Small Beer Press' latest volume, Three Messages and a Warning: Contemporary Mexican Short Stories of the Fantastic, contains 34 stories published in Mexico in the past decade — most of them from the past two years. Writing in the Seattle Times, Nisi Shawl praises this volume for presenting a fresher look at magical realism than people in the U.S. have seen lately:
What has Latin American magic realism done for you lately? Jorge Luis Borges' fabulous collection "Labyrinths" first appeared in English decades ago. Several authors have made longstanding contributions to the magic realist canon since then, but for the freshest of wonders turn to "Three Messages and a Warning: Contemporary Mexican Short Stories of the Fantastic" .
Meanwhile, co-editor Chris N. Brown writes about the diversity of stories in the book on the group blog No Fear of the Future:
The stories come from both the highbrow literary mainstream and the ghettos of genre-the authors insist a book collecting all of them under a single cover could never happen in Mexico. The stories represent a fresh literature of globalization-reflecting a multicultural 21st century society defined by electronic communications networks and the narratives and memes they feed into people's heads more than the usual folkloric signifiers of Mexican culture you might find at your neighborhood import shop. Our anthology showcases writers who use the tools of science fiction and slipstream to liberate themselves from the tropical languor of old-school magic realism, and express the authentic feeling of a media-drunk, technological mediated, postmodernly alienated contemporary life-one where if La Virgen appears, it will probably be in the lo-rez pixels of YouTube.
At left is one of the stories in the book, "Variation on a Theme of Coleridge" by Alberto Chimal, being read by its author. Three Messages and a Warning is out now.