Thursday, April 03, 2014

Chicanonautica: What the Hell is Chicanonautica?

by Ernest Hogan

¡Guao! I’ve been doing this Chicanonautica stuff for well over three years. About time I pondered just what I’m doing, and what the hell Chicanonautica is, anyway.

To quote the first Chicanonautica post

I feel like a calaca in a spacesuit here. Just what is this all about?

Some of you may have seen it in a brief premature manifestation -- but that was just me, as usual, stumbling into a new frontier like the slapstick comedian that I am at heart. “One small step for a Chicano --” BANG! CRASH! TINKLE! “I meant to do that . . .”

I had discussed things with Rudy Ch. Garcia, and had the idea to cover the intersection of Latino culture and science fiction/fantasy/the fantastic, and report on developing situations in my home state of Arizona, which has proved to be a constant source of inspiration.

Then I had this drawing (yeah, I’m also an artist, to complicate things) I called “Calacanaut” of a calavera in a space helmet tricked out like a hot rod. Seemed like a perfect icon/alter ego/public persona for this gig.

Chicanonautica seemed like good catch-all label for this free-form rasquache/mestizaje/recombocultural party.

I’ve always been a Chicanonaut, boldly going where my insatiable curiosity led me, even if the dominant society -- and sometimes, even my fellow Chicanos -- didn’t think it was my barrio. Folks keep setting up their borders, and I keep wandering across them, searching for more of my cosmic barrio. 

I can’t cross a border/frontier -- frontera, in Spanish means both border and frontier, in direct conflict with Americano Wild West mythology -- without bringing my identity, my skin color, my ancestry, with me. I had no idea that it would be such a big, fat, hairy chingada with Nueva York publishing gangs when I started out to be a writer.

But lately, things have been changing. The publishers who have been marketing sci-fi to nerds for the last few decades are discovering that not all nerds are white boys from the Midwest. Some adjustments need to be made. Suddenly, the imagination and the future are everybody’s intellectual property.

We are in an age of postcolonialsim and Afrofuturism. I’ve got a feeling that Chicanonautica will fit right in.

Besides, I’ve found  Chicanonautica to be a good strategy for navigating our transmorgrifying world. I recommend it to you writers and artists struggling in the brave new realities. Go forth, have adventures, report back.

Those reports will read like science fiction.

Ernest Hogan is a Chicanonaut and doesn’t care who knows it. BANG! CRASH! TINKLE!

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