by Ernest Hogan
“I don't pretend at highbrow Latino literature. I write violent dystopian sci-fi for a readership wanting new action, blood and mythos,” says Frank S Lechuga, author of LOM Book One
Highbrow/lowbrow probably ain't no big deal. Chicanos tend not to make that distinction. I can be surrealsitic and pulpy at the same time. It's a mestizo/rashquache thing.
As is LOM Book One. Lechuga calls it a Xicano science fiction novel. And his roots go back to the original Chicano movement.
But this isn't a political tract or literary fine art. It's a high-powered shoot 'em up full of martial arts and futuristic hardware. Plus recombocultural world building, quotes from Carlos Casteneda, Korean Hwrang Do, dates according to the ancient calendar that the Aztecs stole from the Maya that was probably created by the Olmecs. Move over Mad Max, this is out of the tradition of Hot Rods to Hell and Harlan Ellison's “Along the Scenic Route,” plugged into streetwise, lowrider/custom car esthetics and badass technophilia. It hints at a different culture to come, and makes me homesick for the streets of L.A.
Besides the action, there are fascinating infodumps in the cyberpunk tradition – what strange, new traditions we have these days. It could capture the attention of the Grand Theft Auto video game generation who are protesting the police actions in their neighborhoods, and take them beyond gangsterims into a Xicano/Toltec/Hwrang Do future.
Or as Lechuga put in, in all caps: “THE SOCIOPOLITICAL SEEDS OF LOM'S DYSTOPIA HAVE ALREADY SPROUTED.”
And it is Book One. LOM is an acronym. What is stands for will be revealed in the final, fourth book.
Hang on, this wild ride has just begun.
Ernest Hogan was born in East L.A., and is known as the father of Chicano science fiction because of his novels, Cortez on Jupiter, High Aztech and Smoking Mirror Blues and other stories.