Thursday, May 19, 2022

Chicanonautica: Zooming for El Porvenir, ¡Ya!

by Ernest Hogan 

Of course, I took part in the book launch for El Porvenir, ¡Ya!: Citlalzazanilli Mexicatl.

It was different, taking place at the Medicine for Nightmares bookstore in San Francisco. Some of the writers were there in person, while others, me included, participated via Zoom. It was also a celebration for the 50th anniversary of Somos en escrito founder Armado B. Rendón’s Chicano Manifesto.

 As happens with something new, there were technical difficulties, or situations beyond our control, as they would say on television in my youth. They came in the form of a problem that let comments from the audience intrude on the readings. 

Martin Hill Ortiz’s reading was interrupted by a distorted voice like a demonic presence from a horror movie. It was announced that it was fixed, but the same thing happened during my reading.

The voice sounded like a young man who hadn’t ever really accomplished anything and wasn’t happy with his life. I’ve heard many like it over the decades. His confidence was no doubt amped up with hormones and other chemicals. 

He took offense to my hair. No matter how I wear it, there are always those who don’t like it. I stopped caring way back in my teens. 

He also thought that a line from my story, “Incident in the Global Barrio” was—and I quote—“some racist shit.” This was dialogue from a racist character. 

Some members of the politically correct generation react to anything that seems racist by screaming bloody murder and trying to shut down the conversation—exactly what we don’t need.

It’s happened to me before. One reviewer warned of racism in High Aztech, even though he admitted that the racism was coming from the bad guys.

I often write about racism. It is an important subject. I will continue doing it. It’s my way of fighting the fight and revealing the truth. If you don’t like it, don’t read anything with my byline.


Fortunately, the technical problem was solved after my reading.

A peculiar bit of irony is, the fellow who heckled me is exactly the sort of person who should be reading El Porviner, ¡Ya! 


The reason that the bigtime publishers aren’t publishing Chicano writers (How many are on the best seller lists right now?) is that they don’t think we have an audience, or it’s just so small it could never make the big bucks they require. Which creates the Catch-22 of us not selling enough to be profitable.

We have to reach out ourselves, connect with our audience, which is big and diverse and includes frustrated kids who think they know everything but are in desperate need of getting their minds blown. And that is what science fiction and being Chicano is all about.

Ernest Hogan’s story “Incident in the Global Barrio” can be read in El Porvenir, ¡Ya!: Citlalzazanilli Mexicatl. Chicano Science Fiction: Buy it, Read it, Live it!

1 comment:

Stephanie NP said...

So sorry this happened Ernest!
An ongoing congrats on the launch.