Thursday, November 08, 2018

Chicanonautica: Extra-Fiction and Beyond

Somos en escrito: The Latino Literary Online Magazine just held its first Extra-Fiction Writing contest, and announced the winner. I was the final judge. It was my pleasure to pick the winners.

And the winners are . . .

First Place, and $100 goes to Rudy Ch. Garcia for Fatherly, dragonly, motherly . . . love, luck and touch.

Since Rudy is a friend of mine and a La Bloga cohort, I must explain that there were no names on the copies of the stories sent to me to judge. I had know idea who wrote them. All I knew was this one came the closest to crossing into the intergalactic barrio that I keep reaching for. It takes Native mythology, Aztlán locations, as some sci-fi/fantasy conceptualizing, and KABOOM! 

Something new, kind of rasquashe.

I was hoping for that.

And Rudy deserves all the attention he can get. Editors and publishers take note.

Second place goes to The Archivist by Richardo Tavarez. It impressed me in that it showed Chicanos doing  jobs that require brains and technical skill, and it celebrates la Cultura with nostalgia and a different kind of time travel.

Third Place goes to Sessions In Augmented Reality by Nicholas Belendares. This one’s a Latino take on post-cyber New Wave speculative fiction in which a complex dystopia with roots in the real world comes to life in subtle ways.

The winning stories can be read online, and also won the authors copies of the first, 2001 edition of Smoking Mirror Blues, signed by your humble servant of Tezcatlipoca, myself.

The other two stories that made the final five (which is no small achievement) do deserve Honorable Mentions, in no particular order:

Michelle Robles Wallace’s Death Eye Dog made impressive use of Aztec mythology mixed with barrio angst.

Carmen Baca’s La Muñeca is wonderful Latino ghost story.

I read all of the finalists multiple times, and thought long and hard about my final decisions which were based on a combination of my personal enjoyment of the stories, and the parameters of the contest, along with originality. The non-winners were also good stories, but more the sort of thing that we've seen before and have come to expect from Latino lit.

I keep reaching for that intergalactic barrio, which I interpet Extra-Fiction to be all about. When someone from the Latinoid continuum writes, they always bring in something extra. Extra-Fiction. Ex-Fic. Ex-Fi. X-F.

They’re already talking about doing it again next year.

All power to the Latinoid imagination!

Ernest Hogan will be talking to students about High Aztech at San Diego State University, November 15.

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