Monday, April 25, 2016

THE MYSTERIOUS DOCTORA LUNA AND HIGH AZTECH


Contrary to what some of my fellow Arizonans believe, there is a difference between Mexican and Chicano. There’s also a difference between Chicano in California, and Arizona, and other parts of Aztlán. What kinda Spanglish da your familia hablan, ese?

This was something I needed to deal with in writing High Aztech. I couldn’t just do the same Chicano sci-fi that I did in Cortez on Jupiter. I had to get into a Mexico City state of mind, call up memories of my mind-altering visits there, and more: I made a point of reading books, magazines, and newspapers from Mexico -- and yeah, I dusted off mis historietas -- tuned into a lot of  TV from Mexico and local Spanish-language radio.

This was back when they were trying to establish an English Only law in Arizona. Did these people realize that in the Metro Phoenix Area radio waves carrying the Spanish language was constantly passing through their bodies, jiggling their DNA? Maybe a religion virus wasn’t necessary . . .

I made a point of tuning into a Spanish station while writing High Aztech. Get the rhythm of la idoma as well as the music dancing in my synapses, absorbing songs lyrics, DJ chatter, news, and occasionally, something truly different.

I forget the station, but now and then there would be an echoing countdown: “Diez . . . nueve . . . ocho . . . siete . . . seis . . . cinco . . . cuatro . . . tres . . . dos . . . uno . . .”



Then I would hear sci-fi blast-off sound effects, and a male announcer would announce that Doctora Luna was on the air. He invited the listeners to call in for advice on heath, spiritual matters, and amor!

The first time I listened carefully, and was shocked buy what I heard, or rather didn’t hear.

Doctora Luna had a radio show, but her voice was never heard. She was only “on the air” in the sense of being available to take calls, off air. I assumed that this was probably because the nature of her advice had less to do with medical science than with a kind of curanderismo.

The FCC probably has regulations against broadcasting such things. Maybe it’s better that I don’t remember that station.

During her program the countdown and solicitation for calls was repeated, then they would alternately play two different Spanish translations of the song Love Potion No. 9: Pócima de Amor:



And Bola de Cristal:


Repetitious? Sure, but it was weird, just the sort of weirdness that slammed my brain into the world of High Aztech.

Doctora Luna was a big help in writing High Aztech. She also inspired my story “Doctora Xilbalba’s Datura Enema.”

Doctora, I would like to thank you. You probably have good reasons for protecting your identity like Zorro, the Lone Ranger, and the enmascarados de lucha libre. I hope that you are still out there, working that magic.

I also remember that my Spanish got pretty damn good back then. I should do it again. In fact, I wrote this while listening to an Austin TexMex station via iTunes.


(Originally posted as a Chicanonautica at La Bloga.)

Friday, April 15, 2016

CHICANONAUTICA REVIEWS THE NEW GARZA TWINS BOOK


The new Garza Twins book gets reviews in Chicanonautica, over at La Bloga.

The first in the YA series won an award:


It its about teenage naguales:


The new one features the underwater world of Tlaloc, who the Germans honor in this ritual:


And merpeople:

Monday, April 11, 2016

MEDITATIONS IN A VENUSIAN GARDEN



One of the big pendejadas of life in the twenty-first century is that you end up spending so much time frying your eyes, staring into a glowing screen. The drawing board and sketchbook provide some relief, but what do you do when it's been hours, and you need a break? And if you're like me, so visually oriented that your idea of a good time is looking at stuff?

Luckily, I'm married to the fabulous Emily, and our house is surrounded by an incredible Venusian garden – that is, Venusian for the time being, during this cooler part of the year. Summer will be here soon, early again, and the heat and radiation levels will burn it into its Martian aspect. But for now, it has the look of Venusian jungle out of 1930s pulp sci-fi, or if you prefer a more high brow metaphor, a Max Ernst composition. A few steps out either the front or back doors, and I'm surrounded by strange lifeforms, struggling to survive in a harsh environment. If I'm not careful, they'll attack me and draw blood.

 

It takes me out of whatever writing or drawing I've been working on and derails my imagination into someplace different. Also forces me to focus my eyes a variety of distances. Sometimes I just enjoy the abstract beauty of the ever-changing light and color on jagged shapes. Sometimes it starts looking like art to me.

Must be my training. Sooner or later, everything starts looking like art to me.

So I take pictures. I never liked photography. It was too mechanical. Too much fiddling around to get everything perfect. I prefer my art to be an immediate confrontation, like a bullfight.

Then, Emily bought me a iTouch with a camera and encouraged me to use it. Since I have so little experience with photography, I'm not hampered by thinking of it as art or craft. I point and shoot, and if it doesn't come out right – delete it!

I have fun. It gives me something to post online. Who knows, it may actually come in handy with my wacko career, but I'm not worrying about that now. I'm getting distracted.

Friday, April 1, 2016

CHICANONAUTICA CONTEMPLATES SPRINGTIME IN ARIZONA


It's all about our beautiful Arizona spring, in Chicanonautica, over at La Bloga.

I can't seem to get this song out of my head:


And yes, there really is a Fountain Hills, Arizona:


Things happen there:


Who know's what the future will bring?

Monday, March 28, 2016

HIGH AZTECH REVIEWED AGAIN


The reviews for High Aztech keep coming in! The latest is in the Rio Grande Valley Monitor by David Bowles, as part of a series of 11 science fiction classics. 

David Bowles is the author of the Garza Twins YA series, The Smoking Mirror and A Kingdom Beneath the Waves. I highly recommend them to readers of all ages who enjoy fantastic adventures.

Do you have an opinion about High Aztech? Review it! Even if you don't think it's the best thing since humanoid tacos. 

Friday, March 18, 2016

CHICANONAUTICA CONSUMES MEXICO WITH BERNAL DÍAZ DEL CASTILLO


Come consume Mexico with conquistador Bernal Díaz del Castillo in Chicanonautica, over at La Bloga!
 
It's a bizarre, and important historical document:



There's cannibalism:
 


And human sacrifice:




Though, some people may prefer Diego Rivera's version:


Thursday, March 10, 2016

NOTES FROM THE “UNDERGROUND”



I keep saying it: I've kept one foot in the underground so when the going gets tough, I'll have a place to stand.

I've always liked “underground” culture. Way back in my youth, it was the only place you could find science fiction, fantasy and horror. Not to mention stuff that expressed the weirdness of my unnatural environment that just didn't come through – and wasn't allowed – in “real” culture (y'know the kind they give academy awards to).

My favorites tended to be the sort of things that caused teachers to twist their faces like the just smelled something rotten while they tried to talk me into something they considered classy. Meanwhile, most of my favorite culture, paperbacks, magazine and comics were sold at liquor stores – that these days only sell liquor.

And I would always be delighted to find something labeled underground – books, movies, comix (yeah, they used to spell it that way – we don't need no stinkin' dictonary!), newspapers, radio stations. Sure, what was meant by underground was debatable, but you knew it would get you into some stuff that the establishment was hiding from you, like sex, drugs, rock'n'roll, and a lot of other stuff that a curious young mind could revel in.

Establishment. Another word we've been hearing a lot of lately. Maybe it means something different these days, but I should deal with that some other time . . .



So, now in the 21st century, my novel High Aztech is being touted as a “Wildly Inventive Underground SF Classic” on Amazon. Most people agree that I'm wildly inventive. Anything from before the year 2000 that still has a following is considered “classic.” And by the way, SF in this case means science fiction, not San Francisco. But is High Aztech “underground?”

A lot of my works have been published in the underground, but this novel was published by a big time publisher from New York City. It was my chance at the big time. Unfortunately, the establishment in New York, as it always has, treated me like a talented leper. Mysterious forces in their midst tried to bury it.

It really is a good thing I had that foot in the underground . .

It's been good in the underground, even though it doesn't really pay much, if anything at all. It allowed me to get my stuff out there, to people who like it. Still, I keep up the struggle to break through the barriers into the overground.

Meanwhile, there's all kinds of political turmoil breaking out over the planet, again. The establishment is getting nervous. Something's in the air. The times they are a-changing. Welcome to the future.

It's scary. Maybe you need some ancient underground wisdom to help you through. I've got some for sale here . . .



Friday, March 4, 2016

CHICANONAUTICA RECALLS VISIONS IN OAXACA AND BEYOND



It's more Mexican visions, scribbled and sketched on location in an old, travel-scared sketchbook, in Chicanonautica, over at La Bloga.

From Oaxaca:



Palenque, the town:


And the Mayan ruins:



And Mérida:

Thursday, February 25, 2016

DISPATCHES FROM THE HIGH AZTECH FRONT


Things are happening with High Aztech! Here's the latest developments:
 

First, there's a book trailer featuring me reading the first chapter!



Then, there's part one of a tell-all interview.




Finally, we have the latest version of the official press release:

 
DIGITAL PARCHMENT SERVICES

Is Proud To Announce The Republication of Ernest Hogan's Wildly Inventive Underground Chicano SF Classic



HIGH AZTECH


For Immediate Release

"A high-energy adventure peppered with great ideas, well-imagined unusual settings, outlandish characters, and a wicked sense of fun." –Locus

Digital Parchment Services through its Strange Particle Press science fiction imprint, and Ernest Hogan, are extremely proud to announce the publication of a brand new edition of Hogan's chicano science fiction novel, High Aztech

The enhanced ebook version of High Aztech, which contains a new introduction about the writing of this highly controversial novel which introduced Chicano tropes to science fiction, is available now – and a premier trade paperback edition will be coming out in April, 2016.

Hogan, who describes himself as "–a recombocultural Chicano mutant, known for committing outrageous acts of science fiction and other questionable pursuits" has had stories published with great acclaim in publications such as Amazing Stories, Analog, Science Fiction Age, Semiotext(e)SF, and many others.

This re-release of High Aztech by Digital Parchment Services was preceded by Cortez On Jupiter last year – will be followed by Ernest Hogan's Tezcatlipoca Blues, and a collection of Ernest Hogan's short stories: Pancho Villa's Flying Circus.

High Aztech takes place in 21st century Mexico, Tenochtitlán, the metropolis formerly known as Mexico City, is the most exciting place on Earth. Stainless steel pyramids pierce the smoggy sky. Human sacrifice is coming back into fashion, especially on the new Aztechan TV channels, and everyone wants an artificial heart. Xolotl Zapata, celebrated poet, skeptic and journalist, starts receiving death threats from a cult he's lampooned in a comic book. But soon he will have much worse problems and be running for his life. The government, the Mafia, street gangs, cults, terrorists, even garbage collectors will be after him. Why? He has been infected with a technological development that will changing human life as we know it Zapata is carrying a virus that can download religious beliefs into the human brain - a highly contagious virus that is converting everyone he meets, and everyone they meet, to the Aztec religion. This is Witnessing with a PUNCH! Since he's a virulent carrier he infects a large part of the city all by himself, and the masses, filled with visions and portents, await the End of the World.

#

"The plot twists and turns, bouncing between the horrors of a police state with high-tech weaponry and eavesdropping equipment and the feverish hallucinations that the protagonist endures as he is captured first by one enemy then another. Those who enjoy science fiction will probably find pleasure in this book. I found the book entertaining and clever in the complexities of its plot ... an example of what might be called Latin American sci-fi magico-realism." – Nahua Newsletter

"Cyberpunk is the combining of science fiction and technology with a future society on the brink of self-destruction. Ernest Hogan takes the concept a step further, blending in his love of the Aztec’s ancient beliefs and civilization to produce very unique and gripping stories. When it comes to science fiction of a different breed, Hogan is definitely sitting in the front row. One reviewer aptly referred to Hogan as a 'mad Mexican Hunter S. Thompson.'" – Wicked local.com

"Chicano writer Ernest Hogan bridges the gap between hard science fiction and cyberpunk … interweaving Pre-Colombian mythology and Spanish, Spanglish, and Nahuatl language into a humorously dystopian sci-fi context … exploring the intersection of religion, technology, pop culture … with a distinctly Latino twist." – The Routledge Companion to Latino Literature

"...a delirious mosaic of sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll, post-cyberpunk savvy, linguistic fun and Aztec myth." – January Magazine

ebook (FREE on Amazon Unlimited!)
$2.99
ISBN: 9781615085804

Trade Paper (coming soon)

Ernest Hogan's Sites:

Distributed by Futures-Past Editions
Twitter: @futurespasted
Facebook: Futures-Past-Editions

For Review Copies Contact:
M.Christian, Publisher
Digital Parchment Services

Digital Parchment Services is a complete ebook and print service for literary estates and literary agents. The founders of Digital Parchment Services are pioneers in digital publishing who have collectively published over 2,500 ebooks and PoD paperbacks since 1998.

DPS clients include the estates of multiple Hugo winning author William Rotsler, and science fiction legend Jody Scott; authors such as Locus Award finalist Ernest Hogan, Hugo and Nebula nominee Arthur Byron Cover, prize winning mystery author Jerry Oster, psychologist John Tamiazzo, Ph.D., award winning nutritionist Ann Tyndall; and Best of Collections from Fate Magazine and Amazing Stories.

Twitter: @DigiParchment
Facebook: Digital-Parchment-Services


¡Ticmotraspasarhuililis!