The City, Not Long After

The City, Not Long After

Author:

Paperback, Pages: 244

Genres: Science Fiction, Apocalyptic, Post Apocalyptic, Fiction

Language: English

Reads: 38

Downloads: 1788

Rating: Rated: 921 timesRate It

The City, Not Long After
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Book Summary

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.

Reviews
  •    Zulkikasa Matonnet
    2019
    I read this book because Pat Murphy is a guest at Fogcon, and because it's about San Francisco. I really enjoyed it. I am not really bothered by post-apocalyptic books, but I am bothered by dystopian books (I can read them, but I seldom choose to). This books is post-apocalyptic but not at all dystopian. It's magical realism after everything and nothing has changed.

    In some ways, I wish I'd read this before I'd ever read Dhalgren. There are a lot of superficial similarities, themes about coming of age and bridges and crystals and fog and violence and sex. I couldn't help thinking of and contrasting them as I read along. But in the end, The City, Not Long After is a profoundly hopeful book about both nonviolence and stepping away from one's principles in times of crisis.

    I liked most of the characters, and laughed at General "Miles" as the most apropos name possible, although I originally misread it as General Mills, which was also funny. Danny-boy was especially appealing -- simple and loving, but not stupid. The city is also a beautiful and animate character.

    The magical realism was well-handled. It could be easy to make it schmaltzy, but it wasn't, and I thought that was pretty impressive for a book where someone's tears turned into butterflies that turned into paint. There were some stumbles of predictability -- i resented the obligatory sacrifice-of-self-for-LUV, but it was at least more joyful than emo. It is also odd to read a post-apocalyptic book written in the 80's. The cold war was still everpresent, but there were typewriters in offices, and Macy's had a NOTIONS COUNTER. You know, like you could still buy things to sew at department stores. Wow. It's nothing anyone can avoid when they destroy the world in their own time, it's just an artifact, but while all the rest of the story was pretty immediate for me, I kept running a sort of ethnography on the world-that-was.

    On the whole, I would probably never have picked this book up on my own, but I'm very glad that I read it.

    Read if: You would like a future of poets and painters and librarians. You are a fan of magical realism. You are interested in what happens when pacifists go to war.

    Skip if: You are actually looking for the grim meathook future. You will find magical fogs and glass mazes twee and annoying. You have plague issues. Wandering through houses with dead people would skeeve you out.
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  •    Kizuru Ananewicj
    2019
    Rereading this sweet post-plague story in San Francisco, where the book is set, rings strange and ironic. Would that a colony of artists could defend the city from invaders (the contemporary version would be the deranged rightwing protests to 'open the city' i.e. force other workers to put themselves at risk to accommodate them).

    While that comparison be not be spot-on, others are. The various characters make art out of a sort of spontaneous inspiration (contemporary version: the numerous murals painted on boarded-up storefronts and the dozens of local online fundraisers for artists and arts nonprofits).

    The story is part magical, part practical. Ghosts haunt the empty homes and office buildings. How do the few various survivors get on, and get along? How do they counter an inane fascist horde? Butterflies, paint, solar-powered robots and peaceful community-built empathy work for the characters in this book. Murphy's realistic and combined metaphoric story has become, in a way, quite prescient.

    For the most part (excluding the real-life dopes still gathering in public without face masks) that's true here and now in San Francisco... except for the robots, which would be a nice addition.


    Reply

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