The intersecting spheres of dreams and earthly passions that marked Murphy's recent novel The Falling Woman and her novelette "Rachel in Love" (both Nebula Award winners in 1988) continue in this story of a depopulated San Francisco. In the wake of a devastating worldwide plague, the handful... read more
Some years after a plague has wiped out much of the world's population, a group of artists form a community in San Francisco. A nameless girl raised near Woodland always dreams of visiting this city, but is not given the chance until her mother dies after telling her daughter to go to the... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
Some years after a plague has wiped out much of the world's population, a group of artists form a community in San Francisco. A nameless girl raised near Woodland always dreams of visiting this city, but is not given the chance until her mother dies after telling her daughter to go to the city and warn the artists about the approach arrival of General Miles, also known as Fourstar. The girl travels to the city, names herself Jax, and tries to convince the citizens of what she is saying even as she becomes truly one of them. It is revealed that her mother helped bring about the plague as she was part of a peace group who wanted to bring monkeys from a Nepal monastarie to all the major cities of the world as symbols of world peace. The monkeys had carried the plague with them. When Fourstar arrives, the citizens fight back without killing, tranquilizing their victims and handing them death certificates. With the help of a soldier, Jax is able to get to Fourstar's quarters and administer to him the same treatment. Meanwhile, soldiers storm the citizens, and a man known as The Machine runs his gyrocopoter into the shoulders, killing himself in the process. Upset over The Machine's death, Jax runs madly through the city and is captured by Fourstar. She is sentenced to be hung, but Jax's boyfriend Danny-boy arrives in time to shoot Fourstar in the head, afterwhich he himself is gunned down. The remaining soldiers have the choice to leave or remain in the city, and the artists rebuild their art. Jax is unable to let go of what happened, and wanders the city until she finds the Angel, her dead mother, and her dead friends. She joins them. Years later, Tommy, who was a boy during the war, tells stories of the war and Jax, who supposedly can still be glimpsed in the city.
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