Thursday, January 26, 2023

Chicanonautica: Chicanas and Aztec Goddesses Invade Pop Culture

by Ernest Hogan

I became aware of V. Castro a while back, on the job, while shelving books at the library. In the Adult Fiction section, a little book snagged me by the eyeballs. The spine didn’t have the usual title and author name, instead was a spine, that is a drawing, of a spinal column, that had an alien look to it.  

It turned out to be Goddess of Filth by V. Castro. Could it be about one of my favorite Aztec goddesses? Since my To Read list is a gigantic mound that live under, I made a mental note to grab it sometime.

More recently, on Twitter, I ran across an announcement about Aliens: Vasquez, a new novel from the popular “Alien” franchise, written by V. Castro.

It was like Tezcatlipoca was hitting me over the head to get my attention. Soon I did my sacred duty, and the Kindle versions of both these books were in my battle-scarred iPhone. 

Turns out, V. Castro has published books and short stories, has been twice nominated for the Bram Stoker award, was born in Texas to Mexican American parents, and now lives in the UK.
Her lifelong fascination with Mexican folklore and Texas urban legends shows in her work. She is close to breaking the bestseller barrier.

I read  Goddess of Filth first because I wanted to see what she did when being herself rather than working as a hired hand. It’s a story of a Tejana/Chicana who is possessed by Tlazolteotl, the Aztec Goddess of Filth and Depravity (for some reason the depravity has gotten left out in recent years). It is worthy of its clever cover design and would make a good movie. And guys, don’t be afraid, it’s not chick lit–it’s an intense, black lipstick kiss from the goddess herself, though you still might want to watch your huevos. You’ll witness a coming of age of a Chicana in San Anto in the crossfire of the Catholic church and Aztec religion. ¡Guao!


I'm usually not one for franchise novels, but Aliens: Vasquez bowled me over. The badass token Chicana of the Alien universe is given her due, and that's just the beginning! What was no surprise to me is science fiction and Aztec mythology are a perfect fit. And, it wasn't at all what I was expecting, it's nonstop surprises--which is why I'm not going into any details here. It didn’t go on to deconstruct it all, but then the corporate masters are watching . . . There's also one of the best uses of Santa Muerte in fiction ever.

Now, if someone could just do a novel like this about Star Trek’s Space Commander José Lopez . . . 

The battered sombrero of this vato weirdo is off to V. Castro. We should all read her and make offerings to both Tlazolteotl and Santa Muerte for her continued success.

Ernest Hogan, the renowned Father of Chicano Science Fiction will soon be sharing his Ancient Chicano Sci-Fi Wisdom in an online writing workshop. Stay tuned for details . . .

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