Thursday, August 18, 2016

Chicanonautica: Flashes of the Latinoid Continuum

by Ernest Hogan
A cover by Jaime Hernandez. Wow! I was impressed.

But then, does the book live up to being compared to the classic comic book Love and Rockets? That's setting the bar pretty high . . .

I'm happy to report that, yes, Frederick Luis Aldama's Long Stories Cut Short: Fictions from the Borderlands, does live up to Jamie's eye-catching cover with characters springing forth from all over Las Américas

It also has impressive, comics-style interior art by the Mapache Studios that packages the book a little closer to pop culture than most non-genre story collections. Usually, we get impenetrable examples of modernism in an attempt to set a highbrow, “literary” tone. Aldama's story are powerful works of contemporary literature, but they have an appeal a wide range of readers will enjoy.

Aldama has written a lot of books, some about comics. His approach to culture is from different angle that the elitists who think they're too good for pop culture.

Born in Mexico City to a Guatemala-Irish American mother and a Mexican father, Aldama means it when he talks about Borderlands in the plural. Long Stories Cut Short is wide in its scope of the Latinoid continuum – not just one barrio, but views from many. And we don't get arguments over whose barrio is doing things right.

These are what they used to call “short shorts” way back when I was just learning how to be a writer. “Flash fiction” is the catchier term that's used these days. They get you to know complex characters (Latino is always complicated, and carries controversial histories), and puts you in their heads, and worlds (again plural), in just a few pages a crack. They are all masterworks of style, structure, and storytelling.

They used to call these, “slice of life” stories.

And they're not just cases for ethnic studies classes. They are a pleasure to read.

No spec fic, or magic realism, but fans of comics and genre fiction attracted by the Jaime Hernandez cover will not be disappointed.

Ernest Hogan tries to write slices of life, but people keep mistaking it for science fiction.

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