The reception of science fiction and horror story anthologies in the last years of Francoist Spain

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An official system of censorship was established during Franco’s dictatorship in Spain in order to control the cultural sphere in the country for the duration of the political regime. In the seventies, the publishing market consisted mainly of mass literature, and the translation of anthologies of science fiction narratives and horror stories from North America was an important part of this process. These stories originated as pulps, published with titles such as Weird Tales or Terror Tales, and it is a difficult task today to trace the English versions from which they were translated, mainly due to the fact that different tales by different authors are included in these magazines. The anthologies had to follow the same control procedures as other narrative material and were closely scrutinised regarding aspects such as sexual morals and language, two of the most controversial issues during the time of the dictatorship. Some of them encountered problems because of their depiction of sexually charged scenes or immoral attitudes. This article offers a brief depiction of the kind of anthologized material translated at the time, together with an examination of some of these files, with a descriptive aim in mind. Whether they were censored or authorised or not, the main objective of the publishers of these kinds of anthologies was achieved since, thanks to them, both genres became well known in the country and encouraged Spanish writers to engage in the production of similar material, in a process of pseudotranslation that confirms their importance in the recipient culture.


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