Don’t rush Trafalgar Medrano when he starts telling you about his latest intergalactic sales trip. He likes to stretch things out over precisely seven coffees. No one knows whether he actually travels to the stars, but he tells the best tall tales in the city, so why doubt him?
Title: Trafalgar | Author: Angélica Gorodischer | Publisher: Penguin Classics | Pub. Date: 6th August 2020 (originally published 1979) | Pages: 256 | ISBN: 9780241467961 | Genre: Science Fiction | Language: English | Starred Review: Yes | Source: Publisher
‘Trafalgar’ is part of a new Science Fiction Classics series from Penguin. The series features an eclectic and interesting range of books, some of which I’ve read but most of which I haven’t. If they’re all as good as ‘Trafalgar’, then fans of sci fi with a more offbeat bent are in for a treat.
The book was first published in Argentina in 1979 and only translated into English in (I think) 2013. It’s a fascinating science fiction book that’s part way between short story collection and novel. It’s weird, inventive, funny and very entertaining. It came as no surprise to me that both Philip K Dick and Kurt Vonnegut get name checks in its pages, Angélica Gorodischer attempts the same blend of pulp SF and intellectual philosophising that they did so well. What’s more, she succeeds in pulling it off as well as either of her influences.
The book involves the titular character, Trafalgar Medrano telling a friend (the narrator) a series of apparently tall tales over cup after cup of coffee. The stories are about his voyages to alien planets, each with a different weirdness going on. On one world he wakes each morning in the different stage of a horrific war, another is a facsimile of Earth circa 1492, and so on.
It’s quite brilliant as science fiction, with a vibrant imagination that draws on the pulps but infuses every page with genuine magic. It’s even better as storytelling though. I found myself feeling like I was sitting with the two men as they discussed Trafalgar’s adventures and amorous encounters with scores of alien women.
Gorodischer manages to achieve that miraculous thing that is a book that speaks to the heart and mind whilst also being massively entertaining. If you’re a fan of colourful alien adventures and fancy something a bit different, I can’t recommend it highly enough.
You can find this book at many retailers via clicking on the appropriate link on Goodreads (Buying direct from retailers is a good way to support indie authors); however, in the spirit of supporting literacy programs, we would like to point out that you may be able to purchase this book through BetterWorldBooks.