Thursday, May 23, 2019

Chicanonautica: Thoughts on Latinofuturism

I was recently interviewed by Diego Juaregui as part of an oral history project on space history and Latinofuturism for the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum. It will be available for scholars and kept for generations to come to hear. Amazing, along with astronauts, scientists, engineers, there's me, stuttering, and talking too fast.

People who I’ve met will be able to testify that it really was me.

Diego mostly asked me about my bizarre and unlikely writing career, which should cause some amusement and confusion. But the end he brought up the subject of Latinofuturism.

Latinxfuturism? Chicanxfuturism? Xicanxfuturism? There ain't no official name. Maybe we don't need no stinking name, to misquote Alfonso Bedoya in his performance as the bandido Gold Hat in the Humphrey Bogart/John Houston/B.Traven classic  

Treasure of Sierra Madre.

I said a few things, but then, after it was over, I started thinking of things . . .

It’s a good thing I do this column!

Is there such a thing as Latinofuturism? (Let's use that word here for clarity's sake. Besides, like I told Diego, it don’t care about what it's called. Leave that to the a academics.) Yeah. An ethnic group, or more accurately, system of related ethnic groups, that often finds itself under the gun from more powerful groups needs visions of the future, or the will be wiped out.

Do I have to explain this? Just tap into your favorite news source. How's that wall coming? Has the war started yet?

Looking back at Latinoid (I keep throwing that out, hoping for a reaction) history, that often blends into myth and legend, because that’s the kind of imaginative peoples we are, we’ve always been about creating a future for ourselves. Since the Chichimecs listened to that talking statue and went on a search for the place to build Tenochtitlán/Mexico City, and became the Mexica in the process. What did the original pachucos think of the vatos locos? And what about the whole Latino/a, a/o, @, x pendejada?

Once again, the changes outrun the language. New words, new languages are in order, and are being created.

We travel to new lands, absorb other races. With all the interconnectedness of the information age, it’s just going to get more so.

And I don’t see it all becoming the same, dull global monoculture. The mix is too volatile. Especially among us Latinoids in there, stirring things up.

I’ve always been a futurist, but I tended to disagree with Anglo/white futurists about a lot of things, mostly, I don’t see people of color, and "other" clutures as a problem. I think we are a resource. We are the future.

Everyone should have their own kind of futurism. Afrofuturism is just the beginning.

I need to talk about this more, after all, that is a main theme of Chicanonautica.

When Diego asked me about other Latinofuturists, I had a hard time coming up with a list (then, I always have a hard time coming up with lists--I just don’t think that way). The Afrofuturists have Sun Ra, and we have Santo. The Mexican Muralist movement came up with a lot of futurist imagery, and writers I’ve covered here look beyond the troubled present.

There is no Latinofuturist community.


As the Father of Chicano Science Fiction, I guess it’s up to me. I have to start talking, writing about it more.

Hey, La Bloga readers, do you know off any Latinofuturists? Are you one? Do you have any futuristic ideas? Let me know.

I’ve said that one person’s utopia is someone else’s dystopia. If you end up in utopia or a dystopia depends on what your doing to make the future. So we better get to work.

Ernest Hogan has always read futurist nonfiction along with his lifelong obsession with science fiction, his work reflects this. And his story “PeaceCon” will be in Unfit Magazine Vol. 3.

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