The characters that populate Yuri Herrera’s first collection of stories inhabit imagined futures that reveal the strangeness and instability of the present. Drawing on science fiction, noir, and the philosophical parables of Borges’s Fictions and Calvino’s Cosmicomics, these very short stories signal a new dimension in the work of this significant writer.
In Ten Planets, objects can be sentient and might rebel against the unhappy human family to which they are attached. A detective of sorts finds clues to buried secrets by studying the noses of his clients, which he insists are covert maps. A meagre bacterium in a human intestine gains consciousness when a psychotropic drug is ingested. Monsters and aliens abound, but in the fiction of Herrera, knowing who is the monster and who the alien is a tricky proposition.
This collection of stories, with a breadth that ranges from
philosophical flights of fancy to the gritty detective story, leaves us with a
sense of awe at our world and the worlds beyond our ken, while Herrera
continues to develop his exploration of the mutability of borders, the wounds
and legacy of colonial violence, and a deep love of storytelling in all its
‘Brilliant, ecstatic and playful, Ten Planets is the work of one of the most original and prodigiously gifted writers at work today. The grammar of a nose, a skeleton in a shoebox, a consciousness acquiring bacterium and a sentient house – the infinite worlds of this story collection are further proof that Herrera is a writer of boundless talent.’ Katie Kitamura