Saturday, November 08, 2014

A taste of 3 Chicano spec stories

I'm sapped. By election results, doctors' ignorance about strange pains that I might go half-Stephen-Hawking about, and from not having gotten really drunk in over a month.

To meet a mental-lull that hit this week, below I include short, opening passages from three manuscripts. First I'll describe them so you can check whichever might interest you. Thet're teasers, intended to lure your into reading the entire tales, whenever they're published.

Previews of what's below:
#1: Sleeping Love - is set in Mexico's ancient times, when the people of Aztlan searched for the prophecy of the eagle, nopal and serpent. It begins with an elder proto-Azteca and some kids.
#2: Fatherly, Dragonly - is a cross-genre SF/F of so many elements, I can't list them. But it starts with a Diné water monster, then a Chicano shaman, then alien lizards, then….
#3: 5-Gashes Tumbling - is set in Aztlán. A castaway mexicano mestizo and Aztec indio find a First Peoples tribe who take them in, for a time. I call it an "experimental" roller-coaster of prose. If you read SW historical novels, try it.  [3/15 Update: to be published by WolfSinger Publications in a "weird western anthology!"]

What the children would create in Anahuac
#1: Sleeping Love
 In the ancient times on the Central Continent, the day seemed to be ending as usual. But this time, dozens of boys and girls suddenly sprinted far ahead of their tribe. They stopped at the mountaintop and shaded their eyes against the late afternoon sun. Their clothes made of animal skins let some of the cold through, but their run had warmed them. What they saw steamed them. Their faces lit up and they hopped around, screaming, "Grand Ta, Grand Ta, come look at it all!"
Grand Ta's chest felt like it glowed. It did that whenever young ones wanted to share their discoveries with Ancient Him. He touched his wrinkled cheeks and smiled to smooth them out, but they could never be smooth again. Removing his rabbit-hair cloak, he dropped it by his nagual. Though only he could see it, the mountain lion-spirit had always been with him.
As he reached the children, Grand Ta wondered, Have we finally found it? They let him through so they could show him. Gigantic ahuehuetl cypress trees held up the sky over an endless, deep-green valley filled with wonders. He was so amazed, he didn't hear every child.
"See, Ta, see?" He saw armadillos fleeing into the jungle. The children saw the hunter, a spotted ozelotl jaguar, and heard its grunt-coughs. Imitating those gave them the giggles.
"Look at them!" He saw red-green-blue-feathered parrots and quetzals splotching the rainforest. Youngsters instead saw dancing pieces of rainbow, which they playfully copied.
"Just listen to those!" Scores of ozomatli monkeys swung from branch to branch and chattered in funny tongues, making the children giggle louder. Grand Ta too caught the giggles.
He thought, This place is so bewitching, they could forget their heritage and the Ancestors. I will be remembered as a good teacher only if I use this moment to strengthen their minds and hearts. When they were almost out of wind, he signaled for them to gather where he was starting a sacred circle. Adults moved aside for the children and stayed back.
The young people sat and squeezed one another's hands. They hoped there would be time to play before night fell, but they could wait a bit longer. The tribe had traveled thousands of miles and years. Searching for a prophet's vision.
Grand Ta clapped once and everyone crossed arms. Quieting, they focused on him. "We reached here because our souls are strong. But where did we come from?" He perked his eyebrows and hoped they kept all the answers close to their hearts. We'll see how close.
A plump little girl rose and moved black bangs off her face. "Lost is our land, its name was--uh--is Aztlán."
It's good she corrected herself. He asked, "And did we change?"
"Yes, but we sing that we are still Aztecas!" Her friends grinned that she had done well.
Ta clasped his hands. "Why did we survive?"
An older girl stood up. "We hold our tribe tight to us." She grasped her shoulders, then the sides of her head. "We think our own thoughts!" Her face showed, Please ask me more.
Ta's knees shook from the hard climb. But resting must wait. "How do we treat others?"
"We harm no form of life or other tribe, except if we must," the girl said firmly.
Some black-haired monkeys howled and children fidgeted, yearning to go see. Remembering the Elder's teachings, they calmed themselves. [you also will have to fidget until this is in print]

Non-Diné image of Diné entity
#2: Fatherly, Dragonly
Tieholtsodi didn't always enjoy awakening in subterranean darkness; his grotto reminded him of the solitary eons during the First World, when only creatures walked the Earth.
"What, no children? They're always up and out earlier than their old dad." He imagined himself fossil-like, since his body required inspection for ageing decrepitude. Opening his three-foot-wide mouth, he flexed to limber up muscles anchored about his ovate head.
Drawing on spirit-power, he appealed to the super ascendants. "Blessed Holies, grant me more light." No answer. "As usual, they're as responsive as a sacred mountain." He shot out one of his five tentacles and nabbed a blue catfish busy chasing trout. Crunch, crunch!
Old as a mountain himself, Tieholtsodi was wise enough to know the Blessed Holies rarely responded. "What's the point of having goddesses who won't lift a finger to help?" And the next best idea for relieving the darkness--a shaman? "Like people on the reservation say, there's never a good one around when--"
Stretching tentacles made him feel younger. He'd been a great-looking, water dragon, at the onset of the Third World when humans appeared. "Now I'm like a fat octopus with squashed head and fewer tentacles. Oh, and how the amber skin fades." He scraped tiny pill clams latched to his hide, seeking a nest. "So much of me fades. If my Diné worshippers saw me now, they'd laugh their little red nalgas off."
Feeling into the dimness, he traced cavern walls. Not much had really changed in the millennia since he'd claimed the haven for his family. "They better return soon. Can't venture far and risk detection by men. Or alien beasts." .... [Soon coming to a mag or anthology in your area?]

#3: 5-Gashes Tumbling
What Chaneco tumbled down
Your Lordship, I attest that in Anno Domini 1599, Tomás Chaneco--unjustly conscripted out of the capitol of Méjico to become the expedition's cook--and I, as cook's helper, found ourselves lost and abandoned in the northern deserts of Nueva España. Since our skills were limited to shamanism and journalism, respectively, our leader, the Conquistador Don Juan de Oñate, promoted us to Lead Scouts the year in which we reached what that Oñate christened, Santa Fe de Nuevo México, which we peones quickly shortened to, Santa Fe.

The pendejo Oñate enjoyed naming things more than he relished charging windmills, unto the hinterlands, providing his men ample opportunities to, among other pastimes, infect native women with the pox, much as the otherwise useless priests also spread Catholicism.
Shaman that he was, Chaneco excelled at turning water into wine, and I, at turning wine into news, but our scouting skills lacked mucho, causing us to become separated from Oñate's rabble. "But, good riddance to bad basura," Chaneco said, to which I concurred, especially after menso Oñate had the feet cut off of every adult male in the Acoma Pueblo and enslaved its women for indecencies, which your Lordship knows of. At the last, from what we heard, Oñate galloped off in search of the Quivira city of gold the indios had made up to rid themselves of him. I admit I prayed he'd encounter los Apaches en Téjas....

# # #
In the last year and a half, I completed a YA alternate-world fantasy with two teen Chicano protagonists (boy and girl); a children's indigenous mexicano fantasy retell; one lengthy, SF/F mexicano-indigene-Chicano short story; a SF time-travel story into Denver's past; a short, mexicano-indigene fantasy; and a YA fantasy novella. They're all in agents' and editors' slush piles, their fates, to be determined. From this peak you've gotten, of course, let me know your opinions, suggestions or criticisms about any of them. Y gracias por eso.
Es todo, hoy,
RudyG, a.k.a. the Chicano spec author, Rudy Ch. Garcia, on his way to vote again, in case this week was simply a mirage



Aztlán is a land rich with the fantastic. We must write until people see it.

Mona AlvaradoFrazier said...

I enjoyed all three, with #3 the most interesting to me---I prefer historical fiction.

Anonymous said...

I greatly appreciate the reads by and comments from Mona, Sylvia Riojas, Daniel Acosta and others. Los debo.