Thursday, December 1, 2022


Chicanonautica reviews Paul Theroux's On the Plain of Snakes: A Mexican Journey, at La Bloga.

He knows Mexico: 

 And is renowned writer:

He explores the border: 

And other dangerous places:

Wednesday, November 23, 2022


¡Feliz Día de los Guajalotes, cabrones! When you’re reading this, I’ll be in the middle of an insane road trip to California, the state of my birth, to have the usual turkey ritual dinner and hang out with my family. I’ll be taking pictures and notes and will probably come up with some revelations to share.

Meanwhile, I’ll do my best to decolonialize Thanksgiving. I’m not a fan of the Puritan tradition—as far as I’m concerned, it’s the USA’s fatal flaw—but the native food that they appropriated and altered is tasty.

We should shoot some recognition over to Chalchiuhtotolin, the Aztec Turkey God. Think of him, maybe even mispronounce his name as you sacrifice the bird.

This is while the FDA has just taken the first steps toward allowing the sale of cultivate “no kill” meat. We used to call it “vat grown.” I wonder if it will be the same without the bones? Will the gods approve?

Speaking of bones. The femur (the top of the drumstick) of a turkey is a scaled down version of that of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. We’re eating dinosaur, kids! 

If they manage to Jurassic Park T-Rex DNA, someday we’ll be able to have “no kill” dino meat on Thanksgiving. How do you like them sacrifices, Chalchiuhtotolin?

Thursday, November 17, 2022



Chicanonautica ricochets into the Arizona midterms, at La Bloga.

In a state where the right to vote is sacred:

And the press is respected:

Not to mention insightful, and perceptive:

This just in: 

Wednesday, November 9, 2022


When I was a kid, a lot of my heroes were mad scientists. People were always telling them that they were meddling in things that God meant for us to leave alone, and they would go and do it anyway. The result would be some kind of shitstorm, but somehow the world was left better in the smoldering aftermath. Human knowledge was expanded, and for a while, things sure got weird and exciting. And without that there’s no story, or movie, and life gets boring, and there’s nothing worse than that.

As an adult—a senior citizen, dammit!—I approach art, and life, like a mad scientist.

For example, I had all these old collages that recently emerged from the depths of my garage. It would have been enough to just scan them and show them off, but there were unexplored possibilities. . .

Why not mess around with them in GIMP and see what happens?

It did it, and the results accompany these words.

Way back in the 20th century, a guy named John Naisbitt published a book called Megatrends and introduced the concept high tech and high touch. The book is now largely forgotten, but high tech/high touch is still valid in the current era.

After hours of staring into a glowing screen I need to get up and move around. I tell people that it’s part of my exercise program, but it's probably more that I’m restless, in body as well as mind. It's probably why my art tends to be on the messy side. High touch in the age of high tech.

With GIMP, I like to randomly mess with things, screw with the contrast, colors, and filters. If I’m lucky it goes BOINK! and some kind of neopsychedelic electronic fuzz explodes across the picture plane, or at least some distortion that defies conventional aesthetics.


I’ve called myself an aesthetic terrorist in moments of divine inspiration. Or was that desperation?

Sometimes it smooths out the way the diverse elements being cut up are jammed together, even though I enjoy the shock effect of all the seams showing like a Frankenstein monstrosity. Maybe it can help in using these things for illustrations, book covers, or something useful.

A wannabe mad scientist has to earn a living . . .


Friday, November 4, 2022


Chicanonautica gets dazed for the season, over at La Bloga.

As in Halloween:


Dia de los Muertos:


Election Day:

So, Happy Holidaze:


Thursday, October 27, 2022


I probably have the timeline scrambled. As usual. Everything turns into part of a collage eventually—the great cosmic recycling bin of existence . . .

Anyway, I’ve been without a printer/scanner since about the time Covid grabbed the world by the throat. Who knows? Maybe the virus killed the chingadera. You can never be sure about these things.

This had me and my wife following my dictum about how when the going gets tough, the tough get creative, learning that taping a strip of paper to a contract on a computer screen and emailing a JPEG of it does the legal hoodoo just as well an actual scrawl on a sheet of dead tree.

(I’m wondering if technology will soon make the written signature obsolete, but I digress.)

About that time, Emily (my wife for those of you who have better things to do than to memorize the details of my life) rushed out of the garage with an overstuffed, tattered manila envelope. It was full of a bunch of pieces of cardboard with pieces of paper glued to them. Collages.


They were something I did back in the late Seventies/early Eighties. This was a rough time for me. I was struggling to hack out a niche for myself in a world that didn’t seem to have a place for me.  I had an unhealthy and unnatural compulsion to create.

These mishmoshes of surrealism and sci-fi were inspired by the collages of Max Ernst and by the fact that I had a lot of old magazines moldering under my bed. Playboy, Life, Science Digest, and others whose names I can’t remember.

I had a lot of fun making them, and they were seen by practically nobody. I had no outlet for them. I put some in my portfolio, and people were disturbed by them.

Seeing them again makes me glad to once again have a printer/scanner. They are delicate and will probably fall apart. I also look forward to posting them online (thank Xochiquetzal for the interwebs). Maybe more people will be disturbed.

I can always use them for illustrations.

And maybe they’ll snag me some money.

Yeah, I’m a hopeless case.

The ones shown here are only a few. Watch out for more.

Friday, October 21, 2022



Chicanonautica reviews another dime novel by Luis Senarens, at La Bloga.

Dime novels preceeded pulp magazines and comic books:

It’s about an airship:

It’s got alligators--or are they crocodiles?

And building a railroad across Mexico:

Thursday, October 13, 2022


Once again, writers of the Latinoid continuum:

Contest submission is free and is open for any Native or Latina/o/x person from or residing in the USA (of American Indian, Chicano/Mexican American, Puerto Rican, Cuban American, Dominican American, Central American, or South American origin). 

Manuscripts must be unpublished, in English, Spanish, or Ingléspañol. Put “2022 Extra-Fiction Contest” in the email subject line. Email Word format (.docx) unpublished submissions with short bio in third person in separate Word attachment and author’s photo (label your name, not author photo) to somosenescrito@gmail.com. One submission per author, 6,000 word limit, contact us beforehand if the submission is over 6,000 words. Submission is free. 

Deadline is October 31, 2022.
Speculative-fiction stories published in Somos en escrito during the year are considered for the contest.

Judging the finalists is Ernest Hogan, godfather of Chicano Science-Fiction and author of Cortez on JupiterHigh Aztech, and Smoking Mirror Blues.

1st place: $100 and a copy of El Porvenir, ¡Ya!  Chicano Sci-fi Anthology.
2nd place: Copy of El Porvenir, ¡Ya!. 
3rd place: Copy of El Porvenir, ¡Ya!. 
Two Honorary Mentions.
All Finalists will have their stories published online in Somos en escrito Literary Magazine.

Friday, October 7, 2022


Chicanonautica takes on Gaston Leroux, over at La Bloga.

He wrote the novel, The Phantom of the Opera, among other things:

The phantom was also in movies:

And on Broadway:

Did you know that Leroux also wrote a novel about Incan human sacrifice?

Thursday, September 29, 2022


Now that I don’t have a novel chewing on my brain, I’ve gotten back into drawing. Like you may have heard, I’m an artist/cartoonist/illustrator as well as writer. It doesn’t really help, more like further confuses the issues.

While working on the novel, I’d start a drawing, and sometimes it would take me months to finish it. As I keep saying, it’s like demonic possession. Now I’m cranking out a lot more.

Usually I start with an abstract expressionist squiggle that I thrash around until it becomes a surrealistic composition. A good warm up for a day of creativity.

Lately, I’ve been going back to my smeared grease pencil over Crayola crayon technique–got to check out a few stationary stores, and see if I can find some of those old-fashion rubber erasers that fit over the end of a pencil. The new kind actually erase rather than smear, which comes in handy for some effects, but not what I need. Meanwhile, I use a separate pink rubber eraser, but it’s better to have it all as one tool . . .

Ah, the technical difficulties.

I’m thinking of getting some watercolors and experimenting with adding some color to these pieces.

It would be fun to fool around with acrylics or oils, but that takes time and more space than I have in this little house. Maybe I could clear a corner of the garage for a painting studio . . .

I often fantasize about retiring to fool around with paint. It’s a lot of fun, but then what do I do with the damn things? I never understood the fine art audience. Who are these people? What do they want? I’d probably have to open my own gallery, and/or run around talking people into buying paintings, which is kind of like selling ice boxes to eskimos.

I’m more of a cartoonist, but never could get a good cartooning gig.

These skills do come in handy. Being the cheapest artist I know, I can come up with something if I need it.

Like now, I’m going to have to convince someone that an insane novel is worth publishing. Maybe some art would help? I can co character studies, and lettering. So what I think things should look like, maybe some sample covers.

Mostly, I want to get back to making filling up those sketchbooks part of my life again, not just something I visit when I have time off from earning a living.

There I go, dreaming of some kind of utopia again. It would be nice.

Meanwhile, I keep getting all these visions in my head. They're pretty weird. Maybe I should draw them . . .