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Tales of the Quintana Roo [Hardcover]

James, Jr. Tiptree , Glennray Tutor
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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From Publishers Weekly

In the early '70s Tiptree (the pseudonym of clinical psychologist Alice B. Sheldon), made a big splash in SF with a series of powerful, convoluted and misanthropic stories. The three recent tales included in this small, illustrated collection, however, show a certain mellowing. They are touristy romantic fantasies, all set in a Mayan region of the Yucatan Peninsula, the Quintana Roo. The heavy psychological freight that weighed down the earlier work remains, but the Mayans have been tritely cast in place of Tiptree's inscrutable aliens. In fact, her self-proclaimed "Mayaphilia" turns the Indians into one-dimensional objects of uncritical worship. Finally, these ghosts, gods incarnate and oceanic apparitions are pallid inventions with less impact than the unpleasant drawings that accompany them here.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars magical Oct. 31 2002
Format:Hardcover
This is one of the most striking books I have read in the last year. It contains three short stories, all set in the Yucatan with the same main character. All three deal with ambiguous, mysterious, and "magical" events that were told to the main character. The stories are told in a way that leaves you wondering if the events they tell of happened or if they came from the fevered minds and imaginations of the tellers. I read a lot and buy very few books, but this is a book that I will keep and lend to anyone who will accept it. The closest genre I can think of to Tales of the Quintana Roo is "urban fantasy", it has the same "maybe it could happen" feeling to it, but the setting, the Yucatan Peninsula, is much more romantic and evocative than the settings of the urban fanatasies I've read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Just amazing. June 3 2004
Format:Hardcover
"Tales of the Quintana Roo", a fictional book set in the Yucatan peninsula (back in the 70's or so...) is a masterpiece. While there are only three stories, they are all good... and the title story is simply amazing. All of them deal with the mystical nature of the state of Quintana Roo, in Mexico (Cancun resides in it, for reference), and the mystical things that happen to those who venture there. While I don't want to give away plot, I'll take a moment to quote (from memory: hope I get it right) a poem from the beginning, which really sets the tone:
Tourists throw spent Polaroid
Where Spaniards threw spent slaves;
And now and then a tourist joins
Four thousand years of graves.
For loves it's wiser to avoid
Smiles from those brilliant waves.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars magical Oct. 31 2002
By Gabriel M. Deal - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is one of the most striking books I have read in the last year. It contains three short stories, all set in the Yucatan with the same main character. All three deal with ambiguous, mysterious, and "magical" events that were told to the main character. The stories are told in a way that leaves you wondering if the events they tell of happened or if they came from the fevered minds and imaginations of the tellers. I read a lot and buy very few books, but this is a book that I will keep and lend to anyone who will accept it. The closest genre I can think of to Tales of the Quintana Roo is "urban fantasy", it has the same "maybe it could happen" feeling to it, but the setting, the Yucatan Peninsula, is much more romantic and evocative than the settings of the urban fanatasies I've read.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just amazing. June 3 2004
By Kenneth D'ambrosio - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
"Tales of the Quintana Roo", a fictional book set in the Yucatan peninsula (back in the 70's or so...) is a masterpiece. While there are only three stories, they are all good... and the title story is simply amazing. All of them deal with the mystical nature of the state of Quintana Roo, in Mexico (Cancun resides in it, for reference), and the mystical things that happen to those who venture there. While I don't want to give away plot, I'll take a moment to quote (from memory: hope I get it right) a poem from the beginning, which really sets the tone:
Tourists throw spent Polaroid
Where Spaniards threw spent slaves;
And now and then a tourist joins
Four thousand years of graves.
For loves it's wiser to avoid
Smiles from those brilliant waves.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Magical Region's Magic Feb. 7 2008
By Rory Coker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Alice Sheldon and her husband Huntington vacationed for years on the (then nearly roadless) east coast of the Yucatan peninsula, long before such resorts as Cozumel, Cancun and Mujeres appeared, and virtually destroyed the region, ecologically and in almost every other way. So the local color that is the main point of the three short stories contained in this slim volume is absolutely authentic. For purposes of the tales, Sheldon assumes her "Tiptree" persona, an elderly male vacationing alone in the same beach cabin Sheldon and her husband shared in the real world.

In each story, a classic "unreliable narrator" gives Tiptree an account of an amazing experience with supernatural or science-fictional overtones. In the first story, a hippy encounters a person... or thing... washed up on shore, that is mysteriously and fatally attractive. In the second story, a Mayan youth starts out on water skies and yet apparently winds up in the ancient Maya city of Tuluum at its height a thousand years ago. In the third story a scuba diver discovers that the polluted and dying sea may be trying to fight back in a very direct yet deceptive way against its greatest enemy, man.

Each story spends most of its verbiage in an expert evocation of the time and place... a place almost as exotic as an alien planet. These stories are quite different from the usual output of Tiptree or her other persona Raccoona Sheldon, but were written at the height of her powers. Each is a near-perfect example of the wonders an expert author can wring out of the short-story format.

The illustrations by Glennray Tutor may be an acquired taste that I didn't manage to acquire during the reading of the book; they are perhaps best left undescribed here.
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