10 April 09 | Chad W. Post

Although he’s considered to be the first Peruvian science fiction writer, there’s precious little information about Clemente Palma available in English. That said, what is out there is extremely intriguing . . . and seems almost made up. Or like he’s an entry from Bolano’s Nazi Literature in the Americas . . .

One of Palma’s short story collections was translated into English, but it’s his “sci-fi masterpiece” XYZ that really sounds interesting. From the little I could find online — mainly from this academic bookXYZ is about a guy who clones miniature versions of famous movie stars, which then melt after four months. He moves to a strange, remote island to perfect his cloning process (so the movies stars are full-size), and falls in love with the clone of Jeannette MacDonald. Their romance is interrupted when a mysterious yacht loaded with machine guns shows up and tries to invade the workshop. Turns out that MGM caught wind of the island and wanted to cash in on these cloned movie stars. Apparently the book ends with the clones meeting their real-life counterparts (and then melting) and the mad scientist killing himself after denouncing the movie studio for fucking with his experiment.

This could be total shlock, but it also sounds kind of fun in an unhinged sort of way . . . At another site (which also makes the Bolano connection) I found a bit about how Palma has been accused of being a racist, in part for XYZ, but also for his story “La ultima rubia” which “is set in a future in which all races have blended (and speak Esperanto,) and the protagonist sets on an insane quest to find a blonde woman so that he can make gold.”

Seems like the perfect sort of book to pop up on Lost . . . Is anyone reading this familiar with Palma?


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