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Lenin Paladines: Science Fiction from Ecuador

With his blog [es] about science fiction, the young writer from Loja, Lenin Paladines, keeps his passion for writing alive while working to promote reading among young people.

When he was 19 Lenin won the Ángel Felicísimo Rojas novel prize, awarded by the House of Ecuadorian Culture [es] in 2010, for his only novel that had been published at that time: El Diario de Lorenzo (Lorenzo's Diary). Lenin, a student of Social Communication at the Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja [es] and a Law student at the Universidad Nacional de Loja [es], has other works that still have not been published.

We talked to Lenin about his life, his experience as a writer and his blog.

Lenin Paladines dialogando con global voices

Lenin Paladines talking to Global Voices. Photo by Gina Yauri.

Global Voices: What was your childhood like?

Lenin Paladines: Mi mamá trabaja en una biblioteca. Ella siempre me llevaba allá. No me gustaba jugar con niños de mi edad sino encerrarme con los libros. Toda la vida he vivido rodeado de libros; desde ahí nace la cuestión de escribir.

Lenin Paladines: My mom worked at a library. She would always bring me there. I didn't like to play with the kids my age, I preferred to close myself in with the books. I've lived my whole life surrounded by books; that's where writing comes from.

GV: What is writing for you?

LP: Es una forma de expresar lo que puedes, porque el problema de la mayor parte de las personas es no tener los medios para poderlo hacer, aprovechando la manera de contarles a los demás lo que uno tiene por dentro.

LP: It is a way of expressing what you can, because the problem that the majority of people have is not having a way to do that; it is making the most of the method to tell everyone else what you have inside.

GV: Do you choose the characters or do they choose you?

LP: Uno tiene una idea, pero las cosas o los personajes van apareciendo a medida que se va trabajando, sin que se lo haya planificado la mayor parte del tiempo.

LP: You have an idea, but the things or the characters appear while you are working, without it being planned most of the time.

GV: Is the work of a writer never-ending?

LP: No es tanto que te dedicas a escribir, sino es ponerse a leer. Desde el punto de vista del lector nunca se va a terminar de leer. Sí, es interminable.

LP: It is not so much that you focus on writing, but that you spend time reading. From the point of view of a reader, you will never stop reading. Yes, it is never-ending.

GV: What do you read?

LP: Novelas de ficción de Julio Verne. Ahora estoy leyendo bastante Lovecraft y Stephen King.

LP: Fiction novels by Jules Verne. Right now I'm reading a lot of Lovecraft and Stephen King.

GV: Is each book an adventure for you?

LP: Sí, cada libro te permite conocer lugares que nunca imaginaste y te permite sentir de alguna manera lo que ese escritor quiso dejarte en especial.

LP: Yes, each book allows you to learn about places that you never imagined and it allows you to feel in some way what that writer wanted to leave especially for you.

GV: What has been the most gratifying experience that you have had as a writer?

LP: El poder incentivar la lectura en mis amigos y que estos me digan que les ha servido de algo.

LP: Being able to encourage reading among my friends and that they tell me that it was worth it to them in some way.

GV: People are reading printed material less and less due to the innovation of new technology. What do you think about this?

LV: No es culpa de la tecnología. Es cierto que la gente no lee, pero para incentivar a la lectura es necesario hacer buen uso de la misma, buscar la manera atractiva de la tecnología para que las personas lean. Una forma es el hipertexto que se complementa con información extra a la lectura.

LV: It is not technology's fault. It is true that people don't read, but to encourage reading we have to make good use of it, we must find the attractive technological way so that people read. One way is hypertext that complements the reading with extra information.

GV: What do you think is happening in Latin America as far as reading is concerned?

LP: Ecuador está mucho más atrás en comparación con otros países. En Guayaquil y en Quito hay clubes de lectura, en otros países son mucho más común. Es importante que las personas se den cuenta que leer es importante para poder avanzar.

LP: Ecuador is far behind compared to other countries. In Guayaquil and in Quito there are reading clubs; in other countries they are much more common. It is important for people to realize that reading is important to be able to move forward.

GV: What would your advice be for promoting the culture of reading?

LP: Tarde o temprano se darán cuenta que es necesario leer. Y otro es que los profesores deberían incentivar con el ejemplo en el ámbito de la lectura; necesitan forman profesionales integralmente completos, no sólo teóricos o formación técnica, que les permitan desarrollar otro tipo de competencias.

LP: Sooner or later they will realize that reading is necessary. And another thing is that professors should lead by example in the area of reading; they need to produce professionals that are well-rounded, not just with theories or technical training, they should allow them to develop other types of abilities.

Lenin keeps up his blog Este lugar… Donde el horizonte no es más que el principio de esa dimensión que nunca encontramos (This place… Where the horizon is no more than the beginning of that dimension that we never find) [es], where he writes about science fiction, which is what he is most passionate about. He also reads and follows other blogs, like Tejiendo el mundo [es], Raguniano el blog para el libre pensamiento [es], El Blog de Laura [es] y Fumamos de gorra, y no por necesidad [es].

GV: Why did you decide to write a blog?

LP: Escribo regularmente columnas para un periódico de la ciudad, pero lamentablemente los periódicos tienen esquemas demasiado cuadrados y restringidos que no te permiten ir más allá, como por ejemplo escribir narrativa dentro de las columnas de opinión. Eso sumado a los problemas de límites en cuanto a la extensión de la escritura y sobre todo a la posibilidad de que más gente me lea me hizo decidirme a abrir un blog.

LP: I regularly write columns for a newspaper in the city, but unfortunately newspapers have guidelines that are too square and restricting and don't allow you to go further, like for example writing a narrative in the opinion columns. That, added to the problems of limits on how long the piece can be, and above all the possibility that more people would read me, made me decide to start a blog.

GV: How has having a blog helped you?

LP: Me ha ayudado en el sentido de aprender la responsabilidad de tener un blog. Actualmente cualquiera podría tener uno y escribir sobre lo que se le dé la gana sin ningún problema o filtro editorial, para eso es Internet. Pero la responsabilidad que tú tienes al estar tu nombre expuesto a que cualquiera lo revise y cualquiera critique tu trabajo hace que te fijes más en pequeños detalles y realices mejor tu trabajo.

LP: It has helped me in the sense that I have learned the responsibility of having a blog. These days anyone can have one and write about whatever he or she wants with no trouble and no editorial filter – that is what the Internet is for. But the responsibility that you have with your name on it, so that anyone can look at it and criticize your work, makes you focus more on small details and do a better job.

GV: What are the long-term objectives for your blog?

LP: Mantenerme escribiendo sobre todo, porque si uno no escribe se olvida de cómo hacerlo, y promover el hábito de la lectura entre los jóvenes.

LP: Above all that I keep writing, because if you don't write you forget how to do it, and encouraging the habit of reading among young people.

GV: What would you say to the readers that still haven't heard of you so that they decide to read your blog?

LP: Que en el blog podrán encontrar literatura joven interesante, original, que busca utilizar las bondades de las nuevas tecnologías para mejorar los niveles de lectura en los chicos.

LP: That in the blog they can find young, interesting and original literature that tries to use the good things about new technology to improve the reading levels of young people.

Close to finishing his two university degrees, Lenin is a little more on track for working in education.

You can follow him on Twitter: @lvpaladines

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