A New Edition From Strange Particle Press . . .

Thursday, April 19, 2018

THE LOST ART OF SMOKING MIRROR BLUES


To celebrate the new edition of Smoking Mirror Blues, I shuffled through my mound of battered sketchbooks, and ran across the stuff I did for publicity for the original edition.


Suddenly, another one of those creative lightning bolts hit me. I was going to need art for my own social media publicity campaign. These files were generated (I had Corel Draw at the time) in black and white to be flyers that never got made. It was 2001, the War on Terror had broken out, my wife and I had just moved into a new house and were working full time at Borders, not leaving much time for conventions and such niceties.


So I ran 'em through GIMP and colorized and further augmented them, along with the cover of my self-published ebook. I love fooling around with art and/or technology. Especially when it gets wild and woolly in spite of itself. 


I also did some clipped, cropped, colorized, and distorted pieces, because—yes, dammit!--sci-fi ain't nothing but mojo misspelled.


And half of a Tezcatlipoca face can be a portrait, a landscape, and a starscape at the same time, as well as an homage to Max Ernst, and a reminder that all literature is space opera because the entire universe is inside outer space.

Friday, April 13, 2018

CHICANONAUTICA SEES THE BROWN BUFFALO



Chicanonautica reviews the new film about Oscar Zeta Acosta, over at La Bloga.

He was real:



Then he was made into Dr. Gonzo, and put into a movie:



Then another:


Now he's the whole show:



Thursday, April 12, 2018

Thursday, April 5, 2018

SUGGESTED AFROFUTURIST READING

While waiting for a friendly corporation to come up with another big Afrofuturist product, why not read some sff-ish stuff by black authors? Go and grab some of the works of Octavia Butler, Samuel R. Delany, Steven Barnes, Tananarive Due, Bill Campbell,Nnedi Okorafor, Nalo Hopkinson, Nisi Shawl, Nora Jemisin, and others who I’m probably forgetting, but can be found in bookstores.

And there are others, coming out of older traditions, whose books you’ll have to hunt for, but are well worth it.


Originally serialized in Colored American Magazine (that Pauline Hopkins also edited) from December 1902 to January 1903, Of One Blood has a steampunkish setting, mesmerism, mediumistic powers, a cataleptic trance, astral projection, and the scientifically advanced lost civilization in the city of Meroe, Ethiopia. Yes, a precursor to Wakanda. It also presents some ideas of race and family--the one blood/Raza Cosmica thing-- that allow the novel’s central theme to be both incestuous and interracial.


A long, long time ago, before George Lucas' dream of a galaxy far, far away infected Western Civilization, I read a story in an anthology African fiction that blew my mind. It was called “The Television-Handed Ghostess” by Amos Tutuola, a Nigerian. Turns out it's part of a novel (okay, it’s not a novel as we’re used to in what’s left of Western Civilization) called My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. I tracked it down and was astounded by the strange world of bizarre spirit beings that live in modern times, with television-hands, machine-guns, and such, told in style and structure that owes more to oral storytelling than the commercial New York book biz.


Between 1936 and 1938, the black-owned Pittsburgh Courier ran two serials, The Black Internationale: Story of Black Genius Against the World and Black Empire: An Imaginative Story of a Great New Civilization in Modern Africa--later published together as Black Empire--that allowed George S. Schuyler, known as the Black Mencken, to let his imagination run wild, creating the first example of pulp science fiction written for a black audience. Dr. Henry Belsidus gives Fu Manchu a run for his money, and there’s a cynical, satirical edge to the pulp mayhem. It deserves to be republished with proper, sensationalistic packaging.


Chester Himes is father of blaxploitation (two of his novels were adapted into the first of that movie genre) and urban crime fiction. His Harlem crime novels feature detectives Coffin Ed Johnson and Gravedigger Jones, and blazed a trail that led to Afrofuturism. His work got imaginative, since he was writing them for a Parisian publisher, and the French were willing to believe anything about America. His masterpiece, Blind Man with a Pistol, shows a Harlem like a Hieronymus Bosch composition full of sociological nightmares beyond the wildest dystopias. And his demonstration of how racism spawns seemingly random violence is chilling.


Frank Yerby, the first African American bestselling author, wrote The Dahomean, with idea of blasting open the minds of young black militants. Based on Melville J. Herskovits’ 1967 anthropological study, Dahomey: An Ancient West African Kingdom, it presents a world that makes most commercial fantasy look like cheap knock-offs of warmed-over fairy tales. There are Dahomey Amazons, different versions of marriage and family, and a number of things that will probably disturb even twenty-first century readers. After reading it, you’ll never think of Africa in the same way.


I have to say it: Afrofuturism is just a reboot/rebrand of Neo-HooDooism, and Ishmael Reed has been doing for over half a century. Mumbo Jumbo is the great Neo-HooDoo novel. I think I’m overdue re-reading it, which I do often.

Friday, March 30, 2018

CHICANONAUTICA DON'T GIVE A DAMN ABOUT THE HUGOS, NEBULAS, OR SFWA


I tell it all in Chicanonautica, over at La Bloga.

Meanwhile, here's some facts:


Media coverage:


Confusion:


And something else the Russians never paid me for:


Monday, March 19, 2018

NOLLYWOOD APPROPRIATES WAKANDA



When I found out about a Nigerian Wakanda movie, released two days after Black Panther, I had to check it out.

Turns out its not the obvious rip-off that the article painted it to be. The W-word is never uttered. There are no Marvel references. It is copyrighted 2015.

It could be a re-titled re-release intended to cash in on a global, corporate phenomenon. I admire that kind of chutzpah.



It's faster paced than most Nollywood fare, and is loaded with heaps of outrageousness. I enjoyed it. And it'll probably be a good intro to Nollywood.

I hope the legal goon-squads don't close in to shut it down. We have to remind the world that Disney Marvel did not invent African culture, or culture in general.

Meanwhile, The Prince of Wakanda 1 has shown up. And other Nollywood movies with Wakanda in the title. Hooray for the underdogs!

Friday, March 16, 2018

CHICANONAUTICA SEES WEIRD MEXICAN BUS STATION SCENES


The weird scenes are from Isaac Ezban's incredible movie, The Similars, reviewed in Chicanonautica, over at La Bloga.

This doesn't begin to show how bizarre this it is:



Here's people talking about Ezban's first movie:



His other one also looks astounding:



And he knows how to give an an acceptance speech:



Monday, March 5, 2018

SMOKING MIRROR BLUES BULLETIN



I have unpublished my ebook of Smoking Mirror Blues from Amazon Kindle and Smashwords. It will unavailable for a while.

This is because a new, improved version, with the benefit of better copyediting, a new cover, and an introduction that lays bare the truths and mysteries of its publishing history, will be available soon from Strange Particle Press.

Old flyer, info may be obsolete. Please use link below.
If you desperately need a copy, the original trade paperback edition is still available.

However, Strange Particle will also be releasing a print-on-demand paperback.

Stay tuned for updates . . .

And may Tezcatlipoca be with you!


Friday, March 2, 2018

CHICANONAUTICA HEARS AFROFUTURISM IN ITS IDENTITY

 

Here's some music to listen to, while Chicanonautica, over at La Bloga, celebrates my novels being discussed in a dissertation, and the world goes Afrofuturist.

Sun Ra was out there:


Miles always sounded like the future:


King Sunny synched the system:


Kokoroko brings Fela back from the dead:

Thursday, February 22, 2018

THUS BEGINS THE VICTOR THEREMIN NOVEL



One of the things I'm determined to do in 2018 is finish one of the novels that I've been diddling around with for the last several years. There are several of them, and now that I'm over sixty, I'm more interested in doing what I want rather than beating myself bloody trying to figure out what some publisher would be willing to pay me an advance for. And it would be nice if I could finish these chingaderas before I die.

So I've decided to make a heroic attempt to finish Zyx; Or, Bring Me The Brain of Victor Theremin. Some of you may remember Victor as an alter-ego character that I created as I adapted to the brave new world of 21st century publishing. Of course, he got out of control and grew into something that doesn't resemble me very much. Honest.

He's a Chicano science fiction writer who's lost track of where his life ends and the science fiction begins. Mysterious AIs who have taken over his life complicate things. When in doubt, I sci-fi it up.

There are even some serious concepts woven into the madness.

Anyway, here's the first chapter:


Victor Theremin woke up in the middle of the night needing to piss. Ms. Mali’s lovely chocolate-colored hand was resting on his bladder. He had drunk a lot of Cerveza de Los Muertos Blonde Ale, and it was taking its toll. Careful not to wake her, he slipped out of the inflatable bed.

The electronic gadgets printed on the interior of the latest SmartTent – this one currently shaped like a geodesic dome -- sputtered and flashed. The AIs, as usual, tracked his every move. He grunted, flipped a middle finger, slid his feet into his chanclas, and quietly unzipped the door.

The Milky Way blazed across the sky. He bowed his head in almost religious respect. He had lived most of his life in places so light-polluted that he rarely got to see it – or very many stars. As a science fiction writer, he needed to see his own galaxy.

He made a mental note to put a scene like this in his current opus, Let ‘Em Suck Supernovas: The hero could have an epiphany while pissing and looking at the galaxy, imagining that he was pissing on the galaxy . . . and to piss on the galaxy was to become one with the universe . . . Where was that gadget that the AIs gave him to write with? Probably back in the tent with Ms. Mali . . .

This was an undisclosed part of Arizona, where geological anomalies made electronic surveillance difficult. Local tribes warned of a dense population of supernaturals. And UFOs were a common sight.

Victor saw a peculiar light streak across the star-choked sky as his urine stream disturbed a scorpion near his feet. His ragged chanclas offered no defense against a scorpion – or much else.

The scorpion hid under a nearby cholla – AKA jumping cactus. The spiny little chunks only seemed to leap out and attach themselves to your foot, leg, or whatever you were stupid enough to leave exposed. Victor contemplated that while holding his penis, taking careful aim, while singing, “Where the vegetables are green/and you can pee right into the stream . . .”

There was another flash of light. Victor looked up from the reflection of the Milky Way in his fresh puddle and scanned the real galaxy.

Below it, over the nearby, gnarly mountains, hovered a light, like a helicopter, except it made no sound.

His urine dribbled to halt as the thought of Ms. Mali. His penis became slightly erect as he shook it out. Maybe he wasn’t getting old after all.

Good golly, Ms. Mali,” he sang.

The light sent out a beam that swept over the desert, looking for something.

You sure love to ball,” Victor continued, as he pulled in his dick, and wished he had a zipper to zip, just for the illusion of security.

The scorpion dashed under some rocks.

The beam found Victor, and became blinding.
 
He cried out, “Hijo de la chingada!”

© Ernest Hogan 2018