Thursday, September 15, 2011

Chicanonautica: The Xuanito Syndrome

by Ernest Hogan

Not satisfied with the turmoil caused by his publication of “Doctora Xilbabla’s Datura Enema,” Rudy Rucker has chosen to include another story of mine in Issue #12, Fall-Winter, 2011 of Flurb: A Webzine of Astonishing Tales.

That’s right, it’s a webzine, available online, for free, to any unsuspecting soul with net access. With one click, you could find yourself reading a new collaboration between Rudy and Paul Di Filippo, and new stories by Bruce Sterling, John Shirley, and other talented folks. There’s also an assault on civilized sensibilities by me, called, “Xuanito.”

Just a name for a title, in the tradition of Frankenstein, Dracula, and Godzilla.

“Xuanito” is a tribute to a major influence on my work (and my personality) -- the monster movie. I grew up watching them on shows like L.A.'s KHJ-TV, Channel 9’s Strange Tales of Science Fiction. They weren’t just products out of Hollywood. Monster movies came from Japan, Mexico, the Philippines, Denmark, Italy, even England. Monsters shaped my world.

At first I has horrified by the genre, but I found it irresistible. I went from having nightmares about monsters coming after me to fantasizing about being one of the heroic guys who killed the monsters. Then, things took a weird turn -- at some point I started to identify with the monsters.

I’m not sure when this happened. It may have had something to do with hormones kicking in. It was also the Sixties . . .

Rudy noticed what he calls transreal stuff about the way young Latinos get treated in “Xuanito.” That was what I intended. I have noticed that often, when I’m minding my own business, pursuing my interests and curiosities, the prevailing society reacts as if I was one of the rubber-suit creatures from my favorite movies. Fair-skinned, English-speakers have reacted with terror and looked like they were about to call for uniformed back-up when I just was out looking for a job or something. Luckily, I developed an attitude and a sense of humor that defuses the situation before excessive force is authorized.

This has caused me to realize that the Chicano Taking On The World is a recurring theme with me. Cortez on Jupiter is a portrait of an artist as a young monster. High Aztech reanimated Aztec culture and turned it loose on an unsuspecting world. Smoking Mirror Blues has a barrio mad scientist making himself into Tezcatlipoca. And here, in my last Chicanonautica, I refered to myself as a Frankenstein monster.

Yeah, I’m working on those ebooks . . .

And I’m thinking about the Chicano as a Menace to Society and an Information Age Monster. There are probably more stories lurking in that syndrome.

Ernest Hogan’s story “Guerrilla Mural of a Siren’s Song,” can now be pre-ordered in the anthology Alien Contact by Marty Halpern.

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