Saturday, October 02, 2010

Chicanonautica: Defining New Frontiers/Borders, and Other Delusions

With this post, we welcome sci-fi novelist Ernest Hogan, author of Cortez on Jupiter, who we interviewed in two segments earlier this year. He adds to our cast of novelists, authors and poets, and as you'll read, Hogan es un caballo de color differente. He might be reviewing sci-fi, fantasy, horror or spec lit in general. He might be essaying on the great paranoid state of Arizona. He might be analyzing the crumbling of America. But whatever he does, it looks like he's going to add a little more picante to La Bloga. Join us in welcoming him, and leave a comment for el pobre nuevo.

I feel like a calaca in a spacesuit here. Just what is this all about? Futuristico? Fantastico? And oh yeah, I'm coming at you from Arizona, part of Aztlán, the metaphor so powerful that there are dystopian laws and the National Guard to protect against it.

Look out, Hispanophobes! Poets are out there, cooking up picante brujería that your smartest robot spy planes can't detect. Better beg the federal government for more research and development money.

Sounding a little sci-fi there, but I can't help it. Like I've said elsewhere, Chicano is a science fiction state of being, especially in this space and time where worlds collide, technology and spirituality intermingle, and magic realism comes at you through the Interwebs. I try to just document my environment, and people scream, “Science Fiction!”

After eight disheveling hours we did not so much arrive to a new land as manage to shoot like a time machine to the next age over.” -- Victor Hernández Cruz, “The Bolero of the Red Translation”

Thirty years ago a Chicano science fiction writer was an absurd concept. I didn't know, because I was too busy living it to worry if it made sense. But in the Twenty-First Century, the New Millennium, folks aren't so quick to shut me down.

And I'm not the only one doing sci-fi to Latino rhythms. Sometimes it's alta clase speculative fiction, sometimes it fonqui sci-fi. Sometimes the lowbrow stuff works better than that attempts at highbrowismo.

Chicanos are plugged into the latest newfangled realities, and ancient myths and traditions. Mexico City was founded by people who listened to a talking idol and who built one of the most advanced urban centers on the planet. Today's equivalent would be a community of unemployed people getting together and building a space station. Where are those talking idols now that we need them?

Maybe Reyes Cardenas is listening to them.

We also don't follow the rules, leaping across borders of genre, and sensibility, boldly going where those-better-adjusted-to-the-culture-that-has-prevailed-for-the-last-century could not imagine. That century is over, and that culture is crumbling. We've already been apocalypsed, we've learned to live among aliens – wherever we go, it's a brave, new world.

What Hunter S. Thompson said about Oscar Zeta Acosta applies to Chicanos: “ . . . a high-powered mutant of some kind who was never considered for mass production.” But the new media offers the mutants new life, and is generating new art, new culture, even new technology that will science-fictionize your life.

So, in future La Bloga posts I'll charge across borders – and remember that frontiers and borders are the same thing -- claiming the cosmos as my barrio. I don't care if you call me a pioneer or an illegal alien. Let's go exploring, from Arizona, to the Edge of the Universe. We'll discover – and create – some new worlds along the way!

Ernest Hogan was born in East L.A., lives in Arizona, and likes to wander.


Anonymous said...

Hogan--born in L.A., lives in AZ and wanders.
Did this guy write anything?

msedano said...

Bienvenido a la bloga, ernest. looking forward to your columns!


Anonymous said...

Dear anonymous,

Yeah, he has. Instead of asking dumb questions, why don't you read his interview here on La Bloga. You might learn something...

Robert Curry

Anonymous said...

He lives in Arizona, so do I y que.
Robert Curry you are arrogant in your reply to anonymous. There is no need to be unkind.