I panicked for a moment. A story of mine was about to come out, soon, very soon, and I found a factual error. And it was too late to do anything about it.
I start my story Pancho Villa’s Flying Circus with Villa drinking tequila. The problem is, I had just found out that he didn’t drink.
It was only one line -- the first. I could easily change it in future editions . . .
Meanwhile, We See a Different Frontier: A Postcolonial Speculative Fiction Anthology is available. Buy it, read it, live it.
Then I remembered that Pancho Villa’s Flying Circus is an alternate universe spaghetti with a surreal, postcolonial agenda. The real Pancho Villa -- whose real name was José Doroteo Arango Arámbula -- never met Nikola Tesla, and didn’t have a death ray, or an airship. I had a wonderful time putting history through a wood-chipper. ¡Viva la deconstruction!
Hopefully, the readers will take it that way . . .
Yeah, some of them probably won’t, but I’ll worry about later.
Besides, I found out about Villa’s teeototalismo in a battered copy of Clifford Irving’s Tom Mix and Pancho Villa that I picked up in a used bookstore in Santa Fe. Irving is best known for his hoax biography of Howard Hughes. I wasn’t sure how realistic his rambunctious, entertaining book was.
My online fact-checking took me to a site that listed it among “Things you didn’t know about the Mexican Revolution’s most famous leader.” Why is this a little known fact? Why don’t we see public service spots with Pancho telling young people to just say no?
Or in his words: El alcohol mata a los pobres y la educación los salva.
I probably don’t have to wander far from my house to find a bar where saying that Villa didn’t drink would cause a riot.
He also didn’t discourage his soldiers from drinking, or smoking marijuana -- he’s credited with coining the word -- and the song La Cucaracha is said to be about a cannabis-indulging Villista.
The myth figure conflicts with history. Like a superhero, there were things Doroteo did in private that Pancho didn’t do in public. So, maybe I’ll be forgiven for making him into postcolonial Obie-Wan Kenobi inspiring an airship to cross the border and head for Hollywood.
It’s all mythoteching on a different frontier.
Ernest Hogan’s story Pancho Villa’s Flying Circus is in new anthology of postcolonial science fiction, We See a Different Frontier. His recombocultural novel High Aztech is available for Kindle and other devices from Smashwords.