Thursday, August 01, 2019

Chicanonautica: Good Times with Virgins & Tricksters

People tend to think they know what to expect from “ethnic” fiction: victim stories, the good old days in the ghetto/barrio/whatever, the political call to action . . . When you get more specific to Latinx the ethnic studies clichés dominate the reader’s expectations. Maybe there’ll be some magic realism if you’re lucky. Kinda feel like it’s your duty to roll your eyeballs over every page.

Then there are writers like Rosalie Morales Kearns. Talk about range! She can do just about everything from magic realism to science fiction, and more, and it’s mind-blowing all the way! Her stories are a joy to read.

She’s a Puerto Rican/Pennsylvania Dutch (which should be an interesting story in itself), a volatile Latinoid mix that makes for a powerful imagination. She’s also a publisher/editor/novelist/anthologist. 

With all this going on, she defies being pigeonholed into any genre.

The stories in her Virgins & Tricksters reflect this. They qualify as contemporary literature as well as various genres. Ethnicities and expectations be damned. Just read them and be dazzled.

A cycle of stories called The Wives looks at and exposes the roles of women that should satisfy the women’s studies crowd, and shake up a lot of worldviews. Don't be afraid, guys . . .

"The Devil Take the Hindmost,” an apocalyptic thriller, comes close to commercial sci-fi and provides more than the proliferation of this kind of story (guess we’re living in apocalyptic times . . . I wonder what it’s like to live in non-apocalypitc times?), bringing some new twists and fresh ideas to the subgenre. Could be the basis for a good movie.

My favorite is “Taínos at Large,” about a young woman connecting to her Puerto Rican/African roots. More than just a travelogue with santeria. It blends the fantastic with realistic fiction, and it has everything that’s expected from “ethnic” fiction and more, and is damn good story.

Those are just my favorites; there’s more and they are good.

Stereotypes are left far behind in these stories. We see Latinx -- and especially Latinas -- of a wide variety, just as we know them in real life, and need them in our cultures. They are examples of the new kinds of Latinoids that La Cultura is always giving birth to.

Rosalie Morales Kearns is a helluva writer; I’m sure her other works are worth looking out for.

Ernest Hogan’s novel High Aztech is selling well, and his latest story, “PeaceCon,” is available in Unfit Magazine Vol.3. The insane novel he is working on is taking on a life of its own, not to mention taking over his life. He also will be judging Somos en escrito’s Second Annual Extra-Fiction Contest.

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