Friday, November 28, 2014


Besides plugging the new Cortez on Jupiter, and it's looming publicity storm, in Chicanonautica, over at La Bloga, I ask what you, the audience, wants from me in the class I'll be teaching for UC Riverside's upcoming Writer's Week.

When ever I go near a classroom, I expect something like this:

Dr. Gonzo's advice to Raoul Duke is downright Felliniesque in Italian:

So, what's it like for Latino writers nowdays?

And remember what Harlan Ellison said:

Thursday, November 20, 2014


One of the perks of being a writer is being able to indulge in research. My wife, Emily Devenport, and I have made it into the art of the road trip. And yeah, it gets zen.

Like recently, when Em needed to do some research for the Grand Canyon for a post-apocalypse novel she was working on. We found ourselves driving up to Flagstaff as long shadows swept across the mountains and valleys. It was too long a trip to do in one day, so we decided to make a weekend out of it, heading north from Phoenix after I got off work.

Soon we were in Flagstaff, on Route 66, checking into the Luxury Inn. We stayed there the last time we were in town. The Ganesha decorations were still in the office. We even got the same room. Déjà vu all over again.

Sometimes you have to return places, reconnect, see what's changed, what's stayed the same.

The déjà vu continued into the evening when we ate at another one of our Route 66 favorites, the Galaxy Diner. It was packed; we had to crowd into overflow seating among swarming French tourists as a live musician played songs from the Sixties. And they still had the delicious Black Angus steak special. The Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit played as we paid our bill. Très Americano, amigos.

In the morning, a cloud shaped like a flying saucer hugged the mountains.

We returned to the Galaxy for breakfast. It was quiet; a few locals and some Europeans who were probably also heading for the Canyon.

There were murals on decaying structures on the reservations, mostly colorful images, plus messages: WATER IS LIFE and SACRED SITES NOT FOR SALE.

One thing I do on road trips – and life (hell, ain't life nothing but a road trip?) – is cherchez la weird. It's a way to do research even if you don't have a specific project in mind. Keep the senses open, take notes. Get enough of it rattling around inside your skull and they'll start bumping into each other, generating ideas. If you're lucky, some of them will be crazy.

The Grand Canyon is just too big for the human sense of scale. Too big to fit in a landscape, spilling over the horizon, like an ocean without water -- too big to fit on this little planet. Kind of like Jupiter, making me think of Cortez on Jupiter.

Then, a voice out my vision of Mars, spoke:

Whatcha wanna make the Big Valle into an ocean for? Whatcha need an ocean on Mars for? The Valle is a universe. It's the universe! Everything outside it is insignificant.”

I'm not sure whose voice it was. Maybe a mountain man. Or maybe a valley man. A Valle man? Or maybe a woman? A person who lived outside of civilization and was comfortable with things beyond human scale. Like the Valle Marineris, the Grand Canyon, or the Unkar Delta down on the north bank of the Colorado River deep down in the Canyon, with its ruins of prehistoric and Pueblo occupations.

And once again, we were following in the footsteps of conquistadors: Signs reminded us that the Grand Canyon was discovered by Francisco Vásquez de Coronado in the late summer of 1540. Later Garcia Lopez de Cardenas went down into the Canyon, led by Hopis.

Hmm. Was Columbus a conquistador? He was working for the same outfit.

Em took a lot of notes. I nearly lost my hat to the winds.

Soon we were on our way down a road with mountain lion crossing signs.

On the reservations, there were post-apocalyptic, abandoned-looking shacks with signs saying: WE'RE OPEN and INDIAN ART & JEWELRY. There's probably a story or two there.

There was lightning, and a rainbow as the afternoon sun blasted us. There were more rainbows near Flagstaff. For once they were chasing us.

We spent the night in Sedona, where the gas station convenience store has copies of What is a Vortex? next to the cash register.

Most of Em's research had to do with the Grand Canyon, so we mostly goofed off in Sendona, but I still found things worth taking note of:

As we checked out of the motel, a balloon hovered in the sky, and I picked up a brochure for UFO Vortex. They give tours of “a UFO hotspot.” “We provide the most powerful Military Night Vision Gear which amplifies the light 70K more than the naked eye sees” and “We ALWAYS see UFOs!”

We had breakfast at the Coffee Pot, Home of 101 Omelets with its dazzling New Age/Pseudo-Native American/psychedelic décor. They also had buckwheat pancakes. We ate on the patio next to the fake waterfall and a sign warning:


Some people want to make the entire universe into a Disneyland.

After some hiking, where we encountered mule deer and saw datura blooming late in the season in Oak Creek Canyon, we went back to Sedona (remembering what Tahir Shah said: “'Previous journeys in search of treasure have taught me that a zigzag strategy is the best way to get ahead.”) We returned to another favorite restaurant, Oaxaca, for tacos.

They had a new habanero salsa. It got my ears tingling . . . and my brain . . . the effects were antidepressant at the very least. If only medical science would study the mental effects of chili – but then maybe not – certain forces would have it criminalized.

We took the I-17 south, homeward. A dust devil manifested, and collided with el Troque.

When we got home, our windshield was thick with splattered insects, and our minds were buzzing with inspiration.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Things are happening on the publishing front:

Digital Parchment Services has started a new blog about me.

Why would they do such a thing? They're republishing my books, and want to publicized them. I'll also be contributing news and stuff.

The big news now is their press release about Cortez on Jupiter. It includes information on getting a deal on ebook, that a premier trade paperback edition will be coming out in January, 2015, and who to write about getting review copies.

There's more coming, and another place where you can keep up with it.

Friday, November 14, 2014


Chicanonautica reports on the election in Arizona at La Bloga.

Speaking of high-falutin', rootin'-tooting' son-of-a-guns from Arizona:

But, let's let Doug Ducey speak for himself:

Marx predicted contemporary politics:

Meanwhile, back in Arizona, it's busines as usual:

Thursday, November 6, 2014


The re-serialization of Brainpan Fallout is done. You can start with the introduction, and follow the links at the end of each episode to the end. You could even read it all in one sitting – though I don't advise it – there may be mind-altering side-effects.

Do not operate heavy machinery or make important decisions while under the influence of Brainpan Fallout. We want you to use Brainpan Fallout responsibly. We also aren't liable for anything that happens to you as the result of reading Brainpan Fallout.

[Note to self: Make sure there's a disclaimer if I do a book version. Of course it will have exciting extras about the exciting era and how I came to write it, too . . .]

Once again, considering the gonzo-disjointed way I wrote it, I'm amazed how it holds together. I guess all those years of writing stories built a diabolical story-machine in my brain: All I have to do is throw a bunch of random weirdness in there, shake well, and KERBLAMO! It's become a way of life with me. And because day jobs have taken up more or my life since then, I've become accustomed to being interrupted, and finding my way back on track.

It's also a prototype for Chicano science fiction, and Chicanonautica.

And yes, it's not quite science fiction, more like speculative fiction – but then, say “speculative fiction” to the average person on the street and you get a blank stare. If I was in a pretentious mood I'd call it magic realism, but it's just too funky for that.

The main thing I noticed was how much pain Flash Gomez was in. When I wrote it, I was trying to create something that would appeal to kids who hung out in the poetic coffee houses where The Red Dog Journal was being given away – trying to be professional, not expressing myself. Then it ended up on the Internet, and things spun out of control.

But I was in a lot of pain back then. My writing career had crashed after looking so damn promising. I guess my pain leaked out as I was trying to advise and amuse the younger generation. Some of them called me genius, because they were in pain, too.

Today's kids are also in pain. They see the future as all apocalypses, zombies, and dystopias. Those of us who have been around on this broke-down merry-go-round a few times can do our best to let them know that it doesn't have to be so bad.

Somehow, I've gotten over that pain. The world is in turmoil, and seems to be on the edge of doom (again), but now I see it as the way it is in a complex civilization. Maybe it's the wisdom of age, or the terminal warping of my sense of humor – or brain damage from my life-long quixotic struggle.

Monday, November 3, 2014


©Ernest Hogan 2014

The Krell chip must have been malfunctioning.

"What do you mean, I'm doing it?" I said out loud. "I can't fly a helicopter! I'm not even anywhere near the controls!"

Saguaros giggled out of cyberspace.

"With the chip you can do it with half your brain tied behind your back," Califia said as she removed the televoodoo war helmet, her obsidian eyes flashing like supernovae.

"Your mind isn't the only thing going on in your brain," Obie put his arms around her, "especially with you, now."

"The technology now obeys you." Vampiko leaned into me, flattening out her implants.

"I'm not sure where I end and the technology begins," I said taking hold of her for comfort.

"First you get a chip in your brain," Doc said as Lalaita decreetly swallowed and zipped up his fly for him, "then MTV does Dead at 21, in which their kid with a chip in his brain thinks someone's ripping off his life and making it into a comic book." 
"Maybe it's the wave of the future," said Obie, "the world filling up with kids with chips in their brains, running for their lives."

"That new black magic's got me in its spell,"  Lalaita sang as Doc gnawed on her shoulder.

"Maybe I should sue somebody." My hand was swallowed by Vampiko's artificial paradise. The chip rattled off entities that I could sue.

Obie took his tongue out from the hole in Califia's stretched-out ear lobe.  "Don't bother with governments -- they aren't in control any more."

"They haven't been for a long time."  Califia smiled.  She obviously had her teeth filed to points in Nigeria.

"There are more things on heaven and earth than talked about on the Internet," Vampiko whispered, her fangs brushing my ear.

I noticed that high above us, a spy satellite was tracking me. Reaching through the chip, I turned off its stabilizers, and could soon see it flaming past a porthole, disintegrating high over Phoenix.  With this I didn't need virtual reality. Like my father once told me:  "The street can be cyberspace for people who have lives.”

And did I ever have a life now.

"This is serious brainpan fallout," I said.

"Just what is brainpan fallout, anyway?" asked Vampiko.

"It's what's left after you blow your mind," I said.

"A tasty world," said the chip.

Nearby, saguaros giggled.