Saturday, March 31, 2012


March 31st is César Chávez Day. Another Hispanic holiday, and people don't know what to do. After all, there's already Cinco de Mayo when Amercianos drink margaritas and eat nachos. I think a basic difference is that El Cinco is about Mexico, while C.C. Day is Chicano.

So, what do we do besides another variation on drunken-mariachi-karaoke-'till-you-puke?

Maybe we should celebrate Chicano culture.

A good place to do that is It's fast becoming the online place to learn about Latino culture -- and that includes Chicano culture.

You can find out about that mysterious word, Aztlán:


Learn about the origins of Chicano Art:


And see some excellent examples:


Hear and learn about the music of Aztlán:


And of course, there's the mouth-watering food:


I think we have the makings of some great celebrations and good times here, amigos!

Friday, March 30, 2012


The latest Chicanonautica, over at La Bloga is all about contraband culture: Librotraficantes, and Los Tigres del Nortes' conflict with the state of Chihuahua over nacrocorridos. So here's some some north-of-the-border nacrocorridos:

Not everybody knows that Minnie the Moocher is a drug song. “He took her down to Chinatown / And showed her how to kick the gong around” refers to smoking opium.

Though, by 1969, in Woodstock, Arlo Guthrie didn't have to be so subtle in a song that glorified drug smuggling:

In Free Mexican Air Force, Peter Rowan is backed up by Tex-Mex accordion virtuoso Flaco Jímenez. The song straddles the border, while the video puts a new spin on getting high:

Monday, March 26, 2012


Cortez on Jupiter was a critical success. Most of the reviews were good, and they kept coming long after it went out of print. I've quoted from them often.

One of the first and best reviews was from Tom Witmore in Locus, in which called the book: “the best [first novel] I've read in science fiction since Neuromancer.”

But, not everybody gets it. In the same issue, a few pages later was a short review from Scott Winnett, who was not dazzled. He thought the story was “interesting,” and Pablo Cortez was “a beautifully drawn character,” but to him the writing was “an avalanche of excessive verbiage and abominable prose style.”

I actually like being called abominable, being a life-long Yeti fan. Maybe someday I'll use And Other Abominations in the title of a story collection.

Winnett also felt that: “The dialect and Hispanic color is more often confusing than enlightening or atmospheric.”

That was back in 1990, but a recently as 2009, Michael Lichter said in his Amazon review:

I found the author's ADHD more annoying than amusing, and I can't say whether Latinos [sic] readers will find the mostly stereotypical characters and Cortez's Spanglish more gratifying (it's not like there's a surplus of Latinos in sci-fi) or patronizing.”

I guess I'll have to leave that up to the readers of my Chicanonautica column in La Bloga.

Winnett concluded that: “Hogan obviously has talent, but prose of this complexity requires careful thought, planning, and iron control.”

All my life, I've run into people who told me that I'd be more successful if I could be more anal retentive. It would make me more commercial, more accessible, more popular. You hear this a lot from people in writer's groups – most of them don't get published as often as I do.

I don't listen to the anal retentiveness advocates, because art – or even plain, old entertainment – is not a contest to see who can clench their sphincter the tightest.

The complaints about my style – which, actually, in this case is Pablo Cortez's style, the parts of the book that aren't his narration aren't written that way – suggest that I was successful in simulating the voice of an out-of-control character who thinks in images rather than words.

Besides, there are all those people who keep telling me they like my literary abominations.

I don't let negative reviews get me down. I like to have fun with them. Like this act of tricksterism you are currently reading. And I can take fragments of just about any review and make them into a positive-sounding quote.

For example: “Interesting . . . beautifully drawn . . . Hogan obviously has talent.” – Scott Winnett, Locus.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


My story Novaheads has been accepted by Álvaro Rodríguez – co-author of the film Machete -- for the upcoming anthology, Border Noir: Hard-Boiled Fiction from the Southwest.

Novaheads is futuristic, dystopian narcotraficante tale featuring a techno-enhanced masked wrestler and a dangerous chili-based drug. It originally appeared online in the November 2003 issue of Claude Lalumière's now defunct Now it will be in a physical book.

To be continued . . .

Friday, March 16, 2012


As we enter the St. Partrick's Day weekend, Chicanonautica presents a special look at the recomboculturalization of the holiday over at La Bloga. And I've also done a piece on the Irish/Mexican connection for Latinopia.

So, how about some background on good, ol' St. Patrick:

Bet you didn't know that St. Patrick is the patron saint of Nigeria, Murcia, and the isle of Montserrat, as well as Ireland. No wonder so many black and Spanish-speaking people like him.

And we should let Mambo Faucia chant to St. Patrick's alter ego, Damballah:

Note all that green in the background.

And finally, let me suggest that another serpent god, Quetzalcoatl, should also be remembered at this time:

Friday, March 9, 2012


I always liked Sun Ra: hypno jazz with sci-fi Afrocentric lyrics, all decked our in Egyptioid finery.

I wanted to see his movie, Space is the Place. I didn't expect to like it as much as I did. I was braced for a spacy, obscure jazz art film. Instead, I got brain-slammed by a gripping mind-bender that starts like sci-fi blaxploitation, then hits it out of the park. Or maybe it hit me out of park -- or out of this world.

Never trust those preconceived expectations.

It starts with a vision of an alien world, and black separatist space colonization. This was 1974, when the idea of astronauts who were not white was considered absurd. Technology was something “enlightened” circles thought to be the tool of the oppressor, something to give up, while going back to nature.

Then there's a 1940 flashback in which Sun Ra plays jazz that literally brings the house crashing down, sending black night-clubbers fleeing as if a sci-fi monster has attacked.

Back to the Seventies: the plot is established with Sun Ra returning to Earth in a spaceship. He is soon competing with the Overseer (a term for the person who kept the slaves in line, who was sometimes also a slave) for the future of black people. Their roles are like an angel and a devil, though those terms are not used.

Space is the Place does the whole pimp/whore/gangster-in-blazing-color, typical of the blaxsploitation films of the time. But the script, by Sun Ra and Joshua Smith, goes beyond the genre with Ra's material, that constantly challenges the intended audience – young black people (though we see white jazz enthusiasts in concert scenes). Most of the urban youths don't seem to be impressed – at one point Ra threatens that he'll “do you like they did you in Africa: Chain you up, take you with me.”

Inner city teens kidnapped to colonize another planet . . . there's an idea!

And I wonder what the black kids I see these days, walking down the street doing tech support for their parents via smartphone, would think of this movie.

It's a foreshadowing of the message in Minister Faust's Africentric (Afri, not Afro, this is another generation) The Alchemists of Kush.

Sun Ra is out to knock people out of the ghetto, out of this world, get them thinking out of the box, open up to new possibilities. And maybe, go out and make them happen.

We need this kind of mythology in this New Space Age.

Monday, March 5, 2012


When he died, strange, icy winds blew over California and Arizona. My black suit was still pristine in its plastic cocoon. I was to be a pallbearer again.

Soon my wife and I were in my late father's pickup, heading down I-10 toward L.A. Before we left Phoenix I saw a camouflaged truck with an female mannequin head – long, plastic hair flapping in the breeze – mounted on its hood. Then there was a car with a PLAN 9 license plate. Did my life go Felliniesque again, or was I hallucinating?

The traffic was borderline post-apocalyptic – just us, some truckers, roadkill, and the occasional helicopter or jet fighter as we squinted into the technicolor/ultraviolet sunset. Soon Jupiter, Venus, and the Moon were blazing through the intergalactic void of the desert night. We shot down the Sonny Bono Memorial Freeway through a gauntlet of Indian casinos, into the electric galaxy of the L.A./SoCal sprawl.

It was cold in West Covina. In the glowing, pre-dawn gloom, a rooster crowed, and a dragster roared down Willow Avenue.

I wasn't prepared for the sight of Paul Escobedo Moisen, the mighty Yaqui warrior, in his coffin, with a black eagle feather, an Indian blanket, and the Purple Heart he got for being wounded in World War Two.

Now, I must explain that he was my mother's step-father. I sadly have no Yaqui blood. I am a humble Chichimec. But when Don Pablo called me “mijo” or “son” he meant it without reservation. There is more to family and tribe than mere genetics. In a way, I am as much a Yaqui as I an Irishman.

And Grandpa Paul taught me so much: how to tie a bandana and roll up my sleeves like a working man, which was essential for me to do the jobs that would allow me to survive as an artist, how to be “un macho,” which wasn't about ego, but having the courage to do what needs to be done when you are called upon to do it, and that being a warrior was as much about how well you loved as how well you fought.

He was not a tall man, but for me he will always be bigger than life – one of the pillars of my universe.

And now, because of him, I will tear up when I hear the song Cielito Lindo. I will not hold back those tears. I will cry like un macho.

Friday, March 2, 2012


In the latest Chicanonautica at La Bloga, I proudly announce the release of Cortez on Jupiter as an ebook . . . and go into how a such an historic novel ended up hidden in obscurity.

And the obscurity won't last long, with reviews saying things like:

Cortez on Jupiter is frequently funny novel but one with a serious heart. His story may be closest to Alfred Bester,but his freewheeling hi-NRG word mashups and sharp wide-ranging satire owe as much to Ishmael Reed. Twenty years on I still know no writer in SF consistently doing what Hogan does with language to document, shape and comment on colliding cultures.

Meanwhile, here some video extras:

Yes, Jackson Pollock was an influence:

So was John Glenn:

And the Chicano tradition of getting creative with technology:

If you wonder what encountering the inhabitants of the Red Spot would be like, check this out:

JAM from MIRAI_MIZUE on Vimeo.