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Reading: Future Visions of Dominican History in Odilius Vlak’s Crónicas historiológicas

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Research Article

Future Visions of Dominican History in Odilius Vlak’s Crónicas historiológicas

Author:

Samuel Ginsburg

University of Texas at Austin, US
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Abstract

The work of science fiction writer Odilius Vlak (Azua, Dominican Republic, 1976) looks to the future to comment on the country’s past. In many of the stories that comprise the collection Crónicas historiológicas (2017), Vlak examines how history is written and remembered through the eyes of future Dominicans. In this article, I examine Vlak’s counterfactual takes on the Dominican War of Independence and the Trujillo dictatorship in the stories “Descargas de meteoritos en la batalla del 19 de marzo” and “Juegodrox platónicos.” By injecting speculative elements into such significant moments in Dominican history, Vlak critiques how histories are created, sold, and mythologized, while also highlighting the role of counter-narratives in contesting official accounts. In “Descargas de meteoritos en la batalla del 19 de marzo,” a mysteriously powerful space rock wins the Battle of Azua, and future generations are confronted with a virtual record of the violence of the Dominican War of Independence. In “Juegodrox platónicos,” future Dominicans attempt to solve the mystery of disappearing children during the Trujillo era, while the dictator enlists science fiction writers and artists to fortify his larger-than-life persona. Examining Vlak’s challenging of Dominican history opens up the possibility of studying contemporary Caribbean science fiction’s relationship to the future and the past.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.26824/lalr.80
How to Cite: Ginsburg, S., 2019. Future Visions of Dominican History in Odilius Vlak’s Crónicas historiológicas. Latin American Literary Review, 46(91). DOI: http://doi.org/10.26824/lalr.80
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Published on 22 May 2019.
Peer Reviewed

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