Thursday, January 31, 2019

Chicanonautica: A Letter to 1969

Things have been so weird lately (I know, I overuse the word weird, but in this case it fit better than anything else) I like to imagine what I would say if I had a time travel device and could send a letter to the 1969 version of me . . .

You really won't believe how weird it is. Future Shock was just a warm up to the effects. It's beyond Harlan Ellison/Dangerous Visions.

This is supposed to get to you right after the moon landing. Have we read those books yet? If you haven't, read 'em anyways.

As we expected, the world went stark, raving sci-fi, but it was more like New Worlds than Analog. If I can say one thing that most twentieth century science fiction writers got wrong it's that they had it all make too much sense. Some of them even thought that technology would inspire a more rational society.

Pardon me while I do an old-fashioned, mad scientist BUHUHU-HAHAHAHAHAHA!

The surrealists were right: Never underestimate the power of irrationally

I know you're excited about space exploration, but it was put on hold for a few decades. Folks didn't think it was worth the money. Then we had some advances in special effects, and years of corporate sci-fi, and we've got a space station, the Chinese (the Russians are doing other things) have fired up a newfangled space race, and crazy billionaires are getting into the rocketship business.

Crazy billionaires are a thing, a big thing. Most people are struggling, but the some of the super-rich are running amok. I used to think they were tools used by unimaginative writers, but now they make news.

One of them has even been elected president, though some of us believe that the Russians messed with the electoral process. (Oh yeah, and these days, conservatives love the Russians . . .) He shut down the government because he wants money to build a wall along the U.S./Mexican border.

Don't laugh. I know it sounds like a gag out of Mad Magazine or Cracked, but it's what's happening, baby!

And your skin color and ethnicity will be a stumbling block in your writing career, even after all the protest and riots back in the Sixties. Brace yourself for years of struggle. They now study me at universities and invite me to lecture, but it took a while.

Some things have gotten better. California and the Southwest are getting browner, as are most of the people at the desk behind the computers, (oh yeah, computers are a helluvalot smaller, I carry two in my pocket) imputing the data to get the business done.

So many people who look like family.

Of course, for some people, it's a nightmare. They lust after a border wall.

The this all has everyone in a weird mood. The air is heavily polluted with anger. There are protests and riots around the world.

Meanwhile, I'm working on novels and short stories. Getting published. Being a writer. Our dream come true.

I even kind of enjoy the torrent of news that is like a nonstop, dystopian, preapocalyptic science fiction scenario, but every now and then it hits a little too close to home.

What's that? I think the Time Police are knocking at my door . . .

Ernest Hogan will have stories in several upcoming anthologies. Stay tuned for details.

1 comment:

msedano said...

today in history. January 31, 1969. Friday. A recorded bugle call shoulda woken me but it was the Drill Sergeant stomping across our mirror-polished floor, "on your feet!" The second Friday of Basic. I would tell that young man to suck it up, you'll be an old Veteran.