One of the most exciting contemporary Latin American science fiction writers working today is also the lead singer of a heavy metal band, and he looks like a comic book superhero brought to life. Meet Yoss, author of A Planet for Rent (Se alquila un planeta), a dystopian adventure that depicts the future Earth as a vacation getaway for bored intergalactic tourists. On this planet, the entire human population labors in a warped tourism operation, compelling residents to prostitute themselves to wealthy aliens looking for an exotic fling. The story is something like the nightmarish inverse of space tourism: In Yoss' world, the aliens have decided to visit us.
As Yoss relates it: "I started to write A Planet for Rent in 1995, in the hardest part of the Special Period, the economic scarcity that happened in Cuba at the fall of the Soviet Union and real socialism. The first story, 'Social Worker,' which describes metaphorically the prostitution of Cubans with alien tourists, or 'jineterismo' as the Cubans call it, was the result of the clash between what the official press said and the necessities of surviving that I saw were pushing two generations of Cuban women to an activity that the revolutionary rhetoric always considered degenerate and improper for socialism. When I finished this first story, I wrote out of rage, frustration, and the need to talk about things that the press and the governmental discourse were quiet about."
An acerbic portrait of life in contemporary Cuba, A Planet for Rent is also a nonstop thriller from the island's most talented and original enfant terrible. In celebration of our new English translation and first digital release of the book in Spanish, peruse our photo gallery and take a tour of Cuba with Yoss, the new king of the Cuban SF underworld.