A New Edition From Strange Particle Press . . .

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


Friday, February 16, 2018

CHICANONAUTICA MEETS MARSHAL ENRIQUE



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

DREAMING OF A CENTRAL PLAINS BLACK REPUBLIC



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 SEZ: UNO! DOS! ET CETERA!



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: