Wednesday, February 14, 2024


The whole 15 Gonzo Science Fiction Stories thing in Guerrilla Mural of a Siren’s Song was a surprise. My publisher got inspired down in San Miguel de Allende.

Sure, why not? I was gonzo before it was cool. In fact, I was gonzo before I ever heard of gonzo. Guess I’m just warped that way. 

I have a perverse relationship with labels. As an Irish Chicano who lived most of his life as a fish out of water, people tend not to know what to make of me. Which means I get called a lot of things. Some of them insulting, what they usually call aliens, outsiders. You name it, I’ve probably been called it.

Some people feel sorry, that I must have been traumatized. No, sticks and stones may break my bones, but words . . . I eat them with every meal, chew them up an spit them out in new, distorted forms, all over the landscape. I survived by cultivating a nasty attitude.

And I laugh at the concept of political correctness.

So, I don’t care what people call me. Those poor bastards, their limited knowledge and experience hasn’t prepared them for encountering a creature like me. Their vocabularies fail them, so they reach for the something they know, that doesn’t fit, but will make a handy placeholder for now . . .

I often let them live with their misconceptions. It gives me the power to, when the time is right, give them a taste of my reality, and blow their minds. I also don’t care that I’m known as a cyberpunk, even though I am not now, nor have I ever been a card-carrying cyberpunk. It gives a rough idea of what I write and gets attention. Once the conversation is started, we can go on from there. 

I was writing things that could be considered gonzo, long before I discovered Hunter S.Thompson. I experimented with creative nonfiction in my notebooks (these days they would be called journals, but I find the word used that way a tad pretentious), inspired by Norman Mailer’s Of a Fire on the Moon when it was serialized in Life and Harlan Ellison’s The Glass Teat as it appeared in the Los Angeles Free Press.

When I finally got around to reading Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, I had been at it for years.

No wonder academics keep seeing me as a successor to Oscar Zeta Acosta.

Eventually, I started using gonzo style and techniques—observing and taking notes on the real world, then reconstructing them into something quite different from straight reportage—in my fiction. It manages to let some truths become self-evident that would have otherwise been missed. It’s also a special kind of vicious fun.

Hell, I’ve even called myself gonzo on occasion. I called my early online serial Brainpan Fallout a cybergonzo thriller in my own flyers.

Another more recent, deliberate experiment in gonzo science fiction appears in Guerrilla Mural of a Siren’s Song: “Uno! Dos! . . . One-Two! Tres! Cuatro!” It’s probably the most gonzo thing I’ve written—so far.

So, yeah, I can be Señor Gonzo Sci-Fi, and teach my online “Gonzo Science Fiction, Chicano Style” class.

The only problem is some people are going to think I’m on drugs, but then if it sells more books . . .

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