Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Bioy Casares, Adolfo

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(1914-1999) Argentine writer, noted from his first book, Prólogo ["Prologue"] (1929) – which he later disavowed – for an adventurous Surrealism and for a fascination (which he shared with his older contemporary and frequent collaborator Jorge Luis Borges) with various forms of popular literature, in particular the sf and detective models. Through these models both authors were able to counter, though in a manner profoundly parodic, their profound sense that the Labyrinth of the world is a Bondage from which there is no ultimate escape. Under the shared pseudonym H Bustos Domecq they published in Seis problemas para Don Isidro Parodi (coll 1942; trans Norman Thomas di Giovanni as Six Problems for Don Isidro Parodi 1981 US) a set of witty but sad detections. ABC has always been more interested than Borges in riding sf in this fashion. La invención de Morel (1940; trans Ruth I C Simms in The Invention of Morel and Other Stories coll 1964 US) mocks sf more than fantasy in its recounting of a successful search for Immortality; it was filmed as L'Invenzione di Morel (1974 Italy). Dormir al sol (1973; trans Suzanne Jill Levine as Asleep in the Sun 1978 US), comically hyperbolic sf, suggests that psychosurgery and totalitarianism are natural twins.

In the fantasy El sueño del los héroes (1954; trans Diana Thorold as The Dream of the Heroes 1987 US) a workman's life is saved by a mysterious figure who resembles the charismatic soul-fathers who appear so frequently in the literature of Latin America, though ABC treats this material with deconstructive wryness. Many early short stories, often utilizing fantasy motifs, were assembled as Selected Stories (coll trans Suzanne Jill Levine 1994 US), based in part on Guirnalda con amores ["Garland of Loves"] (coll 1959) and in part on more recent work. Una muñeca rusa (coll 1991 Spain; trans Suzanne Jill Levine as A Russian Doll and Other Stories 1992 US) assembles later material.

With his wife Silvina Ocampo (1903-1993) and Borges, ABC edited a seminal anthology of the literature of the Fantastic: Antología de la Literatura Fantástica (anth 1940; rev 1976; rev ed trans as The Book of Fantasy 1976 US). It contains little full fantasy, but its huge range of tales demonstrates the enormousness and centrality of the fantastic in world literatures other than English (> Anthologies). [JC]

Adolfo Bioy Casares


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.