A breathtaking free fall into the long-buried (and fictional) history of a utopian era in American lighter-than-air travel, as told by its death-defying, aero-acrobatic heroes.
"Foster and Romo's 'real fake dream' of the future-past history of the East Los Angeles Dirigible Transport Lines is a superb and loving phantasmagoria that gobbles up real histories for breakfast and spits out the seeds. It has everything you could wish for, academic satire, crazy sculpture in the desert, sex, violence, falafel, graffiti, and zeppelin chase scenes."—Jonathan Lethem, author of Motherless Brooklyn
In the early years of the twentieth-century, the use of airships known as dirigibles—some as large as one thousand feet long—was being promulgated in Southern California by a semi-clandestine lighter-than-air movement. Groups like the East LA Balloon Club and the Bessie Coleman aero Club were hard at work to revolutionize travel in the pre-apocalyptic Southwest, with an aim to literally lift oppressed people out of racism and poverty.
ELADATL tells the story of this little-known period of American air travel in a series of overlapping narratives told by key figures, accompanied by a number of historic photographs and recently discovered artifacts, with appendices provided to fill in the missing links. The story of the rise and fall of this ill-fated airship movement investigates its long-buried history, replete with heroes, villains, and moments of astonishing triumph and terrifying disaster.
Written and presented as an "actual history of a fictional company," this surrealist, experimental novel is a tour de force of politicized fantastic fiction, a work of hybrid art-making distilled into a truly original literary form. Developed over a ten-year period of collaborations, community interventions, and staged performances, ELADATL is a furiously hilarious send-up of academic histories, mainstream narratives, and any traditional notions of the time-space continuum.
"Hold this infra-surreal, no-surreal, under-realm account (in gyroscopic fashion and thru various sightings re-dacted and questionable dialogues, voice pepperings) of our fast approaching Kaliyuga. Mind-crushing consciousness blasting artefactos of our dissolving propellers. Viva Sesshu Foster! I bow to you!"—Juan Felipe Herrera, Poet Laureate of the USA, 2015-2017
"Visionary, hilarious, anarchic, this assemblage of breakneck dialog, blisteringly brilliant film criticism, bureaucratic documents, revolutionary chatter, mass transit, and fake dreams of the secret police, is the counterfactual novel to beat all counterfactual novels . . . Sesshu Foster and Arturo Romo float high above the the landlubbing bulk of American fiction."—Mark Doten, author of Trump Sky Alpha
"Hilarious and prophetic and profound, truer than truth, and realer than all realities currently available for purchase, ELADATL is strong medicine against the erasures of history, a mega-vitamin for struggles yet to come. This book combats despair."—Ben Ehrenreich, author of The Way to the Spring: Life and Death in Palestine
"This novel not only explores the actual quest for physical elevation, but, more significantly, with the complication of inner elevation, attempting to rise above a circumstance