Atomik Aztex

Overview

In the alternate universe of this glitteringly surreal first novel, the Aztecs rule, having conquered the European invaders. Zenzontli, Keeper of the House of Darkness, is visited by visions of a parallel world run by the Europeans, where consumerism reigns supreme. Aztecs armed with automatic weapons, totemic powers and blood sacrifice conquer and colonize 1940s Europe, as ghosts of the world wars emerge to haunt contemporary Los Angeles.

Atomik Aztex is a hilarious read. A ...

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Overview

In the alternate universe of this glitteringly surreal first novel, the Aztecs rule, having conquered the European invaders. Zenzontli, Keeper of the House of Darkness, is visited by visions of a parallel world run by the Europeans, where consumerism reigns supreme. Aztecs armed with automatic weapons, totemic powers and blood sacrifice conquer and colonize 1940s Europe, as ghosts of the world wars emerge to haunt contemporary Los Angeles.

Atomik Aztex is a hilarious read. A potent concoction, with influences from graphic novels, along with Ishmael Reed’s Mumbo Jumbo, the paranoia of Philip K. Dick and William Burroughs, and an outrageous cyber-Aztlán mix reminiscent of Guillermo Gómez-Peña.

Sesshu Foster is the author of the critically acclaimed City Terrace Field Manual.

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Editorial Reviews

Susan Salter Reynolds
"With Atomic Aztex, Foster slices through history. . . .puts his finger here on a particular nexus of World War II-era racism, factory life and the landscape of Los Angeles and then claims it for his very own."
Los Angeles Times
Cherie Parker
"Atomik Aztex is hip, bloody, occasionally baffling and often piercingly brilliant."
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Emily Barton
". . . a book so heedlessly imaginative that it often seems ready to burst its pages like a comic-book POW. . . . this is an ambitious, energetic, and fiercely intelligent novel."
Bookforum
Ben Ehrenreich
". . . Foster's first novel . . . leaps fearlessly back and forth from 1940s Stalingrad, where an elite cadre of Aztec warriors is helping the Russians fend off invading Nazis, to 'the frenetic hustle of overcrowded Teknotitlan,' capital of the 'Aztek Socialist Imperium,' to the industrial back alleys of "some 3rd-class city called Los Angeles . . ."
The Village Voice
Elaine Wolff
"Atomik Aztex combines Latin American magical realism with science-fiction for a story set in an alternate future. The Aztec empire has triumphed, running the world with ruthless, and psychotropically enhanced, efficiency."
San Antonio Current
Carolyn Juris
"Hernan Cortes landed in Mexico in 1519; two years later, history tells us, the Aztec civilization fell to the Spanish invaders and was wiped out. Atomik Aztex, the hallucinatory first novel by poet Sesshu Foster, proposes a different reality."
San Francisco Chronicle
Publishers Weekly
Punk sci-fi and kitchen-sink realism create a startling, morally fraught vision in Foster's genre-straddling tour de force. In this codex of simultaneously existing alternate histories, the "Azteks," after defeating the Spanish, went on to conquer much of Europe, adding millions of hearts to the triumphant pyramids of sacrifice. Zenzontli, the narrator, is from a distinguished "Aztek" family, but he is in obscure disgrace with the powers that be. As a Keeper of the House of Darkness, Zenzontli deals in European slaves, who are slaughtered to honor the gods, their hearts taken out and their bodies consumed. His role in that world corresponds with his role in the conventional one, where he works as a pig butcher in a slaughter house in Vernon, Calif. To complicate matters further, in the world of Aztek supremacy, Zenzontli has a Double, controlled by his lovely wife, Xiuhcaquitl. Zenzon must evade Max, his boss at Farmer John's, and Maxtla, his political foe in the Aztek world. It sounds completely unmanageable, but readers will be blown away by Foster's control over the material, the beautiful segues between worlds and the way in which the question "what time is it?" accrues more and more weight. Brilliantly inventive, k-heavy spellings give Zenzon's voice totally unexpected tonalities. (Dec. 1) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Foster's (City Terrace Field Manual) satire on war and commercialism depicts a modern world ruled by the Aztecs, who rose to dominance after defeating the invading Spaniards in the 1500s. In this world, we meet Zenzontli, a.k.a. Keeper of the House of Darkness, who lives in the congested capital city of Teknotitlan and finds himself jumping through space and time: in one life, he is employed at Farmer John's Meat Packing Plant in contemporary Los Angeles, and in his other, he fights against the Nazis during the battle of Stalingrad in World War II. These bizarre episodes feature horrendous descriptions of killing in our culture, which are contrasted with depictions of the Aztec empire. Although the Aztecs practice human sacrifice, they seem more civilized than our familiar Christian European culture of commercialism, world wars, and terrorism. This philosophical piece of absurdist literature is cleverly written but also shocking, especially in the vivid descriptions of industrial slaughterhouse killing. A fine example of alternative fiction with a strong social theme; recommended for most collections.-David A. Berona, Plymouth State Univ. Lib., NH Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780872864405
  • Publisher: City Lights Books
  • Publication date: 7/1/2005
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author


Author of City Terrace Field Manual(Kaya Press, 1996), and Atomik Aztex (City Lights, 2005), Sesshu Foster teaches literature and composition in East L.A., where he grew up. His poetry has been published in numerous anthologies and journals. Invocation L.A.: Multicultural Urban Poetry, which he edited with Naomi Quinonez and Michelle Clinton, won a 1990 American Book Award.
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