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The City Not Long After
Pat Murphy
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The City Not Long After

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  560 Ratings  ·  95 Reviews
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- ...more
Published (first published 1989)
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May 24, 2015 Simon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, fantasy, fiction
The book is about San Francisco, in the years following a plague that reduces the world's population to a tiny fraction of its former self. Unlike other books with similar premises, there is very little attention paid to the inevitable violence and disruption of such an occurrence. Instead, the focus is on the ways people successfully organize themselves to live meaningful lives. In SF, the character of this shared life is organized around spontaneous artistic expression. Perhaps the most appeal ...more
Following a plague brought on by a gesture of peace (aka monkeys), the survivors of San Francisco turn the city into an artists' colony of sorts. The fate of the city is put in the hands of a young woman, Jax, and other teenagers she meets along the course of her journey who work together to protect San Francisco from an army led by a power-hungry general.

This is a different sort of post-apocalyptic world. In other books falling in the same category there is often a lot of sparse descriptions of
La humanidad ha sido diezmada por una epidemia que ha acabado con uno de cada mil habitantes. Los pocos supervivientes subsisten con apenas medios tecnológicos. Y es que la humanidad ha retrocedido al siglo XIX. En la ciudad de San Francisco, un grupo de artistas e intelectuales viven felices. Hasta que un estado militarista, que pretende volver a unir a los antiguos Estados Unidos, decide hacerse con la ciudad.

‘La ciudad, poco después’ (The City, Not Long After, 1989), de la escritora Pat Murph
Apr 17, 2016 Katherine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a post-apocalyptic novel with elements of magical realism. Set in San Francisco after a plague has wiped out most of humanity, the novel follows various characters who have survived and live in the city. The city is largely populated by artists and people who have tried to move on from the plague by creating a peaceful and accepting community. One of the characters the book follows is a young woman who was born in the countryside outside the city, born just as the plague was occurring. N ...more
Althea Ann
Aug 11, 2011 Althea Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading this book - the tone and concepts were just beautiful. It's a post-apocalyptic scenario infused with magical realism. After a plague spread (accidentally?) by peace-activist Buddhists, only a few survivors live amongst ruins. San Francisco has become a haven of artists, but a military cult based in Sacramento is set on forcefully establishing a new American empire. Pacifism faces down a philosophy of violent force... but primarily, this is the story of the orphaned Danny ...more
Artists wage a creative turf war in post-apocalyptic San Francisco and paint the Golden Gate Bridge blue as butterfly wings.

Writers read this for: strong, effective use of theme...anything an artist creates, however impermanent, changes themselves and therefore changes the world..."When you make something beautiful, you change. You put something of yourself into the thing you make. You're a different person when you're done."

Quotes at the opening of Part 2 "The Mystery and Melancholy of a Street
Jul 11, 2009 MD rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I would probably only give this a 2 or 3 except that it's set in San Francisco and I really enjoyed actually being able to place the action in physical space. (It mentions the building where I work - twice!) It's just not my usual taste in science fiction - I've read some magical realism I've enjoyed, but not much. That and the ending are the reasons I would have given it fewer stars otherwise. I was initially a little put off by the idea that after an apocalypse nearly every surviving San Franc ...more
-Entre lo postapocalíptico se esconde el realismo mágico.-

Género. Ciencia-Ficción.

Lo que nos cuenta. En un mundo arrasado por una epidemia, San Francisco se ha convertido en refugio de personas con diferentes inquietudes artísticas y en sus solitarias calles, plagadas de obras de vanguardia, pasan cosas extrañas y fascinantes con mucha frecuencia. Una muchachita sin nombre llegará a la ciudad huyendo de un totalitarismo floreciente no muy lejos de allí y, además de encontrar un nombre para ella,
Well- add this to my rapidly expanding top-shelf-loves. This was just amazing. I want to urge any of you young’uns that like the Dystopia genre to check this out. The genre is actually a hard one to nail down because it’s definitely post-apocalyptic, which a dystopian can be. And there is definitely a dystopian state up North, but what is going on in San Francisco is more of a Utopian vibe - and they fight to keep the Dystopians off! However -there are some fantasy/magical-realism elements as we ...more
Curtis Chen
Dec 23, 2010 Curtis Chen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 08, 2012 heidi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, wiscon
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 o
Jul 01, 2007 Shane rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: readin2007, sci-fi, audio
This is my first novel from Pat Murphy. Not sure I'm really that excited about reading more from her. I thought it was okay at first, then I thought it was really bad, then the last 3rd got interesting. Overall it felt really dated. There were supernatural elements that seemed extremely out of place in a post holocaust world. At first I couldn't tell if they were events that were actually happening or if they were somehow metaphorical. When it started raining flowers I thought I had missed somet ...more
May 30, 2015 Tara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very very enjoyable novel. Sort of sneaks up on you and hits you. I loved the way things unfolded. Hints leading finally to disclosure. I'm not a big fan of magical realism for the most part, but I very much enjoyed the way it played out in this. Excellent and will reread at some point.
Jun 12, 2015 Lucy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
after the plague wipes out most of the world, San Francisco is left to the artists, misfits, & oddballs. plus ghosts, a disfigured angel, and of course monkeys. naturally, a general & his army want to take over but how can they possibly prevail against artists?
Jan 20, 2014 kat rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014
Maybe I'm a cynic, but this story of a post-apocalyptic SF populated by artists -- in which the artists must USE ART to fight off an invading force -- was just a little too fluffy for me. I picked it up to pass the time and it was pleasant enough, and I have to admit it did have a sort of charm, but on the whole nothing about it was especially deep or interesting -- especially given the liberal use of deus ex machina in the form of "the city dreaming" or "the city defending itself" etc. Good air ...more
Feb 05, 2015 Ginny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: post-apocalyptic
The story is set in post-apocalyptic San Francisco shortly after the earth's population was almost wiped out by a plague. I love San Francisco, and I love post-apocalyptic stories, so I knew I'd want to read this one. It was pretty good, but the ending was weak.

The main character is a young woman, around 17, born near Sacramento after the plague. Her mother was visited by an angel at her birth; she gave the right of naming the child to the angel after it assisted her with the birth in some magic
Felicia A
Very hard to get into....took quite some time. Once you DO get into it, it's a wonderful and different story. I agree with others that the "magical" aspects are a little offputting because you don't really know if events are actually happening or being imagined by the characters. The ending was a little odd, but all in all worth reading for those who like this genre.
Nov 09, 2007 Leah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book isn't really an amazing read, but I was looking for books about some sort of futuristic/postapocalypse/dystopian San Francisco and not much turned up. Does anyone else read San Francisco as a "postapocalyptic" city? I think you either feel it or you don't..
Jun 07, 2015 Kerry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 8, sf, 2007
I really enjoyed this. It was kind of weird and quirky in a most delightful way. My only disappointment was that the ending didn't seem to match the rest of the book. More accurate, the very end did, but the few pages before as the "current time" action ended, just sort of ran out of steam without the delicacy of the rest of the book.

The characters were all delightful - and the descriptions of their art and their weapons, both variations on the same thing, were beautifully done.

Each person was w
Jan 13, 2016 Samuel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall the book was ok. It seemed to have a large buildup to the "war" and then the war was over pretty soon. I would have preferred a lot more action because it seemed it a little slow.
Jane (yesmissjane)
This post-apocalyptic drama has a beautiful, lyrical 80s vibe, really interesting supernatural elements and some thought provoking reflections on community and peace activism. The central character, a young woman who spends much of her life without a name, and who is sent away from the farm where she has lived her whole life by her dying mother to warn the people of San Francisco that an army is heading their way is our proxy as she explores the weird and wonderful artist commune that The City h ...more
The suspension of disbelief Murphy asks of her readers is just not working for me. I don't know why I can't get into this book, but I can't. Maybe it's because the artists are all nonviolent artsy fartsy folks with no organization. (By contrast, I think of artists as fierce folk who can be quite well organized when they believe in a cause.)

The ending also felt incredibly rushed, like her editor told her "All right, you've got 20 pages, figure it out and tie it up into a tidy bow." Because the ac
Aug 06, 2014 Rebecca rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Dean Koontz's "Odd Thomas" series
The City, Not Long After was not precisely what I had expected from the premise. From nothing more than the title and a brief outline I'd got the impression it was sort of like The Stand on a smaller scale, but it's really quite different. First, the title is a little misleading: the bulk of the story takes place sixteen years after a plague wipes out most of the human population of the planet. That's not a very long time if you're a planet yourself, but from a human perspective it's a fair ol ...more
Apr 07, 2013 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a sucker for any science fiction or detective story set in San Franciso. It is the loveliest of all the USAmerican cities I have seen, and I am familiar enough with its landmarks for the descriptions to be really vivid and meaningful. This novel, by one of the creative folks behind the Exploratorium, is a magical realist tale set in a post-apocalyptic City where different sorts of armies engage in a uniquely Californian struggle for the future. It was was especially fun to read because I was ...more
Jul 15, 2013 Badseedgirl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Have you ever hand to work so hard to find a book, that when you do find it you expected to be the greatest book you have ever read. This is how I felt about Pat Murphy’s novel The City, Not Long After. I chose her as one of my WOGF authors, but my local library did not have a copy, and when I looked on line the book was out of print. I was intrigued by the plotline of this story and felt an unreasonable desire to find a copy of this novel for some reason. I eventually found and audio copy on my ...more
Feb 23, 2015 Debra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
surprising and wonderful

I wasn't expecting to like this book or even make it past the first few chapters but something drew me in. It's a lovely view of a post-apocalyptic San Francisco, which is strange but entertaining. I'm sad to know that I cannot meet Danny-Boy, Jax, The Machine and all the others. If you're more of a traditionalist and tend to avoid stories where ghosts walk visibly among us, don't skip this story, it's well written and well worth your attention!
Feb 23, 2014 Christy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2014
Nope. It had its moments... but you've got to stomach that post Plague San Francisco is the gentle city (or rather a village now) of artists and mystics, watched over by a guardian angel, and Oakland, that BAD place, is ruled by violent motorcycle gangs... and you realize just like Callenbach with his laughable description of Oakland as "Soul City" in Ecotopia, you're dealing with more silly elitist futurism. Sociologist Mike Davis called it on the post-apocalyptic genre, he said it was often us ...more
Feb 15, 2011 Gabrielle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
A post-apocalyptic San Francisco sets the scene and, living in the Bay Area, I feel like that was what let me appreciate it as a novel.

Having the ability to navigate the map of places described definitely helped in picturing HOW the city has truly changed. I enjoyed that fact that the city's keepers were the "artists", who if attempted their projects today, would be considered insane. Yet somehow the story gave their projects meaning such as creating a prism in the city or painting the Golden G
Oct 03, 2011 David rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: post-apocalyptic
The beginning is rather depressing. I hope it gets better.
OK, it got a little better. The story features the city as a character, personified by the angel that watches over the inhabitants. This book was written and published while I lived in San Francisco. So I enjoyed the references to the various neighborhoods. But the mystical contribution to resolving the key conflict was less than I'd hoped for. The conclusion for the key characters (other than the city itself) were also ant
This is a remarkably upbeat vision of San Francisco a few decades after a great plague that decimated most of the Earth's human population. A jingoistic General advances upon the city, determined to rebuild the American Empire by conquering territory and conscripting subjected peoples into his army. A woman from the conquered Sacramento area makes it to San Francisco to warn of his coming. How can San Francisco's residents, largely peace-loving hippie-type artists, possibly hope to defend their ...more
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SFBC: Pat Murphy: The City Not Long After 1 2 Jan 12, 2014 06:46PM  
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“Do you know how to tell if a work is art?” he asked her calmly. “True art changes the artist. The artist puts something into the work and he changes. That’s how you tell.” 1 likes
“You do it for yourself, not for anyone else. When you make something beautiful, you change. You put something of yourself into the thing you make. You’re a different person when you’re done.” 1 likes
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