Thursday, February 04, 2016

Chicanonautica: Hijacked by High Aztech

by Ernest Hogan

High Aztech is back, in a new edition, with a new cover, and it seems to be taking over my career and life. It's my biggest seller and has been written up in academic books and journals. With a bit of luck, it will be around long after bestsellers published at the same time are long forgotten.

It's the high point of my career (so far), even though mysterious forces tried to make it the end of my career. It's also a sad story that I get sick of telling -- I hate being forced into the role of a poor, minority being oppressed by faceless villains, and sounding like a paranoid nut-job, even though it's all true. You can read all about it in the introduction of the new edition.

Like everything I write, I thought High Aztech was going be a bestseller, set the world on fire, and make me rich. I'm always shocked and surprised when they tell me that it's too far out, and their audience won't relate, and I end up spending years looking for a funky underground venue. Like I always say, I keep one foot in the Underground so I'll have a place to stand.

The weird thing is, this book really seemed to want to be written. Short stories tend to hit you like the flu; novels are more like demonic possession -- but High Aztech was something else. I was more than inspired, writing and creating like a maniac, as if Tezcatlipoca was whispering in my ear and Lady Tenochitilán was holding my nether regions.

Not long after it was published, they were telling me that it was a failure. For a while, I was stupid enough to believe them.

But things take time. Despite the dirty tricks, my audience – that overlaps with, but is different from theirs – found and loved the book. You can't keep a flaming, visionary work of art down.
It may well be the pinnacle of my career, even though I keep trying to outdo it (you should see the story I'm working on right now!) It's looking like High Aztech is what I'm going to be remembered for -- which won't be bad. 

Meanwhile, it's demanding that I promote the living hell out it, and I'm obliging and enjoying the wild ride.

Ernest Hogan has written other things besides High Aztech, and is still working on things intended to set the world on fire.