Click on the above for the Introduction, follow the links to synapse-scorching climax!

Thursday, April 23, 2015


They mock the secessionist petitioners in Texas and other states, celebrate the infestation of even the smallest American heartland towns by African, Asian and Aztec cultures . . .

The above is a quote from Vox Day, one of the puppies who has caused the current shitstorm over the Hugo awards. For those of you who have not seen the wide-ranging media coverage this story is getting, a bunch of guys who don't like the trend in diversity in speculative fiction hijacked the nominations of the Hugos, throwing the future of the awards into doubt. Personally, I haven't paid much attention to the Hugos (or the Nebulas) in decades, but this is starting to hit close to home.

Because, Aztecaphobia is alive and well!

They're afraid of Aztecs coming to their hometowns. The Wild West stereotype of the blood-thirsty, half-breed never died. In Arizona, we still hear people talking about rumors of cannibalism and human sacrifice in the barrio. Schoolchildren speaking Spanish can trigger panic attacks.

Or as a little old lady from Phoenix once said, “We don't want downtown smelling like tacos!”

I've always considered the smell of tacos to be a sign of an advanced civilization.

The idea of an Aztec future must be their worst nightmare. I wonder if they've read any of my books or stories?

Dell Harris' cover painting (he called it “Scorpio”) for the self-published High Aztech ebook must put stains in their underwear.

If you want to get that edition, with that cover, you should buy it now, because Digital Parchment Services is working on a new Strange Particle Press edition of High Aztech, that – among other things – will have a new cover, that and incorporated imagery by a famous Communist artist!

Don't listen to the puppies, folks! Dream the dreams you lust after. Create the futures you want, be they African, Asian, Aztec,Texan or Arizonan. We need more visions, not less. Everybody, let your imaginations go wild!

Don't worry if it scares anybody. They may pull dirty tricks and try to shut you down – it's been the story of my life – but it's worth the fight. If they can't face Aztec cultural warriors, they are doomed.

Besides, one persons dystopia is another's utopia. One culture, one civilization, isn't enough. Imagine more. It's what sci-fi is supposed to be all about.

Friday, April 17, 2015


Because I'm doing a Chicanonautica review of David Bowles' YA novel The Smoking Mirror over at La Bloga:

It visits the land of Mictlantecuhtli:

Tezcatlipoca shows up:

And it's for kids!

Thursday, April 9, 2015


There's a lot of talk about politics in science fiction these days, especially having to do with the Hugo awards. I've always thought that science fiction was good place to play around with political ideas. And I haven't given any kind of a damn about the Hugos or the Nebulas in decades. The genre has just gotten too big, not just the product of a few publishers and magazines. The World Science Fiction Society and SFWA both have too narrow a focus to grasp what's really going on.

A while back, I followed Transhumanist Zoltan Istvan on Twitter – I'm more of a Trash-humanist than a Transhumanist, but as a science fiction writer I find the movement a source of ideas to steal -- er, I mean inspiration. He followed me back, and sent me a link to get a free Kindle copy of his novel The Transhumanist Wager. The title didn't sound particularly exciting to me, but I downloaded it, because I thought I might be in the mood someday.

(Note to those of you who want your books reviewed. Free copies are a big help.)

Later, I ran across a news item about Istvan, founder of the Transhumanist Party, announcing that he was the party's 2016 presidential candidate.

I've come to believe that politics is the art of making and selling of alternative realities. Science fiction is good place to demonstrate your ideas for the future. A presidential candidate's science fiction novel? What would that be like?

With my expectations low, I read The Transhumanist Wager.

It's not great literature. Istvan tends to tell rather than show. And he does go on about his beloved Transhumanist ideas, especially in the last third of the book. One line – worthy of Ed Wood – sticks in my memory: “The explosion was humungous.”

But it is an action-packed propaganda piece about Jethro Knights, a young man with a lot in common with Istvan, and who, of course, is obsessed with Transhumanism and abolishing death. The main villain is a Anti-Transhumanist/pro-Christian religious leader with a band of pet terrorists.

This is in an alternate universe where politics are essentially Pro- and Anti-Transhumanist. The bad guys manage to kill Jethro's fiance and blame him for the terrorist act in which it happened. Jethro has to flee the U.S., then hooks up with a Russian billionaire who was impressed with an article about going back in time and bringing people back from the dead. A new country, Transhumania, is created on an artificial island. Scientists are offered big bucks and great deals to live and work in this geek utopia dedicated to making Transhumanist ideas into reality.

Of course, the rest of the world, still obsessed with religion, attacks Transhumania, but is no match for the futuristic defenses. Transhumania takes over the world, and destroys all religious monuments and Washington, D.C. – there is no mention of any “collateral damage.”

I don't think this part is going to much help in the presidential campaign.

Not all people like the new world order, but thanks to superior technology, Transhumania quashes the opposition. Jethro grows old as the venerable world leader, then gets sick, dies, is frozen, and later is revived in a wonderful Transhumanist future.

I found myself turning the pages. My jaw dropped often. I enjoyed a peculiar kind of delirium.

This novel is political suicide in the religion-obsessed United States of America, but Zoltan Istvan realizes this: “The Transhumanist Party will not win this election. But it can change the questions the real elected leaders will ask.”

I'm all for making politicians face new ideas. And this should at least make the upcoming elections more entertaining.

Friday, April 3, 2015


Sez me. In Chicanonautica, over at La Bloga.

It's getting weird:

New recombocultural connections are being made:

And it's just getting weirder:

And weirder:

Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Spring has hit Arizona. More like summer in other places. It's gonna be a long, hot one.

Emily and I are getting out to hike again. She's encouraging me to take my iTouch along and take pictures. The clunky complexity of photography has always turned me off in the past, but this new pocket-sized gadget does have possibilties for my hit-and-run aesthetics.

Here's some shot from the White Tank Mountain Regional Park:

Like I said, Spring Comes to Arizona:


. . .actually, Em took better ones of that skeletal saguaro.

Speaking of my wife, I call this one Landscape with Emily:

An excellenct example of we call, Gnarlitude:

Finally, An Homage to Max Ernst:

Friday, March 20, 2015


Diversity in sci-fi/specfic is getting controversial, over at Chicanonautica, in La Bloga.

So here's Nalo Hopkinson on the subject:

Also, Plan 9 From Outer Space is evoked:

As well as, Strange Tales of Science Fiction:

So relax, conflicts are inevitable:

Monday, March 16, 2015


I admit it. I've been lazy the last couple of decades. I haven't been writing as much as I should, and have been waiting for editors to come to me, rather than tracking them down and breaking down their doors.

But, then, editors have been coming to me.

Not long ago, I thought my writer career was over. I was just a guy with a bizarre hobby, and a lot of monsters living in his Id that needed an outlet. So I'd write a little bit here and there, eventually finishing a story, then the hard part would come – where to send it. It would often take me years, decades to sell a story.

But then I managed to sell about as much during this period as I did back when I was knocking myself out trying to attain the holy grail of being a professional writer.

These days I wonder if there really is such an animal.

But things have changed. Thanks to La Bloga and Digital Parchment services, I'm no longer terminally obscure. I've been discovered by academia. Rumors of literary importance are circulating.

I've also noticed my wife looking at websites of new markets. She's selling to them.

I've downloaded Microsoft Word onto my iTouch, and am writing during my breaks at work. This is starting to feel like a profession again.

Or at least a pleasant delusion.

Friday, March 6, 2015


Chicanonautica reviews Brown and Black Planets and sturs up revolution over at La Bloga.

Esteban Jordan was doing Chicanafuturistic soundtracks way back when:

Fela Anikulapo Kuit was Afrofuturistic before Afrofuturism:

Yes, things are happening in places like Nigeria:

And Mexico:

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Yup. Another Victor Theremin story, “Where Civilizations Go to Die,” has been unleashed on a shell-shocked world. And you can read it free online! In Bewildering Stories Issue 609.

For those of you don't know about Victor, he's a science fiction writer who has lost track of where the science fiction ends and his life begins, probably because some Singuarity-spawned artificial intelligences are using him to figure out humanity.

If you're curious, you can read another story in the series – also free online: “Hindenburg's Vimana Joyride” in DayBreak Magazine.

For some money that will go to the American Diabetes Association, you can buy James Palmer's Voices For the Cure anthology, and read “Human Sacrifice for Fun and Profit,” the very first Victor Theremin story.

For more money, Rick Novy's 2020 Visions, has Victor in “Radiation is Groovy, Kill the Pigs.”

If this wasn't all enough, I just started another story – that looks like it'll probably be more like a novella or (GASP!) a novel: Bring Me the Brain of Victor Theremin, that will take this madness as far as it will go.

Because things just haven't gotten crazy enough for me.

Friday, February 20, 2015


That's right, I talk about my class at UC Riverside's Writers Week over in Chicanonautica, over at La Bloga, and here we're doing something a little different.

I got to see some stuff from the Eaton Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy:

Here's some more about the Eaton Collection:

And there's a whole YouTube playlist!

I also took some pictures in Riverside that didn't make it into the Chicanonautica piece: 

Here's the Mission Inn parrots:

Some flowers, that aren't far from the parrot cage:

And a nearby fountain:

And a statue of Frank Augustus Miller, founder of the Mission Inn, with a parrot:

Back at the Eaton Collection, this ancient Colombian printing press would make a great steampunk/alternate universe prop: