Fictions is a collection of stories that was hugely instrumental in ushering writing from modernist realism into the realms of postmodernism. The sixteen stories in this collection first published in nineteen forty four introduced a highly influential literary style entirely different to anything that had gone before. Taking as his starting points a set of metaphysical riddles, paradoxical ideas, and intertextual and literary jokes, Borges crafted a series of detective stories, fantastical tales, and fictional histories with the express purpose of challenging people to read in a different, more sophisticated way. The texts in Fictions play with such basic concepts as time, space, and history, twisting them round within a tight narrative prose so that they come up with surprising and entertaining new meanings with the glorious effect of making the reader finish with more questions than answers. For instance Tlon, Uqbar, and Tertius is a history/tale based on the central conceit of a world profoundly changed by an encyclopaedia of a fictional but overwhelmingly more logical and beautiful alternate reality.
The Garden of Forking Paths, ostensibly a crime story set in Britain about a Chinese man working as a German spy, is also a meditation on the classic philosphical question of free will. In Pierre Menard, author of the Quijote, Borges eulogises a writer who copies Cervantes’ Don Quijote exactly as having written the better version. In Death and the Compass, amidst a dark and vivid vision of Borges' native Buenos Aires we are presented with a detective destroyed by his abstract intelligience and a criminal genius who weaves a web of intrigue using ancient Jewish lore. Funes the Memorious tells the tragic story of the man who could remember everything… each piece in Fictions introduces us to metaphysical trials and tribulations that last long after the short text has been devoured, a near perfect collection of ideas extrapolated upon and turned into vivid post modern fantasies and parables.