There's a lot of Chicano authors in the detective and mystery genres (and others). Maybe Ramos or somebody already adequately explained why, or will, one day.
I want to focus on spec lit (speculative--which includes, fantasy, horror, sci-fi, etc.) that's got Chicano characters in it, was written by a Chicano or somehow mixes us with these genres. I like such literature; I try to write it; I grew up reading it.
One of my grandfathers was a newspaper guy who published his own until he was run out of Mexico by a politically sensitive sheriff brandishing una pistola. That's the huevón side of my family. My other mexicano grandfather was said to have been a linguist-intellectual who spoke eight languages. Who knows? After the families crossed the border, the literacy level went down for a time, much was lost; my dad only spoke two languages, read sci-fi, back in the fifties.
He was from the cabrón side of my family. Typical aloof macho, child and wife beater, a frustrated electrician who let alcohol bring him down from the heights of aerospace electronics, back when the only time you saw any other mescan in the jet plane hangar was if he had a mop in his hand. Maybe my dad couldn't handle his success; that's why he drank. I've been there.
Anyway, he always read at night, mags and paperbacks, always sci-fi. One night before his fall from the Garden of Success, we all climbed into bed with him and he read us a short story. I think it was called "The Rag Thing," about una gara that'd fallen behind a stove, collected grease and dust and somehow came alive, grew monstrous and went into town to eat the whole thing and everybody in it.
Problem is, my dad didn't finish the story, never read to us again, that I remember. Me and my sibs had gotten into the story, so I wound up finishing it for them.
He's dead now, the cabrón, but my love of spec lit lives.
Not in memory of him--'cause I hate his memory--but just because I don't see anybody else doing it, I'm going to sorta review what I call Spick Spec Lit. I say sorta, 'cause I ain't no reviewer, I don't do it well, and I'm not interested in reviewing. But I do want to concentrate on how Chicanos are portrayed in these genres. When I write about a piece done by a Chicano, yes, there will be more of what might be considered a review.
Unlike mystery and detective novels, there don't seem to be many Chicanos writing fantasy, sci-fi or horror. I don't know why.
I won't attempt some cheesy explanation that we don't write fantasy 'cause our culture is regularly so filled with fantasy--la Llorona, cuanderas and the kind of giant cockroaches that only grow in the barrio--altho it is. I won't say we avoid sci-fi 'cause we have so few who make it to college to even become scientists to be equipped to write it, altho that too is true. Nor will I venture that poverty, repression and discrimination give us enuf everyday horror that writing such fiction would be like adding tabasco to our habañero sauce.
Anyway, I think Spick Spec Lit is an under-reported area, and I'm going to hit it, in my own irreverent, sometimes too-frank of a way. I'll ask my contributor colleagues to help keep me in line.
My previous article "A Light Case of Cultural Appropriation", about a sci-fi novel, was my first contribution.
If anyone out there, all six or seven of you, has any suggestions about writers, books I should cover, let me know. Also, if anyone hears of short stories, etc. that I might not know of, do let me know, even about out-of-print ones.
NB: Science fiction writers hate the label sci-fi, but if I use SF, many readers won't recognize it, and science fiction is 9 unnecessary letters too long. So, tough it up, por favor.