Eight boring--but politically correct--short stories (most of them first published in Mexico in 1976) from Nicaraguan Vice-President Ramirez. In ""Charles Atlas Also Dies,"" a young Nicaraguan telegraph operator--who works as an informer for an American Marine captain during the 20's and early 30's--transforms himself from a 98-lb. weakling through Charles Atlas' Dynamic Tension System and goes to America to visit Atlas himself, only to find the great man wasting away with cancer. In ""The Centerfielder,"" a former baseball great is executed by the army--not only because his son is with the Sandinistas, but because he once made an error in an important game. In the exceptionally heavy-handed--even for this author--""Nicaragua is White,"" an elderly meteorologist gets into trouble with Samosa by predicting it will snow in Nicaragua; it does, in the provinces, but not in Managua, the corrupted heart of the country--and so, according to the President, it never happened. And in ""To Jackie with All Our Heart,"" a servile, American-loving Nicaraguan engineer prays fruitlessly for a visit from Jackie Onassis. In all: ham-fisted symbolism tinged with a tired, perfunctory, and derivative surrealism.