A New Edition From Strange Particle Press . . .

Friday, June 22, 2018

CHICANONAUTICA SCANS THE CUADERNOS DE CAMPO OF J.J. BENÍTEZ




J.J. Benítez is the subject of Chicanonautica, over at La Bloga.

He's one of the most popular writers on the planet:


He writes about UFOs and the paranormal:



Mostly, it's stuff like this:


But he keeps on investigating:

Thursday, June 14, 2018

TIMEWARPING AT THE PHOENIX COMIC FEST



If it weren't for the writers we'd be here at a comic book convention!” I heard Harlan Ellison scream that at the 1972 WorldCon. Yeah, I was there, a teenager with Jimi Hendrix/Abbie Hoffman hair that scared people.

But what really scared them was the science fiction.

I found myself thinking a lot of stuff like this at the Phoenix Comic Fest.

Harlan was right. If it wasn’t for writers, the comics, TV and movie franchises that comprise geek/nerd culture wouldn’t exist. But is seems that most of the consumers would rather imagine it to be part of their natural environment.

Only their environment ain’t so natural, and it keeps changing.


Just ask the Hohokam who dug the canals we still use in the Valley of the Sun, and played the ancient ball game in courts of the same design found as far south as Central America. The Phoenix Convention Center is built on a site where their artifacts have been excavated. Sooner or later we become archaeology--if we’re lucky.

Emily and I did a park-and-ride on the light rail, from which Phoenix looks like a sunny near future from a pre-Blade Runner sci-fi production, complete with lots of shiny, colorful new apartment complexes to house the workers for the tech industries that have not quite moved in yet. The Comic Fest is the manifestation of the culture of that brave new world.

We got out with the nerds and cosplayers, and were greeted by giant metal insects, pedicabs, concrete barricades, police cars with lights flashing, dogs sniffing the perimeter for . . . explosives? . . . drugs? Then we got scanned with the metal detectors at the security checkpoint. 


Utopia? Dystopia? What kind of topia do we have here? Just where does the sci-fi end and the real life begin?

In the old days there was the giddy impression that the fans were creating a world of their own. The “mundane” world saw it as a threat. It was especially fun when a convention shared a hotel with a religious gathering. Ah, the looks of confusion and horror. “Is it something you . . . believe in?”

I liked to imagine someone freaking out into a pay phone: “Operator! Give me the police! All these weird hippies have taken over the hotel! Some of them are naked! My daughter told me the stairwells smell like marijuana! I think they slipped me LSD! The things I keep seeing! Better make that the National Guard! Do you think they have those tactical nuclear weapons I’ve heard about?”


Now the geeks come to bow down and worship corporate icons. They are the audience. Writers should know something about their audience.

They were there in force, a lot in costumes, sometimes entire families. I know a lot of people who come to these things with their mothers. Are any of them interested in books? Or anything strange, different and not brought to them by a familiar multinational corporation? Were they just there to engage in the nerd consumer orgy?

Should writers even bother?


At first the section with the panels looked small, a sideshow, compared to the rest of the Fest, but that was just because whole thing was so big. After I adjusted my mind for the scale, I realized that they had a good sized convention going on inside the Fest. The panels were in bigger rooms and better attended than in most of the traditional cons I’ve been to lately.


Tor had sent Emily to publicize Medusa Uploaded. I must admit they did a good job in putting their writers in front of the audience. It’s quite different from back when they gave me the bum’s rush back in the Nineties. A lot of the panel titles were prefaced by “Tor Presents.” John Scalzi and Cory Doctorow kept things under control, never making you feel like a riot or a revolution was about to break out--like in the bad old days.

But then, when things get this big, the name of the game becomes crowd control.

Control . . . 


One of the panels that Emily was on was about “The Prophets of Science Fiction.” She asked me about it ahead of time. I told her that the most accurate sci-fi predictions of our times were made by Philip K. Dick and the Firesign Theater. Mostly because they weren’t trying predict anything. They didn’t take it too seriously (the fatal flaw of a lot of science fiction) and let it get absurd.

The future is absurd, kids, get used to it!

When I think about the franchise frenzy, the costumed crowds in the halls, and audience at the panels going on and on asking serious questions about changes in society, and the armed security that surrounded us, it seemed like collaboration between Dick and the Firesign. And the real future is probably only going to be more so. 

I wonder what the old-time science fiction fans, and the Hohokam would think.


Friday, June 8, 2018

CHICANONAUTICA GOES TO PHOENIX COMIC FEST




Chicanonautica is about Phoenix Comic Fest, over at La Bloga.

Reporting from the scene:


Beefed-up security:


Names were changed to protect the innocent:


And yes, there was an evacuation:

Monday, May 28, 2018

NOT A REVIEW OF MY WIFE’S LATEST BOOK



Medusa Uploaded by Emily Devenport (I usually call her the fabulous Emily Devenport, but in this case I should try to be a bit subdued) is great and you should read--and BUY it! Under normal circumstances I’d write a rave review saying that it’s the best science fiction novel it has been my pleasure to read in years, and other quotable bits of lavish praise, but  not I’m not going to do that. It wouldn’t be right.

You see, Emily Devenport (could I have gotten away with calling her fabulous?) is my wife. I love her madly. I can’t even pretend that I can be objective about anything about her.

But Medusa Uploaded is a real knockout. I would have enjoyed the holy hell out of it even if I weren’t sleeping with the author. I feel compelled to tell the world about it.

So screw it. I’m writing about it. To hell with objective criticism. (is criticism ever objective? Do I smell an oxymoron here?) I loved the book! I’m not playing critic--I’m acting as a cheerleader: YAY, EMILY! GO! GO! GO!


Sure, some of the pleasure I get is because I was there while she created it. When she had the dream that inspired the original novelette. I have long known her love of classical music and Japanese movies. Together we learned how people treat the “help” when we were making a precarious living as housekeepers/janitors. As she wrote it, it was my pleasure to read passages as she wrote them.

And now that Medusa Uploaded is published, and taking off, the pleasure just multiplies.

And why not? It soars off into unexplored territory, while at the same time capturing the joy of old-fashioned space opera. What more can you ask for in a science fiction novel?

If that all weren’t enough, she has turned in a sequel to the publisher. There will be more!

So, what are you waiting for? Buy Medusa Uploaded. Help make it a bestseller. Make the fabulous Emily Devenport happy.

It’ll make me happy, too. A rich wife can come in handy.


Friday, May 25, 2018

CHICANONAUTICA FACES UGLY THINGS FROM MEXICO



Chicanonautica, over at La Bloga, is all about Isaac Ezban's Cosas Feas.

Here's an example of his filmmaking:



Cosas Feas includes scene from this capitalist propaganda cartoon:


And this classic of adolescent agnst exploitation:



He's also a professional, who's done commercials:

Thursday, May 17, 2018

HOW TO WRITE MINIMALIST REVIEWS



One thing you can do if you want to support writers is review their work. Some of you are intimidated by it, but we realize that you aren't professional writers. We don't need masterworks of literary criticism on Amazon and Goodreads, or even Facebook and Twitter. We need help spreading the word.

My advice is to go minimalist.

And minimalist may sound highfaluting, but it's just a way of saying keep it short and simple. And it doesn't have to be long. One liners are okay!

My novel Smoking Mirror Blues got a five-star (see, you don't even have to use words) masterpiece of this genre.

D.S. White simply quoted from the book:

She was supposed to be some kind of neomythical recombocultural chimera. Real sumato, as all the recombozos and recombozoettes say.

Then added:

"Classic Hogan has returned!"


Yes, it can be that easy. And fun, too.

Bad reviews, often done by malicious folks who want to drag down your ratings are often minimalist. My books have gotten “Save your money,” and “Terrible.” But they can be countered by more minimalist positive reviews.

Get creative. Use emojis if you want.

So, review away!

Right now I could use some for the new edition of Smoking Mirror Blues and my wife's Medusa Uploaded is just out.

It's a way to make writers happy.


Friday, May 11, 2018

CHICANONAUTICA SURVIVES ANOTHER CINCO DE MAYO IN TRUMPTOPIA


And you can read all about at Chicanonautica, over at La Bloga.

Remember, it's all about the Battle of Puebla:


They celebrate it differently in Mexico:


And it's mutating:


And going global:
 

Thursday, May 3, 2018

MEDUSA UPLOADED AND ON SALE



My wife, the fabulous Emily Devenport's new novel, Medusa Uploaded is available, online, and in bookstores. It's about class warfare on a generation starship—perfect entertainment for our times. Go get it!

And while you'll out there, pick up the May/June 2018 Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. It's got a story by Emily, “10,432 Serial Killers (In Hell).”

Things are getting busy here at Hacienda Hogan.

Friday, April 27, 2018

CHICANONAUTICA GOES FROM MEXICO CITY TO MARS




That's thanks to Silvia Moreno-Garcia's Prime Meridian, in Chicanonautica, over at La Bloga:

It's about a young woman from Mexico City:


Who dreams of moving to Mars:


With references to the old days of Mexican cinema:


Who know's where this could lead: