Diana Q Palardy


Although many articles have been published on Spanish dystopias (which will eventually be referenced in my list of dystopias), to the best of my knowledge there are still no book-length studies on the topic, apart from doctoral dissertations. Susan Divine has written an insightful analysis of contemporary Spanish dystopias in her dissertation titled “Utopias of Thought, Dystopias of Space: Science Fiction in Contemporary Peninsular Narrative” (2009) and Gabriel Saldías Rossel has provided a comprehensive review of Late-Francoist dystopias in his dissertation “En el peor lugar posible: teoría de lo distópico y su presencia en la narrativa tardofranquista española (1965-1975)” (2015) (In the Worst Place Possible: Theory of Dystopia and its Presence in Late-Francoist Spanish Narrative [1965-1975]). Also, my doctoral thesis, titled “Dystopian Impulses in Contemporary Peninsular Literature and Film” (2008), examines strains of dystopianism in Spanish fiction produced from the Transición (around the mid-1970s) until 2005.[1] And there are a few relatively recent academic books in Spanish that address both utopian and dystopian fiction, such as La utopía en las narrativas contemporáneas (Utopia in Contemporary Narratives) (2008) by Gonzalo Navajas and El sueño sostenible: Estudios sobre la utopía literaria en España (The Sustainable Dream: Studies about Literary Utopias in Spain) (2008) by José Luis Calvo Carilla.

Therefore, I have decided to publish the first academic book dedicated exclusively to Spanish dystopias. My book, titled The Dystopian Imagination in Contemporary Spanish Literature and Film, was published with the Hispanic Urban Studies Series of Palgrave Macmillan in 2018. The study explores how the spatial constructions in several works of contemporary Spanish dystopian literature and film accentuate the dystopian atmosphere of the urban environments represented. I have chosen to adopt an urban cultural studies approach to analyzing these dystopias because topos, meaning “place” in Greek, is integral to the concept of dystopia, and urban issues are at the core of these works. Each of the works included deals either directly or indirectly with the build up to or the fall out from the 2008 economic crisis and effectively captures the zeitgeist in which it was produced, covering topics such as globalization, consumerism, immigration, financial speculation, poverty, and resistance movements. However, the crux of the investigation centers on close readings of the texts and films.

The first chapter explores spatial manifestations of the rise of global consumerism in Ray Loriga’s Tokio ya no nos quiere (Tokyo Doesn’t Love Us Anymore) (1999). In the second chapter, I investigate the intersections between transhumanism and exploitation of the Other in Elia Barceló’s short story “Mil euros por tu vida” (A Thousand Euros for Your Life) (2008). The third chapter examines architectural structures and spatial relationships in Ion de Sosa’s experimental dystopian film Sueñan los androides (Androids Dream) (2014) and intertextual references to Philip K. Dick’s 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, on which the film is loosely based. The fourth chapter analyzes how sensescapes, or sensory landscapes, underscore the degradation of poverty in the novels El salario del gigante (The Salary of the Giant) (2011) by José Ardillo, Madrid: frontera (Madrid: Border) (2016) by David Llorente, and Nos mienten (They Are Lying to Us) (2015) by Eduardo Vaquerizo. In the fifth chapter, I explore the seeds of insurgency in the novel El sistema (The System) (2016) by Ricardo Menéndez Salmón, focusing on differing perceptions of mapping and how they relate to resistance movements.

[1] The primary works examined in my dissertation include: Parábola del náufrago (Parable of a Shipwrecked Man) (1969) by Miguel Delibes, El hombre y la mosca (The Man and the Fly) (1977) by José Ruibal, Memorias de un futuro bárbaro (Memories of a Barbarian Future) (1976) by Montserrat Julió, Temblor (Tremor) (1990) by Rosa Montero, Tokio ya no nos quiere (Tokyo Doesn’t Love Us Anymore) (1999) by Ray Loriga, Historias del Kronen (Stories of Kronen) (1994) by José Ángel Mañas, Abre los ojos (Open Your Eyes) (1997) directed by Alejandro Amenábar and Ausentes (Absent) (2005) directed by Daniel Calparsoro.