Three Messages and a Warning: Contemporary Mexican Short Stories of the Fantastic

Three Messages and a Warning: Contemporary Mexican Short Stories of the Fantastic


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781931520317
Publisher: Small Beer Press
Publication date: 02/14/2012
Pages: 300
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)

Table of Contents

Table of Contents (not final order)

Lucía Abdó, Second-Hand Pachuca
Maria Isabel Aguirre, Today, you walk along a narrow path
Ana Gloria Álvarez Pedrajo, The Mediator
Liliana V. Blum, Pink Lemonade
Agustín Cadena, Murillo Park
Ana Clavel, Warning and Three Messages in the Same Parcel
Yussel Dardón, A Pile of Bland Deserts
Óscar de la Borbolla, Wittgenstein’s Umbrellas
Beatriz Escalante, Luck Has Its Limits
Bruno Estan~ol, The Infamous Juan Manuel
Iliana Estan~ol, In Waiting
Claudia Guillén, The Drip
Mónica Lavín, Trompe l’œil
Eduardo Mendoza, The Pin
Queta Navagómez, Rebellious
Amélie Olaiz, Amalgam
Donají Olmedo, The Stone
Edmée Pardo, 1965
Jesús Ramírez Bermúdez, The Last Witness to Creation
Carmen Rioja, The Náhual Offering
René Roquet, Returning to Night
Guillermo Samperio, Mister Strogoff
Alberto Chimal, Variation on a Theme of Coleridge
Mauricio Montiel Figueiras, Photophobia
Pepe Rojo, The President without Organs
Esther M. Garcia, Mannequin
Bernardo Fernández, Lions
Horacio Sentíes Madrid, The Transformist
Karen Chacek, The Hour of the Fireflies
Hernán Lara Zavala, Hunting Iguanas
Gerardo Sifuentes, Future Perfect
Amparo Dávila, The Guest
Gabriela Damián Miravete, Nereid Future
José Luis Zárate, Wolves

Customer Reviews

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Three Messages and a Warning: Contemporary Mexican Short Stories of the Fantastic 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
psutto on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Great collection of Mexican tales. They are all pretty good but a few stand out above the rest especially "Photophobia". I got this via ER and have taken a really long time to read it having just read the stories as and when I could at work lunch times.
ErisAerie on LibraryThing 5 months ago
First, a few cosmetic issues:The book didn't format correctly to my Kindle, but this could be because it was a PDF, which I've never attempted to read on it before. Since I couldn't zoom easily, it made it difficult to read at times, but that shouldn't affect review of the content.I am always interested in the literature of other cultures, especially Science Fiction and Fantasy. The genre lends itself especially well to showing what a people want, what they dream of and what they feel comfortable criticizing behind a screen of unbelievability. At the same time, it is a great way to recognize that most people, no matter where they are from, have many of the same values, and in that way, Sci-Fi/Fantasy can be a cultural bridge. The risk always taken, of course, is that some level of nuance is lost in the translation.It as difficult to find the fantastical elements in some of the stories in this collection. Others seemed to shoot by quickly, without much emotion. In the latter, I was fairly certain the issue was both a cultural ignorance on my part, and a difficulty in translation.The stories I enjoyed the most were those with rich descriptions. I noticed a recurring theme of Place. Place was obviously important, even if there was no one around. Often, the characters would be blank, yet the location would be highly detailed.I also thought some of the best stories were some of the saddest, or at least had a certain element of tragedy in them.In short, while I enjoyed the exploration that was opened by the title, I am not sure it is for everyone. It is difficult to criticize the authors when I'm sure the stories would take on totally new dynamics if they were read in their original language by those that understand the culture. However, as mentioned, I've always thought that Sci-Fi/Fantasy was the most accessible genres, enjoyable to everyone, regardless of where they are from, and I was a bit disappointed I couldn't connect with the stories more.
domolyte on LibraryThing 5 months ago
The standouts for me were "Nereid Future" and "The President Without Organs." Somewhat short for an anthology of short stories (and one is a poem). There are a few clunkers in here, but for the most part it's a solid read. Recommended for those interested in magical realism.
skippyofthewired on LibraryThing 5 months ago
This collection of short stories(emphasis on short) is delightfully fantastic and surprisingly dark. There are some common themes in some of the stories. You could group them Post-Apocalyptic, Animal(spirit animal, animals gaining sentience, humans becoming animals, Afterlife, and many others. The best stories in the anthology were slices of a fantastic life or a mundane life with a fantastic viewpoint. Whether it was sitting on a bench, getting a book from the library, or just recounting the events of your day.My favorite stories were Nereid Future, Wittgenstein's Umbrella, Photophobia, and Pink Lemonade.This collection has at least one story that is sure to capture your interest and is really worth picking up.
elastic.ella on LibraryThing 5 months ago
This anthology is a collection of Mexican short stories, a poem, and flash fiction. I hesitate to label it as science fiction or even fantastic, as a few of the stories don't seem by any means to touch upon that [ex. Waiting- a short story just focused on waiting for death]. What did unite the collection was that many of the translated stories had lovely imagery, and decorative language. As a warning though, many of the stories do not follow an arc, nor is there the amount of substantial science fiction one would expect from the introduction. The stories are rather pretty, but many feel shallow or unfinished. I found the stories tended to be either interesting without any plot, or on the cliched predictable side. Two stories avoided this, and they were the shining gems of the collection- Photophobia and The Drop. Those two are certainly worth hunting after. The rest are fine and rather quick to read, but I didn't take too much away from them.I would recommend this to someone already interested in contemporary Mexican literature.Nibble from Photophobia: "Tell me honestly... Which is better: to get ahead of eternity, or to let eternity catch up to us?"
tronella on LibraryThing 5 months ago
An anthology of mostly fantasy and fantasy-horror stories. Some of them are extremely short, some of them I found completely incomprehensible, most of them were high on atmosphere and low on plot. In a few of the stories the quality of the translations was not great. However, enough of the stories were interesting and atmospheric enough to keep me reading the whole book.
syntheticvox on LibraryThing 5 months ago
I thoroughly enjoyed the short stories collected here. Many were quite short, which I enjoyed. Little vignettes of science fiction (as the introductory articles call them---though this is not space-travel/utopia science fiction). Not the magical realism of "Love in the time of Cholera" or "Like Water for Chocolate," yet something very akin. I enjoyed the first introductory essay, although the second was a bit over-wrought. The stories themselves spanned Poe-like horror to magical realist-saddened love, to more science fiction monster stories. All were "Mexican," but not, as one of the forwards notes, the post-colonial Mexico of more well-known writers.I would recommend this collection to anyone who enjoys Poe-like short stories, magical realism, or contemporary Mexican writing.
TheDivineOomba on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Generally, these stories are short, poignant, and a bit mystical. They tended to follow a very similar theme and the stories felt like they could be interchanged easily. I enjoyed reading them
palmaceae on LibraryThing 5 months ago
"Three Messages and a Warning: Contemporary Mexican Short Stories of the Fantastic" certainly is contemporary. If you're into modern literature, then this is a plus, but if you're not, then I can't stress enough that you should stay away from this book.The collection certainly is Mexican, and many of these pieces are very, very short (I'd argue 1 1/2 pages is too short). However, are these pieces "stories"? That's debatable. Many of these "stories" lack the basic structure of a beginning, middle and end or leave you hanging and wondering what the heck just happened, and not in a good way. (Welcome to the world of modern literature.)Are these "stories" fantastic (as the title states)? Or is this book misleading for suggesting that the stories in it can be classified as science fiction, fantastic or magical realism? I would lean towards the latter - not every story in this book is a part of these genres or anything remotely resembling speculative literature. Writing a story that talks about death does not automatically make it a candidate for any of the above mentioned genres ("Waiting"), and there's more than one story in this book that made me stop and wonder exactly why it was in this collection. Some of these stories contain only the faintest hints of the fantastic ("Hunting Iguanas"), too faint in my opinion to make it into a collection of the fantastic. Some stories featured tired old cliches that I suppose the editors thought contained new twists simply because they were presented against a Mexican backdrop ("The Guest" and "Today, You Walk Along a Narrow Path"). All in all, an incredibly boring read that had me skipping pages left and right as I tried to find at least one really good story, but couldn't.
Unkletom on LibraryThing 5 months ago
I lived for a spell in Mexico and developed a taste for Latin American short stories, especially those in the mystical and horror genres. The writing is usually much more lyrical than what we norten¿os are used to. That said, I looked forward to reading this book but was ultimately disappointed. While the lyrical nature is there, many of the stories lack a compelling plot and without that, the lyrical quickly descends into the surreal.
isabelx on LibraryThing 5 months ago
And so, perhaps urged on by the official indifference, the lions left their refuges to cynically strut their manes down our streets.Without hunger, they are as tame as a little cat. But they eat all day, which is why it was impossible to know at which moment they would bite off the arm of a balloon salesman or swallow a kid.This book contains thirty-three short stories (some very short indeed) and one poem. They are a mixture of fantasy, horror, ghost stories, magical realism and folk tales plus a fair few non-genre stories, and whatever the editors may claim in the introduction, I would only count three or four stories, "The Hour of the Fireflies", "1965", "Pink Lemonade" and maybe "Photophobia", as being science fiction. A couple of the stories were quite predictable, but there is a lot of variety and most were very atmospheric, and I enjoyed most of them. Those I liked least were the stories about obsession, including "The President without Organs", a strange tale of freedom of information and national fixation with the president's body, and "The Transformist" and "The Drop".My favourites were "Photophobia", "Lions", "Wittgenstein's Umbrella" and "Pink Lemonade".
tenth_sheep on LibraryThing 5 months ago
As someone totally ignorant of the original Spanish text and the individuals who wrote it, I am very grateful for an anthology like this. The stories are quick and curious. The anthology has highs and lows, but many of the stories have a fantastic or absurd premise at their heart, so it's hard not to at least smirk. "Photophobia" is a true standout.Though its no masterpiece, there is variety and charm in this well put-together collection that introduces many Mexican writers to English readers.
RandyStafford on LibraryThing 5 months ago
If you like your stories to have a dramatic arc with a conflict and a resolution, this is not the anthology for you.If you like your stories to read like completed projects and not story fragments or philosophical speculation inadequately fictionalized, this is not the anthology for you.If you think that, when you buy a book, you¿re paying for a writer to tell the story ¿ not present you with a literary version of ¿choose your adventure¿, this is not the anthology for you.If you think studied vagueness and elliptical endings are usually an abrogation of authorial responsibility, this is not the anthology for you.If you think maybe Bruce Sterling¿s name and the word ¿fantastic¿ in the title means you will get significant Mexican science fiction, this is not the anthology for you.If you think ¿microfiction¿ and ¿flash fiction¿ are sometimes excuses for presenting incompletely worked out ideas, this is not the anthology for you.If you don¿t want to sigh in exasperation at the end of nearly every one of these 33 stories (and one poem), this is not the anthology for you.Because there are so many stories here with so few that are satisfying, I¿ll mention the ones I did like.Iliana Estañol¿s ¿Waiting¿ may or may not have a fantastical element, but I liked its account of a man driving his dead brother¿s body around so he can be buried in the seaside town he wanted to rest in.The apocalyptic ghost story ¿Photophobia¿ by Mauricio Montiel Figueiras was my favorite story. The deserted cityscape, almost completely depopulated after some never completely explained event, reminded me of J. G. Ballard and, in its philosophical ruminations about man ¿fondled by eternity¿, of H. P. Lovecraft¿s cosmically themed horror though the author explicitly mentions Peter Weir¿s movie The Last Wave and dedicates the story (nearly all the stories here are dedicated to someone) Juvenal Acosta and Andrei Codrescu.Two of the stories I liked satirize politics, one Mexican politics in particular. They were Bernardo Ferñandez¿s ¿Lions¿, which details the consequences of zoos releasing their lions into the city after budget cuts, and Pepe Rojo¿s ¿The President Without Organs¿ which has bodily secretions and removed organs purchased by Mexicans for many of the same reasons saint¿s relics were popular in the Middle Ages.¿Nereid Future¿ from Gabriela Damián Miravete was a predictable tale of lovers separated by time, but I liked its style and method of working out the plot.Genuine science fiction stories are few and far between here, and the only one that worked and seemed to have a decent amount of logic and extrapolative rigor behind it ¿ as opposed to fablistic satire like ¿Lions¿ was Liliana V. Blum¿s post-apocalyptic ¿Pink Lemonade¿ which has, during a worldwide famine, a young woman hiding out in a warehouse of animal food and encountering one of the people who may be responsible for the whole mess. I read it as a nice comment on eco-terrorism and luddite GMO opponents.¿Three Messages and a Warning in the Same Email¿ from Ana Clavel was sort of a variation on the doppelganger theme.¿Wolves¿ by Jóse Luis Zárate wobbles a bit from mixing wolves as a symbol for man¿s lust for blood and natural disasters with the imagery of a flood. Still I liked it.¿The Infamous Juan Manuel¿ by Bruno Estañol is a fun variation on the treasure hunt story.Now while I may complain about many of these stories committing the sins of current ¿literary¿ fiction, I didn¿t find a consistent relationship, given the author biographies, between the quality of work of genre and literary writers.Sterling and the editors warn the reader not to expect uniquely Mexican content here. Given that the editors and Sterling note that, in Mexico, ¿no problem-solving stories, and very little ideational extrapolation¿ exist in fantastic literature, that the stories here are products ¿of a world that the authors all understand cannot really be explained with numbers and laws¿, it¿s tempting to say it¿s no
Surtac on LibraryThing 5 months ago
This is a fascinating anthology.There¿s a consistency of tone and flavour in this set of stories that¿s completely different from anything I¿ve read in American SF&F ¿ but much closer to what I¿ve seen in the work of certain British authors where they consider their own country¿s folklore. And yet the overall sense of place across the works is as even and subtly layered as if by one author only. It¿s quite striking how this different cultural background informs all of the stories: in many of these, there¿s a sense that it¿s the feelings that the stories engender in the reader are more important than the actual narratives, and the precise lack of traditional story narrative and resolution in some is likely (it seems to me) to frustrate some readers.But not me ¿ I found it absolutely engrossing. Recommended for those who want to try something a bit different.
mnorris3 on LibraryThing 5 months ago
First off there are some really good stories in this anthology, the problem is the rest of them drag the collection down. The ones that shine are great and make the book worth the read despite the others. I really enjoyed:LionsThe DropThe President without OrgansPhotophobiaNereid FutureAt the very least you should read those stories.There are a few others that are enjoyable, but I have a feeling that some of the magic was lost from a few stories in translation.
CosmicBullet on LibraryThing 5 months ago
These wonderful stories are little hallucinogenic voyages, rendered in a day-glo palette that is unmistakably Latin-American. I find them refreshing ¿ like an effervescent tonic for a tired western rationality. And there is something else common to the threads of these narratives: a frankness about the truth one's own personal experience that wastes no time in that self-loathing neurosis that characterizes more traditional first person accounts of the fantastic, such as are descended from Hawthorne and Poe. We need stories like these - stories which do not 'wrap up' like some morality tale or well-plotted story arc. They remind us of an alternate reality, of a dream world from which perhaps we all have descended as we grew into right-minded, rational adults.
Faustulus More than 1 year ago
This collection deserves your attention. At once, familiar and a little bit alien the tales draw as much from Edgar Allen Poe as from Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Most are short some have the translations which seem to reach for the right word, but the stories are always spot on. Reading it is like taking a vacation from the ordinary. (Bonus points for the gender-balanced author selection.)