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.