Ay, ay, ay, ay, ay! Would you look at what’s going on in the world? Upheaval in the Mideast, tensions at the Border next door, mass shootings, riots . . . Reminds me of my novel High Aztech:
Just as we turned the corner down a street where the crowd thinned, the whine of the helicopter’s guns spitting out nerve jelly rounds cut through everything. Gelatin shells burst, splattering what looked like green blood that soon looked like it was oozing out of everything: people, the pavement, buildings, cars. Soon all the people who were hit by the nerve jelly were twitching, falling down and going into convulsions.
A barefoot beggarwoman foamed at the mouth as her baby cried beside her.
Patioynene pulled me through the weed-jungle in the form of a boarded up huehue American Dream-style tract home. When we came to the rotting gate, I kicked it down without thinking. We hid in the patio while nerve jelly splashed into the drained swimming pool, threatening to fill it.
I don’t try to predict the future when I write science fiction -- still, people keep telling me that the world is getting to be like my stories. I’ve always been more interested in science fiction as a confrontation with changing reality rather than escapism. And as a Chicano, I’m plugged into cultural influences that most science fiction writers don’t have access to.
Looking back, I shouldn’t have been able to publish High Aztech. It was another case of me stumbling into the right place at the right time so I could get away with something outrageous. Ben Bova trusted me, and let me go wild. Others at Tor did their best to sabotage the book. Despite it all, it has become a cult novel.
As a child of the Sixties, I’m obsessed with riots. A riot can happen, and suddenly who you are and your place in society can change. I watch them like a spectator sport. Like my character Victor Theremin, I scan the Web for video of riots around the world. Lately, there’ve been too many to keep up with. I’m experiencing overload.
I find myself looking for more civilized amusements -- like bullfighting.
High Aztech would be selling like hotcakes if it was in print. But it is not.
I believe that one reason Tor quashed it and tossed me out is that High Aztech wasn't the sort of corporate-controlled genre fiction that publishers and the BigBox chain bookstores had decided was the fast track to big bucks. Lately, that stuff is just sitting there gathering dust in the BigBoxes. Publishers and bookstore chains are imploding. New technology is bringing about catastrophic change. A Sputnik Moment, if you will.
I should really get to work and make High Aztech available as an ebook.
Or as I wrote in High Aztech:
The first two Kalis fired nerve jelly rounds at the crowd. There was some panic and fighting, but the party went on.
I wonder how many revolutions we can have on this planet at the same time?
Ernest Hogan is the author of High Aztech and is solely responsible for its content.