READ THE TERRIBLE TWELVES VIA TAPASTIC!

READ THE TERRIBLE TWELVES VIA TAPASTIC!
A YA fantasy by Emily Devenport and Ernest Hogan

Monday, September 18, 2017

ECCENTRIC ORBITS AROUND TRUCHAS

 

We took a meandering shot up Highway 25, zigzagging across the Rio Grande to the WiFi-less outback.

Did a pit stop in Belén. In English, that's Bethlehem. I wonder what they do at Christmas time. A Mad Max-ish two-seater motor trike was also filling up. A local newspaper announced that archeologists were going to excavate their old mission.


New Mexico is an archeological wonderland. And the homeland of a new futurism.

A truck labeled MAGICO LOGISTICS passed by. Actual, live bison grazed in a fenced field. There were lots of pueblos, solar panels . . . casinos . . .

Huge ravens greeted us in Truchas.


Once we unpacked, Em and I did quick run to Taos. I found all three volumes of Eduardo Galeano's Memory of Fire trilogy. 


There was a new mural at the Wired? Cafe, and a Zen sand garden. The times—among other things—are a-changing, to quote that Nobel-prize-winning dude.
 

While taking pictures of some motel totem poles, I found a hidden mural of an arrow-shot Billy the Kid.


The next morning Hurricane Harvey hit Texas. Trump declared it a disaster. And pardoned Joe Arpiao. And I thought we were out of Trumpizona.


A grasshopper had become the guardian of the farm house's front door. We did a thrift store expedition to Española with it's creaky buildings, treacherous staircases and dangerous parking lots. I snagged more books and a Waco baseball cap with a cowboy riding a giant scorpion, that suits my mood this year.


We passed a place where you couldn't tell where the junkyard ended and the parking lot began. Is this a brave new world, or an archeological site? What kind of America did we come from? What are we building to replace it?


Someone had painted TRUMP in red circle-and-slash “no” symbol, with marking that made it look like the New Mexico sun sign.


On another wall, in neat, black letters: IMPEACH!

Seems like we were always crossing a county line, or entering another Indian reservation, and stumbling into serendipitous photo ops.


Back in Taos, we cruised Paseo Pueblo de Sur, that I like to think of as Dumb Fucking White People Road. There's a hill where about twenty years ago, our car stalled. I jumped out to push it. A car full of Indian kids whizzed by, and one of them yelled, “Dumb fucking white people!” Some people think I'm white, others think I'm black. Go figure.

We saw vultures on Salazar Road, where the police had pulled over a guy with that aging New Mexico scallywag look about him.


There were lots of white kids with dredlocks, man-buns, and/or mohawks. A traditional counterculture, if you will. I wonder if it will survive under Trump and the apocalyptic TV reports from Texas. Emily reminded me, “The woo-wooism is strong in this one,” a wild storm sent it's tentacles in from the hills, occasionally raining on us.


In Santa Fe, a cleancut white boy carried a barbell-like thing that might be a post-modern boom box.


The Super 8 Motel offered “Law Enforcement Rates.”


I found out that the Santa Fe Indian School's team was the Braves, and took a lot of pictures of murals along Cerrillos Road.


The rain started to pour once we got back to Truchas. The grasshopper had abandoned his post.



Friday, September 15, 2017

CHICANONAUTICA SEES AN AZTLÁN ZOMBIE MASSACRE




Chicanonautica is all about zombies, at La Bloga.

They're out of Africa:


And inspired a subgenre that started with a black&white movie:



Then Mexico got infected:



Now there's an Arizona border zombie movie:



Monday, September 11, 2017

ESCAPE FROM TRUMPIZONA

 

Trump was coming to Phoenix for a campaign rally, even though the election was last year. And protests were brewing. Luckily, we had planned to go on vacation. A good time to get out and wander, where the buffalo roam and the bubonic plague had been skulking around. That night I dreamed of pushing a convertible out of town, in the dark.

Somehow, Phoenix managed not to go up in flames that night, even though the police broke out the tear gas. We drove away from the bullshit fallout.


Soon we were in the mountains, where little green men carved from logs with chainsaws were for sale. As were statues of elk, but no live ones to be seen. A lot of businesses had “bison” as part of their names, but none of the creatures themselves. Clouds hovered like parked starships. An occasional raindrop hit the windshield. Twisted ribbons of lighting crossed the sky.


Soon we were in Show Low, Arizona, SINCE 1870, according to the sign, checking in to a motel on a street called Deuce of Clubs. The Trump/Pence campaign headquarters was a few doors down. A sign announced RESERVED PARKING FOR DEPLORABLES ONLY, and a LIBERAL FREE ZONE T-shirt was on display.


Again—wasn't that election last year? Didn't they win?


Soon a hard rain was a-falling.

And the motel cable had a lot of Spanish stations.


Show Low has a lot of cowboy-themed murals, statues, and things like a geodesic dome that housed a bail bonds office and a Christian ministry.


And a nice bookstore.


Soon we were heading eastward, down Highway 60, past green hills with black, volcanic gashes, like entrances to the underworld. Underworlds are a big part of native mythologies. We were where entering places where realities and mythologies merge.

And a Circle K sold “patriotic” flag cups.


In New Mexico, we stopped in Pie Town, at the Pie Town Cafe. I had the New Mexico apple pie with green chile and piñons. Ah, sweet America!


Our next stop was the Very Large Array. It has a wonderful visitor center, and it's great to see all the radio telescopes, exploring parts of the universe that are invisible to the human eye. Even if they never hear any messages from alien civilizations, it enriches us. Because there are more things on heaven and earth than anticipated in your programming.


We spent the night in Socorro, a funky old conquistador/mission town (church bells bong out the hours), in a funky old motel. New electronics have been spliced onto architectures of the past. The cattle industry, and vaqueros, still live here.


We ate at El Camino, a wonder of wild, midcentury modern design, clustered with native/Wild West kitsch—and security cameras. Country western music plays while tacos are served, and most of the customers are Indians. This is the real America/Wild West/Aztlán.

And the carne adovada is excellent!

I felt at home, far from the contemporary American dystopia. For a while.


Friday, September 1, 2017

CHICANONAUTICA, UNDERWATER AZTECS, THE CUBAN AMERICAN JULES VERNE

 

Luis Senarens inspires Chicanonautica, at La Bloga.

Was he the American Jules Verne?


Why did he depict black people that way?



And what about the Irish?



And what his Cuban/Brooklyn heritage?


Thursday, August 24, 2017

SCENES FROM HACIENDA HOGAN

 
Our dog, Lovey, often lounges in front of the throne of Mistress Moo.


We have a thing about masks.


A giant spider and Anubis watch over Em as she works on her new novel.


Did I mention that we like masks?


I really have to devote more time to drawing.


And it's a nice neighborhood. Those rumors of cannibalism and human sacrifice have been greatly exaggerated.


Friday, August 18, 2017

CHICANONAUTICA REPORTS FROM ALTERMUNDOS

 

I report on reading Altermundos, in Chicanonautica, over at La Bloga.

And it ain't all just sci-fi anymore:



It's art and stuff:



With political implications:


Can you dig it?


Thursday, August 10, 2017

THE STRANGE ART OF FREDERICK RUYSCH



It started with a tweet from Public Domain Review that really snagged my eyeballs.


I retweeted, got curious, and did some Googling—I mean investigating.


Turns out it's not an obscure proto-surrealist, but Frederick Ruysch, a 17th century Dutch anatomist who pioneered the preservation of bodies and parts by injecting them with liquid wax.


He made actual dioramas, and others drew them.


Ain't the social media wonderful?

Friday, August 4, 2017

CHICANONAUTICA MAMBOS WITH ALEX HERNANDEZ

 

That's Alex Hernandez, author of Transhuman Mambo and Tooth and Talon, in Chicanonautica, over at La Bloga.

There's mambo:


And transhumanism in the mix:


Maybe it can help as the waters rise:


And create new, improved mambos:


Thursday, July 27, 2017

WESTERCON WHERE THE JACKALOPE ROAM


All the way across Phoenix to Tempe, cranes loomed over construction. Also new office and apartment buildings shined across the landscape. The dream of making the Metro Phoenix Area into Silicon Valley colony was going full-steam ahead.

Emily and I were off to WesterCon 70/Conalope/LepreCon 43. We had her upcoming novel, Medusa Uploaded, and some anthologies--Five to the Future, with stories by both of us, plus Latin@Rising, and Altermundos featuring stuff by me--to tell the fans about. It had been a while since we had been to a local con, and I was curious to see how things had evolved. How was old school fandom getting along with new, improved nerd/geek culture?

For one thing, the gentrification extended all the way across the canal to Mill Ave. We had to figure out the Mission Palms Hotel’s high tech parking lot gizmos--hey, techies! We could really use screens for these things that can be read in the Arizona sun!


There were more members of graying fandom than young nerds. It was a quieter, smaller version of the conventions of old. Though now and then there would be a serious kid with tattoos and/or blue green hair, taking notes.

People recognized us and told us how they loved our work. At most of the panels I was on, the focus was books, writers, and stories rather than franchises.

Em was on a panel about traditional versus self or indie publishing. I was reminded that things are changing, and--as usual--I wasn't sure where I fit into the equation. And I’m disturbed at how a lot of writers these days are getting locked into a self-inflicted rat race in which they aren’t making money or even having fun.


We had dinner a Rúla Búla, an Irish pub/restaurant, right next to the hotel, with our mad scientist friend and his DNA analyst wife. I had the corned beef and cabbage in honor of my Irish heritage. Emily had macaroni and cheese with a side order of sweet potato fries.


Em had to work Monday, so I took the light rail from the Heard Museum to the con. Phoenix looks different from inside the train--more like an airless, sun-blasted futuristic metropolis than a wide-open sprawl. I had a blurred view through the sun-screened windows of a lot of sparkling, new buildings. The riders were mostly young, “multicultural” and tickling electronic gadgets. The air-conditioning strained all the way.


The future has arrived in Phoenix. The shock will follow. Soon.


At the con,the heat made the courtyard unlivable. I stood indoors.
 

Back at the Heard, I checked out the Museum Shop, where I saw things that were more amazing than anything in the convention art show. Fantasy artists, open your eyes. Especially in Arizona.


The science panels were well attended. A lot of these fans are working on space technology.We got to make paper stabilizing rockets, and saw a PowerPoint presentation on interstellar propulsion from a guy who works for a local tech business. Just what kind of gentrification are we in for?

I was on panels with writers like Connie Willis, Linda Addison, Weston Osche, Yvonne Navarro, Gini Koch, J.L. Doty, and we finally got to meet Cynthia Ward. Got to talk about humor, diversity, and the Southwest/Aztlán as a location for fantastic fiction. The people in the audience seemed to give a damn. Can’t ask for much more than that.


I felt good as we ate again with the mad scientist and his wife, this time at Med Fresh Grill, where the waiter could actually rock the man-bun look. The police had blocked off Mill Ave. Crowds were filling the streets. It was the Fourth of July. Block party time. 


We saw a lot of fireworks over Phoenix on the drive home, to the west side, across the railroad tracks, where the gentry still fear to tread. It smelled and sounded like a war zone, except for the music. A neighbor kept playing “Stars and Stripes Forever” over and over. It would have been an ideal night for the UFOs to sneak in.