And much/mucho more:
Friday, July 3, 2020
Thursday, June 25, 2020
The important thing is not to fool yourself into thinking that things are returning to normal. What was normal? Did it ever exist? Can it come back? All important questions these days. Or should it be daze?
Still somewhat quarantined. But no one seems to know exactly what that means.
I'm back to work at my regular part-time schedule, but it's far from normal. All of us have to wear masks. No customers—er, sorry, patrons are allowed in the library. All the business is curbside. They request books online, we gather them up, then the patron (patrón?) comes in, calls on a special line to have the books, or DVDs, or CDs brought out in plastic bag by a masked employee.
Surreal? Sci-fi? Do we have a new word? All the old ones are seeming like clichés.
Behold, the new clichés!
On the home front, Emily continues to collect unemployment and proceed with her home improvement frenzy, uncovering strange artifacts, and even old artwork by yours truly. It's actually looking pretty good. Damnear civilized. The decay, chaos, and entropy have been knocked back for a while.
There's plenty of that stuff piling up in the outside world, clogging the streets, the news media, evolving into strange new realities. Upheaval. Revolution. Mutation. Hang on, kids, you ain't seen nothing yet . . .
There are interesting developments in the witches brew.
While I was sheltering at home, trying to finish my novel, Zyx, Or; Bring Me the Brain of Victor Theremin, my career has come back to life, taken off, dragging me off into the future. Editors and publishers have gotten back to me. Pending projects that have been in limbo are gonna happen. New opportunities come a-knocking on my electronic doors. Watch for more news. Soon.
Despite what people say about it messing up everything, I've got to admit that the social media has been very good to me. A creative weirdo needs to seek out and connect with, and sometimes create, an audience. And don't depend on gigantic corporations to do it for you.
What I recommend is to put on a mask—the pandemic is far from over, keep socially distant, and keep your eyes and ears open. It's raining bizarreness out there, so go and soak it up.
That's where the ideas come from. Take the jagged fragments of a shattered world, and reassemble them into something you want to live in.
We're seeing a collapse happening. A lot of people are going to sink into depression. Others are going to take advantage, and knock things in the direction of their choice. That's what I recommend.
No matter what happens, the new world—or should that be new worlds?--is going to be interesting. There's plenty of debris providing funky raw materials--new archaeology to build a new renaissance. Why not?
Guess I better get back to work . . .
Friday, June 19, 2020
Thursday, June 11, 2020
My method for writing keeps getting weirder. I usually outline with a lot of notes in brackets. Then I write and deleted the notes as I go along. It can get get complicated, as it has with Zyx, Or; Bring Me the Brain of Victor Theremin. The file has notes all over the place, making it look like a chaotic mess. Here's some from the front to give you an idea of how my mind works when I write:
[VICTOR: “Losers always think the world is coming to an end.”“Didn’t you used to be a world champion loser?”
He laughed, took a sip of beer.
“They beat me into thinking that for a while, but then I realize they were full of shit.”
“Look out, you’re going Zen master on me.”
[for the IAMS chatroom scenes: make it a zoom type thing, only have a note explaining that special scrambling software has been used to obscure faces, add visual stuff . . .]
[nanolattices - stronger than a diamond
[for the ayahuasca retreat scene the guru give them the drug, then locks them into a dark room, but first he lights a long string of firecrackers, and throws it in, locks the door, then gets into a waiting car, and drives off with his nonbinary lover - also he is an AI - also have followups where the CEO and his wife endorse the meditation - and similar retreat is held at MegaloCon]
[Early morning brainstorm - Petra sees things in the wastes: cattle, llamas & alpacas, a burned zyx billboard graffitied HAYDUKE LIVES! - IAMS ufo drones doing a tribute to ed abbey - drones are from a renegade AI trying to hide what’s really going on . . .]
[moved a lot of the shit from up front, now need to do a go-thru of the main text, filling in the gaps, dealing with the inserted notes . . .]
[work in the idea of a dream of an alternate universe where cocaine is legal and tobacco is the forbidden drug - Charlie Carlos . . . no, better yet make it El Mess!]
[Concepcion, Lopez, other ancillary latinx gals, tend to be short, slightly plump brown girls that Victor had noticed seem to be talking over the world - Dona Juana is an older version, maybe have others behind computers at MegaloCon, taking care of business . . .]
[AND at one point, one of these girls unzips her face revealing her to be a reptile-insectoid-mechanoid]
[thinking of just making them insectomechanoids - there too much bullshit ufo stuff about reptiloid aliens . . .]
[THEN an reptile insectoid-mechanoid unzips its face and reveals it be one of the brown girls]
[Need scenes about his no longer needing glasses, la Catrina, feeling something is strange, but just thinking it’s part of the general sci-fi-ization of things . . . hmm . . .]
[the Megatrex/Zappi conflict is becoming a Cold War-like conflict, complete with nuclear weapons, contrast with the President wanting to use nukes against the monsters . . .need to mention that the AIs are making Victor’s books available - have people reading e and print on demand editions, maybe have them in above news broadcasts . . .]
[Hmm - since this is going to be another royal bitch to sell, think about pulling out sections/sequences that could be peddled as short stories, novelettes, or novellas . . .]
[military helicopters would be Apaches - maybe a John and Bob joke there]
[when is The Singularity 1st mentioned? Should it be sooner? P. 16 - hmm . . .]
[maybe mention the Sing earlier, perhaps combined with the abduction flashback]
[Bob has the cowboy hat. John has the braids. Put this note at the beginning]
[early, maybe in “just what is it” bit of dialog]
[“Zyx . . . rhymes with sex.” Could be a good ad line for the novel, also maybe introduce it in the novel as part of Zapoid ad campaign]
Friday, June 5, 2020
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Sans mask, and with quarantine hair, amid the splendor and clutter of the Hacienda Hogan media studio, I answer, via Zoom, questions from Somos en escrito's Armando Rendón, Scott Duncan, and Jenny Irizary.
P.S.: I have since buzzed my hair down to the nub.
Friday, May 22, 2020
Thursday, May 14, 2020
"Shortly after the Megabus arrives in Mecca, we're stopped at a red light next to a car blaring that Jay-Z duet with Alica Keyes about the joys of being rich in a corporate police state."
What the fuck? Forgive me. I'm over sixty and feel compelled to spell it out. I feel silly using text abbreviations like I'm trying to be a young hepcat. But what is that? Sounds like somekinda newfangled Islamofuturism.
It's the opening sentence of Tripping with Allah: Islam, Drugs,and Writing by Michael Muhammad Knight. A book I found via Libby—an app that allows you to check ebooks out from your local library, that as a library employee, I'm using to help encourage my job to still be there when the quarantine ends.
Libby had a couple of Michael Muhammad Knight's book tacked on to a list that came up when I searched for William S. Burroughs. The cover looked interesting—a funky anime-looking robot relaxing with a sword. Knight also has been called "the Hunter S. Thompson of Islamic literature."
Interesting. Then I read that first line. I checked it out. Wow!
Just the sort of thing I need to take my mind off bizarre lockdown realities. Burroughs and Thompson are evoked early. Knight knows his drug and counterculture literature. And it's full of stuff like this:
"Not even my Muslim friends who do coke want to join me for ayahuasca, but they're not doing coke for the sake of spiritual growth."
"If I could get enough Muslims into ayahuasca, then ayahuasca-Islam would become the new orthodoxy."
". . . I'm a mostly nonfictional protagonist in a mostly fictional universe."
Just what do we have here? A novel? Gonzo journalism? A collection of essays? We have a case of post-modern fiction/nonfiction (con)fusion here. Names have been changed to protect the innocent . . . or maybe not so innocent, like in Thompson, Kerouac, and Dragnet. Though I don't think Sergeant Friday would approve -- he would go into one of his hardboiled lectures.
To hell with that ancient video fascist, I approve! This jaded, 60-something Chicano had his mind blown, which isn't easy.
Knight throws the reader into strange territory.
Ayahuasca. Islam. 21st century countercultures. It's kind of like when a Muslim girl asked me if I liked Beavis and Butthead right after I met her. Introduce me to things I don't know about—it's what I live for!
There's also an excellent overview of drugs (including caffeine) and Islamic history, Muslim takes on the Transformers, Star Wars, and 2001: A Space Odyssey. He also writes about his experiences in professional wrestling, as well as studying and teaching at Harvard.
And, of course, there's ayahuasca.
For those of you unhip folks who don't know about ayahuasca (AKA yage),the hallucinogenic drug from a vine found in the South American rain forests that has literary streetcred throught William S. Burroughs' The Yage Letters, was the sci-fi gimmick in Murray Leinster's 1930 novel Murder Madness, and the fuel for a revolution that finally defeats Donald Trump in Jonathan Greenberg's recent America 2034: Utopia Rising.
Also ayahuasca retreats are fashionable in some circles.They mostly involve going down to South America. I was going to joke about them coming to our hometown soon, but after a Google search, I discovered that there are Ayahuasca "ceremonies" being held in the Metro Phoenix area. Not much information. I wonder if they're practicing social distancing?
Who knows? Maybe psychedelic Islam will help us into the post-COVID-19 reality . . .
Friday, May 8, 2020
Monday, May 4, 2020
You will be able to see me live, on your computer, or whatever other device you prefer, on May 9, 2020, at 2:00 p.m., PST.
Somos en escrito will present, as part of the Weekend of Words online festival, a panel called "Chicano Scifi: Speculative Existence."
It will be moderated by Somos editors Armando Rendon and Scott Duncan-Fernandez.
I will be speaking, along with Rios de la Luz, David Bowles, and "a few more to be announced."
Go here to register.