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ATOMIK AZTEX BY SESSHU FOSTER
Audacious, bodacious, hyperenergetic, imaginative, imagistically generous, interacting alt-realities, porous borders between eras.
Reminded me of Philip K. Dick (The Man in the High Castle), ultraviolent voice-driven Vollmanny pyrotechnics, Ishmael Reed (Flight to Canada, Mumbo Jumbo), with mucho “Junot Diaz” spanglish, vato.
Slaughterhouses and sacrifices.
Really dense at times — sometimes hard to read before bed therefore.
A few hundred hard returns, especially in long stretches of paragraphless dialogue, would’ve made this more accessible without too much compromise?
Dozens of LOLs and snickers/sounds thanks to aforementioned audacity.
Riveting battles between Aztecs and Nazis.
Unannoyingly political, with suggestions of Mexican immigrant life in LA and American Empire.
Really just a fantastic historical inversion, high concept that keeps the bar really high for maybe 170 of its 203 pages.
Felt like the end sort of fizzled, keeping me from rating it the full five stars, but I may have missed something and should probably go back and investigate.
Highly recommended to most literate human beings, especially those up for something a little challenging but wholly rewarding and inspiring.
Despite the unexpectedly semianticlimatic ending (I really expected the Aztex would drop an A-bomb on the Nazis or something super-sensationalist like that), it’s still the most enjoyable novel I’ve read in a while.
A total mindfugg.
Forever after at http://eyeshot.net/sesshufoster_atomikaztex.html
Out of Order
3′ -7′ -77″
You studied the drop from the trail fifty to seventy feet straight into the river shallows, studied the light shining on the East Fork of the San Gabriel River flowing under spring white alder, rough pink and mauve igneous slopes crumbling into the gorge, behind me you were studying these as I was looking over them, to study the refracted sunshine and what it had to say, with blonde yucca spears gone to seed and the blackened dead yucca spears cracked pods empty many months in winter, as if we walked together (you as much as I) walked the trail high above the river pouring through boulders in a gravelly bed, looked upon these things together: while I studied these things—we were talking—your voice was with me still—wherever you went about that wild life of yours.
I meant to send you the leading edge of the breeze. I surely had intention. It went sore, split in half—half went shining in the south. Tip my nonexistent hat NW, NE. I discussed our last conversation in dreams, as reflections. I saw you going—no expectation. The aspirin’s in my backpack. Phrasing froze white across the San Gabriel mountains. Fresh pungency of familiar hesitant silence, I was fingering the chard, the mustard greens, kale and endive. Sent out a couple emails on business. Flicked the seashell of a shared notion. If I was walking a hundred miles, I might feel it. Random people talking everywhere inform me they don’t know you, they don’t feel you, they couldn’t say. After they melt, these numbers flash in colors. As they turn to ash, pitting the skin and clothes, finally you taste them.
There’s a grove of trees on the hill in Hazard Park. Fir trees and some eucalyptus trees and a California fan palm grow on top of the hill, where somebody slept under the tall fir every night for half a year, rising before 9 AM. The trolley line once ran through the wash on this side, but the tracks were torn out maybe a decade ago. The sun rises behind that hill. My friends have gone around the other side of the hill, Reine and Julia and others went around the other side of the hill, summer thunder storms and winter rains went down behind the hill, JFK and RFK, Kruschev and Che, the Space Race and the War on Poverty, Richard Diebenkorn and Abstract Expressionism and whoever it was who used to sleep under the great fir tree has been gone for years. And the sun comes up over the hill.
They wished to be the school of white children nestled on the open hillside green under a blustery sky.
They wished to be nobody ’cause
They wished to
They wished they had been born to the producers of famous violence.
They wished they had seen the inside of the hill.
They wished to gravitate toward the nicest kinds of intimate apparel.
They wished they were instead the Chinese artisan carving one ornate piece of ivory or jade for their entire lives then passing it unfinished to the next generation to continue their intricate devotion to the project for the emperor.
They wished to be shuddering of the plastic bag wrapped around a wind.
They wished to be held in the fastness of the eye.
They wished to be held in the emptiness of the eye.
They wished to be thousands upon thousands of bags of tissue supposedly incinerated before the landfill.
They wished they would soon be able to speak, to open their eyes, to receive visitors.
Ear rings twinkling like little stars going around everywhere winking eyes and furry eyebrows like damp dog noses
A bunch of flowers delivering silent nods, magazines full of the chill dusty wind down Houston Street New York City
Faceted stones beside the highway sparkling in the long line of headlights all night streaming to and from Vegas
Fears thrown into a field like flash lights and little sounds in a cloud of soft noise like a happy river
Days float overhead like cottonwood leaves across summer skies, the money is sliced and folded
Streets peeled like bolsas negras de plastico, orejas like drugstores and donut shops and muffler repair
Dientes all the way to the bone like passing street lamps, clothes flapping us and wrapping us
In their Old Worlds, probably the flashing darkness smells of women, probably like the glass
Where everything shines
Don’t bother me when I’m texting, I can’t read those tiny screens. My music is blasting—I don’t hear you, your face looks like Part Systems Failure. Certain death? And what of it? I got stuff to do. See, this shit tells me what to do. Supposedly you think you know me, you know something about me, something I need to know? Really who are you? I can’t even imagine. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Why are you bothering me, High Tension Lines, what’s it to you? WTF. This is how I drive in snow flurries outside Gallup.