Kill them all.
Shoot the last one of them. Here they come. Shit. What’s wrong now? Another bug. Fucking bugs. I programmed it so that if she keeps the keys we couldn’t head back to pick the money. The app’s not working on FB. Fucking testers. Why won’t they answer. One call. Five calls. Ten e-mails. Report the bug. Wait for the engineers. Electricity bill is here. Fucking cold. So expensive to keep us warm. Get cash. Paper money is useless. I mostly use cards. Supplies defend the supplies. A horde is coming. Two hordes. Hit them in the head, save ammunition. Fucking job. I fucked up programming a WhichChoices, the game freezes. I need to fix it, quick. But the zombies keep on coming. I just can’t finish killing them. I need more weapons. I light a cigarette. Then another. My partner says I don’t tell her I like her anymore. Their heads explode, splattering blood. They’re quick. I can’t reload. I am no hero, just trying to survive. Killing zombies is the only thing I’m good at. But I’m pretty damn good at it. Pretty damn good. My lungs ache. Logic error. If I already saw the video that option shouldn’t be there. Algorithmic narrative processes. Clicking here restarts the story. Eat. Work. Sleep. I can think like a machine. I know how the zombies move. I know how long it takes for them to reanimate. New data. Get it on the server. Eat. Take care of the kids. Feed them. Kill zombies. They don’t like my cooking. More zombies approaching. I feel cruel. I yell to whoever gets in my office. I can’t get the supplies to the helicopter. I need more medicines. I kill more zombies. I’ve got to check illustrations. I cough. Black phlegm comes out. Maybe there was blood on it. Didn’t get a good look at it. Report to hand in. And kill more zombies. Gotta check the scoreboard. Mobile app is not working. Unblocked missions. Eat. Report in. I dream intruders get into my house. I dream my lungs are rotting. Wake up. Withdraw cash. Tuitions to pay. Last day to do so. Before, I kill some zombies. Change dialogues. Reprogram storypaths. I’ve got to make myself acquainted with beauty projects. I know it’s a weekend because the kids are in the house. Download the Muppets. Pretend to smile. Pretend to be interested. Haven’t received my payment. Rescue a survivor. She looks nice. I’d definitely fuck her. No money. Out of cigarettes. My partner gives me some cash. They are killing Evelyn. Fucking zombies. In the head. In the head. I love how they programmed their movements. Dragging their legs. Twisted neck. Limits of human movement. Crawl, motherfucker. Nothing stops them. Relentless digital choreography. Until you shoot at them long enough. Drop in a pool of blood. Splattering. I’ve got olfactory hallucinations. I can smell their rotten meat. Sleep. Kids still here. They are hungry. Yesterday, the game crashed online. Twenty mails reporting it. We are losing money. Client won’t pay. Is it the engine. Is it my data. Is it the server. I’m a Zombie Slayer. I eat right in front of my computer. Waiting for reports. They are fighting. I’ll ignore them. Fix an easy bug. It wasn’t my fault. Games are running again. Characters are trapped in their programmed routines. We need more options for them. Nothing noticeable. I program a couple of storypaths. And kill some zombies. At night, we watch some TV. I can’t sleep. I go down. Light a cig. Kill zombies. Check product placement. Seventy brand impressions each ten minutes. Replayability is three games. 210 brand impressions every half hour. In the head. Drops dead. My aim unblocks more challenges. I should get a raise. They never pay me enough. And I eat. And I sleep. And I kill zombies. My partner is looking for lovers. These guys are morons. The game is down again. The phone won’t stop ringing. I take a bath. I kill zombies. Seattle. Buenos Aires. Programmers in Poland. It’s not registering addresses. Promotion isn’t working. Engineers aren’t answering. My son has learned how to kill zombies. We buy guns together. Eat. Program some more endings without opening up the tree. There’s an ending you can’t get to. Supplies. Kill more zombies. Medicine. Kill more zombies. Watch TV. My partner falls asleep on my lap. Great job! You’ve got four endings! There are reports of gamers getting to the happy ending. I rest some and then kill more zombies. A game for men. A game for women. Wake up. Three projects in four months. We’re due this week. Advertising will be up. Thousands of players. I get more supplies. New zombies incoming. Shoot. Shoot. Kill them all. Rejuvenating weekly treatment. Include all legal data in every single drawing. I love paychecks. Somebody! Please! Support me! Now! Me? I kill zombies. They are biting Evelyn. I won’t be able to save her. The helicopter leaves the survivors. I’ve got to change storypaths. Client didn’t approve them. Game is down again. If client doesn’t pay, I won’t get money. Lots of mistakes, little time to fix them. Pay for food. Pay for extra classes. Tuition again. Vacations. A party. Limits of human movement. Code more options. Many mistakes. Many gamer complaints. I’m not here. I don’t pay attention. I don’t answer the phone. I can’t afford a grenade launcher. Friday. Get drunk. Wake up. Fifteen mails. Bad programming. Whose responsibility. Fuck. I can’t see with my left eye. Fuck. How about closing it. There’s a meeting with client tomorrow. Placement isn’t registering. Can’t see. Shoot. Shoot. Can’t stop. Don’t get distracted. To the head. Get them asshole. No mistakes. Too many of them. Hadn’t we agreed to go to the movies. Advertisement may be recalled. Engineers won’t answer the phone. And this. And that. And this.
Meanwhile, I kill zombies.
Pepe Rojo writes in Mexican and English as there is no other way to go at it in Tijuana, where he has spent most of his life for the past decade. He has published 5 books in Mexican and more than 200 texts dealing with fiction, media, and contemporary culture. He has directed several interventions, such as “You can see the future from here”, a series of sf-based collective imagination experiments in the Tijuana-San Ysidro crossing border, as well as the “Tú no existes” campaign throughout Mexico. His English writing can be found in Birds In Shorts City, Flurb!, Three Messages and a Warning, States of Terror, and Review: Literature and Arts of the Americas. He is currently raising “Tierra y Libertad” flags, while trying to survive a Communication’s PhD at UCSD.
The eighth issue of Latin American Literature pays homage to Nicaraguan writer and politician Sergio Ramírez, winner of the 2017 Cervantes Prize and an important voice in a country currently gripped by crisis. We also feature poetry from Octavio Armand, as well as special sections dedicated to four indigenous writers of Mexico and Guatemala, bilingual sci-fi from Worldcon 76, and the poetry of Marosa di Giorgio, Olga Orozco, and Elena Garro.
Table of Contents
- ESSAY: "The Essays of Sergio Ramírez" by Nicasio Urbina
- ESSAY: "Sergio Ramírez, the More-Than-Deserving Cervantes" by José Juan Colín
- INTERVIEW: Sergio Ramírez: "I do not know of a single novel that has brought about a revolution": A Conversation with Tulio Hernández
- ESSAY: "Cervantes Prize 2017 Acceptance Speech" by Sergio Ramírez
- ESSAY: "Octavio Armand and the Undoing of Cuban’s Literary Tradition" by Johan Gotera
- ESSAY: "Think of Overlook" by Alejandro Sebastiani Verlezza
- ESSAY: "Octavio Armand and Zequeira's Hat" by Rafael Rojas
- ESSAY: "Heraclitus’ Arrow" by Octavio Armand
- POETRY: Three Poems by Octavio Armand
- INTERVIEW: Octavio Armand: "A Concert for Misconduct": A Conversation with Roberto Cantú
- ESSAY: "Genre in Mexico and the Crazy, Joyful Adventure of the Anthology for The Mexicanx Initiative" by Stephen C. Tobin and Libia Brenda
- CHRONICLE: "The Long-Overdue Recognition of Mexicanx Science Fiction at This Year’s WorldCon76" by Stephen C. Tobin
- FICTION: "Shoot" by Pepe Rojo
- FICTION: "Kan/Trahc" by Iliana Vargas
- FICTION: "Aztlán Liberated" by David Bowles
- FICTION: "A Truth Universally Acknowledged" by Julia Rios
- COMIC: "Rhizome" by Libia Brenda and Richard Zela
- Felipe Restrepo Pombo: “Any writer who wants to specialize has to be a voracious reader": A Conversation with Claudia Cavallin
- "Between Humor and Horror: An interview with Heather Cleary, translator of Comemadre" by Denise Kripper
- Ricardo Cárcamo: "I wrote the annotations in the 2017 edition of The New Novel": A Conversation with Scott Weintraub
- Death Comes in Through the Kitchen by Teresa Dovalpage
- Cadavers by Néstor Perlongher
- Museo animal by Carlos Fonseca
- Sombra de Paraíso by Claudia Sierich
- Luz negra by Noel Luna
- Una novela criminal by Jorge Volpi
- The Bottom of the Sky by Rodrigo Fresán
- Comemadre by Roque Larraquy
- Savage Theories by Pola Oloixarac
- Inscripción de la Deriva by Ismael Gavilán