Orc Gusano – Transcript

Listen to the episode here. 

Raquel: Welcome to Rite Gud, the podcast that helps you write good. I’m Raquel Benedict, the most dangerous woman in speculative fiction. A few months ago we read Marge Piercy’s 1976, novel Woman on the Edge of Time for our book club. The main character of the novel is Mexican American, and the author is a non-Latinx white woman.

And unfortunately, sometimes in the book that shows. It’s a little [00:01:00] clunky in parts. It’s a really good book. I highly recommend it. And I’m not saying this to disrespect Marge Piercy, but there are a few moments in the book where I felt it was really glaringly obvious that this was a well-meaning white lady writing a book about a Chicano character.

But while I was reading this, I started to ask myself, “has Latinx representation in American sci-fi and fantasy really gotten any better since that book was written almost 50 years ago?” And the answer is, I’m not so sure. I don’t know. So today we’re talking about this with Karlo Yeager Rodriguez of Pod Side Picnic and Jay Hawking.

Thank you both for coming on.

Karlo: Yeah. And I still have stuff to say about Women at the– No, no, I

Raquel: No, we talked for two hours. We’re done.

Karlo: Thanks for having me back.

Raquel: Thanks for coming back.

Jay Hawking: Thanks for having me [00:02:00] on.

Raquel: Yes. Thank you to first time guest, Jay. So both of you, uh, really, really wanted to, to be on. I, Jay, you were super interested in this topic. Can you talk about why?

Jay Hawking: I remember you posting on the Discord, you were proposing it to Karlo and I was immediately interested because I’m Latina. I’m trying to dip my feet into actually publishing sci-fi and fantasy. And it’s a bit, it’s very fun trying to publish stuff because you get a bunch of notes saying like, “oh, what does this mean?”

Or “No, you shouldn’t include that,” and it’s really great not being able to really include elements of my own culture in it. Like for context, I’m Mexican American. I grew up on the US Mexico border, and I have a lot of very specific bits of flavor like to add to my writing that doesn’t really mesh well.

Raquel: Now just just for reference, before we go, before we dive in, we are deliberately in this episode focusing on English language [00:03:00] markets for sci-fi fantasy fiction, because first of all, that’s what we’re all working in. And secondly, English language publication has an immense, immense, immense global reach.

It’s read all over the world. So that’s what we’re focusing on.

Karlo: To perhaps expand upon your point, Raquel, like, there are fan run online magazines or zines in Spain, in Argentina, in Chile, where when I look them up, they’re, they are translating the stuff that gets awards or is nominated for awards here.

Raquel: No.

Karlo: Yes, yes, absolutely.

Raquel: Oh no,

Jay Hawking: that sucks.

Raquel: that’s depressing.

Karlo: but I think it, it really, drives home your point that, I think I had mentioned this before, before we started recording, but I do think that there is a certain amount of soft power that is extended. I, I don’t think it’s [00:04:00] necessarily like, you know, Clarkesworld or, you know, I don’t know, Uncanny or, or whomever.

I don’t think that they’re thinking about that, but it is a cultural output, right?

Raquel: Yeah. Yeah. I’m gonna say I don’t think any of this is on purpose. Deliberate. I don’t think that the majority of editors and writers in English language sff are rubbing their hands together, cackling going “MUAHAHA we’re going to oppress Latinos on purpose.” I don’t think that’s happening, but I think there’s a lot of unconscious biases.

And centrist liberal, centrist white, non-Hispanic liberals have a lot of subconscious or unconscious biases and misconceptions about Latinos or Latines or Hispanic? I don’t, I don’t, I don’t fucking care which term you use. I truly don’t care. I do not care. A friend asked me, “oh, should I say Latines?” I’m like, I don’t, I don’t care.

I, it does not matter. But[00:05:00]

Jay Hawking: but

Raquel: I don’t think it’s conscious or deliberate. But I think that a lot of the, the low level sort of background radiation issues in our culture at large get into publishing despite a lot of lip service to diversity, despite a lot of statements about wanting to be diverse and inclusive and socially, just there’s some problems.

But before we dive into that too much, why don’t we just start off a little bit by talking about the pitfalls of Latinx or Latine or Hispanic as an identity in and of itself. To call someone Latinx, that’s a really, really broad category. That’s encompassing more than one continent of people, like one and a half continents full of people.

So there’s no way that you’re gonna have one identity that really perfectly[00:06:00] describes everybody in it with any degree of, uh… not in a way that’s perfect for sure.

Karlo: Yeah. Yeah. I, I, I also think that for purposes of explaining exactly what it is. And to your point, it’s not only, uh, nationalities, but it, it also intersects, uh, at the very least three different, what we’d call racial categories. And granted, I, I don’t believe, I think we may all be in agreement that we, we probably don’t believe that these racial categories being invented by, by white people in general are, are not really that real until you come to the sort of the socioeconomic implications and effects of that.

And a lot of that just ends up being marginalization for the most part.

Raquel: Right.

Jay Hawking: Even within that, there’s a lot of, there’s just a lot of internal dynamics as well as you were mentioning, in terms of discrimination within various Hispanic communities. Like I know when I was born, my grandmother, her [00:07:00] family was mostly blonde, blue-eyed.

She wasn’t, so she grew up with that sort of marginalization. And then when she saw, when she saw I was born, she said, she said “very, very dark,” like she said “mucho negro” not necessarily as a disparagement, but also I’m guessing just because it’s sort of like that sort of fear of “oh great, I got shit because I was darker when I was young.

This one’s also gonna get some shit for it as well.”

Karlo: Mm-hmm.

Raquel: Yeah. Yeah. When my mother married my dad, my grandparents were thrilled, not cuz he was a really, really nice guy with a good future, but because he was blonde. And they said, “oh shit, you’re gonna give us white grandkids, I’m so happy.” That’s what they were happy about.

Karlo: Raquel, you, you say that, and I don’t know if I mentioned there’s a Ruben Blades song about, the, basically the entire, the entirety of the song is that the daughter of a well-to-do family has run off with the, the, the trumpet player in a band, like in a local band.

And, basically they’re [00:08:00] very, they would’ve preferred if she had run off with a different band member because he was blonde and they’d have blonde kids, and those kids would have, I think there’s even a, a line in the song, and they’d have blonde hair, blonde, uh, skin, blonde teeth, everything.

It would be blonde. It is just, it’s, it’s such a funny song, because he’s sort of really taking the piss out of the entire thing. Jay, as you were saying that, I, I am myself, I’m very, very much white presenting. But, I do remember my mom just frankly telling me that when she was a kid, her great-grandmother who was black and my grandmother was not white- white, she was probably light-skinned. Basically both of them told her that, and became very upset when she would go out with guys who were dark-skinned. And they were, and she was advised too, in Spanish “No dañes la raza.”

Karlo: I didn’t understand it when I was a kid. And now I think about it and I’m just [00:09:00] completely horrified.

It’s just, it’s so bad.

Jay Hawking: Yeah. That’s pretty fucking bad. On the other side of my family, my great-grandfather was Chinese, and they had a very fun time in Mexico in the 1920s, I’ll tell you that.

Raquel: Mm.

Karlo: Mm,

Raquel: Yeah, that was not a great time.

Jay Hawking: Yeah. As it turns out, um, apparently Mexicans really didn’t like East Asian people to the point where they can have carried out a few pogroms.

Raquel: Uh,

Jay Hawking: Yeah.

Raquel: So to bring it back all together, for those of you listeners who are, who are not Latine, please understand that having Latine as an identity is very vague and very faulty and very messy. Latinos aren’t all the same. There are massive racial, political and class distinctions within Latin America.

There are national distinctions. The political needs and ideals of someone from Mexico are very different from the political desires and ideals of someone from [00:10:00] Puerto Rico. For just one very small example, like the issue of immigration is, is gonna be very different for you if you’re born in Mexico versus if you’re born in Puerto Rico.

If you’re Puerto Rican, because Puerto Rico is a US colony, you have American citizenship already. So a lot of that stuff about immigration and ICE is just not personally relevant to you for the most part. So that’s just one little example. So we’re starting off by acknowledging that smashing so many people together into this one, umbrella–

and that is a very bad analogy because I’m mixing metaphors here– is very, very, very faulty. And I don’t think a lot of non-Latino people realize that. I, I don’t think they understand that it’s not all the same. And that when you try to treat this massive, massive, diverse collection of people, as though they’re all the same, you end up erasing a lot of [00:11:00] distinctions and being a little bit, well being rather stereotypical and being a little ignorant.

So please, please try to understand this.

So let’s move on and talk about publishing a little bit. Now, this is an era that touts itself in, in sci-fi, in fantasy publishing as very diverse and very progressive. We love hashtag own voices. We uplift diverse voices. So given that, why is it so hard to sell a Latin American sci-fi story in an English language market?

Because I’ve seen this with my own work, and I’ve seen this with the work of friends, of Latin American sci-fi and fantasy writers. Karlo, y y you, your story “Vanishing” was rejected like 30 times or something, I understand. And it’s a fucking great story.

Karlo: Thanks. Uh, I think it was like 19, but

I might [00:12:00] be Yeah. No, no. It’s, it’s good. I mean, uh, I think the other one, the, the one that came out last year, towards the end of the year, ” All Good Children Come Out to Play.” that one actually got close to that number, like, I think 29 times.

Jay Hawking: Ouch.

Raquel: And it’s a terrific story. These are both really, really, really good stories. I know you had a lot of trouble placing, “How Juan Bobo Got to Nueba York”,

Karlo: Mm-hmm.

Raquel: and, and again, that was, that was, story’s a fucking banger. I read and I’m like, shit, this is really good.

Karlo: Th thanks. I mean, uh, I th I think the, the, I mean, I, I, I don’t know what to say, but thanks. But, but honestly, I, I think to a certain extent, I may have mentioned this before, so forgive me if I’m, I’m repeating myself, not on this recording, but I’ve mentioned this in other places that I do feel like, it, it’s just something that, again, the, the, the assumption that re [00:13:00] the readership isn’t interested in specific details about different places is just so wild to me.

Because on the one hand, you’ll have people say, “I read to escape” and we can quibble about how that escape happens, right? But at the same time, like when I was young, my escape, and, and to this day, my escape a lot of the time is like, I wanna read about places that I, that I’ve never been to and feel like I’m there,

Raquel: Yeah, I love that shit.

Karlo: It feels like a lot of current, the current crop of fiction, especially in SF, is very sort of devoid of that. I go back and forth on it because on, on the one hand I understand that if you’re writing about another country they likely have a lot of the same stuff.

They live in the modern world. It’s not like people are living in caves or anything like that, necessarily. But, but, there might be shopping malls. It’s just that the names are different. Or [00:14:00] the, the, the franchises. There might be a McDonald’s, but then there’s also like the McDonald’s may have weird menu items and there might be another franchise that’s more local, you know, or more, more of a regional thing that we’ve, a US person has never heard of.

So these are details that I feel for me, draw me in, because if you can sort of fully flesh out and realize that place. Um, and in S F F, we have places that may never exist, that have never existed. So I feel like there’s a, a, a weird dearth of description, uh, sensuality, you know, like using the senses to draw you in.

It’s just very strange. Um, and, and it’s

Jay Hawking: little bit stiff, oh, go ahead. Sorry.

Karlo: No, no, no. I think you’re, you’re absolutely correct. It is a very stiff, and, and also weirdly, I don’t know, it doesn’t feel like it’s taking place anywhere.

Raquel: Well, it feels kind of [00:15:00] like an M C U movie where it’s very shot in a green cube with a background pasted on there and you don’t really interact with the background. And it’s a very vague background. Everything seems to take place in the same green cube land and it, and it’s frustrating because I love that in stories.

I love that in movies. I mean, any of us, anyone who, who’s watched a Studio Ghibli film, some of the stuff that’s really fun is just seeing people’s interiors in their homes and, and seeing, “oh, oh, that’s, that’s a Japanese kitchen. Okay, yeah. They’ve got this, they got that, and that’s,”

Karlo: “How, how they make food.”

Raquel: How they make food or just the little details of like, oh yeah, taking the shoes off. You got your pile of slippers right there. All these nice little things and, and it’s really cozy and personal and intimate, and there’s this lack of that kind of intimacy, a lack of sensuality and physicality in SFF in general that ties to it.

But I, I think there’s a part too that there’s a disinterest in [00:16:00] that, and in general it, I feel like there’s a disinterest in Latinx authors or Latinx stories that don’t fit a certain narrow image. There’s a specific thing that American audiences, or at least American publishers, think that American audiences want.

And if you’re not doing that, fuck you.

Jay Hawking: America,

Karlo: Right.

Raquel: maybe you get published and you have some trouble with it too. Like, uh, I, I, I don’t really talk too much about my own background in, in most of my stories, but I did manage to publish this novella, “All of Me.” And I managed to get it published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

And I was proud of it, but I was really shocked by how mixed a lot of reviews were to it. A how a lot of people didn’t get what it was about. Cuz a lot of it was about Latin America, well, specifically Puerto Rico and Puerto Rico’s really awful relationship, let’s call it, with the United States. And like a lot of people reacted really negatively [00:17:00] to it.

And I was kind of surprised.

Karlo: If, if, and I don’t wanna, talk myself up here, but, but, you know,

Raquel: No, do it. Do it, Karlo!

Karlo: But part of, part of my, part of my own feelings and, and ambivalence, right? About having, because of that same relationship that the US has with Puerto Rico and the fact that the housing market tanked and, you know, suddenly, before the housing market had tanked, Puerto Rico is already like laying off thousands of government workers.

Which, let’s be clear here. This is completely shock doctrine type stuff, right? Whenever, whenever you get, government, uh, employees getting laid off, that’s basically you’re, you’re essentially hobbling that that economy, in part because government jobs are a redistribution of wealth and

Raquel: Oh, absolutely. Like the, the thing with that the US did with [00:18:00] LUMA, so maybe we should talk about that in a little

Karlo: Oh yeah.

Raquel: to to make a long story short, the USA kind of killed Puerto Rico’s national, nationalized electrical grid and replaced it with this private US Canadian company called LUMA.

And LUMA laid off the Puerto Rican workers and was rehiring. And one of the hiring requirements for any of the decent paying positions was that you must be a native English speaker. So it’s very clearly, this is very clearly a bias saying “we’re not gonna hire Puerto Ricans for any of the good jobs.”

They laid off a shitload of Union

Jay Hawking: Yeah.

Raquel: Puerto Rican workers.

Karlo: because the energy company in Puerto Rico, we can have criticisms of it, but, but the main thing that I wanna get to is that, it was a public utility. It was publicly owned. It was owned by the government. And, you know, basically the putting Luma in there after Hurricane Maria was essentially a way to break the [00:19:00] back of one of the most powerful unions in on the island.

They couldn’t just lay them off. They needed to find spaces for them within other government agencies, a lot of them. But I mean, like you were trained in electrical and, and line work or whatever, what, what are you gonna be doing in the Department of Education, you

Raquel: Yeah.

Jay Hawking: Yeah.

Karlo: Part of Juan Bobo was my own sort of ambivalence about having to leave because the economy tanked. And on top of that, like, when I got here, or before, slightly before I got here, it was an amazing move, right? I always like, I, I joke about it, but it’s really, it, it made me bitter that, whenever I think about the financial review board, that the, locally is called la Junta, which they are, I mean, they, they can sort of just veto public works because it’s too expensive.

Mainly because after everything was said and done, this is prior to Maria. So I, I wanna make sure that the [00:20:00] timeline’s correct here. Essentially, after the US has extracted a lot of money out of Puerto Rico, they decided, “well, you know what? You need to pay us back.” I think it’s 72 billion. Um, and honestly, that’s, that just completely, that that was what caused a lot of the, the major layoffs. Like I believe anywhere between 15,000 to 30,000 government employees were laid off before I left the island.

Jay Hawking: And over here on the border with, over here by the border with Mexico, there’s a lot of very… It takes a, it takes different form, but you’re still all the same sort of feeling of, okay, there’s not a lot of economic opportunity here. If you want a chance at having a half-decent living, you’re kind of forced to leave.

Like if you go into higher, if you get into academia, if you get into most other things, you have to go. The one exception though is it’s because I live by a military base and there’s a bunch of military industrial complex shit [00:21:00] in my area. So the option is, “hey, if you go into STEM and you kind of wanna stay here in the town, well congratulations can work for a fucking military contractor.

Congratulations. You get to test missiles and shit.” And that, that’s where my local university, it’s mostly local students, and I was in physics originally, and that’s where most of my physics department went after graduation. Not a lot of opportunities elsewhere. You’re not gonna, you don’t have an astounding a physics degree.

You’re not getting into grad school. Congratulations. You work for Lockheed Martin now, and it’s just fucking bleak.

Raquel: To, to have to work building weapons of empire for the empire that’s slowly swallowing you. It’s not a good feeling.

Jay Hawking: It feels especially pressure on the border when you can, when there’s a literal physical divider you can look at and be like, “okay, okay. Every, like if I commute takes me that way, I get to drive by a fucking giant [00:22:00] fence for over, so 20 minutes joy.”

Raquel: Yeah. Basically when you tell stories that explore this side of things, they’re a harder sell. Stories about discrimination within the USA in very sort of soft discrimination or cultural discrimination tend to sell better, but stories about things like imperialism really, really, really, really don’t sell well.

Stories where the, where “let’s hug and be friends” isn’t the solution are a much, much harder sell. And in general, there’s sort of this, this image that the USA likes for Latin America or certain parts of Latin America, like Puerto Rico is the fun place you go on vacation and stories that aren’t that are gonna have a harder time. Mexico, that’s Day of the Dead, that’s the pretty sugar skulls.

If that’s not in your story, than you’re gonna have a harder time selling it.

Jay Hawking: Or it’s like a search for gold or some shit, find the [00:23:00] ancient Aztec or Mayan Temple filled with gold.

Karlo: Or you get the yellow filter scare, scary place. It’s a scary place where all the cartels are.

Jay Hawking: I have a lot of umbrage with that one because it’s the city I live next to, it’s because it’s a cross border community.

The city I live next to is at as at several points being serve one the murder capitals of the world. But even then, you can go there and visit and chances are nothing’s gonna happen. A few months ago I was, my semi Ros were in town, so we just crossed over one day and grabbed lunch there and it was very like, this is the scary place.

It’s very fun seeing, seeing that’s just Mexico in general kind of reduce that. It, I, it’s very fun.

Raquel: And, and I need to express that this isn’t just us. I mean, we’re, we’re not big names, authors or anything, but Sylvia Moreno Garcia, who wrote Mexican Gothic, says she’s had a hell of a hard time pitching novels set in Mexico to American publishers. Like Mexican Gothic, her [00:24:00] publishers balked.

They said no one would buy a gothic novel set in Mexico. Well, guess what fuckers? Like a shitload of people bought Mexican Gothic. It was great. It did pretty well. It was really popular. She also had to fund the publication of her novella Prime Meridian on Indiegogo.

Karlo: Mm-hmm.

Raquel: She had to self-fund to publish her book.

Karlo: I, I helped get that . I did my part, mainly because I was interested in reading it and, and really it’s one of the best, for the year that it came out, it was possibly one of the best things I’d read. But I think to your, to your earlier point, because it presents sort of Mexico, like living in Mexico City, an economically disadvantaged sort of gig worker, an older actress, and it’s all very melancholic and at the end, the main character’s trying to get to Mars, like the idea is that she’s trying to get to Mars.

And the, the actress that she slowly develops first a business and then a, and a [00:25:00] genuine friendship with, and she leaves her some money before she, she passes, once she was a B movie actress for the Mexican cinema specifically, like I think she had some roles where she was the queen of Mars.

And it’s, it’s brilliant and it’s bittersweet and melancholic. And I think that that just doesn’t sell because, I think most, especially us audiences want happy stories where things, things end well, and they went like, I think one of the criticisms that I, I remember hearing about was, “well, no, we don’t know whether she made it to Mars.”

And it’s like, yeah, that’s the point.

Jay Hawking: I’ve noticed that bit as well with some of my own writing where I, I like to focus it on really depressing things, not necessarily depressing things, but just focus on melancholic shits. Like across the border, they’re these things called maquiladoras. They’re factories, and they’re really bad for the environment locally, and they’re fucking horrifying to read about.

And I’ve, I’ve [00:26:00] used somehow with some of my own writing and I’ve shared it with some people, and they’re just the fictionalized elements of it. And then I have to tell them, I’m sorry, but what I’m depicting is somehow not even as bad as what’s actually going on there. Like in the neighboring city over the course of a few years, it was saying about 200 children were born without brains because of the maquiladoras.

Yeah. Yeah. I’m sorry, this is distressing. But also I don’t, I don’t go into how bad it actually is.

Karlo: Yeah. This, yeah, it’s, it is one of those things where you go like, yeah, that, that’s not the speculative element. That’s real.

Raquel: Yeah. Geez. So let’s talk a little bit about what the image is that sells in US sci-fi and fantasy. What is the image that they kind of want, and it feels like it’s a happy image. It’s a very consumable image [00:27:00] that often is, is related to food. Like Latin Americans are the people who make the food you like to eat.

And, and in a way, Latin American people and Latin American culture is itself a consumable object. There’s this really amazing instance of, uh, for Hispanic Heritage Month, DC Comics released a series of comic book covers that was literally just their costumed heroes holding burritos.

Jay Hawking: Oh my God.

Karlo: bag, a bag of tamales.

Jay Hawking: Yeah.

Karlo: the, the green, the Green Lantern character. They changed it from him holding a Mexican flag to just a, a generic flag that said, what was it? Was it Viva

Raquel: a green flag with Viva Mexico written on it. Like you– they already have a flag! You don’t need to write Mexico on a generic flag! Mexico already has one of those!

Jay Hawking: They had it in the original art as well. And they also got rid of shit like there was a green projection that Mexican Eagle on the [00:28:00] original one. That was really neat. But then it’s like, yeah, no, no, we’re just giving a bag of tamales

Raquel: It’s really, really bad.

Karlo: It’s, it’s amazing. It’s really like totally

Raquel: here to, we’re here to give you food. That’s what we’re here to do. We’re here to feed you. We’re here to put stuff in your belly. That’s that’s why we exist,

Karlo: You mentioned that and I remembered, was it the, was it in the 2016 that they were talking about like, “ah, haha, taco truck on every corner.” That’s

Jay Hawking: that’s what I was gonna bring up. Yeah,

Karlo: oh, God. And it’s one of these things where you’re like, on the one hand, you’re like, yeah, okay, yeah, yeah, that should be true.

But also, hold on. Is that the only way that you think of Latine people? What, what the fuck?

Jay Hawking: yeah, like if I’m correctly, the context was originally like, I think it was, it was, it was one of the Republican candidates, like some advisor to him that originally went that, originally it was a piss take on that guy’s statements, but then some people have since started taken a bit more seriously, [00:29:00] ugh.

Karlo: Yeah, exactly.

Raquel: Yeah. To a point where it, it, it stops being, “oh, yeah. That’s, that’s fun. I mean, I al I also enjoy tacos” to, ” oh, that’s all you think, that’s what you think we are, that’s all you think it is.” They’re the people who make tacos, not they’re people, but taco generating unit.

Karlo: On the other hand, there’s the, the whole discussion about, oh, well if only Puerto Rico voted Democrat, we’d have four extra Democratic, uh, representatives in

Raquel: Yeah. Liberals talk about that a lot of,” we should give Puerto Rico statehood so we’d have a couple of more Democratic representatives in Congress and purely because of that.” Purely in terms of what resource can we extract from these people and not what are their needs? What do they want?

Do they want this?

Karlo: You hold that up against, I believe some of the, the highest numbers of victims of the, the Pulse Nightclub massacre were actually queer Puerto Ricans who were at the [00:30:00] club,

Raquel: Hmm.

Karlo: who had, who had left the island much as I had, but sadly made the mistake going to Florida instead of somewhere else.

Because Florida apparently hates Latine people, with the exception of one, well, maybe two.

And those are Cubans and Venezuelans of a certain political bent.

Jay Hawking: Yeah.

Raquel: The ones who used to own plantations. They like those.

Karlo: Raquel, why are you criticizing job creators?

I mean, obviously, yeah, like we, we could talk about some of the people who do get invited past the velvet ropes into larger projects. And a lot of the time they are to, to your point, Raquel, I think that they are people who truly believe that you must assimilate to American culture because the US is the best country in the world and all those other countries who do nasty things, well, they do it because they’re evil.

The US does it because they must do it because of those other [00:31:00] nasty places who were.

Raquel: So in addition to this very consumable image, this happy image, there’s this very odd concept of authenticity, quote unquote, that, that, American publishers and a lot of American audiences and American critics want, it’s a very, very authentic with a capital A, and by authentic, I mean not real, but actually weird and kind of fake and exoticized. You’ve noticed this in a lot of the Disney, these recent Disney movies that are about Latin America.

They seem to take place in some kind of like pre 1950s rural pueblo that hasn’t existed in about 70 years. The women wear those sort of white, flouncy dresses that like, no one’s dressed like that since the 1940s. No one looks like this anymore. When is this supposed to take place? What year is this?

Karlo: Yes, exactly. I think that that was my main thing. Like after, after watching Coco, and, and don’t get me wrong, I [00:32:00] enjoyed Coco for what it was, but I was sitting there going like, “wait a second.” The real world, not the land of the dead sequences.

I was like, when is this happening? Because the town looks very much like what I guess Disney animators thought Main Street Mexico would look like or something, except that the main character’s wearing a hoodie and that’s about it. And maybe some cars.

And it’s not until he, he crosses over into the land of the dead that they’re having a little sort of ambient music party with the dj. And I’m like, wait, this is the 1990s. Okay. That, that makes sense. But why did the, the other place look like it’s super capital A Authentic? It’s just very strange.

And, and this may not be entirely my lane to talk about, but it just struck me as so strange.

Raquel: It’s very rural because the city is modern, and modern isn’t authentic, quote unquote. Modernity isn’t authentic. Computers and cell phones aren’t authentic. Okay. All


Jay Hawking: oh Lord. I can sort of [00:33:00] see it in terms of like, depending where I’m in the city, I can look right across the border and just look at the cityscape. And there are some differences, even within a relatively small distance. The cities are right next to each other

and you can tell there are very distinct differences in architecture. But also, yeah, no, it strikes at a very specific idea that even, even looking, even looking across the border, it just isn’t there. It, I, I, I don’t see what they’re trying to do.

Karlo: Yeah. Also, Encanto had that same sort of timelessness, right? Is this happening at the beginning of the 20th century? When is this happening exactly? Because everyone is acting and dressed like they’re in some sort of period piece telanovela from, from like the beginning of the 20th century or something.

And it’s supposed to ha be happening over the span of like 57 to maybe mid sixties or something. I don’t know.

Jay Hawking: My best guess is that because of that, I remember watching that [00:34:00] and there’s that sort of, that sequence where it sort of starts off with, I guess a war. It’s kind of vague. I’m guessing it’s supposed to be the Mexican revolution is when it’s supposed to begin and then

Karlo: It’s, uh, if I remember correctly, it’s the Colombian Civil War

Jay Hawking: oh, the Colombians.

Karlo: I believe that happened. Listeners, please do not, cancel me for this. But I think it was like mid fifties, I wanna

Jay Hawking: but oh wait, shit. What the fuck?

Karlo: Exactly. There’s like, I, I don’t, to my mind, I don’t remember seeing one car in that entire movie.

It’s just very strange.

Jay Hawking: I know that Columbia’s had a few different civil conflicts, but like, oh God, if it, if it’s referring to later one, what the fuck?

Karlo: I’m sorry, it was the 1948. So yes, I believe that’s the one that they were referencing.

Raquel: Mm,

Karlo: but, but in any case, yeah, it doesn’t feel like it’s happening in the 20th century.

Raquel: So it’s rural, it’s weirdly out of time. If it’s not taking place in a humble pueblo [00:35:00] from, I don’t know, 1931, it needs to be very bougie or wealthier, aspirational. You really, really don’t want it show a poor or working class person. And I think sometimes this might be a little bit of an overcorrection.

In a lot of older media, Latinos are very often portrayed as , oh, the one Latino character is the maid or the gardener. So the preferences is, well, we wanna show aspirational portrayals. We don’t just wanna show poor people or, or, or people in the service industry, which I get that. You don’t want those limited stereotypes.

But on the other hand, there is this social class issue here. The way that poverty is racialized in the United States and the way that Latin American immigrants to the United States often do end up working in kind of shit jobs. I ended up censoring myself when I wrote this short story Morbier that takes place in a resort.

I was thinking of including a lot of Latinx [00:36:00] kitchen staff, and I didn’t do that because ironically, I was worried that white non-Latinx liberals would find it offensive and racist. But if you go to any commercial kitchen, any restaurant in the USA, chances are the person washing the dishes is an undocumented immigrant making less than a minimum wage under the table and a hell of a lot of the time,

that’s someone who speaks Spanish. Just about any, any restaurant I’ve worked in, doesn’t matter what kind of food it is, what style of food it is, you walk into that kitchen, you are hearing Spanish. Because that’s who works these shit jobs that keep the service, that keep the hospitality industry running,

Karlo: Yeah. Agreed. Agreed.

Jay Hawking: Mm-hmm.

Karlo: I, I just find it very strange because like, yes, there are other, Latine people that who, who may not simply be the gardener or the land, the landscaper or the, the housekeeper or whatever. But also those, [00:37:00] those positions are still being filled. It’s not like,

it’s not like you’re being improper in representing that, because it’s still happening. Uh, I, I, I also think that there’s a desire to shift the, because of spending power supposedly I, I would imagine, that they’re trying to shift towards the Latine people who have actually assimilated well, the very, I’m gonna sound sort of mean here, but there are plenty of well established, somewhat affluent people in the US who, who absolutely think that they did it the right way, they came to the US the right way, and that the new crop of refugees or immigrants or what have you, are doing it the wrong way.

And it’s like, n nah,

Jay Hawking: Yeah.

Karlo: I mean, there, they may have been there when the US decided to just incorporate those territories. And that’s, I guess that’s, that they, they may have a point, but there are [00:38:00] plenty of people that have come over and they just want to erase, erase the tracks back to wherever they came from.

Jay Hawking: So on my mother’s side, my mother and her siblings all came here from Mexico illegally. And I have an uncle who he really, he really did the full assimilationist thing. He went, he went put in all the efforts and he’s since sort of developed that sort of mindset of, of, of, you know, erasing the tracks.

And this was a guy who literally crossed the river on a, on a little raft and he’s being like, “I, I got mine, I got mine.”

Raquel: Hmm.

Karlo: He, he pulled the raft across.

He didn’t send it back.

Raquel: I pulled my raft illegally across the border with my own bootstraps.

Jay Hawking: boots.

Karlo: bootstrapped himself across the river. Yep.

Raquel: Yeah.

Jay Hawking: Yeah. It’s, it’s interesting because even in my town, there are definitely a few people as well who, they see what’s going on. They see the people that are detained right here at the border, [00:39:00] and their response is still very much in the vein of, “ah, well, we were here, so”

Karlo: Got, got mine, got mine. Fuck the fuck you.

Jay Hawking: you know, it

like, and

Karlo: I, I also think that it’s, it’s further complicated because currently in Puerto Rico, as, as far as I can tell, I don’t have a super strong connection right now. But, but as far as I can tell, there is an ongoing discussion about, ” oh, well you guys are calling for independence from the US but where were, where have you guys been?”

The opposition to that, and to be clear, there, In Puerto Rico, there’s basically three, well, there used to be three parties. It’s, it’s then fragmented into several other ones based on coalitions and whatnot. But, but the three general parties are based off of status, the political status of the island.

The smallest party is the independence party who generally struggles to make the [00:40:00] necessary 2% to stay on the ballot for next election cycle. And whenever they come up, the people who are in favor of statehood and full assimilation with the us, they will always say, “well, oh, you Commies are always saying this, and blah, blah, blah.

Where, where have you been?” And, and, the honest response is, are you forgetting that for 50 years and up until the present, all leftist opposition has been brutally imprisoned

Raquel: suppressed.

Karlo: violently suppressed, and after a while it, it creates a chilling effect because eventually even people who would be sympathetic, they’re like, “mm, yeah, I’m not gonna, yeah, I’m not gonna say anything about that, or I’m gonna change my mind about that, because it seems like people are showing up dead.”

Raquel: Which again, this is a massive part of Puerto Rico’s history that most Americans don’t know about at all.

Karlo: Yeah. I mean, I’m, I’m, yeah, I’m sure that no one, no one in the US, well, maybe not no one, but lots, I would say 90, 98% of the people in the US [00:41:00] have no idea that Puerto Rico was bombarded by, by US planes,

Raquel: Oh, when I, when I, when I tell people about the mass sterilization campaign, a lot of the time they don’t believe me because it’s such– so, so, uh, during the 20th century, through more than half of the 20th century, the United States maintained a mass sterilization campaign in Puerto Rico and carried out many, many eugenics experiments.

Since it launched in, I think the 1930s until it ended in the 1970s,

Karlo: Mm-hmm.

Raquel: third of Puerto Rico’s women were sterilized by the us. Like a, a third. That is a lot, that is a crazily high percentage and a lot of ti– I’ve told this to multiple Americans and they have trouble believing it cuz the, that’s so huge.

And they’re like, “I would know about this surely. Because that’s really big. That’s kind of a big deal. Surely I’d know about this.” I’m like, nah, it happened. You can look it up, man.

Karlo: The perfect counter to that is, uh, well, did you know that it [00:42:00] happened in LA with, uh, with Chicano women as well?

I think that people overestimate, the fourth estate’s, reach or power overestimated in, in uncovering the truth, because that’s sort of almost a meme.

I don’t know that they, they’re really doing that against like US stuff. I think Adam Johnson from, Citations Needed has mentioned that the, the important thing to remember about US news organizations isn’t that they lie, it’s that they don’t emphasize.

Raquel: Yeah.

Jay Hawking: Yeah,


Raquel: But a little bit more about the ideal, the, the ideal image that’s very favored by American audiences and American publishing. I think that ideal is [00:43:00] also very feminized and it’s hard to talk about this without sounding like a weird MRA, but let’s, let’s be real.

If you look at the demographic statistics in publishing, it’s very heavily skewed in favor of white women. Publishing industry is overwhelmingly dominated by white women and alternatives to the publishing industry like fanfic communities are just as dominated by white women. And when white women are gonna do Latin American diversity, generally white women find Latin American women less threatening than Latin American men.

A wise Latina who is sassy, but very down to earth and probably has an equally wise, if not wiser Latina abuelita is not threatening,

but a man, a [00:44:00] Latin American man. You clutch your purse when he walks by.

Karlo: look, look Raquel Hillary Clinton was, everyone’s abuelita,

Raquel: Yeah. She was my ab –That’s true. That’s true. She was,

Karlo: I still, I still laugh about that because like, wow. Incredible. But yeah, and to be fair, I’ll say yes, I have included many a wise abuela in, in my fiction, but mainly it’s because that was my experience growing up. I, I was more or less probably between the ages of one and five before I, I went into school because both my parents were working and so on.

My grandmother took care of me. I, both my grandparents were very big for me in my life. My grandfather taught me about Juan Bobo. Yeah. Like, he told me stories about him. But yeah, I, I think that it’s also become, to, to your earlier point, I think it’s something that, the way that it’s told often is so paired down that it becomes like almost a [00:45:00] caricature.

They don’t like even those stereotypical, although some, sometimes realistic portrayals just feel like they’re, they’re anime characters or something. I don’t know, man. It’s

Jay Hawking: guess, I guess part of it’s, it’s sort of, a lot of the depictions sort of decouple it from , moving back to the matter of, you know, socioeconomic status is that for a lot of people, the reason why their grandparents are so present their lives is because their parents are busy working jobs.

They’re fucking poor. So they wind up spending a lot of time by defaults. I, I feel that’s part of it that kinda gets overlooked.

Karlo: Yes, I, I, I agree with you fully. As you were saying that I was nodding my head and realizing this is a podcast that you can’t hear that. But, but yeah, on, on your first point, there is a, an amazing lack of depiction of work in a lot of modern SFF, I feel, and, and, that includes the work of child rearing, and somehow that’s,

I’ve, I’ve come across like this very weird and blinkered [00:46:00] view that somehow it is considered work, but at the same time, portrayal of child rearing isn’t a feminist thing. Or that the well, in that future we should be thinking about other gender roles. Sure, but somebody’s gonna be taking care of kids.

I’m sorry. That’s just the, the way it is. Unless you’re, you’re thinking of the future that we already have where you, you plop ’em in front of a TV or give ’em an iPad and hopefully that’s enough. Right?

That’s turning out great.

Raquel: it’s turning out really good.

Jay Hawking: Es especially with whole word education, it’s, I love it.

Karlo: Mm-hmm. And the other thing is that the, as perhaps a result of that sort of material need, it bumps up against this American, like, I, I don’t even think that that’s really a thing except in affluent families. The nuclear family is not really a thing. If you were working class and Latinx or Latine, you have extended family. They may even live within your same household, and that’s, that’s not a, a, a, [00:47:00] a thing that is very uncommon, even.

Jay Hawking: Like today. Yeah. Like when I was growing up, I know that’s at one point, at one point I lived with, me and my family lived with one of my grandmothers and I, another point in my life, a couple of my aunts were living with us. That’s how it is.

Raquel: Yeah, you’ve always got a cousin or an auntie or somebody else who’s not part of the nuclear family living with you just cause you, you need to live somewhere and you don’t have a lot of money.

Jay Hawking: Yeah.

Karlo: It’s also like division of labor because that’s the other thing, right? Now granted, if you’re the kid, you got the, you got the shit end of the stick, didn’t you? Because you end up, you can’t shirk any of the work that you’re given by the eight different family members suddenly have seniority over you.

Literally. But yeah, I think that that’s something that bumps up against this modern idea of the nuclear family that is, I don’t think it was that prevalent as even waspy people tend [00:48:00] to think it is.

Raquel: No. It’s not normal. It is a weird aberration that doesn’t make any sense. So let’s go from that and talk about why do we think SFF struggles with Latin American or Latine or Latinx or whatever, representation so much, and I have kind of a half-assed theory. Here’s my half-assed theory. So I don’t think you can really do the kind of second world, ahistorical cozy escapism that’s so in vogue in contemporary SFF.

I don’t think you can do it with Latines because Latin America and its people only exist as a result of colonialism. Without colonization, without this brutal campaign of genocide, Latinos [00:49:00] don’t exist. Every Latin American person is a mixture of invading Spaniard and indigenous Arawak, or Taino or Maya or, or whatever other indigenous nation, and enslaved African.

And it’s all of these cultures and groups of people coming together, often coming together forcibly through violence and exploitation, that creates Latin America. And there’s not a comfy escapist cozy way to sidestep that. There’s no like alternate universe Wakanda version of Latin America where Latines can exist happily without genocide because it was the genocide that created Latines as a people.

I, I guess you could have a Taino Wakanda, but that would be Taino, you know, not Latin America. That would be a, a different thing. I mean, it would be a super cool thing, but it would not [00:50:00] be the same thing. You would not see guys named Rodriguez living there.

Karlo: You don’t have even have to change the name. Just put a little bit of a, a little bit of a accent on it.

Raquel: Yeah. Juakandà, I don’t know. But so if you are an Anglo and you write a second world fantasy novel and you stick a guy named Ramirez in there, I’m going to think, “okay, this is a fantasy Spaniard,” not “this is a fantasy Puerto Rican,” because if he’s a fantasy Puerto Rican, then that means there was like fantasy conquistadors and fantasy genocide, and there’s like a fantasy the Jones Act and like an orc fantasy Trump throwing paper towels at people and like a fantasy

elvish Obama si signing, you know, fantasy PROMESA into law and shit like that. Like suddenly this whole escapist, don’t worry about the real world thing kind of comes crashing down because your existence doesn’t, you don’t have an existence that’s pre colonization. There there’s no [00:51:00] good old days you can really go back to, because in the good old days you did not exist.

And it’s this uncomfortable reality that, how do you deal with that if you’re doing second world, ahistorical escapism?

Karlo: Raquel, don’t sell yourself short. When you, um, you told me about this theory, I feel, I feel like honestly you’re selling yourself short, because honestly, the theory feels very close to a full ass. Um, it is.

Raquel: it’s three quarters of

Karlo: And at the, yeah, at the very least three quarters.

Jay Hawking: maybe 80% ass.

Karlo: Yeah. Um, but yeah, like, like a, a, an anti-colonial Americas would just be indigenous people. And, and that, that’s not a dig or anything. It’s just simply, that’s the truth, right? If Spain, if Columbus hadn’t been sent over, that’s it. If Columbus had been like, you know what, we’re gonna take a left turn here and ends up in the Northwest passage and he dies.

It might have happened eventually, but that [00:52:00] whole thing would’ve been moved back and God knows what hap, what technological advancements, some of the indigenous people here in, in the Americas would’ve had to counteract. I mean, there’s a reason that, for the longest time, the Viking settlements in Finland, up near, I, I wanna say it’s like Nova Scotia or near the Hudson Bay.

I might be wrong, but, but there’s a reason that they didn’t really pan out. And that’s because the tech, the technological factors were very close to equal in, in that, in that time period. By the time Columbus showed up, it does feel like there was a lot more running in his favor to really colonize.

Enough organizational power and, and material power to back him up, apart from the fact that he was a complete mad man and a, just a complete genocider. He’s just awful. Honestly awful.

Raquel: To the point where Queen Isabella even [00:53:00] said, dude, you gotta fucking tone it down. And this is like one of the people who ran the Spanish Inquisition or something.

Jay Hawking: literally one of the people that’s signed off on expelling all the Jews and Muslims from Spain.

Raquel: Yeah. Yeah. Literally when, when the person who’s doing that says, “you gotta fucking tone it down, dude. You were doing this way too hard.” Like, god damn.

Karlo: Yeah, when, uh, what is it? Uh, Friar, uh, Bartolomé de las Casas, who is a representative of the very same church that believed that it was perfectly fine for a, a, an Indigenous person to die as long as their soul was saved. Was saying like, “Hey, you know, this seems bad.”

Raquel: Yeah. “This is fucked up even for me, man.”

Karlo: It was very brutal. And I think that people tend to downplay just how, just bloody all of that was. But yeah, I think your, back to your point, I think it’s absolutely correct that there, there is a, a [00:54:00] want to paper over exactly the facts of what colonization looks like. If you’re trying to hide that, then you don’t, you wouldn’t really have Latinx people, from the 20 plus countries that exist.

So, so yeah, I, I, I, I think that you’re onto something at the very least

Raquel: And, and I think that might be part of why a lot of the sort of cozy second world fantasy ends up doing these, these allegories about like orc discrimination. Because that’s a lot more comfortable to talk about discrimination against orcs or, or, or Minotaurs or something. And not to talk about, “Hey, what, what’s your own, what is your own country’s part in all of this?

What, what’s going on America? Hey, legends and lattes guy. Uh, where did the coffee grow? Who harvested it?”

Karlo: It was Orc Valdez.

Raquel: Yeah.

What happens when the orcs who harvest your coffee try to [00:55:00] unionize?

What happens there? How’s that turn out?

Karlo: obviously you, you, you tell them that they don’t have to unionize because we’re all a big happy

Raquel: We’re a family. It’s fine. I’ll give you a scone. Let’s have a hug.

Jay Hawking: alternative, wait. There might have been an Orc Bracero Program, like just, Hey, hey, your, your contract expired. Here’s half the money we owe. You get out.

Karlo: Just waiting for the next wave of, uh, this time it’s the goblins who come over and then, you know, they’re doing it the wrong way, is the


Raquel: When it was just us orcs it was fine,

Karlo: God. Oh my God. , I knew that we shouldn’t have said this, but at the same time, the cursed phrase orc guano, it just popped into my head. Oh my God, I’m sorry.

Jay Hawking: sorry.

Raquel: So I, I find that a lot of contemporary SFF has kind of terminal customer brain where they see themselves as customers and consumers and not anything else. And like Latinos are the back of the house staff who you don’t see when you go to your [00:56:00] favorite cozy cafe, they’re the ones picking the blueberries for your nice blueberry muffin.

They’re the ones harvesting the fucking coffee beans or they’re the ones cleaning the dishes and they’re the ones who are actually baking everything, even though you wouldn’t know that and you’d never see them, so they’re kind of invisible. And in the SFF world, that labor is often replaced by magic or a replicator, you know?

Karlo: God damn they’re automating the jobs out from under even fantasy Latine people. Jesus

Raquel: That’s why there’s no orc in the kitchen. They just use the wand or something. They use the magic. Except. Except you find out it’s all chrome washed. The magic is just an invisibility spell so that you have a of orcs in the kitchen actually cleaning everything, but no one can see him. That’s how it works.

Karlo: The animated stove is actually like, there’s a poor little fantasy Latine guy that you open up the stove and he, he, he looks at you like the Flintstones. “It’s a living.” You know,

Raquel: Yeah.

Karlo: God damnit. I, I also [00:57:00] think, speaking of that sort of like customer oriented art, right? Is the, the insistence and, and I go back and forth on this, right? Because there, there is some validity to it, but at the same time, this insistence of flattening, like “I need to see myself in works.”

Raquel: yeah.

Karlo: Um, I is is such a weird thing to me because when I was growing up, I mean, I was growing up in Puerto Rico, so when, when I read my first adult novel Clan of the Cave Bear for the record, I wasn’t thinking to myself, “well, why aren’t there Puerto Rican cavemen in this book” because I was a kid.

Everything is is new to me. Puerto Rico is normal to me, right.

Um, I don’t wanna see that. I wanna see new places. I wanna see like, far off and interesting places that don’t look like the place I live in. And I do understand the reasoning and, and the representation being shown in works is, is important while you’re growing up.

But at the same time, [00:58:00] okay, sure. But that’s why I really have this hard time going well, so what? You don’t see yourself in the work? Maybe that’s the whole point of this. I don’t know. I think that there’s a difference between a trend in publishing versus like an individual book that doesn’t cater to you.

Raquel: Well in terms of representation, the representation that I do see in a lot of highly lauded and award buzzy SFF I don’t, I don’t feel seen

Karlo: Mm-hmm.

Raquel: it it doesn’t feel like it’s there for or by Latin Americans or, or the

diaspora or anything,

It just, it feels very much a hell of a lot of the time these are sort of things written by and or for white audiences or if they manage to get through, it’s because a white, non-Hispanic felt comfortable with


Jay Hawking: Yeah,

Raquel: and it, and it’s like, I don’t wanna call [00:59:00] out, I, I don’t want to call out individual names cuz I usually get in trouble for that. But I find it deeply unsatisfying and, and deeply like this doesn’t speak to me. This is for you. This is a southwestern burger at McDonald’s. This is like flavor on your generic US centered

Karlo: Yeah.

Raquel: isn’t

anything to me.

Jay Hawking: It just winds up ringing, it winds up ringing hollow and it just… there have definitely been some works I’ve read, especially recently, where it does, at least it does, so there’s somewhere there recently where it does try to deal with those ramifications of colonialism, of utter matters and kind of like tries to look at them a more in-depth matter.

And it isn’t perfect at times, but at least, at least sometimes I get a sense that there’s some trying, but in a lot of more contemporary stuff, that sense of trying just isn’t there. Like it isn’t trying to grapple with a lot of these sort of messy and oftentimes horrible affairs. It’s just, Hey, look, we, the [01:00:00] guy’s name is Ramirez.

Congratulations. He likes tacos. That’s it.

Karlo: It feels like the story would not have changed if, if the character called Ramirez had just been called, like, Murphy.

Jay Hawking: Yeah.

Raquel: Yeah. It’s ticking off a checkbox.

Karlo: You’re not wrong. I mean, it feels very much of a post Obama era where, it, it’s sort of like, oh, we don’t see differences in other people. And it’s like, okay, that’s nice, but also people are different.

I would probably tell someone that says that, talk to say, someone from Guatemala and someone from Honduras, and see if they think that they’re the same. And, and I’m pretty sure even people who are not completely weird about it will be like, of course not.

They eat their food weird, or something. Something’s gonna come up, you

Jay Hawking: Mm-hmm.

Karlo: It’s really unsatisfying is, I feel, is what I’m getting at here. It’s just really unsatisfying to, to, to see that type of quote representation as like, “well [01:01:00] just make everyone white. It’s fine.”

Jay Hawking: Yeah.

Raquel: unsatisfying, especially in an era which we’re told, we’ve been told is the rainbow era

Jay Hawking: Yeah.

Raquel: of SFF

Jay Hawking: yeah. When things have

Raquel: rainbows need more than one color in them. I’m sorry.

Jay Hawking: don’t worry. It’s fine.

We made Obama a goblin.

It’s fine now.

Karlo: Oh God, Goblama, um, yeah,

Raquel: you know, I would’ve for a Goblama a third time


Karlo: You’re right. Yes. Absolutely. I would’ve gone to his, uh, coronation ceremony three times. Yeah, you’re, yeah.

Raquel: is my cat playing with a toy. Cat knock it off. Hey, you’re making noise. That’s a cord you can’t play with that. You don’t scratch a cord, you’ll electrocute yourself. Dumb, dumb. Baby. I love you. You’re so stupid.

Karlo: A beige rainbow isn’t very, um, it, it’s not very impressive. I don’t know. But yeah, I, man, I don’t know. It’s really sort of unsatisfying. And to be clear, like I remember when I first sort of made my first pro sale.

[01:02:00] I,

I, was really proud of myself.

I got my own website and the first thing I wrote was like, where’s all the Latinx science fiction and fantasy? And there’s stuff out there, but it’s, it’s weird because a lot of it is like, I think, RIP Victor Milan, basically wrote a fantasy where it’s like dinosaur knights,

Raquel: Nice.

That sounds sick.

Karlo: I was also thinking like, on the lines, along the lines of something that, okay, so is it, is, are, are there people out there that are doing fantasies set in Latin America or something to that effect? And I don’t think a lot of people are doing that.

Where’s SFF’s you know, Gabriel Garcia Marquez?

He wrote all about his home country and how it was both lovely and also Macondo you know, , which is derogatory.

Jay Hawking: yeah. Within my own writing, most of my writing has been to the effect of describing my sort of region. Like some of the stuff I’ve put out, I, I’ve [01:03:00] tried filling out, there’s a lot of like little nu nods and little jokes or little puns that’s honestly like, I’ve shown it to various people, both locally and outside.

Just randomly and the people from the region pick up on immediately of what I’m sort of getting at. It’s so like, oh yeah, I know, like exact what you mean here with that little reference to this sort of landmark. It’s definitely one of those things where on one hand I love, I love my hometown, I really do, but it’s also, Yeah, that’s another massive cloud of smog because of the factories in the region.

That’s great.

Karlo: Well, I, I think it’s one of these things that a lot of marginalized communities struggle with, right? Because I think that within communities, and, and I don’t want to overly generalize, but I, I’ve, I’ve gotten this and I’ve heard it elsewhere as well, that anecdotally there’s a lot of pressure to write about capital I Important stuff about what it is to be, you know, write about your culture or what have you.

And, and I [01:04:00] think you can, you can walk a line and do that, but also have a little fun. And I feel like there’s a lot of thing, a lot of works out there that just do not, do not walk that line. And I don’t know, maybe it’s simply because they don’t feel like they, they wanna do it, and that’s fine.

Everyone should write whatever the fuck they want. That’s not, I’m not gonna police who, if you wanna write about dinosaur knights, go for it. That’s badass.

Raquel: Yeah, that sounds great

Jay Hawking: yeah, I love it,

Karlo: But if you wanna write about a fantasy Puerto Rico, like I’m starting to like doing, well do that too.

Or your fantasy home country, what have you, or where your ancestors came from, whatever. Do it. Yeah. Eventually the tide has to turn.

Jay Hawking: Mm-hmm.

Karlo: This, this condition, this situation cannot stay the same forever. And I think part of it is that, there has to be some sort of pressure, even if it’s from writers to do it.

I don’t know. I, I don’t have any answers, but I just [01:05:00] think that I’m gonna continue writing because– writing that type of thing, because it, it interests me and when it doesn’t interest me or if I wanna write about something else that’s not exactly that, I’ll do that too.

Fuck it.

Raquel: All right, so we are coming up on, we’re a bit over an hour, so I think we this, we might wanna start wrapping things up. I’m kind of surprised we didn’t talk about Lin Manuel Miranda at length and about how he sucks.

Jay Hawking: Or Phil Lord, fucking

Raquel: Speaking of, speaking of, orc guanos,

Karlo: I’m an orc gusano and I’m here to say, you know, I’m, I’m Phil Lord. I’m here to stay.

Raquel: God

Karlo: write the Spidey verse every day. Fuck.

Jay Hawking: damnit.

Raquel: with “my father’s a robber baron.” What? What rhymes with that?

Karlo: I don’t know. We could figure it out. Maybe we will get a, a Hamilton style musical out of that too.

Raquel: Yeah. He’s gotta write a, a


rap musical about [01:06:00] another equally terrible American history

Karlo: Oh my God. Could you imagine? The translation is

Jay Hawking: Oh my Lord.

Karlo: fun times.

Jay Hawking: I can’t wait for, I can’t wait for Phil Lord’s great-grandfather’s slave owning great-grandfather to get the Hamilton treatment. It’ll be great.

Raquel: It’s gonna be

Karlo: F Fantastic.

Raquel: Future Lin Manuel Miranda writing a rap musical about Donald Trump. It’ll happen.

Jay Hawking: It, it will. I, I

Raquel: at the lathe of heaven. I am saying it now.

Karlo: what rhymes with indictment? Fuck, we didn’t want to end on a downer note, so instead we’re doing a funny note, a funny downer note.

Raquel: Yeah. All right, so before we go, where can our listeners find and support your work? I will start with Jay because you are new.

Jay Hawking: Mm-hmm. All right. See, I actually run a little itch account and find me on Twitter, and I think you’re gonna link [01:07:00] the itch on the, on the show notes thing. But, um, yeah, either the way it’s jayhawking dot itch io and there should be linked to my Twitter account from there.

Raquel: Okay. Karlo.

Karlo: Uh, you can follow my tweets of questionable quality at at kj y 1 0 66. Uh, you can check out my website at alineofink.com and, uh, I also have recently put up an itch.io account, uh, where you can, you can, uh, purchase my dark fantasy nav novelette about, what is it, brothers blood magic and bad blood.

Raquel: yeah,

Karlo: Pay what you want epub format. Go for it. I mean, I’m, I’m pretty, yeah, I’m pretty sure everyone in in Rite Gud has already bought

Raquel: Everyone in our Rite Gud discord has bought

Jay Hawking: bought, yeah, it is very good.

Raquel: it’s good shit though.

Jay Hawking: Yeah. I’ve So sorry. I’ve just realized that it’s j a y because I. I just realized that over audio [01:08:00] people might just type in just a letter. J

Raquel: yeah. Yeah. It’s j a y, like the bird.

Jay Hawking: Yep. Yes. So yeah, at j a Y Hawking writes for my Twitter.

Raquel: All right. Well, thank you both for coming on and talking about this today. It is something I’ve been wanting to talk about a while because I feel like S F F is, what it’s doing is not matching up with what it says about what it’s doing.

Karlo: Yeah. I, I, I mean in, in, in some fairness, I think that there have been some good steps, but it’s not,

Raquel: Nowhere near not, not for the level of self-congratulation

Karlo: Oh, no,

Raquel: that we have, nowhere near close to what we have. Uh, and there’s a lot left to go.

Jay Hawking: I don’t know, I felt deeply seen by those DC covers.

Raquel: Yeah.

The one where the guy’s holding a fucked up burrito, I feel seen.

Karlo: yeah, I, I mean, I, you know, I was hungry at the time, so maybe that colored my judgment.

Jay Hawking: Mm-hmm.

Raquel: I also enjoy tamales, so, you know,

Karlo: I do, I do, [01:09:00]

Raquel: too, they’re good.

Karlo: I don’t know that I needed to see them on a, on a green Lantern DC cover, but, uh, you know, here we are

Raquel: So thank you for coming on, and thank you all for listening. If you like what you heard, head to patreon.com/ritegud and subscribe. Until next time, keep writing good.