Atomik Aztex

Sesshu Foster, Author . City Lights $15.95 (203p) ISBN 978-0-87286-440-5

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)

Reviewed on: 10/24/2005
Release date: 07/01/2005
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-1-885030-37-5
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