Lunatic, adventuring Englishmen dominate Antipodes, Ignacio Padilla's pithy, lyrical short story collection. Set mostly in exotic colonial locales, the tales ring with Umberto Eco-style absurdity and delusion. In one story, Mongolian nomads construct a full-scale replica of Edinburgh in the Gobi Desert at the request of a divine messenger (read: a marooned and hallucinating Scottish engineer). Meanwhile, a cross-dressing mountaineer recovers from tuberculosis-by adhering to a severe regimen of pituitary gland exercises, crazy sex and carrot and thyme bouillabaisse-in order to climb Mt. Everest. Alastair Reid ably translates Padilla's sophisticated, droll prose.