Thursday, July 21, 2016

Chicanonautica: A Virtual Vacation in Teknochtitilán

by Ernest Hogan

Federico Schaffler is one of the driving forces behind science fiction in Mexico. The last time we met he handed me a stack of books that he had written and edited, and I enjoyed reading. It's not a surprise to see that he's done another anthology Teknochtitlán: 30 Visiones de la Ciencia Ficción Mexicana. And, in keeping up with the times, it's an ebook!

Did I mention that it's also FREE?

Just the thing to carry around in my iTouch, and get some español practice, along with some mind-stretching as I make my way through developing craziness.

The only familiar author was Silvia Moreno-Garcia, and I wish there was time and space to mention and discuss all of them, and their stories – but that's one of the difficult things about reviewing anthologies, especially when most of the stories are very short. I admit, most of them also left me wanting more. It's nice to see writers exploring new ideas rather than conforming to the parameters of trendy microgenres, hoping to get gigs generating content for their favorite corporate franchises, as happens all too often on this side of the border.

Teknochtitlán does what I look for in an anthology, give tastes of many worlds, and many minds. Despite the title, it's not all High Aztech-y stuff – though there is some, and it's good. Pancho Villa gets another alternate universe treatment. But there's also Mars, the Lovecraftian mythos, and other vistas. These lively minds are not intimidated by the borders of their own country, or planet, or . . .

Hell, they're science fiction writers!

They kind of remind me of the “well-dressed Latin-American-looking young people” who filled the restaurant when I had breakfast with Federico back in . . . 2012! (Wow. Wasn't the world supposed to come to an end?) They – and Federico – were in town for Realizing the Economic Strength of Our 21st Century Border. Certainly not the stereotype that has a presidential candidate promising a wall along the border.

Federico and I threw around ideas, like good writers. He had some ideas about what I could do for a sequel to Cortez on Jupiter. We even talked about a possible collaboration – too bad I'm so busy . . .

But then, we need more cross-border collaboration. Mexico is right next door, but America treats it like an distant planet. Think I'll look over those ideas, bite a hole or two in the Tortilla Curtain.

It'll take my mind off wondering if my fellow Americans will vote for dystopia or apocalypse.

Ernest Hogan's High Aztech is available in a new paperback edition. There still may be hope for this crazy world.

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