A tantalizing collection of 12 brief stories by a curiously neglected Argentinean fiction writer and poet (1874-1938) whose baroque style and fixation on "paranormal" experiences and phenomena link him with such distinctive kindred spirits as Poe, Avram Davidson, Uruguayan surrealist Horacio Quiroga, and H.P. Lovecraft. As in the latter's horror tales, Lugones's (usually fairly generic) scientists and visionaries (in "The Omega Force," "Metamusic," and "Psychon," for example) pay a steep price for dabbling in arcane mysteries better left unsolved. Mysterious circumstance and apocalyptic consequence likewise dominate his surpassingly weird animal fables ("The Bloat Toad, "Yzur"), creation tales ("Origins of the Flood"), and historical fantasies ("The Miracle of Saint Wilfred," "The Horse of Abdera"). Translator Alter-Gilbert's affectionate foreword assures us that many more of Lugones's stories remain to be translated. Readers of this highly entertaining volume will await them eagerly.
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