SciFi BLAST-OFF 2023

Read some stories with us!

Wednesday, January 25, 6:00-7:00 PM  

Reconnect with other Lobos and science fiction fans! The library will host a group book discussion of A Planet for Rent by Yoss. In this collection of science-fiction short stories all set on the same version of Earth (colonized by aliens in the not-too-distant future), the acclaimed Cuban author uses interconnected narratives of various characters to critique both life under Castro as well as encroaching neoliberalism. The vignettes have a wacky, sarcastic tone even as they explore themes such as exploitation, immigration, and political corruption. We’re excited to hear your thoughts about it! Join us in the Herzstein Latin American Reading Room on the second floor of Zimmerman Library.

You can check out the digital version of the book in the library's catalog.

Good news, everyone! If you don't have time to read the whole book, the short story format allows us to focus our conversation on selected chapters of the work. If you can only read just one story, you're still welcome! Here are the chapters we suggest:

  • "Social Worker" (Content note: brief mention of rape)
  • "The Champions"
  • "The Rules of the Game"
  • "Escape Tunnel" 

Pre-registration with a UNM email address is strongly encourage to reserve your space.  


About the Author

Born José Miguel Sánchez Gómez, Yoss assumed his pen name in 1988, when he won the Premio David Award in the science fiction category for Timshel. He is considered to be the most significant contemporary fantasy writer from Cuba. His work has been awarded numerous prizes, both in Cuba and abroad, and has appeared in various national and international anthologies. To date, he has published over thirty books in Cuba and around the world, and his work has been translated into English, French, Italian, Polish, and Japanese. Yoss holds a degree in biology from the University of Havana. He has been a participant in the Oscar Hurtado, Julio Verne, and El Negro Hueco fantasy and science fiction workshops, and he founded the Espiral and Espacio Abierto workshops.  

Source: author's bio on Goodreads and Words Without Borders

Book Reviews

Check out these critics' reviews of A Planet for Rent


"Yoss has written a work of science fiction that speaks to fundamental problems humans deal with every day. This is not just a story about alien oppression; it’s the story of our own planet’s history and a call for change."

-- Speculative Fiction in Translation

"... the human characters' palpable desperation and the impossibility of their circumstances become increasingly moving, and some stories, such as the blistering "Performing Death" and its protagonist's excruciating, literally suicidal performance art, provide a wrenching depiction of the corrosive effects of prejudice and colonialism."

-- Publishers Weekly

"The themes might be heavy, but the book itself is fun. It’s full of jokes, surreal asides, funny sex, and a kind of refreshingly sophomoric attitude towards tragedy that keeps the book from being too pedantic. Yoss’ sense of humor is like a spoonful of sugar to help down his pessimism..."

-- Asymptote Journal

Book Selection