“The book American Gods wishes it was.” --Despina Durand

Thursday, March 21, 2019

MORE SCENES FROM HACIENDA HOGAN


As a writer--also as an artist—I spend a lot of time sitting. They used to say that was to way to succeed, nail your ass down, and write, write, write. Unfortunately, I've known a lot of people who took that advice, ruined their health, and dropped dead just at it looked like all their years of hard work (and sitting) were going to pay off.


I can't really sit for very long. I've always been restless. After sitting and typing for a while, I get the itch to get up, and shake out my creaky skeleton, that get creakier as time goes by. And sitting too long actually hurts these days.


So, I regularly get up, and take a few laps around the inside of house. I also do yoga, stretches, some light weight work. Somehow it turned into an exercise routine. And it must work, because my doctor said I'm in “tip-top” condition for my age. Maybe I'll live long enough to see my hard work pay off.


But now, and then, the weather gets too nice to shuffle around inside, so I go out into yards, that here at Hacienda Hogan, are the gardens of my wife, the fabulous Emily Devenport. They are chock full of plants, artifacts, and geological samples. Wandering among them fires my imagination. Often, I end up grabbing my phone, and taking pictures.


I never liked traditional photography, with all it's fussing over settings and chemical complications. Digital with it's point-and-shoot simplicity is more my speed. “Photography is Zen Buddhism,” as William Burroughs said.


Maybe it's my art education, but where other people see snapshots, I tend to see more than ordinary reality. I come up with surrealist compositions, poetic statements, even cartoons.


It gets me in trouble when I try to do documentary realism, nonfiction, or mainstream anything, but it makes my life so much better.

Friday, March 15, 2019

CHICANONAUTICA MEETS KAIJU MEXICANA

Chicanonautica reviews Lords of the Earth, the first Kaiju Mexicana novel, at La Bloga.

Kaiju being the Japanese monster movie tradition:



And there have been Mexican monster movies:



And Hollywood monster movies set in Mexico, old:


And recent:

Thursday, March 7, 2019

A SUNDAY IN TUCSON


The crescent moon and Venus blazed over the predawn glow as we left Hacienda Hogan for the Tuscon. Soon the sun rose as we made our way down the I-10, sipping coffee with donut fallout all over our clothes. Emily was scheduled to be on two panels, about “Spaaaaaace,” and “Rebellion,” at the Tuscon Festival of Books. And talk about Medusa Uploaded and it's soon to be released sequel Medusa in the Graveyard.


We arrived early at the campus of the University of Arizona (for a guy who hated school, I keep ending up on campuses), as settled in to the Author's Hospitality Lounge in time to hear a distinguished professorial-type refer to the President of the United States of America as “that fuckhead.” 


The Student Union Area, a campus in itself, was like mall. I've been having dreams about college/mall hybrid places. Could this be the next step of post-urban evolution now that traditional, twentieth-century mall culture is crashing? The education and entertainment industries do seem to be merging . . .


The classroom where Emily's panels took place was at the bottom of an subterranean labyrinth with a lot concrete stairs leading to an underworld left over from another era.


The desks, really a long, bar-like structure, had electric outlet/internet jack fixtures built into it. Students asked questions about philosophy and morality. Another brave new world.

The festival was gigantic. Good to see thousands of people milling around in the sun, looking at displays of all kinds of books. Kinda civilized.


A even found an interesting statue to photograph: “Another Martyr #4” by Fritz Scholder. The ghostly native American figure loomed over the festivities. 
 

Afterwards, in anticipation of the two hour drive back to Phoenix, we cruised Speedway Blvd. in search of food. Strangely there we saw more Asian joints than Mexican restaurants—one was empty abandoned shell. What's happened to the Old Pueblo?


Finally we went to La Parrilla Suiza (“Authentic Mexico City Food! CALL OR STOP BY ANY OF OUR LOCATIONS THROUGHOUT ARIZONA!” according to their website). There were a lot of customers, most of them “Mexican.” And the tacos were good.

Like I've said, when I smell tacos, I know I'm in civilization.

Friday, March 1, 2019

CHICANONAUTICA GOES BEYOND THE SFF LATINX BUNDLE



The SFF Latinx Bundle deal is history, but Chicanonautica  goes on, at La Bloga.

It is the end of one trail:


But the journey goes on:



Latinx cultura keeps on selling:


And the future is looking good:


Thursday, February 21, 2019

SCENES FROM A NATIONAL EMERGENCY


The inflatable dinosaur, toothy mouth wide open in a silent scream, tried to attract business to a gigantic car wash. It made me smile. I took a picture. Put it on Facebook and Twitter.

Maybe it’s the spirit of the times, or some kind metaphor. 

Mostly, it's kind of funny.

Is this what a national emergency looks like?
Forget the wall. The monsters are already here.

Silly, but here.


A week later, the dinosaur was deflated, a pile of rumpled fabric with teeth and claws.

Maybe that’s what a national emergency looks like.

What could have happened? Random gunfire? A switchblade attack? Orders from headquarters?

Everything becomes extinct eventually. Even silly national emergencies. Hopefully, it will at least provide us with some interesting artifacts to look back on.

Maybe it's art. At least it's amusing.

Friday, February 15, 2019

CHICANONAUTICA GOES LIVE AT THE SFF LATINX BUNDLE


Chicanonautica promotes the SFF Latinx Bundle, over at La Bloga.

Strange Tales of Science Fiction is evoked:



In the name of Latinx science fiction:


. . . and fantasy:



Because you never know where the Latinoid imagination will take you:

Thursday, February 7, 2019

HIGH AZTECH IN THE SFF LATINX BUNDLE


High Aztech is now available as part of The SFF Latinx Bundle!

Some of you may have some questions:

What's SFF? It stands for Science Fiction and Fantasy. Way back when I was a teenage fan we used the abbreviation sf, and kept it lowercase, so people didn't think you were talking about San Francisco.

What's Latinx? Latino, only trying to reach beyond Español o/a gender thing.

What's a bundle? As in Story Bundle. For of $15 you can get eleven ebooks. Not just High Aztech, but ten other Latinx SFF books! A great way to catch up on some of the Latinoid sf/fantasy out there.

For a limited time only! Get it now!

I'll be writing more about this in Chicnaonautica at La Bloga, soon!

Friday, February 1, 2019

CHICANONAUTICA WRITES A LETTER TO 1969


Chicanonautica writes a letter to 1969, over at La Bloga.

It was the year of the first moon landing:


And Woodstock:


"Normal" life went on:


And some things got extreme:

Friday, January 25, 2019

DOODLING, DRAWING, AND NOODLING


I'm an artist as well as a writer. Maybe I'm more an artist than a writer. I'm more visually oriented than verbal. When I write, I set out to put images in the reader’s mind.


For some reason I can't fathom, I've been drawing less in recent years. Maybe it's because I’ve had more success with writing than art. Maybe it's that I keep getting distracted by all kinds of stuff lately. Maybe I'm getting lazy in my old age.


Since it's a new year that is already getting weirder than the last, and I've decided to make a heroic effort of finishing Zyx, Or; Bring Me the Brain of Victor Theremin before 2020 gets here, I've also decided to make a point of purposely drawing more this year.

And it's already producing results.


I've revived my old habit of doing quick, semi-abstract/surrealistic sketches as a warm-up for creative work. Noodling around helps get the juices flowing.


I’ve also been dusting off the drawing board, and working on my long overdue project for Claude Lalumiere's Avatars of Adventure, the Aztec Eagle.


Another old habit of mine that I'm diving back into is doodling. I used to do it all the time in school--it kept me from dying of boredom. These days I use a notebook (not to be confused with my sketchbooks) to keep track of all my projects. 


Somewhere along the line I stopped the doodling. I’m not sure why. Maybe I was trying to be a professional or an adult or some other pretension.


I'm so glad I'm now too old for that grown-up nonsense.


The doodling may have helped me in school. I've heard that it helps you remember things. I'm not sure about that, but I know that drawing does good things for my brain. I feel better, and dealing with all the madness gets easier.


I haven't been doing enough of it, and I need to get back to it. This is because all creativity comes from noodling around with your brain, tossing around the images, words, ideas, whatever, to the music in your head.

Excuse me. I have some important noodling to do . . .

Friday, January 18, 2019

CHICANONAUTICA GETS SEDUCED AND HALLUCINATES TEX(T)-MEX


Chicanonautica reviews Tex(t)-Mex, over at La Bloga:

So, here's a touch of evil:



A look at Rita Hayworth's Latin roots:


What has Speedy been smoking?


And a Maoist report on the Frida Kahlo Barbie: