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Three Messages and a Warning: Contemporary Mexican Short Stories of the Fantastic Paperback – February 14, 2012

3.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“By turns creepy, self-consciously literary, and engagingly inventive, these 34 stories selected by translator-scholar Jiménez Mayo and writer-critic Brown offer some excellent and ghastly surprises. . . . These are punchy, ghoulish selections by south-of-the-border writers unafraid of the dark.”
Publishers Weekly

“Encompassing a definition of fantasy that includes the extraterrestrial, the supernatural, the macabre, and the spectral, these stories are set in unusual locales and deal with bizarre characters. All are very short (some just two pages), and most offer a surprise twist at the end, though occasionally the only reaction these endings may elicit from the reader is “Huh?” The universal scope of the themes transcends the Mexican provenance; for example, one detects an apocalyptic influence in Liliana V. Blum’s “Pink Lemonade,” and Argentine Julio Cortázar’s “Bestiary” influences Bernardo Fernández’s “Lions.” Most of the volume’s 34 authors, half of whom are women, are relatively unknown to American readers, and for many of them, publication in this anthology represents their first exposure to an English-reading audience. The translations, several of which were done by the editors, convey the individuality, if not idiosyncrasies, of these tales. VERDICT This collection will appeal mostly to fans of fantasy and sf and, to a lesser degree, those interested in contemporary Mexican literature.”
Library Journal

“Langorous, edgy, sumptuously beautiful by turns, Three Messages expands our understanding of contemporary Mexican literary production, collapsing high-low boundaries and pre-established ideas about national identity.”
—Debra Castillo, Emerson Hinchliff Professor of Spanish Literature, Cornell University
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Small Beer Press (February 14, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931520313
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931520317
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,411,483 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Don J. Webb on September 16, 2013
Format: Paperback
This book is the first Mexican SF anthology ever to be published here. I tried to get one published 20 years ago and found no buyers. Chris Brown has done an excellent job getting all sorts of the current scene represented. Because of this book there was a Spainish langauge programing track at the World Science Fiction Convention this year -- this book opens a gate of dialog between the US and Mexican Sf worlds that a similar volume in Spainish edited by Pepe Rojo is about to open there. This is a great time for cross-fertilization. This should be in every library in the country. By spanning both magic-realist and hard SF schools of writing, this book unifies the field. Well done! I think the book should win some major awards.

When it does I think you should say nice things about my high taste level :)

Best,

Don Webb
The War with the Belatrin: Science Fiction Stories / A Velvet of Vampyres: Tales of Horror (Wildside Double #28)
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Format: Paperback
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.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This collection gathers 34 contemporary Mexican short stories featuring fantasy, scifi, and literary, clearly a wide range.

For me this collection was very hit and miss, and alas even the hits weren't that wonderful. Part of the issue is there seems to be no rhyme or reason behind the order in which the tales are presented. It feels as if 34 completely random stories were selected with the only thing they have in common being Mexican authors. I generally prefer a short story collection to have a more universal theme or play upon similar tropes, but there is none of that here. The stories range from young boys hunting iguanas to figuring out how to dispose of a body to a trophy wife on vacation in Las Vegas to a pact with the devil. It was a bit of an exhausting collection to read.

Overall this collection is an interesting peek into contemporary Mexican writing, although it does seem the editors could have done a better job in selecting what to include. Recommended to those with a marked interest in modern Mexican writing.
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