Carmen Rosa Signes Urrea and Ricardo Acevedo Esplugas
“Revista Digital miNatura” (miNatura Digital Magazine ) is dedicated to the fantastika micro-story genre, already reaching more than 130 issues.
It has also an English language version for several issues.
“Revista Digital miNatura” developed another projects like the biannual magazine “Tiempos Oscuros” (Dark Times) and a micro-story contest. (at the end of the interview I’ve inserted the last issues’ links).
I’m discussing with the miNatura editors Carmen Rosa Signes Urrea and Ricardo Acevedo Esplugas.
Ricardo Manzanaro : How and why were you encouraged to develop miNatura ?
Ricardo Acevedo Esplugas : Fantastika’s publishing in Cuba is a very scattered story, with long periods of silence and without any state support (except Nova in the 80´s).
After several publication attemps of other magazines and bulletins, I decided to try the micro-story, perhaps because its inexpensive resources, and miNatura emerged at January 1999 (as a product of famed Cuban Special Period), letter format and printed on both sides, and distributed among national fandom. In 2001 we offered to the Cuban writers the chance to release their works at literary cybernetic café, located in “Palacio del Segundo Cabo” (1770), Havana and from that year I began to collaborate uninterrupted with Carmen Rosa Signes Urrea.
Carmen Rosa Signes Urrea : I knew Ricardo via the magazine. I was taking part in a fanzine called “Soterránia, cuadernos de literatura” – a magazine that collected works in Spanish and Valencian languages from my city (Castellon de la Plana) -, that, twist of fate, came up to Cuba. By chance the magazine finished in his hands. Ricardo contacted with me via the magazine email, and from that moment a two-way team-work began that resulted in a increasing agreement, until 2006, when Ricardo changed his address to Spain, and we definitively strengthen miNatura ties, for ourmutual joy.
Ricardo Manzanaro : The miNatura magazine’s basic ToC is alternating some micro-stories, related to a biopic, with famous novels fragments. Why did you choose this outline?
Ricardo Acevedo Esplugas : The thematic magazine idea already emerged in Cuba with sporadic issues, “Madness” or “Bestiary” for example, and wasn’t until 2006, the year in which I began living in Spain, that the idea of challenges emerged to our collaborators, with more newfangled topics. We add celebrated novels fragments to rediscover their work, and as guidelines for new generations writers.
Carmen Rosa Signes Urrea: Even though Ricardo consults me about design and contents decisions, I always have been in agreement with the outline that the magazine was taking. Perhaps, the reason for miNatura current outline is related with easiness because both we live in Spain, and due to the 24 hours a day internet connection that allows contacts with collaborators, and, specially, reaching more destinataries.
Ricardo Manzanaro : The miNatura magazine’s main thing are the micro-stories. Why do you prefer them?
Ricardo Acevedo Esplugas : I’m a great stories reader. I deify, as Cortazar said, their “esfericity” and their storytelling way, above all, but without writer skill scaping. In Latin America there is a micro-story great tradition. Thence to fall under it’s charm was a small step.
Carmen Rosa Signes Urrea: It’s a genre we both developed. Its priceless possibilities offers facing the increasingly faster world; the chance to enjoy a full story in only 25 lines; the facility to plunge into a fictional world due to writers who continually surprise us with their inventiveness. Micro-story is a genre which everybody who wants to be a writer should practice.
Ricardo Manzanaro : How many micro-stories do you receive for every issue ? And how many are finally published?
Ricardo Acevedo Esplugas : Depending of the topic of the issue, we receive 80-100 texts, finally publishing about 60. The most difficult task of an editor is rejecting stories.
Carmen Rosa Signes Urrea : About one hundred, because it oscillates depending on the arduousness of the proposal. Keep in mind that most of our collaborators write the story as an exercise. That is something we are proud. The rejected stories, whose number depends on quality of them, range between 20 and 30.
Ricardo Manzanaro : Which is miNatura issues download averages ?
Ricardo Acevedo Esplugas : I think my wife Carmen Rosa (the soul of the project) has a fuller answer about this.
Carmen Rosa Signes Urrea : We don’t have data allowing us to certainly know it. Perhaps the publishing and download model that we’re using isn’t the ideal way for this task. We know only the number of visits generated for each published miNatura issue but as links are distributed between the same collaborators, is difficult to know, for sure, magazine real scope, further it’s distributed from three different blogs, pertaining to miNatura (http://www.servercronos.net/bloglgc/index.php/minatura/ , http://minaturasoterrania-monelle.blogspot.com.es/ , http://bibliotecadelnostromominatura.blogspot.com.es/), email, our open Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/126601580699605/), Twitter (@RevistamiNatura), and by word of mouth.
Ricardo Manzanaro : You have been including new headlands like interviews, comics,…
Ricardo Acevedo Esplugas : miNatura magazine was originated as a bulletin. As writers’ number was growing, and having internet access in 2002, some new requirements were born and required a new section. Thereby Evandro Rubert keep on with a humorous comic, and Cristina Jurado with her interviews. We have added reports, book reviews and topic related blogs. That is, I promise not to add readers letters section (laughs).
Carmen Rosa Signes Urrea : The miNatura Magazine didn’t stop growing in different ways, and that´s why we were encouraged to offer to our readers something more, that always is little, we know it. We are committed to reach to sites with limited internet access as it is in Cuba, the miNatura place of origin. Collaborators comprise the contributions of Cristina Jurado’s interviews or Evandro Rupert’s cartoons, supplementary materials related topics and the section called “Biblioteca de Nostromo” (The Nostromo Library) that is an attempt to see the literature around us. All these are a consistent pillar which give more strength to miNatura.
Ricardo Manzanaro : For several issues, miNatura presents an english language version, too. Why did you launched it ? How many downloads of this version do you register?
Ricardo Acevedo Esplugas : Revista Digital miNatura is used in some small Northamerican and Israeli universities for teaching the spanish language to their students, so some teachers asked me to take the step, which I think logical, to launch an English language version. We reach everywhere where there are Spanish language speakers (at a very modest level, of course) and because of we receive illustrators works from different countries (Japan, Australia, China, France, Russia, slavic countries or Korea, to name some several), we decided to use English language as lingua franca, and as a way to reach a bigger audience and to introduce our writers.
Carmen Rosa Signes Urrea : Why we did it is easy. A moment came when the magazine and our readers were asking for it. Its expansion and the invaluable opportunity to fulfill the promise to those writers which entrust their works to us (beyond our frontiers), was that encouraged us. The Fantastika genre, science-fiction, fantasy and horror seems to be an exclusivity of the english-speaking world. Why don’t we prove the opposite ? There are some Spanish writers which surpass the anglo-saxon average due tot their literary quality. Therefore, expressing ourselves in the creative art in the language of those considered as “leaders”, is giving us the opportunity to say loudly that we are here.
Ricardo Manzanaro : There´s another miNatura initiative, “Tiempos Oscuros” !
Ricardo Acevedo Esplugas : “Tiempos Oscuros” has dedicated Cuban and Argentian issues, and now we are working on a Spain dossier. It’s a project we were preparing from long time ago, a non-profit fantastika magazine fantastic devoted to the genre, aiming to show the best fantastika in spanish language.
Carmen Rosa Signes Urrea : “Tiempos Oscuros” is a project by itself, independent from miNatura, although it’s shares the same literary genre with it’s eldest sister. But the fact that it’s dedicated to the ten pages stories, that makes the difference. Since it´s first issue (sedicated to Cuba), then the second (Argentina), “Tiempos Oscuros”, although it seems hasty to assert it, has strengthen. As proof, in the third issue, that will be out in July, dedicated to Spain’s fantastika , we are ready to proclaim that it will include not only novel writers, but also the cream of Iberian Peninsula fantastika’s scene. Also we’ll have great international illustrators that will give colour and life to the texts.
Ricardo Manzanaro : What about future projects or improvements ?
Ricardo Acevedo Esplugas : We are thinking about a Tiempos Oscuros issue on comics and illustration… and for the time being that is a game but…short films ! (laughs)
Carmen Rosa Signes Urrea : Our magazine is always on the move, although we are firm in design and contest matters that it may seem, view by some, archaic. Our projects scatter between every generated from cultural association we have created as a more formal support to the project, and that nowadays it occupy our lives. It’s one of the drawback (in this case advantage) of being unemployed..
Ricardo Manzanaro : If you want to add something more…
Ricardo Acevedo Esplugas : We wish that some time some institutional support will be available – and I don’t mean the financial part – but creative process involvement, encouraging the reading and developing creative writing workshops (summer courses) in schools.
Carmen Rosa Signes Urrea : Yes, I must mention the fantastic micro-stories and poetry contests. We´ve just finished our6th edition of poetry contest, and, I must say from 2005, our micro-story contest is international. It is a constant source of writers, and we want to encourage it more, because the number of contestants decline.
The 2014 XII miNatura International Fantastic Micro-story Contest is underway
(you can read the rules at http://www.servercronos.net/bloglgc/index.php/minatura/2014/05/14/bases-del-xii-certamen-internacional-de–2014). And somthing new that we’re “cooking”, referres to a Short stories literary contest (with money endowment) as it couldn’t be otherwise, related to fantastic genre. We continue the reporting.
© Ricardo Manzanaro
miNatura English language version issues :
Nº 131 Bradbury’s Universe : http://www.servercronos.net/bloglgc/media/blogs/minatura/pdf/RevistaDigitalmiNatura131_eng.pdf
Ricardo Manzanaro Arana, a medical doctor and an university professor, is the President of the TerBi Asociación Vasca de CF Fantasía y Terror (TerBi Basque Association of Fantasy & Horror) from Bilbao, Spain.
Ricardo has published over forty stories in various media and he’s a contributor to EUROPA SF and Amazing Stories.