A New Edition From Strange Particle Press . . .

Thursday, November 29, 2018

CYBERPUNK FROM FRANCE



I’m always on the lookout for science fiction from outside the Norteamerico English-speaking zone. Sci-fi pretends to span galaxies and has been flirting with Chinese imports and Afrofuturism, but in reality most of it is still by and about white people who are a fraction of the U. S. of A. How do people squeeze their minds into those cramped, little worlds?

So I decided to give H+ incorporated, the first novel in English by French author Gary Dejean, a go.
 
I’m also curious about what Europeans are thinking about the future, even though I’ve started to think of cyberpunk as an artifact from the twentieth century, but then these days it’s becoming a short term for the expanding world of transhumanism, and other developments.

H+ incorporated delivers the c-punk goods. We get humans incorporating technologies into their bodies--we might even say their souls--and young people struggling to survive in dystopian future, that shows the cyberculture is becoming global and there is a lot of resentment and anger about the mess the older generations (mine included) have made of the world.

There wasn’t any of the Francofuturism I was hoping for, but it is implied that the young people of France have a taste for marijuana as well as angst.

Also, cyberpunk that goes back to good ol’ 1984 has developed from a revolutionary movement into a venerable, even respected genre.

Dejean does give it a fresh slant, fusing transhumanist body augmentation with fast and furious action, and a gorehound sensibility that moves at a pace that will satisfy readers who grew up playing video games.

I admire the professionalism of it, even though I had some minor gripes, but then I read in the author bio that H+ incorporated was adapted from a screenplay that Dejean is trying to get produced. Again, professionalism.

What I took for lazy writing--characters who are only referred to as the rasta, the Latino, and the Japanese are questionable in a traditional novel, but common practice in screenplays. That and setting it Manila, in the Philippines, but not providing details to make the reader feel it is screenplayese.

This isn’t a traditional novel, but I do love the novelistic detail. It makes for a better reading experience.

Gary Dejean is writing for the brave, new improved world. Old farts like me should pay attention.

Friday, November 23, 2018

CHICANONAUTICA TASTES GUAJOLOTE CON MAN CORN


In honor of Día de los Guajolotes, Chicanonautuica reviews a book called Man Corn, over at La Bloga.

It's about mysterious activities around Chaco Canyon:


Involving disarticulation:


And body processing:



So be thankful!

Friday, November 16, 2018

DONALD JESUS TRUMP IN THE YEAR 2034


I laughed when I saw it. Usually, books with titles like America 2034: Utopia Rising are awful--political tracts disguised as fiction. Sometimes they’re weird enough to be unintentionally hilarious. With the midterm election nearing and body count rising, I could some sicko laughter.

Then I read the blurb on the back. Futurist satire? Donald Jesus Trump? Force fields? The United Enterprises of America? I bought it.

After all, these are sicko times.

Besides, it begins with a character named Winston Smith (born in 1984) needing to take a piss. When I start a book with a scene like that, I’m setting that mood for irreverent shenanigans . But then that’s me . . .

I was bowled over by the torrent of craziness. I was reminded of my reading of new wave speculative fiction back in the Nixon years. Jonathan Greenburg has a wild imagination and keeps the weirdness coming hot and heavy.

Not only is there the United Enterprises of America, a Trump-centric, sociopathic fascist/corporate state, but also the United Peoples of America, a “Wetopia” held together by the telepathic effects of the hallucinogenic plant ayahuasca. A dystopia and a utopia--in conflict-- presented at the same time.

The Enterprises is a fiendish and brutal riff on what America under Trump could become. It's grotesque to the point that even a lot of Trump haters would be offended. Real policies and beliefs are taken to horrifying extremes. I won't go into any details, but it, like Trump, boldly goes into Adults Only underground comix territory.


Too bad he has no shame and is immune to satire!

On the other side, the Peoples seems to be based on conservatives fear and believe about liberals. It consists of the “Left Coast,” separated from the Enterprises by a force field technology and connected to a drug-induced We Are All One philosophy. Would Elon Musk, Larry Page, and Eric Snowden buy into what is essentially a mind-control cult?

If Greenburg is making a point about polarization and the dangers of cult-thinking--Trump’s appeal is that of a cult leader--it’s so subtle I missed it, and there isn't that much subtlety in this novel. 

I’m reminded of hippy-dippy naiveté circa 1969: “Like, wow, man, if we could just slip Nixon some acid, he’d see the light, and bring the troops back from ‘Nam, y’know?” I’m pretty sure that Hunter Thompson, William Burroughs, Abbie Hoffman, and even Timothy Leary would have laughed.

But I’m not sure if Greenburg is going for laughs here. His publisher is called Informing to Empower Media, which is straight out of the novel. Could it all be a “things go better with ayahuasca” commercial?

No matter. It's fucking bizarre. So much so that it manages be stranger than the latest headlines, which is quite an accomplishment.

I just hope that in a few years, we’ll be laughing at how outrageous it is, rather than being amazed over its accurate predictions. 

. . . I wrote the above before the midterms, and headlines are getting even stranger. There's a whole lot of meltdown and disintegration going on. My laughter gets even more sicko.

Friday, November 9, 2018

CHICANONAUTICA JUDGES EXTRA-FICTION AND BEYOND


Chicanonautica is about my judging the Somos en escrito Extra-Fiction writing contest, over at La Bloga.

Latinoids always bring something extra to their writing:



Because we come from different cultures:


But now, it's different:


And we've become the future: