by Rudy Ch. Garcia
For varied reasons, when I was growing up in San Anto, one thing set our home off from the others--we read science fiction. My father--the cabrón--assumedly was the precursor of this, though I can't say about my abuelos. The reading of sci-fi (yeah, I know some authors hate the term) continued long after we kicked el cabrón bruto's ass out of the house and began a semi-nomadic life through shanties and the projects. I kept the tradition alive.
I remember when and how I acquired the bug, the one time our sire read us a short story called The Rag Thing. Me and the others were all curled up in the bed with him and listening to this crazy dishrag that turned into a monster and ate the whole town. Actually, the cabrón stopped before the ending and never finished it for us. But we wanted to know how it turned out, so I became the reader from my siblings. Among other genres, I continue reading sci-fi to this day.
At some point in the past I decided to try mi pluma at getting something published. It finally happened this year when cyberpunk founder Rudy Rucker, Sr. accepted the story Last Call for Ice Cream on his personal webzine at Flurb.net.
Here's how Rucker described it:
"Rudy Garcia’s Last Call for Ice Cream is a hypnotic stew of spanglo slanguage, wry and funny, with a special surprise in every sentence, and a renegade view of life in these United States."
Now, when Rudy Rucker likes one of your stories, in the sci-fi world that's a gigantic plus. When your story is rife with "spanglo slanguage," it's a bigger deal because we know how hard it is for the mainstream lit world to accept "latino lit."
El cabrón is dead and can't read the story and there's no doubt some Freudian slivers to this whole thing in my life and this post, but let's set that aside.
When I read the following review of my story, I got surprised, and, sure, offended somewhat:
"The issue ends with Last Call for Ice Cream by Rudy Ch. Garcia, a rambling piece about a guy trying to write a vidscript. It has so much slang that it becomes tiresome very quickly." [by Sam Tomaino]
I guess Tomaino didn't like it much, though I don't know if the slang he refers to is the spanglo slanguage or the English terms I invented. Not to accuse him of monolinguistic prejudice, I put the vato's critique into the realm of no le cai, because to some people maybe the story is "tiresome."
The incident got my brain clicking, wanting to explore some old questions in new ways.
Do Chicanos/latinos read sci-fi? How much, how many? Why don't more? How many are writing sci-fi? Should more latinos be writing it? Why don't we have a bronce version of the Black Science Fiction Society or afroamerican sci-fi mags? Is there some significance to the answer of any of these?
Consider this only the beginning of a series to explore these and other questions that I haven't imagined. I welcome input from anyone--writers, readers, non-latinos, aliens--to see what new directions we might give the topic.
And if you want to add the either side of the critique of my first accepted sci-fi story, make certain you mention Garcia or Rucker, depending on which Rudy you're referring to.
Es todo, hoy
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by Rudy Ch. Garcia