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The City Not Long After

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  783 Ratings  ·  132 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 by Pan Books (first published 1989)
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Feb 22, 2015 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
Santiago L. Moreno
Pat Murphy tiene un buen número de premios importantes (Nebula, Dick, Locus, Fantasy Award, Sturgeon...), además de ser la cofundadora del James Tiptree Jr., el gran premio de género de la cf (sobre cuyo nombre y actualidad, creo, no hay que explicar nada a estas alturas). Es autora, también, de este sorprendente y maravilloso libro. Que no haya sido reivindicada aún por ciertos sectores del fandom me resulta extraño.
La propia concepción de la novela ya es remarcable. En 1989, cuando el ciberpun
Althea Ann
Aug 11, 2011 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
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
Mal Warwick
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Pat Murphy’s novel, The City, Not Long After, is a puzzling piece of work. With generous helpings of fantasy, it doesn’t quite qualify as science fiction. Sometimes the book is categorized as a dystopian novel. Since the near-future American society Murphy depicts is in shambles because of a pandemic that took place 16 years earlier, it fits the general description of dystopian fiction. But the manner in which the pandemic occurred is fanciful in the extreme. And many of the characters find it d ...more
Orla Hegarty
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-find, scifi
I started reading this over 3 years ago in the specialty sci fi library in Toronto ( You could only read it on site and I didn't finish it before I moved out of the city.

I occasionally searched for it online to buy and it was never available until recently - it is years out of print and probably only had a limited run.

A feminist friend who was also a sci fi junkie recommended it to me back in 2013.

I wish this sort of fantasy/sci-fi had been more readily
Zuzana Malá
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own-it, rc_gnom
Ze začátku jsem z toho měla smíšené pocity. Když já prostě nemám ráda magický realismus a symboliku andělů.. Ale pak jsem se do "uměleckého" San Francisca a jeho "divných" obyvatel zamilovala! <3 Nádherný příběh..
Jul 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: apocolypse
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
-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,
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 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
Jan 20, 2014 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
Jean Labrador
Apr 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting and Insightful

When I first started this book, I almost put it down as one not for me, but then a girl with a crossbow entered the narrative. I was hooked. This girl with no name began a journey, a quest that led her to a dream city and to friends she had never had before. The book had several characters who continue to puzzle and enchant long after the book is completed. I highly recommend this book.
May 27, 2015 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.
Mar 01, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read for an IRL book group. A post-apocalyptic community of artists use their art to defend San Francisco (population 50) against an invading army (population 150) led by a self-styled General. Written in the late 80's but with a definite 70's sensibility,plus elements of magical realism, which worked for me 90% of the time. Most of the novel is about the post-apocalyptic life of the characters, rural and urban, and I liked it better than the final war, which strayed into YA territory. Interesti ...more
Mar 08, 2012 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
Curtis Chen
Dec 23, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 19, 2011 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
Feb 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-read-fic-sff
Distractions and the fact that I misplaced the paperback for a while kept me from finishing this one quickly. When I did finish, however, it left me feeling wistful, hopeful, and wanting to roam the nooks and crannies of San Francisco. Even though the book is a couple of decades old, the description of all the familiar spots in the city - as well as interesting thoughts about triumph of art, ingenuity and determination over violence and domination - are as relevant as ever.
Jun 15, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: readin2007, audio, sci-fi
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
Jun 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2007, 8, fantasy, sf
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
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
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.
Oct 03, 2007 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 12, 2015 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?
Pam Wessel-estes
Loved it

A terrific read - perfect blend of complex, interesting characters, quirky suspense, and a very solid wrap. Thank you, Pat Murphy, for a lovely and thoughtful story.
Nov 20, 2015 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.
Catherine Siemann
Aug 18, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A postapocalyptic San Francisco, inhabited by artists and librarians, invaded by a military regime. Rather lovely.
Beth Peninger
3.5 stars

I'm having a hard time starting this review. I was hoping, as I always do with books I haven't read, to not hate the book but I am surprised at how much I liked it. I really liked this story, although I'm not sure I will be able to say why!
A plague has eradicated a large part of the global population. The story we are reading takes place in California, mostly San Francisco. Those who survived the plague aren't sure how they did - or why - but they are working to make some sort of life
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SFBC: Pat Murphy: The City Not Long After 1 3 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
More quotes…