Yuri Herrera

Ten Planets

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 forms.

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More Info

Print status: Available
Author: Yuri Herrera
Translator: Lisa Dillman
Original language: Spanish
Format: B-format paperback
Publication date: 7 February 2023
ISBN: 9781913505608
Ebook ISBN: 9781913505615
Availability: UK & C (excl Canada) and Europe
Number of pages: 112

Reviews


Sunday Times

‘The ideas are refreshingly bizarre – such as the alien that writes Don Quixote and is critiqued for this work of “speculative fiction” by his editor – and bring new life to the genre, cutting through some of its hackneyed tropes.’

Patrick Graney
Times Literary Supplement

‘An impressive achievement: bold, disturbing, ironic.’


New York Times Book Review

‘This speculative collection draws inspiration from Melville, Jorge Luis Borges, Philip K. Dick and others to produce contemplative, emotive and richly imagined stories.’


Wall Street Journal

‘A highly original set of voyages to imaginary worlds that shed unexpected light on our own.’

James Lovegrove
Financial Times

‘Ten Planets is – if this isn’t too reductive an analogy – a tapas selection of tiny delights, individually tasty, infinitely moreish, and adding up to a very satisfying whole.’

Katie Kitamura

‘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.’

Ivan Vladislavic

Ten Planets is exuberantly inventive and darkly humorous. Yuri Herrera has a gift for concealing entire worlds in small packages. Invariably the strange places in these jack-in-the-box fictions, with their peculiar customs and weird creatures, turn out to be familiar, not alien societies but our own, not distant planets but the house across the street. Monstrous and magical by turns, and very often both, Herrera’s stories are irresistible.’

Lisa Tuttle
The Guardian

‘Startling concepts another writer might take hundreds of pages to explore are distilled into perfect miniatures. It’s tempting to gulp them down at once, but such rich fare is best taken slowly, allowed to digest.’


The Big Issue

‘There are vignettes of imagined futures, twinkling with Borgesian promise, placed beside hard-boiled noirish pieces that expose the absurdity of bureaucratic systems.’


I-D Magazine, ‘All the books to be excited for in 2023’

‘A new collection of short stories from the beloved Mexican author Yuri Herrera. Ten Planets (translated by Lisa Dillman) is bold, philosophical science fiction.’


Big Issue North, ‘Indies to Watch in 2023’

‘Sheffield-based And Other Stories previously published Mexican political scientist Yuri Herrera’s Signs Preceding the End of the World to critical acclaim. In February it publishes his book of short stories, Ten Planets, translated by Lisa Dillman, and blending the best of science fiction, noir and the philosophical parables of Calvino and Borges.’


LitHub, ‘Most anticipated books of 2023’

In Ten Planets, Herrera shifts from the fantastical (monsters and aliens) to the eerily materialist (a bacterium achieves sentience) like a boy flipping through the pages of a beloved comic book: with delight and conviction.’


Morning Star

Ten Planets encapsulates Hererra’s mastery of language, his unique imagination where always something unexpected awaits you.’


New Internationalist

‘At times so dazzling and drenched in ideas, that the reader must take pause, regain breath, think and think again, indeed turn back to the start, read anew and be rewarded anew … These odd, unsettling encounters ring in the mind like enlivening waking dreams, their significance spilling in many directions, inviting us to toy with and complete them in our own ways.’


Vulture

‘A collection of fanciful, philosophical science fictions by one of Mexico’s finest novelists.’


Word Factory

‘Yuri Herrera’s expansive, delicate world-building makes the slim book seem bigger than it is – because of how far and fast the stories go.’


El País

‘These stories don’t simply imagine new worlds – they create them.’


London Review Bookshop, ‘Gayle’s New Year Picks 2023’ 

‘The characters that populate Yuri Herrera’s first collection of stories inhabit imagined futures that reveal the strangeness and instability of the present.’


Bookseller Praise for Ten Planets

‘Strange, surreal, and brimming with playfulness.’ John Bittles, No Alibis Bookstore

‘Leave the world with everything you think you know behind and depart on a journey of exploring new possibilities, new realities and questioning what you take to be true. Absolutely mesmerising!’ Lea Deppe, Bookhaus

‘With Yuri Herrera's Ten Planets fiction has finally caught up with the 21st century. The short stories inside are quantum pieces existing in two places at once. Read altogether they have a cumulative effect that envelops the reader with a warm sense of the subliminal and supranatural yet never leaving the mundane behind. This is such lyrical, enchanting, inventive prose from a formidable imagination at work.’ Ray Mattinson, Blackwell’s, Oxford

‘Whether plumbing the darker depths of our psyche, or soaring into ecstatic expanses of hope, these small, surreal stories – glittering with invention and shards of charming, unnerving naivety – each have the undeniable gravity of a collapsing star. You'll find your mind orbiting them long into the night.’ Joe Hedinger, The Book Hive

‘An excellent and intriguing book. The ideas and variety are such that at no point does it run out of steam or originality.’ Keith Cowans, The Book Vault