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

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  128 ratings  ·  30 reviews
A huge, energetic, and ambitious groundbreaking anthology from emerging and established Mexican authors which showcases all-new supernatural folktales, alien incursions, ghost stories, apocalyptic narratives, and more. Stereotypes of Mexican identities and fictions are identified and transcended. Traditional tales rub shoulders with mindbending new worlds. Welcome to the n ...more
Paperback, 300 pages
Published February 14th 2012 by Small Beer Press (first published December 13th 2011)
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3.55  · 
Rating details
 ·  128 ratings  ·  30 reviews


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Marie-Therese
2.5 stars.

There's a great deal of variety in this anthology of contemporary Mexican fantastic and horror fiction but too little quality. It's difficult to tell if the poor overall result is due to amateurish, even incompetent translation or to a lack of fresh ideas and vivid prose. There are too many really short pieces here and most feel underdeveloped and not thought through. Their impact is superficial-forgotten the moment the page is turned and another brief tale appears. When an idea is ex
...more
Rachel (Kalanadi)
3.5 stars
Tuck
Nov 09, 2011 rated it liked it
all in all a solid collection, though amateurish, of sci fi or sci fiy anyway short stories from mostly very young or not-even-published-yet mexican authors. has a nice author bio section that lists what they are up to. breaks lots of stereotypes in that there is hardly a whiff of peyote, plateaus at night, going back to visit gramdma and seeing stray dogs in the street etc of some kinds of mexican fiction tropes. the book itself much of the intro and first stories (pages are blank) and while fu ...more
Jessica
I'm giving 4 stars not because the collection is full of stunners (though there are a few) but because almost every story here is enjoyable and surprising. An anthology I got from the library (yay, my library!) and one which I wouldn't mind owning.
Amanda
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
Liz Murray
Mar 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'd love to read some of these stories in the original Spanish. Not that I felt the translations were clunky but I feel that with 'lo fantastico' the ambiguities present in the Spanish language are used to advantage. "Lo fantastico" is one of my favourite genres. You often never know until the end how things are and what was really going on. Not science fiction nor fantasy nor a mix of the two. Cortazar is maybe the best known of the writers who often use this genre and China Mieville's work is ...more
A
Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-book, short-stories
Any anthology of short stories is bound to be uneven. What I liked about this one is that all of the writers are unknown to me. There are parts magical realism and parts science fiction. There are parts folk tales.

The short story Photophobia, by Mauricio Montiel Figueiras, translated by Jen Hofer and The Return of Night by René Roquet, translated by Armando García were two of my favorites.

Is writing in Mexico different than writing in other countries? In many ways, it doesn't feel like it. We
...more
Kate
Jun 10, 2019 rated it liked it
I had this out of the library several times, but never made it all the way through all the stories, and quite frankly as giving up. There’s more to read! Enjoyed some, others less, as is always the way with collections of short stories, but unfortunately didn’t feel that as a whole the collection lived up to the promises in the introductions by the editors.
Mark
Jan 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Wide range in style and quality, all touches with the unreal but handling it very differently. My favorites were the title story and the story by Amparo Davila.
Isabel (kittiwake)
Dec 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lt-er
I received a free copy of this book in return for a review, via the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.

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
...more
Andy
A decent if unspectacular collection of Mexican fantasy/sci-fi short stories. They are in the vein of myths and legends, ghost stories, oddities and freak occurrences, and other tales to tell at night by a crackling fire. All of them are very short. Many are enjoyable, although none really stood out to me either, which is unusual for a volume of this many entrants, and there are a handful of bad ones as well. The ones I did like were entertaining but not deep and brain-lodging in the way that re ...more
Tyrannosaurus regina
Like most books of short stories, the quality was variable, perhaps more highly variable than usual for me. I tended to like the stories more as I went on, though I'm not sure whether that's because the stories got stronger, or because I got more used to the nuances of the way they were being told. There was overall a kind of gentleness to the style, and the stories were often (though not universally) neither violent nor intense; they also tended to have a very specific voice and point of view. ...more
Christian
Jan 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a fascinating collection of stories from a number of Mexican writers, in what would probably be classed as a speculative fiction anthology. There were some stunning stories in the collection, such as the title story, as well as Fireflies, Hunting Iguanas, the story about UFOs, and the stories about wolves and lions. Unfortunately, a large number of the stories seemed to end abruptly, giving a feeling like they were incomplete. Perhaps this is a stylistic approach that I am not used to t ...more
Laura
Jun 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
While I normally love short stories, I found this collection to be dull and unremarkable. The stories covered a wide range of standard fantasy/sci-fi fare such as ghosts, aliens, apocalyptic/dystopian societies, and even mermaids. But they were hampered by predictable twists (he was dead all along!), clunky prose (perhaps due to translation), and quite a lot of gimmicky second person point of view. There were a few stories that caught my interest, but most were quickly read and quickly forgotten ...more
World Literature Today
"So bravo, Small Beer Press and editors Mayo and Brown, for bringing us Three Messages and a Warning, a landmark collection of the Mexican fantastic." - Michael A. Morrison, The University of Oklahoma

This book was reviewed in the May/June 2012 issue of World Literature Today. You can read the full review by visiting our website: http://worldliteraturetoday.com/2012/...
Ed Erwin
Aug 16, 2012 rated it liked it
I'm glad I read it, but I found very few of the short stories here very interesting. "Stories of the fantastic" in this case mostly means some form of light fantasy or magical realism. Only one story ("Pink Lemonade") was solidly in a Sci-Fi genre.

Took me forever to finish because I prefer reading long-form fiction than short stories, so I would just dip into this from time to time.
Martinique
Oct 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was a fabulous book. Both my son and I read this and we both found several stories that appealed to us and others that were good but not necessarily our "cup of tea". I loved the magical realism that runs through all of these stories. A wonderful read that really highlights the old style of fairytales and folk tales. Highly recommend this book.
Tasula
Mar 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Collection of mystical or supernatural stories from Mexican writers. Interesting in many ways- shows people are similar in emotional needs/fears, no matter where they come from; gives us glimpses of Mexican life; and has a few real gems of insight. I liked most of the stories a lot- a few I just didn't get.
Angela
May 23, 2012 rated it liked it
i thought it would be better than it was, in truth i think it wouldve been better in spanish.... the english translation felt long winded.... i counted a bunch of sentences that were like forty words long....
Graeme Williams
Feb 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a wonderful collection of very varied short stories. This may sound stranger, but in general I found the short stories too short. I liked almost everything in the book, but nothing blew me away.
Caitlin Mitchell
Jul 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teaching
Though only a handful of stories will work for my class, it was delightful to read!
Alex MacFarlane
Nov 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-fiction
A cross-genre grab-bag of fiction from Mexican writers, varying in quality but with enough good stories to make this a worthwhile read.
Jetamors
My favorite story from this one was "Lions" by Bernardo Fernandez.
Kate Arms
Apr 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Only one of the stories in this collection stuck with me as a stand alone story after reading the full collection, but the collection as a whole was entertaining.
Pamster
Sep 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Uneven, but with several really lovely or creepy stories. Super glad I read it, all new writers to me. I kept wondering about the translations, like maybe I was missing a lot?
Carma Spence
Aug 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
You can read my review of this book at The New York Journal of Books here: http://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/revie...
Kevin Fellows
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was given this by a Small Beer Press representative at last year's World Fantasy Convention while I visited their table. It was thrown in for free because I purchased another book so I wasn't expecting much but I was wrong. The Guest, by Amparo Davila; The Hour of the Fireflies, by Karen Chacek; and The Last Witness to Creation, by Jesus Ramirez Bermudez are just a few of the gems in this collection. I hope to see other anthologies of translations like this.
Henry
Sep 14, 2017 rated it did not like it
this book and the website is terrible and you should rally not look at it
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