This collection of short stories and essays by cult Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges is amazing
. He's like a hard intellectual blend of Gabriel García Márquez, H.G. Wells, and H.P. Lovecraft. It's impossible to put his stories in a single category -- there are elements of fantasy and magical realism, some of them have the surface form of a murder mystery, others of a pulp adventure story, and in the middle of any of them you might find yourself exploring theories of the mind, refutations of time, or the meaning of infinity. This is one of those books that, read at a young age, will probably warp your literary horizon, in a good way. Even at my relatively advanced age, it popped a few fuses, and I'm sure this won't be the last thing I read by Borges. If you are a traditional sci-fi/fantasy fan but want something really different that will challenge you, I can't recommend this volume highly enough. Don't be fooled by the relatively short length (260 pages), as even some of Borges's two-pagers will take a while to work through (unless your brain works very differently from mine).