Thursday, February 9, 2017

"Heart of Tashyas" at Heroic Fantasy Quarterly

I'm excited to announce the appearance of my story "Heart of Tashyas" in the blood-spattered, slightly burnt e-pages of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly!

All my published fiction up to now has taken place in and around Enoch, the omega-city at the cosmic antipodes. "Heart of Tashyas," on the contrary, takes place in and around the site of the town where I reside, in the southwest Texas badlands, during the early years of an alternate-historical Spanish conquest.

The editors were kind enough to let me illustrate it myself...

...with a pen-and-ink drawing that I colored digitally. The colorization was an afterthought; I guess all those comic books got me inspired.

For some time I'd been wanting to write "ethnic" heroic fantasy (ethnofantasy?) that would be cool to read in its own right, rather than thinly veiled social commentary, set during the conquest of Mexico. But I also wanted it to have a strong local flavor, more than I could give it with my limited experiences south of the border. Fortunately for me, Cabeza de Vaca, who was shipwrecked on the Texas coast in 1528, wrote a detailed ethnographic account of his many adventures. I was also thinking about things like Heart of Darkness, Prescott's histories of Cortés and Pizarro, and Herzog's Aguirre, the Wrath of God, as well as bits and pieces of local lore gleaned from newspaper articles and historical records.

"Heart of Tashyas" will (I hope) be the first of many tales about Francisco Carvajal y Lopez, half-breed of Borinquen, vagabond of the Tashyan hinterlands, conquistador in his own mind.


  1. I've always thought that Southern Texas (and all of Northern New Spain) is filled with enough legends and historical richness as to provide a great background for any kind of Narrative. Glad to see all those elements been taken for the purposes of writing heroics.

    On a side note, I find the mixed-ethnic origin of the protagonist very appealing. As most people with Spanish surnames in this side of the Hemisphere aren't really aware of their past and the Caste System instituted by the Spanish colonials during their rule (very different from the Dutch and the English and somewhat similar to what the French in turn instituted in the French-Canadian and Caribbean territories) for that, I find even more interesting the fact that his last name is Carvajal a very old peninsular name more often associated with Spanish and Portuguese Jewry! Maybe Francisco also has some Sephardic blood sprinkled in its already mixed cauldron of backgrounds? Anyways, I like your output a lot and I hope you keep providing us with such great stories.

    Con todo mi aprecio,

    1. Many thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed my story.

      I would not be surprised if Carvajal has some Sephardic blood. He definitely has a hint of Berber from his roots in the Canary Islands, and some other things as well. I wrote him that way because I am myself a mix, mainly of Puerto Rican (which itself includes many things!), but of other things besides; I thought it was time for a mixed-ethnic antihero, who can go everywhere because he belongs nowhere.