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The City Not Long After

Written By:Pat Murphy - 1989

  • The City  Not Long After  - Pat Murphy cover


Half a generation ago, a gesture in the name of peace spread plague and disaster instead. 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. 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.


Jax Enters The City

Just inside the city limits, she passed the site of an ancient automobile accident. A black BMW had struck the center divider, leaving a long streak on the cement. From the look of the crumpled fender and hood, the vehicle had struck at an angle, spun around, and ended by smashing broadside into the railing. The driver's side of the car was caved in. Farther on, other wrecks littered the freeway...

She was fascinated by the streets and buildings that she could see below the freeway. She had never seen so many buildings packed together so tightly. Some areas had been burned; here and there, charred supports thrust upward through the weeds, and broken glass glittered in the fading light.

She did not like the feel of this place; it smelled of ashes and danger. The sky was the color of bruised flesh: deep purple shot through with crimson from the sunset. It pressed low over the city, a ceiling no higher than the rooftops. As she urged her horse between the wrecks, the air around her seemed to vibrate with a low, heavy rumbling like distant thunder. The sound grew louder, coming from the streets below the freeway...


"A grand adventure." —San Francisco Chronicle

"A haunting vision of life after society's collapse, as art becomes magic and combines with the power of love to defeat the engines of war." —Library Journal

"Murphy infuses this tale with a type of surrealism often associated with Latin novelists like Garcia Marquez... A major work." —Booklist

An Arthur C. Clarke Award Finalist

A Mythopoeic Award Finalist

"Skillful... Takes on mythic dimensions. No one comes out of this confrontation unchanged, including the reader." —New York Times

"An engaging tale—subtle and interesting." —Los Angeles Times

"An indisputable heir to a long and honorable tradition in Northern California literature. Ambrose Bierce, Jack London, Richard Henry Dana, John Steinbeck, Henry Miller, Jack Kerouac, to mention but a few, lived and worked here... Pat Murphy's fog-blessed city occupies the same territory in the geography of the imagination." —Locus