“The book American Gods wishes it was.” --Despina Durand

Friday, January 31, 2020

CHICANONAUTICA WHERE THERE BE MONSTERS



Chicanonautica links to a piece wrote for the blog of the publisher of American Monsters Part Two, over at La Bloga.

It's about weird, wonderful Aztlán:


And the weird creatures that live there:


And they're really weird:


And my story is also about a sexy luchadora:

Thursday, January 23, 2020

MARTIAN ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS OF UTAH



After an all-American breakfast at Rustler’s Restaurant, we took off for Escalante where a dinosaur skull, cowboy and Indian stuff, and even a picture of Trump was on display.

Then we went down Highway 12. Wow!


Otherworldly, even for Utah. More Martian than Mars, at least to science fiction imaginations.


Capitol Reef National Park was incredible. The Grand Wash is a grand hike. Also it was a twisty, but more or less a straight line, so we couldn’t get lost. We were blown away and we had only seen part of this erosion-sculpture wonderland.


We stood at the Capitol Reef Inn & Cafe again. Their mural had been touched up since we were last there. I took photos. They also added cool jazz to the mix of mostly New Age music they played in the cafe.


It was more New Age-y, like Sedona, only without the plastic commercialism, not as Mormon as other parts of Utah. “Signs of woo-woo are creeping in there,” Emily commented.


They had an interesting take on huevos rancheros.


Onto Route 95, we headed toward Natural Bridges National Monument. Cherchez le funk! Greedheads be damned! Look at those fantastic rocks!


I got an idea for a song: “Smashed Bugs on the Windshield” to the tune of “Red Sails in the Sunset.”


I mentioned Mars, Emily told me that the creation of a magnetic field would be an important factor in humans trying to live here. Earth’s magnetic field makes it livable. Mars may be too small.


I made note of all for my Paco Cohen, Mariachi of Mars novel.


These are the sort of ideas that come up while passing through this landscape. Psychedelic geology. It would probably be a great place to drop acid, though hallucinations would be redundant. I wouldn’t be surprised if eventually we saw ayahuasca or datura (it grows all over) retreats open up.


Note for Zyx; Or, Bring Me the Brain of Victor Theremin: Have the founder of the tech company Zapoid hiding out at such a retreat.


And then, there it was: Hanksville, and Carl’s Critter Garden with its incredible metal art. We stopped and took a lot of pictures, and put money in the donation box. We also met the guys who own the place. Carl the sculptor died over forty years ago, which explains all the Sixties countercultural references.


Everything had been touched up recently. Good to know that this old-fashioned roadside attraction has a future.


Paco Cohen needs to run into a similar place on Mars. Roadside Attractions of Mars . . . a great title.


There I go, scifi-izing again.


Beyond the Hog Spring Recreation Area, and the Dirty Devil River, at the Natural Bridge National Monument, cryptobiotic soil looked like miniature alien cities.


The fantastic is all over the place here, radiating from deep in the Earth.

Friday, January 17, 2020

CHICANONAUTICA REMEMBERS EL ESPEJO


Chicanonautica reviews El Espejo/The Mirror at La Bloga.

It's a book from 1969:


And Mexican-American:


Or should we say Chicano?


Not to mention literature:

Thursday, January 9, 2020

LOST IN PRAIRIE DOG FAIRYLAND


We pit-stopped at the Maverick gas station. FIRST STEP TO ADVENTURE, according to their signs. They also had murals of cartoony versions of the local landscape all over the place, even in the bathrooms. A sign on the cash register warned: VAPING UNREGULATED THC IS DANGEROUS TO YOUR HEALTH.


There was no parking at Zion National Park. My Lifetime Senior Pass got us in, but we couldn’t stop. Not only were all the spaces around the park filled, but the spaces in the park were filled, too. People staying in the town outside could take a shuttle bus in if they wanted to hike, but we were stuck on the crowded road, only able to stop briefly at a few overlooks.


We were stuck in a a traffic jam, behind German motorcyclists, being fed into tunnels, getting slap-happy and eating Lorna Doones amid the natural beauty and road construction.


Later we went to Coral Pink Sand Dunes, hiked the Martian landscape with yellow plants, and the delicate footprints of tiny, unseen creatures. You have to remind yourself what planet you’re on.


And since we were last there, shiny, new St. George-type dystopian hotels had popped up in and around Kanab. The dastardly neosprawl threatened the funky tributes to the mythic/Hollywood Wild West.


I took more pictures of the murals at the Glaziers Market (part of one I later found out is based on a painting “The Holdup” by Charles M. Russell). And once again, the Lone Ranger watched over us at the Aikens Lodge.


We had Outlaw Burgers at Houston’s Trail’s End, where holsters--with guns--decorated the back wall. Even though a sign warned PLEASED DO NOT TOUCH, an employee told me I could strap one on for a selfie if I wanted. I passed. A Chicano brandishing a six-shooter in a restaurant full of white people, in Utah . . . I didn’t want to risk it.


The next morning, we found that all the restaurants in Kanab with “breakfast” on their signs and menus were still closed at 8 a.m. So we drove past the mountains gnawed on by the oil and natural gas industry, while huge ravens patrolled overhead.


Across the road from a sign announcing buffalo, elk, and alligator jerky, we finally found the Thunderbird Restaurant, “Home of the Ho-Made Pies.” Their Utah-style breakfast burritos were more like wraps, and had lots of potatoes.


On the way to Bryce Canyon National Park, turkey grazed in the fields, and we passed another Galaxy Diner that had a statue of Betty Boop in front of it. In other fields, bison grazed.


Finally, in Bryce, we were hiking amid the hoodoo fairy castles along a trail aptly named the Fairyland Canyon Trail. We were so dazzled that we got lost. Luckily, we were rescued by a nice couple who had Sixties rock playing on their car’s satellite radio. They had gotten lost the day before.


There were PRAIRIE DOG CROSSING SIGNS. I even saw a prairie dog cross.


At the end of the day we settled into a charming, pre-fab log cabin at a motel in Torrey, across the street from Rustler’s Restaurant. A young woman with an Eastern European accent brought us steaks. Muy Americano.

Friday, January 3, 2020

CHICANONAUTICA, CUCA, AND THE MONSTERS OF AZTLÁN



Read an excerpt from my latest story in Chicanonautica, at LaBloga.

It's in American Monsters Part 2:



And features monsters of Aztlán:



And a masked wrestler:


That's a female masked wrestler: