The Falling Woman by Pat Murphy
Archaeologist Elizabeth Butler has a secret: she can see the shades of people from the past, going about their daily activities. This talent has led to plenty of “lucky hunches” in her career but also to questions about her sanity. Normally she just sees the past scenes playing out in front of her but cannot affect them in any way. But while excavating the Maya city of Dzibilchaltún, she encounters a shade who can speak to her: Zuhuy-kak, a priestess of the Maya moon goddess. The Maya believed that time is cyclic, and Zuhuy-kak sees in Liz a chance to bring certain events in her own life full circle.
At the same time, Liz’s daughter Diane has come to Dzibilchaltún to see her mother, from whom she has been estranged for many years. The two women try warily to build a relationship even as strange occurrences mount up and Liz begins to fear for Diane’s safety. “You will find here only what ... Read More
Pat Murphy(1955- )
Patrice (Pat) Murphy also writes science fiction and her short stories can be found in several fantasy and science fiction anthologies. She has won two Nebula Awards, a World Fantasy Award, and a Philip K. Dick Award. Read excerpts of Pat Murphy’s work at her website.
The Falling Woman by Pat Murphy
The Shadow Hunter — (1982) Publisher: On a moonlit night 30,000 years ago, a young Neanderthal boy dreamed a true dream. In his dream, the spirit of the cave bear commanded the boy to follow her. He brings the spiritual beliefs of his people to this alien world, while maintaining a connection with the earth and with the spirits of animals. The clash of prehistoric shamanic traditions with future technology makes for a gripping tale — the first novel written by this Nebula Award-winning author. This riveting tale is an updated version of the author’s first published novel, to reflect current technology changes in the world since its original publication in 1982.
The City, Not Long After — (1989) Publisher: Half a generation ago, a gesture in the name of peace turned out to spread plague and disaster. In San Francisco, the survivors are heir to a city transformed. It is a haunted, dreaming place peopled with memories, and in a strange way nearly alive itself. And although it is only beginning to recover from near-ultimate disaster, the city is at risk again. An army of power-hungry men are descending on San Francisco. Teenagers Jax and Danny-boy must lead the fight for freedom using the only weapons they have — art, magic, and the soul of the city itself.
Points of Departure — (1990) Publisher: Points of Departure is a collection of short stories tinged with barbed humor that won the 1991 Philip K. Dick Award. Alternating between hope and despair, Pat Murphy’s stories range from “Rachel in Love,” which portrays a chimpanzee whose brain is implanted with the personality of a young girl who has died to “His Vegetable Wife,” the story of a farmer who grows a spouse from a packet of seed only to find that she is more quiet than docile. All but one of the 19 stories in this collection have been published previously in magazines and anthologies.
Nadya — (1996) Publisher: Growing up on the edge of the Missouri wilderness in the 1830s, Nadya knows she’s not like other girls. But when she becomes a woman and the Change comes, she discovers just how different she is. For Nadya is a shapechanger, a werewolf like her mother and father before her.
There and Back Again — (1999) Publisher: Bailey, an asteroid miner in the backwaters of the galactic civilization, is swept up in an adventure when he retrieves a message pod drifting in space, and notifies the Farr Clone that he has it. The Farrs are the oldest, richest clone family in the galaxy, and they made their fortune by mapping the wormholes that allow faster-than-light travel. Along with the legendary Gitana, the Farrs have discovered a piece of an ancient alien artifact that may be a map of the entire wormhole system. Bailey’s message pod contains word of where the rest of the map may be.
The Wild Angel — (2000) Young adult. Available for download at Audible.com Publisher: This time, Murphy tells the ripsnorting tale of young Sarah, the Wild Angel of the Sierras. Sarah’s parents were murdered, and she, only four years old, was left for dead in the wild mountains. But Sarah was rescued by a wolf who had lost her cubs, and accepted into the pack. There, against all odds, she thrived. Part Mowgli of the Jungle Books, part Tarzan of the Apes, Sarah’s story is a delightful adventure for all ages.
Adventures in Time and Space with Max Merriwell — (2001) Publisher: Cruise into murder, mayhem, and alternate realities. Award-winning author Pat Murphy takes us aboard a luxury cruise ship and into the strange confluence of time and space known as the Bermuda Triangle, in an engaging science fiction romp that recalls the work of Kate Wilhelm. Susan Galina and her friend Pat have escaped their normal lives into the elegant, isolated world of the Odyssey, a luxury cruise ship heading from NY to Europe via Bermuda. Pat is working on her doctoral thesis in quantum physics, and Susan is recovering from a recent and unhappy divorce. To Susan’s delight, she discovers that her favorite author, Max Merriwell, is also aboard ship, teaching writers’ workshop. Susan’s life becomes even more interesting when she meets Tom Clayton, the handsome chief of security. This cruise looks very promising indeed. But the pleasant shipboard vacation turns dark as the Odyssey passes into the Bermuda Triangle. Each year, Max Merriwell writes three novels: a science fiction novel under his own name, a fantasy novel under the pseudonym Mary Maxwell, and a mystery novel under the pseudonym Weldon Merrimax. The trouble begins when Max receives a threatening note that appears to come from Weldon Merrimax, Max’s own pseudonym. Susan hears wolves howling in the night, the ship’s passengers are seized with a dancing mania, and monsters lurk in the ship’s corridors. An eyewitness reports a murder — but the victim of the crime is not on the passenger list and the body is nowhere to be found. While others struggle to understand these strange events, Pat seeks the explanation in quantum theory. Out of these elements, Murphy builds a suspenseful, funny, fast-paced novel of shifting and intersecting realities that is a joy to read.
The Wild Girls — (2008) Young adult. Publisher: It?s 1972. Twelve-year-old Joan is sure that she is going to be miserable when her family moves. Then she meets a most unusual girl. Sarah prefers to be called ?Fox,? and lives with her author dad in a rundown house in the middle of the woods. The two girls start writing their own stories together, and when one wins first place in a student contest, they find themselves recruited for a summer writing class taught by the equally unusual Verla Volante. The Wild Girls brilliantly explores friendship, the power of story, and how coming of age means finding your own answers.
The novella is the ideal length for a science fiction story. It’s long enough to allow a reader to become immersed in a scene and involved with the characters; and it’s short enough to allow a reader to suspend disbelief as to the more unscientific or strange aspects of a story without questioning them too closely. Kate Wilhelm’s “The Fullness of Time,” which forms the backbone of the July/August issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, is a fine illustration of the strengths of the novella form.
“The Fullness of Time” is about a documentary film maker, Cat, who hires a researcher, Mercedes, the first person narrator of the tale, to work on a project about Hiram Granville, a famous inventor, now dead, about whom littl... Read More