Thursday, May 25, 2017

Chicanonautica: My Unfinished Novels

What do I do when I'm not blogging, farting around online, or doing grunt work for the Phoenix Public library? Why I write, of course. And yes, I have been doing it lately. I do it all the time, actually. I can't stop. I'm a writer. Tezcatlipoca help me.

Right now, I'm taking a break from what will eventually be a novel called Paco Cohen is Alive and Well and Living on Mars. I just finished a Paco story that is being considered by a science fiction magazine. Another such story is in the anthology Latin@ Rising. I promised Ben Bova that I'd write the novel. I'd charge into the next story, but Paco takes his toll on me—writing about him dredges up some heavy stuff out of my battered psyche.

I'd work on a short story, but lately I've been haunted by my other unfinished novels. I keep them in my iTouch, for on-the-run/workplace breakroom writing, and use Google Drive to work on them on my iMac at home. Somehow, I get a lot of writing done.

Right now I'm working on Bring Me the Brain of Victor Theremin, a deranged romp deconstructing current realities with the character that has become an alter ego—a science fiction who's lost track of where the sci-fi ends and his life begins. My own personal Raoul Duke. I didn't mean for it to happen; he took on a life of his own and went amok, like good characters do. I intend for it to seem totally chaotic and out of control, but it will come together in a synapse-searing ending. Right now it's more chaotic than I like, but most of my manuscripts are that way at first. I plan on putting together a coherent sample chapters/outline package, then it's back to Mars with Paco.

If that doesn't keep me busy, there's always my other unfinished novels. If you're a real writer, you've got a few . . .

I would really like to finish my bullfighting novel. It's connected to a couple of stories that Scott Edelman published in ScienceFiction Age, “Tauromaquia,” and “Frank's Tricer Run.” There's a female protagonist, who goes through a futuristic, spiritual quest that's tied up with genetic engineering and space exploration. It will explore bizarre religious practices. Damn! It'll be such a great novel!

Too bad bullfighting is such a taboo subject. You should see the nasty reactions I've gotten when I post stuff about it on Facebook. It's a place where you know you've left the querencia of Anglo culture, and are leaning past to burladero into a wild, bloody, shit-smeared spectacle that sends long spit-streams flying.

Then there's my six-shooters&sorcery novel. It's developed from my story “Lupita's Hand,” that can be found in the anthology LostTrails 2. Maybe it's more commercial that the others, but I've done a lot of research into the real Wild West, the weird fringes of the western genre, and real witchcraft as practiced in Aztlán. What I have is rather rambunctious, which may or may not be a good thing.

I also have ideas for sequels to High Aztech, Cortez on Jupiter, and Smoking Mirror Blues . . .

Every time I try to sell out, it goes horribly wrong. I've spent the best decades of my life trying to figure out what's “commercial” and still don't have a clue. Isn't this enough sex and violence for you cabrones?

And I'm getting old—62, if anyone's counting. I'm in pretty good health, but you never know how long you've got. Maybe I should just write what I feel like writing, finish as much as I can, and raise hell while I'm at it.

Ernest Hogan is one of the most successful Chicano writers of his generation. His definition of success has changed over the years.

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