Saturday, April 18, 2015

Latino Spec Fiction, April 2015

A year ago on BuzzFeed, in his article, Diversity Is Not Enough: Race, Power, Publishing, author Daniel José Older wrote: 
"When we raise the question of diversity, no one is demanding more tokens. We’re talking about systemic upheaval. Diversity is not enough. Maybe the word hasn’t been invented yet – that thing beyond diversity. We often define movements by what they’re against, but the final goal is greater than the powers it dismantles, deeper than any statistic. It’s something like equity – a commitment to harvesting a narrative language so broad it has no face, no name.

"Let’s . . . open ourselves to the truth about where we are and where we’ve been. Instead of holding tight to the same old, failed patriarchies, let’s walk a new road, speak new languages. Today, let’s imagine a literature, a literary world, that carries this struggle for equity in its very essence, so that tomorrow it can cease to be necessary, and disappear."

His good words made me wonder where Latino speculative fiction authors find themselves today. I can't gauge all aspects of our progress, but the following "feats" in the year since he wrote this make me feel positive our own efforts have pushed the diversity discourse in a more inclusive direction. Other stories have been published than what I mention below. Please add to Comments  anything that I missed.

• Tejano author David Bowles is cooking plato after plato of ferocious barbacoa. His short story Wildcat will appear in the May edition of Apex Magazine; it's a fantasy piece that takes place on the US-Mexico border in the early 20th century. His translation of the pre-Colombian Nahuatl poem A Cradlesong was just published in the journal Metamorphoses. The Smoking Mirror, his first book in the Garza Twins YA fantasy series was released last month.

From now through the summer, Bowles plans to publish reviews of at least the following Latino spec-fiction books:

Smoking Mirror Blues by Ernest Hogan; Ink by Sabrina Vourvoulias; Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-García; The Closet of Discarded Dreams by Rudy Ch. Garcia; The Hunted by Matt de la Peña; The Dinosaur Lords by Victor Milán; and a new collection by Jesús Treviño.

A synopsis of David's YA novel: "The 12-year-old Garza twins' lives in a small Texas town are forever changed by their mother's unexplained disappearance. Shipped off to relatives in Mexico by their grieving father, the twins soon learn that their mother is a nagual, a shapeshifter, and that they have inherited her powers. In order to rescue her, they will have to descend into the Aztec underworld and face the dangers that await them."

• Besides his hit, picture book, Last Stop on Market Street, Chicano story-maquina Matt de la Peña had a story in the anthology My True Love Gave to Me. In May, he continues the YA story of Romero's Disease, a deadly contagion ravaging Southern California, in his sequel, The Hunted.

• Canadian-Chicana Silvia Moreno-Garcia is kicking some big nalgas with her debut novel, Signal to Noise, received great reviews from The Chicago Tribune, Kirkus, io9, Publisher's Weekly, and The Guardian. The trade-mag Locus wrote: "Moreno-Garcia uses the trope in such an ingratiating way, though, and with such intriguingly conflicted characters, that it seems vibrantly new. I think it’s one of the most important fantasy debuts of the year so far."

• Daniel José Older's noir fantasy Half-Resurrection Blues has boosted his rep. His first YA fantasy, Shadowshaper, will take him even further, according to my reading. He also began developing a resource, Urban Fantasy Writers of Color: An Ongoing List.

• Chicano author Ernest Hogan newly released his sci-fi classic, Cortez on Jupiter, and has a story in the anthology, Mothership: Tales From Afrofuturism And Beyond.

• Tejano artist John Picacio issued his Lotería Grande Cards artwork that's hotter than Bowles's barbacoa. Get some before se acaban.

Mario Acevedo's next novel featuring Felix Gomez, Rescue from Planet Pleasure, will be published by Wordfire Press. He describes his contribution as "a big, hairy story bristling with action, intergalactic adventure, skin-walkers, Hopi magic . . . all told in tumescent PervoVision." Mario also has two stories in the soon-to-be-published Nightmares Unhinged anthology.

artwork for Sabrina's tale
Sabrina Vourvoulias--author of Ink--had a story, The Ways of Walls and Words, accepted by In reviewing Ink, Bowles noted: "At a time like the present, when immigrants are in such physical/political danger and law enforcement’s violation of minority rights is tragically underscored with frightening regularity, brave novels like Ink become not only a necessity, but a moral obligation."

The Haunted Girl horror collection by Latina Lisa Bradley appeared last September.

Lucha Corpi's Cactus Blood: A Gloria Damasco Mystery came out in December, again featuring her private investigator who possesses the gift of extrasensory prescience.

• Cubano-americano Joe Iriarte's short story, Weight of the World, was accepted by Fantastic Stories of the Imagination, and another story, Extra Innings, was published in Penumbra.

Victor Milán's epic fantasy novel, The Dinosaur Lords, will debut this July. In June, he'll also have a story entitled The Seeker: A Poison in the Blood in S. M. Stirling's anthology, The Change: Tales of Downfall and Rebirth, coming from Roc.

Kathleen Alcalá's first published short story, Midnight at the Lariat Lounge, will be reprinted in the Weird Western anthology, and her tribute to Isak Dineson will appear in the Latino/a Rising anthology.

Guadalupe Garcia McCall had several nonfiction poems published in The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science.

• Scheduled for August, the speculative fiction anthology, Latin@s Rising, will include at least Kathleen Alcalá, Ana Castillo, Junot Díaz, Carlos Hernandez, Ernest Hogan, Adál Maldonado, Carmen Maria Machado, Alejandro Morales, Daniel José Older, Edmundo Paz-Soldán, Alex Rivera, and Sabrina Vourvoulias.

• As mentioned above, Hollywood vaquero/writer/y-mucho-más Jesús Treviño will have a new collection published soon, entitled Return to Arroyo Grande.

• Last, and maybe least, my historical fantasy short story, How Five-Gashes-Tuumbling Chaneco Got His Nickname, will appear in the Diverse Weird Westerns anthology from WolfSinger Press.

The old-male-white-guard of speculative fiction believes that US speculative fiction is on the decline, partly from “the infestation of even the smallest American heartland towns by African, Asian, and Aztec cultures.” Aztec cultures is possibly the most shallow way of depicting Latino spec-lit. But given the list above, and others that I'm unaware of, I think it would be suavísimo if more than Aztlán became Tenochtítlan-ed. What DanielJosé termed, "systemic upheaval." Ajúa!

I'm finding it difficult to keep up with new stories by Latino spec-fiction writers. So I'll finish with, Perdóname, if I omitted anything published in the last year. I'll add more information as I receive word from anyone. So, stay tuned for mucho más.

Es todo, hoy,

RudyG, uno de los "Aztec-cultured" Latino authors que también se llama Rudy Ch. Garcia

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