WITH MY STORY: "THOSE RUMORS OF CANNIBALISM AND HUMAN SACRIFICE HAVE BEEN GREATELY EXAGGERATED"

Friday, July 30, 2021

CHICANONAUTICA FORGETS THE ALAMO


Actually, it's a Chicanonautica book review, over at La Bloga.


This one is making news:



Fighting the Hollywood myth:



That’s engrained into Americano culture:



Soon folks will be singing a different tune:


Thursday, July 22, 2021

KISMET IN PRESCOTT



Emily and I have been feeling restless lately, the need for impromptu road trips keeps overtaking us. This time, after coffee and quiche at a place I won’t mention because they have been getting too crowded lately, she looked at me and said, “Let’s do something!”


It was as if a djinn was whispering in her ear.


Soon we were on the 89, past Wickenburg. There were still Trump flags dotting the rural landscape. Trump country, with roadside datura.


We ended up in Prescott, poking around the Whiskey Row antique shops, not really expecting to find anything, just fooling around . . .


I was disappointed in a bookshelf where I had found interesting oddities--counterculture relics, ancient pulp fiction, accounts of cannibalism--in the past when Emily blurted out, loud and serious, "Ernie, you have to come over here!"


I rushed over expecting to have to rescue her from some unlikely situation, but there she was in front of another bookshelf. She was pointing to an impressive set of books. It was the 1950 edition, leather bound, of Sir Richard Francis Burton's translation of the Alf Layla wa Layla, or The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, popularly known as The Arabian Nights, with all the fascinating footnotes, and all but one of the supplements. The price was $75 dollars.



I've wanted this set of books ever since I checked volumes from the West Covina Public Library in my 20th century youth. Reading Tahir Shah’s account of acquiring a copy in his own Arabian Nights further stoked that fire, but it was a "one of these days" things. 


Now that I'm a Medicare card carrying senior citizen, I realize that putting things off can mean it will probably never happen. I didn't hesitate. The incomplete set was very soon mine.


Kismet was in the air.

 

Then we went to lunch to celebrate. Whoopie!

 

We had ordered, but before our meal could be cooked, it was announced that there was a computer outage, and the restaurant would only be able to accept cash. We didn't have enough cash for what we ordered.



I hung out at our table while Emily did a run to the nearest ATM. She came back empty-handed. The outage had knocked out the internet in the entire city of Prescott.


If it had happened about an hour earlier, I wouldn’t have been able to make my purchase.


Guess it was just meant to be.


Luckily, they let us change our order to something that took just about all of the few bills the two of us had on us.


Somehow, we made it home without running out of gas.


Later, I did some Googling I found out that complete sets go for around $400. Copies of single volumes are about $30. 


I’ll have to keep an eye out for the missing volume, but that just gives me another excuse to go out and have more adventures.


Friday, July 16, 2021

CHICANONAUTICA SEEKS ATLANTEAN-BRAZILIAN WHITE PEOPLE

 

That’s right, in Chicanonautica, at La Bloga . . .


Down South American way:



Evidence of strange things from a long time ago:



In the Amazon:



Is there an Atlantis connection?


Thursday, July 8, 2021

TERRIBLES, FOUR AND COUNTING . . .

 


Another Ishmael Reed novel! Why aren't people dancing in the streets?


They were just celebrating Juneteenth without masks, but dammit, the release of a new novel by the last man standing of America’s literary 1960s generation shouldn’t get lost in the interweb media shuffle. It’s also the continuation of his Terribles series, a futuristic caricature of modern America and an attack on Christmas--the season when bookstores make most of their money--and how it's central to western civilization. What more can you ask for in these apocalyptic times when transformation is the order of the day, every day?


Yes, NeoHoodooism is alive and well. It’s also Afrofuturistic, and Afrosurrealistic. Science fiction is just a small part of what’s going on here, and it doesn’t trip over itself like a sci-fi nerd stumbling onto the dance floor. It plugs into the myths that run our lives, our world.


It shows how even during the absurd Trump era, Ishmael Reed had no trouble coming up with material more outrageous than the evening news. This church and business-friendly dystopia would actually be appealing to some right-wingers. It goes beyond the Book of Revelations.


Not to commit a spoiler, but Nance Saturday turns out to me more than he appears to be.



In preparation, I reread The Terrible Twos and The Terrible Threes, and couldn’t help noticing that these books, like all of Ishmael Reed’s fiction, aren’t structured like conventional fiction. We don’t see the shootouts, chases, and sex/love scenes that all good bestselling pageturners are supposed to have. The Terribles are more like jazz (a blurb from Max Roach says: “. . . the Charlie Parker of American fiction”), and visual art with variations on themes and information-rich, complex compositions like those of Hieronymous Bosch, Diego Rivera, and cartoonists like Jack Davis, Will Elder, Spain Rodriguez, and S. Clay Wilson.

 

He did learn cartooning while writing his novel Juice!, in which the main character is a cartoonist. He illustrated Fours photo-montage cartoons.


And of course, it’s not static like a painting or mural; these tableaus move in long paragraphs and short chapters that set the skull spinning.


Then there's all those weird characters, all talking and acting out bizarre scenarios.


You can’t read these books too fast, you’ll miss the hilarious details, often several ideas on a page that other writers would use for entire novels.

 

Dare I imagine all the Terribles as an animated miniseries that send Netflix and Amazon into a bidding war?


Meanwhile, The Terrible Fives is in the works . . .


Friday, July 2, 2021

CHICANONAUTICA ASKS IF A CHICANO CAN BE MAINSTREAM

 


Chicanonautica, at La Bloga, asks if a Chicano can be mainstream.


Yes, there are Chicano writers.




Could one write the Great American Novel?



Should they write science fiction?



And for those of you who want advice on writing: