Álvaro Menen Desleal's Speculative Planetary Imagination

Carolyn Fornoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Science fiction has long held a marginalized status within the Latin American literary canon. This is due to myriad assumptions: its supposed inferior quality, sensationalist content, and disconnect from socio-historical reality. In this article, I argue for the recuperation of Salvadoran author Álvaro Menen Desleal as a foundational writer of Central American speculative fiction. I explore why Menen Desleal turns to sci-fi-abstracting his fictive worlds to far-off futures or other planets-at a moment when the writing of contemporaries of the Committed Generation was increasingly politicized and realist. I argue that Menen Desleal's speculative planetary imagination toggles between scaling up localized concerns and evading them altogether to play with "universal" categories. By thinking with the categories of the human or the planet from an ex-centric position, Menen Desleal playfully appropriates generic convention, only to disrupt it from within.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-66
Number of pages24
JournalRevista Canadiense de Estudios Hispanicos
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2021


  • Cold War
  • El Salvador
  • nuclear war
  • planetary cosmopolitanism
  • speculative fiction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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