to look for a new job and starts working at a law office and writes for the newspaper El Correo de la Tarde (The evening mail).
On the other hand, it is essential to note that during the period from 1876 to 1911, political power in Mexico was exercised by the military General Porfirio Díaz. His mandate was a historical period characterized by authoritarianism and repression. Diaz refused to leave power. For this reason, Francisco Madero summoned a rebellion, which arose on November 20, 1910, and ended in May 1911, with the defeat and exile of General Porfirio Díaz. In this historical context, Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata are relevant to the revolution that defeated Porfirio's troops in different parts of the Mexican geography.
In 1893, Amado Nervo decided to move to Mexico City, hoping to insert himself in the literary currents of his time, where Manuel Gutiérrez Nájera stood out. He was a well-known Mexican poet and writer whom Nervo admired. For the young Nervo, this must have been a difficult time in his life, living in the big city, with financial difficulties, and an unstable social environment. Despite these problems, he managed to be noticed, achieving the support of Gutiérrez Nájera, and by August 1894, participated in the critical modernist magazine called Azul.
It is worth pausing for a moment to talk a bit more about the Latin American literary movement called modernism, which developed between 1880 and 1917. Modernism can be understood as a literary proposal arising in poetry, which sought to become an aesthetic, metric, and expressive transformation, with a refinement that tends towards the aristocratic and literary culturalism. This last refers to the abundance of cultural references within the texts. The most renowned poets of this movement were: Rubén Darío (Nicaragua), José Martí (Cuba), José Asunción Silva (Colombia), Manuel Gutiérrez Nájera (Mexico), and Amado Nervo (Mexico).
After reading Amado Nervo's short story "The Last War," I could not help but remember George Orwell's famous tale called the "Animal Farm," published in 1945. I was astonished, by two details. First, Nervo's story was published in 1906, almost 50 years before Orwell's, and second Nervo’s socialism leads to progress. Beyond the connections, differences, similarities, or influences that can be established with Orwell's narrative, I was fascinated to find in Nervo's tale that the emphasis is not placed on political relations or scientific advancement but on language as a revolutionary tool.
In this sense, in the tale of Amado Nervo, when Can Canis, one of the leaders of the animal revolution, gives his speech, he emphasizes that when animals developed their language, this led to a fundamental change in their thinking: "... Then language emerged, monosyllabic, rude, timid, imperfect, from our lips; the thought opened like a celestial flower on our faces, and one day it could be said that we were the new gods of the land (...)."
In this way, we see how the author not only reinvents his aesthetic style making a vital contribution to science fiction, a little explored area of Latin American literature, but it also goes beyond its time. Let us remember that he lived during a period of dictatorship and revolution in his country. And in the mists of all that, Nervo reflects on how language can achieve the necessary changes in the face of injustice in the world. So, use your words friends!
And that is all for today, before we conclude the program, I would like to read one of Nervo's poems…
The Great Journey
By Amado Nervo
Translated by CQS and DH
Who will be the Christopher Columbus of some planet in the not-so-distant future?
Who with a powerful machine, will scoop the ether's ocean and take us by the hand where only the audacious dreams of the poet can be found?
Who will be the Christopher Columbus of some planet in the not-so-distant future?
And what will we discover after its august dream?
What will you teach us of humanities of other planets, that spin in the silent divine night, and that perhaps have been watching us for centuries?
Spirits to whom the ages in their robust flow already have revealed the portentous key of what is Beautiful and Just, what will be the harvest of truths that you give to man, after the august journey?
With what light will the arcane scrutinize us? Oh! The essential revelation reshapes the human clay!
Who will be the Christopher Columbus of some planet in the not-so-distant future?
And that is all for today. With this episode we sort of finalize the series on Latin American and Spanish Science Fiction. The truth is that we still have some Sci Fi and Fantasy stories under our sleeves, and an interview with a Dr. Andrea Bell co-editor of the book Cosm os Latinos, An Anthology of Science Fiction in Latin America & Spain, coming up throughout the summer. Until the next cuento, or story, adios, adios.
Poem "Kalpa" by Amado Nervo (Spanish). Translation into the English Language, Dave Bonta. Website ViaNegativa.US. The translation of the poem is under Creative Commons License: https://www.vianegativa.us/2015/06/eternity-for-an-inheritance-eight-poems-by-amado-nervo/
Alberto Acereda Extremiana. Amado Nervo. En: Cervantesvirtual.com. Consultado el 10/05/2021. Url: http://www.cervantesvirtual.com/obra-visor/amado-nervo/html/723ab1c8-d0cb-4714-bd45-d34db45c8770_2.html
Cosmos Latinos, An Anthology of Science Fiction from Latin American and Spain, edited by Andrea L. Bell & Yolanda Molina-Gavilán, and published by Wesleyan University Press, 2003.
Homo Deus, A Brief History of Tomorrow, by Yuval Noah Harari. Published by Harper; Illustrated edition (February 21, 2017).
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Constancy Part 2 - The Descent by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Halls of the Undead by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Fall of the Solar King by Twin Musicom is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Anamalie by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Dragon and Toast by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Iron Horse - Silent Film Dark by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Sneaking Up by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/