Thursday, August 30, 2018

Chicanonautica: Dreaming of an Intergalactic Barrio

I’ll still be on vacation, wandering about Aztlan, when this goes up. Traveling through my native territories, the sacred Aztec homeland, always I inspires me. My brain devours images, sensations, experiences, merrily chews them up, and pukes out weird ideas. I can’t help it.

I’ve been asked, “How do you decide that you’re going to be creative today?”

I don’t know. It just happens. All the time. I can’t make it stop. I’m even creative in my sleep--you should see my dreams!

I guess it’s just the sort of Chicano I am: a Chicanonaut, forever crossing some newfangled border.

There doesn’t seem to be any official definition of “extra-fiction,” but I like the sound of it, the way it suggests something more that just plain, old boring fiction. Staying inside prescribed limits, especially when it comes to creative pursuits, has never been a habit of mine. I’m trying to keep mind open, hoping that those of you who send in stories will come up with things that I  never would.

But I can offer a few hints.

The announcement indicated a taste funky sci-fi as opposed to alta classe speculative fiction, with a taste for the folklore of the Latinoid continuum. That opens up most of the planet, since the Global Barrio already takes up one hemisphere with colonies (dare I use that hated word? the Spanish-speaking world tends to use it instead of barrio) in the other. I also dream of a Galactic Barrio . . .

Would intergalactic be too much to dream?

Why not? What kind of pendejos put limits on their dreams?

If you're a Latinoid planning on making the heroic effort to write a story and get it in before the September 30 deadline, I recommend grabbing a chunk of La Cultura, and running with it--naw, that ain’t an enough, fly with it. Be it with wings, jet propulsion, astral projection, or some new transdimensional mode that defies definition, fly. Discover new worlds on the way. 

This often happens while you’re going about your everyday business in your own barrio/neighborhood/colony. You see things differently from Anglos because of your Latinoid consciousness. With your cultural and genetic mestizaje it should come natural.

It does for me.

The only thing that holds us back from dominating the sci-fi/fantasy biz is the backward idea that we are a minority whose visions don’t have a viable global market. If you look at the global market, it seems to have a brown majority. Our culture needs to get its head straight if it’s going to function in the future.

In my own writing, I’m inspired when I discover--or invent--new ways of being Chicano/Latinoid. It would be nice to see that, but I’d also be disappointed to see stories that are obviously influenced by me.

Sure, I’d be flattered, but disappointed.

What I’m hoping for is to get my mind blown. Is that too much to dream?

Ernest Hogan, the Father of Chicano Science Fiction, and author of Smoking Mirror Blues.

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