Thursday, December 31, 2020

Chicanonautica: Toward 2021 with Twisted Optimism

by Ernest Hogan


Chingao! This one is due to go up on New Year’s Eve. That changes things. I like to write these things about a week in advance, but right now everything is changing so fast. Keeping up will be impossible, especially with all  the presidential tantrums, rumors of martial law and coups, a Christmas morning bombing . . .

For the last few nights I’ve been hearing what sounds like artillery being shot off in the cold Phoenician night. Maybe it’s just premature Happy New Year fireworks. But what kind degenerate sets off fireworks at four A.M.?

But there are all kinds of degenerates running around these days.

And on still another hand, a short story came to me in those peculiar hours. Now all I have to do is write it down. Then I’ll have something for an anthology I promised to contribute to.

Like I said before, 2020 is coming to an end, and not a moment too soon, but what about 2021?

There is no guarantee that next year will be better. I hope it will be. I do so with my usual twisted optimism.

At least we won’t have Trump in the White House. I hope. Used to be that this far past Election Day, we’d know, but then this is a new era, and the cult of personality around the 45th President of the United States of America will not die easily.


 I miss days when the news after an election would be full of boring transition stories, and commentators would go on about how we’re the only country in the world that can do such a thing. Now it’s more like, is there any violence yet? What’s the body count? 

It’s not a case of putting the machinery of our society on cruise control and coasting into a new utopia, or dystopia--always remember that what is utopia for some is dystopia for others.

Trumpsters are bracing themselves for their own apocalypse even though they make noise and destroy property in the name of stopping the steal. They expect government agents of color to knock on their doors and take their guns, and to give their jobs (if they have any) to illegal aliens. And what are they going to do with all their made-in-China Trump paraphernalia?

I’m not expecting Biden to come in and establish a socialist utopia. I’ll be happy if he can just slam the breaks on our current slide into a New Dark Age, which will happen if we can pry the sociopath-in-chief out of there.

Do I even have to say what all this will mean to us Latinoids for the La Bloga audience? I still dream of a world where I can do my business as a venerable Chicano author without having to convince a lot of people that I’m not a drug-dealing rapist out to steal their lousy jobs. I’m a grey-haired senior citizen with a fresh Medicare card--you have no need to fear me!

Meanwhile, I’ll keep doing my job (I have one, I don’t need yours), and keep working on my novel that really does look like it’s going to be a trilogy at this point--I’m still not sure if I’ll go hunting for a publisher on the fringes or brave the abuse of the New York corporate publishing world for a dubious, but very real, very American dream of big bucks, and do short stories and other things when I can get away with them.

It all depends. None of it’s certain. And that’s the hell of it.

Ernest Hogan is the author of High Aztech, and considered to be the Father of Chicano Science Fiction.

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