Thursday, June 21, 2012

Chicanonautica: Sci-Fi Evolution and Revolution in the Global Barrio

This was going be simple. I was going to do links to some of the Spanish-language blogs about science fiction that have come to my attention, but as per usual in these chaotic times, a wild and unpredictable monkey wrench came flying into the machinery.
The monkey wrench was in the form of fellow Bloguero Rudy Ch. Garcia’s post, Spic vs spec - 1. Chicanos/Latinos & Sci-Fi Lit. He told of a review disapproving of the “spanglo slanguage” in his story Last Call for Ice Cream. He also asked if Chicanos/latinos read sci-fi, how many are writing it, and should they. He got responses -- some from Latino writers. As a “sci-fi anciano” and author of the Chicano sci-fi classic Cortez on Jupiter, I feel compelled to offer my humble opinions. 
Besides, since Rudy has since done Spic vs spec - 2., it looks like this subject isn’t going away . . .
First I’d like to say yes, Chicanos, Latinos, and everybody else should be writing sci-fi, spec-fic, or whatever we’re going to soon be calling imaginative fiction that deals with changes brought along by technology. It affects our lives in the 21st century, so it will have an impact on our art and stories. We need visions of the future, all we can get.
We shouldn’t accept a one-size-fits-all, stereotyped future presented by an industry that’s trying appeal to the lowest common denominator -- though what does that mean in a global economy?
We need a vast selection of futures imagined by inspired minds from all over the planet, so we don’t have to buy our futures -- our identites -- off the rack. Let’s customize our tomorrows like mad scientist/lowriders and cruise them across the galaxy!
An interesting example of this showed up here in La Bloga, in Michael Cucher’s guest column, A Zapatista Encuentro in Downtown Los Angeles. It’s about a Zapatista art installation that emphasizes “intergalactic consciousness” centered around “the Autonomous InterGalactic Space Program, where visitors find themselves in a hanger with a snail-covered, ski-masked Mayan Mothership.” Sounds downright sci-fi if you ask me.
Though if they want to get the message out they need to go beyond the art gallery. I could see this material in comic books, viral video clips, even movies like Sun Ra’s Space is the Place. Or even stories and novels.
Zapatista leader Subcomandante Marcos in his book Our Word is Our Weapon, called Earth the Seventh planet of the solar system if you’re coming from beyond . . . With one phrase, my concept of the solar system was turned inside out. No science fiction writer ever did that for me.
Those of you aspiring scifiistas out there take note: Always try to outdo the science fiction that came before you.
I also have a place where you can send your stories -- they even pay! 
It’s called The Future Fire: Social Political & Speculative Cyber-Fiction. As in: Feminist SF. Queer SF. Eco SF. Multicultural SF. Cyberpunk. An experiment in and celebration of new writing. I’ve done a guest post for them, and they’ve done the same on Mondo Ernesto. Their latest project is We See a Different Frontier, “a colonialism-themed anthology of new stories told from the perspective of the colonized.”
As in: We want the cultures, languages, and literatures of colonized peoples and recombocultural individuals to be heard, not to show the White Man learning the error of his ways, or Anglos defending the world from colonizing extraterrestrials.
It’s a start. It’s not going to be easy. Traditional/corporate publishing with its policies of assembly-line escapism is dying in the face of emerging technology and evolving social structures. Most of the writer’s advice you find floating around out there is obsolete. To be a writer these days is a lot like being an astronaut who is launched into the unknown. The landscape is in metamorphosis -- apocalyptic, not to mention dystopian. 
If it's too scary, there are less demanding things for you to do with your time, but I hope you will follow the example of Ray Bradbury when he said, “I dare to shout our future now.”
Guess I’m going to have to save those links to Spanish-language science fiction blogs for next time . . .
Ernest Hogan is juggling projects that he hopes will soon astound the world. The authorities in Arizona have not tried to stop him yet. Muhuhahahahaha . . .

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