A YA fantasy by Emily Devenport and Ernest Hogan

Friday, February 16, 2018


Chicanonautica reviews Dogged Pursuit, the biography of Enrique “Henry” Garfias, over at La Bloga.

This was Phoenix back in the old days:

He was a marshal like Dillon:

And an Arizona constable like Valdez:

Of course, these days things are different:

Thursday, February 8, 2018


I found it at the Brass Armadillo Antique Mall, among some vintage science fiction. The ancient paperback had a black man who looks like a disheveled, pissed-off Sidney Poitier raising a clenched fist on its cover. There was also a headline: AN EXPLOSIVE NOVEL ABOUT A NEGRO WHO SHOCKED AMERICA. On the back cover: “the black republic --thousands of square miles carved out of the Middle West, a new nation for America’s Negroes . . . And the day came when Elmo Baines’ dream shocked the country and brought him to the White House to demand its fulfillment.”

I bought it.

It was The Premier by Earl Conrad first published in 1960.

It’s told from the point of view of a white linotypist (do I have to explain that?) who befriends Elmo Baines, a Black Nationalist visionary, who later goes by Simba.

I had to check. Was Conrad black or white? Black writers used white viewpoint characters back in the 19th century, and the practice went on well into the 20th . . .

Turns out Conrad was white. And the surname was originally Cohen. He was the Harlem Bureau Chief for the Chicago Defender, and  wrote a lot of books on African American issues. No wonder he was inspired to write this three-dimensional portrait of a Harlem visionary detailing his struggle to create the Central Plains Black Republic, financing it with the invention and selling of Wondercream, a hair straightener.

Taking place from the Forties to a 1970 in a universe where the Sixties civil rights movement didn’t happen, it throws around and explores ideas and concepts that some would consider to be dangerous today. They send the mind soaring to places that modern commercial sci-fi avoids.

I suspect that the genius/tragic hero Elmo Baines was based on a real person, or maybe several. He and his ideas and thinking ring true. Conrad was a reporter, and a lot of this reads like journalism. This story could have happened.

It doesn’t quite break the speculative fiction barrier. The Republic doesn’t happen, making it more like Hank Lopez’s Afro-6, where black militants don’t succeed in their attempt to take over the island of Manhattan, than Sam Greenlee’s The Spook Who Sat By the Door, that ends in the creation of Black Nationalist nation, or George S. Schuyler’s Black Empire, in which Africa is taken back by blacks and Europe is crippled. But it still deserves a place as a proto-Afrofuturist classic.

There are flashes of the world Elmo Baines is trying to build. This is from a dream sequence:

Two huge white eunuchs stand on either side, and they are fanning me with newspapers on which are blazoned headlines about the latest exploits of Premier Simba.

Of course, transformation of a dream into reality is not easy; dreamers often die trying to make their dreams come true, and the novel shows this.

And the science fiction writer in me would like to see what would have happened if Elmo Baines had succeeded. The same with the militants in Afro-6. What would those worlds be like?

Imagine sequels for them, and Black Empire, and The Spook Who Sat by the Door, taking place a generation of so after their revolutions? 

Maybe some young Afrofuturist writers could take on these projects . . .

Friday, February 2, 2018


Chicanonautica pimps an excerpt and review of my novelette, “Uno! Dos! One-Two! Tres! Cuatro!” over at La Bloga.

Inspired by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs:

We're talking Omygod-what's-the-world-coming-to sci-fi:

Based on a true story:

In that fine, Mejicano tradition:

Monday, January 22, 2018


This just in!

Somos en escrito, The Latino Literary Online Magazine has published an excerpt from, and a review of Uno! Dos! One-Two! Tres! Cuatro!, my contribution to Five to the Future: All New Novelettes of Tomorrow and Beyond.

It's just what the curandero ordered.

Friday, January 19, 2018


Chicanonautica, over at La Bloga, looks at Trumptopia's Year One . . . or should that be Year Zero?

So, here we are:

And Joe Arpaio refuses to die:

Truths are becoming self-evident:

Yup, a-changing, alright:

Thursday, January 11, 2018



My nephew Miles came bearing gifts: A pre-Columbian mask and figurine, and a miniature kabuki mask that Emily had soon installed in places of honor at Hacienda Hogan.

He had come to visit, get some valuable mentoring (he's an aspiring writer), and come with us on another expedition in search of used books in Arizona.

A broken-winged Archangel St. Michael stood guard in front of the Motel 6 in Payson. A billboard across the street indicated that he was collaborating with Smokey the Bear.

Unfortunately, most of the town's bookstores that Emily had found on Google were no longer extant, but we did find an antique place with a lot of expensive tomes on the Wild West. And out in the parking lot, was a cowboy mural . . .

An Apache dancer . . .

And a giant, domesticated ant.

We did find interesting and cheap books in thrift stores.

The next morning, we had breakfast at the Pinon Cafe. They had what I first thought were bigfoots painted in their windows. They were actually the local version of bigfoot, the Mogollon Monster.

I recommend the Huevos Benedictos: Eggs Benedict with chorizo, smothered in green chili sauce, served with country potatoes. A good, Arizona breakfast!

After getting lost (we do that a lot), we had lunch at Gabriela's in Camp Verde, where there's a shrine to Pancho Villa, Emiliano Zapata, and Mexican beer.

Back in Phoenix, Miles was in Nirvana over the bookstores, and what he found. His eclectic reading habits and taste for literature will help on the road to becoming a professional writer.

Friday, January 5, 2018


Chicanonautica, over at La Bloga reveals some of my favorite internet accessible radio stations. Here's some samples of the music they play:

Flaco Jimínez with the Texas Tornados:

The B-Side Players:

Dr. Loco's Rockin' Jalapeño Band:

Hechizeros Band:

Thursday, December 28, 2017


2017 is coming to an end, and things are looking apocalyptic. Politics is like a surrealistic dystopian fantasy. News reports seem like deranged hallucinations. Some people are actually saying that the world is coming to an end.

Sigh. Kind of reminds me of the days of my youth.

By coincidence (yeah, I know, some folks say that there is no such thing as coincidence) I happened to read two books more or less at the same time (I usually read several books at once, don’t you?) that bring back those thrilling days of yesteryear . . .

The first is Witness to the Revolution: Radicals, Resisters, Vets, Hippies, and the Year America Lost its Mind and Found its Soul by Clara Bingham, a fascinating multi-viewpoint, multi-dimensional oral history, with occasional quotes and excerpts from the dead. It concentrates on the year between the summers of 1969 and 1970,but there’s some spillover, because history tends to be messy. And this was a messy time. A time I remember well.

The first moon landing had happened, and I had entered high school. The future had arrived. I was looking around, wondering what kind of world I was going to be living in, and expecting change. And, boy oh boy, did it ever happen.

It wasn’t what I was expecting, but the future never goes according to plan, which is probably a good thing.

Witness to the Revolution isn’t a hippie-dippie Fabulous Sixties nostalgia trip. Voices of the Establishment, cops, Feds, even Nixon himself, are heard from. The Weathermen admit they were crazy. The witnesses, who are often major participants, are delightfully frank the way victims of politically correct educations never are.

And checked against my own memories, they ring true.

They also provided the perfect state of mind for reading David Memmott’s new novel, Canned Tuna, in which we swing from the lives of two young American men, one in Vietnam and Boise, Idaho in 1969, the other in Oregon in 1963. Do you find that twisting of time sequence disturbing? Well, it’s typical of this novel.

Don’t worry, it also has a sense of humor.

Apocalyptic happenings mesh with fantastic, gritty realities, in the war, working class America, and the counterculture without any sci-fi explanation. One of the best novels about the period I’ve ever read. It does for the Vietnam era what Slaughterhouse Five did for World War Two.

Maybe now and then we all come unstuck in time. Or time gets sticky. Spacetime. Timespace. Whatever.

Again, it rings true.

They are unprocessed history, before it’s stereotyped, made into classroom propaganda, and ultimately forgotten.

Both books take me back to when I was coming of age in a world that seemed to coming to an end. Seemed. I got mad when people--smart people--kept saying that it was all over. It wasn’t what I wanted to hear, being young, and now that I’m old I see that they were wrong. Life, time, goes on. It gets strange, but it doesn’t stop.

These books give perspective on our current troubled times. I recommend them, not just to us old farts, but to the younger generation, too. Things getting weird and crazy aren’t anything new. It’s the future; get used to it, kids.

Like Criswell said at the beginning of Plan 9 From Outer Space: “We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives.”

Friday, December 22, 2017


There's High Aztech News from Chicanonautica, over at La Bloga.

The world is going stark, raving High Aztech! So, speak the words:

Drink the drinks:

Eat the food:

And hear the music:

Monday, December 11, 2017


In case you haven't heard, some of my artwork (and my novels, and a magazine article I wrote and illustrated about the PreColumbian ball game) are on display in Omaha, Nebraska. They're in an exhibition called Mariposas: Brown and Native Contemporary Artists in the Path of the Butterfly at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts. This is because Josh Rios and Anthony Romero included them in a project they call Is Our Future a Thing of the Past?

Thanks guys. I appreciate the support.

I'd also like to thank Josh for recently introducing me to the term Xicanxfuturisma. I like the alien look of it. It will be useful.

Meanwhile, here's some background on the pieces displayed:

Evening Spirits is a drawing in Crayola crayon (they suit my drawing style, and I like the idea of using non-fine art materials with a childish reputation). There's a calaca, or calavera if you want to be more formal, in Native-style, shamanistic clothing, sitting before a bowl of something possibly edible. He raises a bottle of an alcoholic or otherwise mind-altering beverage to a goddess who is manifesting in the smoke spewing from a volcano. The calaca looks like my fabled Calacanaut, and maybe a relative, or more earthly/spiritual incarnation.

Señor América (the accent is in the wrong place in the drawing--I do that, dyslexic mestizo that I am) rendered in red Crayola with a yellow grease pencil for the blazing sky. This sombrero-wearing calaca looks like the one from Evening Spirits, but was drawn years later. We are all skeletons under the skin. He stands at the border, kind of like one of Frida Kahlo's famous paintings. One side is cosmic with a meteor/comet thing, and a flame-crowned pyramid, the other is a factory that is mostly smoke-stack. He has fangs and sticks out his tongue.

High Aztech Scene was drawn when I was writing High Aztech. It was first sketched in yellow grease pencil, then finished in black grease pencil. Xolotl Zapata clutches his zumbador and is watched over by skull-faced disease-spirit who is armed with a flaming test-tube, while rioters attack a tank. Coatlicue oversees like a an intellectual kaiju. The mood and some of the ideas from the novel are suggested, like a postmodern cartoon/hieroglyph.

Galactic Aboriginie Journal is one of my battle-scared sketchbook covers from back in the days when I was struggling, and not sure if my efforts would ever amount to anything. I was trying to merge the primitive with the modern. We are the aboriginies of the galaxy. The lettering and drawing were done with the stopper top of an India ink bottle. I collaged an idol by drawing crude designs on a fashion model's hair and giving her an animal mouth, mounting her on machinery, with a car loaded with a typical American family for a body. Instead of breasts there is a fortune cookie prediction: “Unexpected gain. A new friend in the near future.”

High-Tech Voodootoons is another decaying sketchbook cover. The title is a good description of what I do, whether I'm writing or drawing. The snake head was made from the logo of a package of typewriter paper. (Uh-oh, do I have to explain what a typewriter was?) Once again I was drawing with the stopper from an India ink bottle. The sailing ship was part of the original sketchbook cover. The barcode was from typewriter paper. I like the way these things have gotten so bashed-up, looking like artifacts from some strange, ancient, lost civilization, and how any explanation can never convey to whole truth.

Everybody's future becomes a thing of past, eventually. All our cultures are tomorrow's archaeology.

¡Viva Xicanxfuturisma!