by Ernest Hogan
Federico Schaffler, former president of the Asociación Mexicana de Ciencia Ficción y Fantasia (1992-1995), and publisher/editor of Umbrales: literatura fantástica de México (1992-2000), ‘uno de los más importantes exponentes y promotores de la cienceia ficción en México’ who was, in 2011, designated Emeritus Creator of the State of Tamaulipas, Mexico due to his writing and editorial work for over 28 years, was going to be in Tempe, Arizona for an international conference on Realizing the Economic Strength of Our 21st Century Border. He also wanted be meet me in person.
We have known each other through correspondence, since before email. He reviewed my novel High Aztech in Umbrales, and has a copy of Cortez on Jupiter that I had autographed and sent him in 1994. After we got back in touch through Facebook, I promised that I would collaborate on a story with him.
The problem was that the conference would demand most of his time, leaving a small window for us to do lunch between his plane touching down and my shift wrangling books at the library. I decided to make a full day of it and do it.
The airport was sci-fi and dystopian as usual: “THE ESCALATOR IS ENDING! PLEASE! WATCH YOUR STEP!” But I suppose it has to be.
While driving him to his hotel he told me of a cyberpunkish graffiti story that he’s working on, and we got to brainstorming about a sequel to Cortez on Jupiter. He actually gave me viable idea. People have been asking about another Pablo Cortez book for years, but I kept drawing a blank on it. Now . . . it was a possibility.
Of course, this distracted me enough to get us lost. Luckily, he had a GPS on his phone, and we found his hotel. Technology saved the day for two science fiction writers.
In the hotel’s lobby restaurant, a prominent local Latina politician was having a meeting with a group of well-dressed, Latin Amercian-looking young people as we sat down and started throwing around ideas for the story we’re going to collaborate on.
I suggested the Border as a general theme. He was interested in all these weird political things he’s heard about Arizona. I told him about the Tucson book ban, and the Librotraficantes. We speculated about cybercensorship and computer translation . . . Federico is quite a brainstormer, which is something I like in a collaborator.
Just as I finished my tortilla soup, it was time for me to rush out to the freeway. I made it to the library on time. And ideas about Arizona in the future kept percolating in my head.
I’m going to end up with way too much material than will fit in one story, but I’ve got a feeling that it’ll all come in handy in the encroaching future.
Ernest Hogan is struggling to release ebooks of his novels Smoking Mirror Blues and High Aztech before the end of 2012. He’s also writing a science fiction bullfighting novel. And short stories keep popping up, hijacking his brain. Meanwhile, Cortez on Jupiter is available.