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When an enormous UFO appears over Mexico City and begins broadcasting instructions in the ancient language of the Aztecs, anthropologist Sandra Ramirez is sent in with a team to establish contact with the ship. Instead, her assignment goes horribly wrong and she soon finds herself drawn into the invader's plans to violently transform our world and its history. Earth's only hope lies with Quetzalcoatl, a reawakened Mexican god who holds the power to either defend our planet or to assure its destruction. Inspired by Mexican mythology and Japanese giant monster stories, CITY OF THE GODS: THE RETURN OF QUETZALCOATL is a unique science fiction tale that takes us from modern day Mexico City, to the fall of the ancient kingdom of Teotihuacán, and into the timeless realm of the Mesoamerican gods.
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In his book, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Stephen King describes the writing process as this: "Stories are relics, part of an undiscovered pre-existing world. The writer's job is to use the tools in his or her toolbox to get as much of each one out of the ground in tact as possible"
I'm a fan of the idea that all of the elements of stories are all out there in the world before we ever put pen to paper. The writer's job is to identify them, pull them out of the background and put the pieces together. Sometimes, the right idea will find a well-suited and willing accomplice. City of the Gods grew from a place where a lot of my own peculiar nerdy interests overlapped. Mexican history, mythology, politics, Pre-Colombian civilizations, and Japanese giant monster stories are all things that that I am fairly obsessed with and my "studies" made me very open to the story when, over the years, I stumbled upon the various pieces
Reading a book on alternative history (you know, "What if Columbus had never made it to America?" "What if the South had won the Civil War?") got me to thinking about how history might have turned if Cortes had never been able to conquer Mexico. I began to consider some intriguing "what-if" scenarios. My own doodle of an Aztec-styled astronaut got me to imagining a futuristic Mesoamerican society. I filed this interesting notion away for a few years.
Later, watching the American Godzilla movie, I became very curious as to why the movie did not work and how the Japanese movies did. I immersed myself in this distinctly Japanese genre of movies, the giant monster, or "kaiju," film. I came to the conclusion that a truly successful kaiju needs to be more than an animal, it has to be something elemental, like a god.
I was also lucky enough to have had some opportunities to travel around Latin America and to explore the physical legacy of the Aztecs, Mayans and the Incas. It is impossible to stand among the cloud-embraced temples of Machu Picchu in Peru or atop the massive pyramids of Teotihuacan in Mexico, or the steaming Mayan jungle city of Tikal in Guatemala and not be impressed. As dramatic locations for stories, you really can't do much better.
These ideas began to circle themselves in my imagination: the giant monster, the Aztec spaceship, the complex story of the god Quetzalcoatl, the mysterious ruins of Teotihuacan. Coming across all of these wonderful building blocks, City of the Gods: The Return of Quetzalcoatl almost had to be written. I hope you find it a fun spin on some mythology that hasn't yet made its way out to the pop cultural landscape.
Patrick Garone is a writer and director based of Chicago, Illinois. He is a long-time member of Salsation Theatre Company, Chicago's premiere Latino sketch comedy ensemble. CITY OF THE GODS: THE RETURN OF QUETZALCOATL is his first novel.
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