Thursday, February 01, 2018

Chicanonautica: Uno! Dos! . . . Et Cetera! Et Cetera!

by Ernest Hogan

Just in case you haven't read my novellette Uno! Dos! . . .One-Two! Tres! Cuatro! you can now read the beginning of it over at Somos en escrito: The Latino Literary Online Magazine

I was barely settled in from taking my nephew on another Arizona book-hunting road trip when I got an email from M.Christian, my publisher at Strange Particle Press. He had forwarded a message from Armando Rendon of Somos en escrito, who was interested in Uno! Dos!

After some frantic correspondence, we decided on a nice little slice of the beginning that gives a tantalizing, picante taste, and ends in a cliff hanger that will make people order Five to the Future, so they can read the rest of it, and enjoy four other All New Novelettes of Tomorrow and Beyond, as the rest of the title goes. They're by my fabulous wife, Emily Devenport (pre-order her novel Medusa Uploaded while you're at it), Cynthia Ward, Arthur Byron Cover, and M.Christian himself.

There's the hype, or pimping as they say these days, and since I feel you folks deserve more than that, here's some et cetera—behind-the-scene, background material on Uno! Dos! And Five to the Future:

A while back, M.Christian asked me if I'd be interested in taking part in an anthology. He had three other writers lined up. Maybe something to do with the word “four.”

(Somewhere along the line, a fifth writer was added.)

I've learned over the years that opportunities like this don't come very often, even though I seem to have gotten more than my fair share. Oh boy, I can write something totally outrageous, and it will get published right away, rather than spend years looking for someone crazy enough to publish it (the way it usually happens with me). And M. wanted a novelette, so I could spread out a little . . .

All I needed was an idea.

A lot of people talk about how hard it is to get ideas. Actually, if you have an active imagination, ideas are everywhere, clamoring to grab you and take over your life. All you have to do is give them a chance. Just take something, anything . . .

Also it helps to have input from the person who wants it. M. had mentioned “four.”

In español, cuatro . . .

As in “Uno! Dos! One-Two! Tres! Cuatro!” the intro to Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs' Chicano/Tejano rock classic from the Sixties, Wooly Bully. A good kick-off, and suddenly I had a title. It always helps to have a title.

Since I've gotten known in recent years as the Father of Chicano Science Fiction, I decided to explore ideas. And my Calacanaut drawing has gotten a lot of attention (I really should make posters and/or prints available), why not create a character based on him? Then Trump started his run for the presidency . . .

Ay! Ay! Ay! My mind went wild. It was one of those stories where I did most of the research by catching up with news. I've always preferred Omygod-what's-the-world-coming-to sci-fi to the long-long-ago-in-a-galaxy-far-far-away stuff.

So I spent a long string of my breaks and lunch hours at the Cholla branch of the Phoenix Public Library, typing like crazy with my middle finger on my iTouch.

Now that Uno! Dos! is out wreaking havoc on the landscape, it's a different world than what I wrote. Which is good, because I ain't trying to be no Nostradamus. This is an alternate universe, cabrones! And I'm writing to prevent futures, like Ray Bradbury used to say.

And after this current reality self-destructs, we'll have some badass Chicano sci-fi to read as we reminisce about those crazy times.

Ernest Hogan still types with his middle finger in the breakroom of the Cholla branch of the Phoenix Public Library.

No comments: