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Adventures in Time and Space with Max Merriwell Hardcover – November 6, 2001

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Editorial Reviews Review

Susan Galina is lost--and that's just the beginning of this thoroughly enjoyable journey. On the cruise ship Odyssey, Susan and her friend Pat meet writer Max Merriwell and are drawn into a series of mysteries fueled by the alarming possibility that Max's pseudonyms are somehow taking on lives of their own. The lines of reality become more blurred every day, forcing Susan to face some private monsters while Pat constructs an elegant quantum physics explanation of the growing chaos.

There's plenty of wackiness and just plain fun--trance-inducing conga music, wolves on the recreation deck, and the Flaming Rum Monkey--but Adventures in Time and Space is more than simply a wild ride through intersecting possibilities: it's also an exploration of personal relativity, the power of individual choice to create any number of potential realities. Readers should be ready to enter into the spirit of the game: as one character says, "Reality is a much more flexible concept than most people think." Murphy's clear prose, sharp wit, and keen observations of the dreams and fears of the human heart make the most of all the possibilities. --Roz Genessee

From Publishers Weekly

In this cerebral equivalent of a roller-coaster ride from Nebula-winner Murphy (Wild Angel), Susan Galina, a quiet librarian with a repressed imagination, faces all sorts of amusing, thought-provoking challenges on a cruise through the Bermuda Triangle. Susan falls for the ship's security officer, attends a writing class taught by Max Merriwell (her favorite author), is stalked by one of Merriwell's seemingly autonomous, pseudonymous alter egos, and along the way reinvents herself. The novel's surface, however, is not smooth; it loops back onto itself beautifully. Pat Murphy is on the cruise and also a character in a book by Merriwell, as well as the author of these Adventures. The title of these Adventures is the title of a book that Merriwell dreams that he has written. The narrative is replete with absorbing ponderings on the nature of reality and the nature of the novel. "Fiction writers are all liars," Merriwell says at one point. "People tend to forget that." Furthermore, all people are liars rewriting their own lives, whether with small lies or more complex ones. Characters in novels are lies who can lie, but they can be just as real as people outside novels. In this book obsessed with books, the questions of who is in charge, who is real and whether the answers to those questions matter will leave readers pleasantly dizzy. (Nov. 6)Forecast: In addition to literate SF fans with a sense of humor, this good-natured romp should appeal to those whose tastes run to the metafictional.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (November 6, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312866437
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312866433
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.1 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,944,351 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Richard R. Horton on December 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Pat Murphy concludes her light-hearted metafictional trilogy with _Adventures and Time and Space with Max Merriwell_. Max Merriwell is an SF writer who also writes fantasy as Mary Maxwell, and hard-boiled mysteries as Weldon Merrimax. Murphy's previous two novels were _Wild Angels_, ostensibly by Max Merriwell writing as "Mary Maxwell", and _There and Back Again by Max Merriwell_, a retelling of _The Hobbit_ as SF.
The previous books were quite light in tone, and this new book is also fairly frothy, and it's also quite fun. The main character is Susan Galina, a recently divorced librarian from San Francisco, who has won a free cruise to London. She has invited her friend Pat Murphy, a graduate student in Physics, who doesn't seem to resemble the author externally -- at any rate, I don't think the real Pat Murphy has spiked blue hair. Also on the cruise is Max Merriwell, who has agreed to give a writers' workshop in exchange for his ticket. The other main character is the ship's security director, Tom Clayton, with whom Pat immediately tries to set Susan up, abetted by Tom's friend Ian, a computer expert who handles the ship's new electronic ticketing system among other things.
The ship is to pass through the Bermuda Triangle on its way across the ocean. This is the trigger for a series of mysterious events -- the appearance of both of Max's pseudonyms as real, drinks-buying (and inventing) people; the appearance of characters from _Wild Angel_, including more versions of Pat Murphy; an apparent murder; and a crisis involving radical physics concepts as explained by the character Pat Murphy, such as the affect of consciousness on quantum states, and different possible interpretations of uncertainty and the Many Worlds theory.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By clifford on May 10, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book started out amazingly well. I found myself really getting pulled into an intriguing plot that was left ambiguous enough to willingly drag me along as a reader. Pat Murphy set up a situation on a cruise line involving two single women, a crusty old science fiction writer and members of the crew. The interactions at first between these protagonists were so craftily done that I found myself feeling like I was not only getting to know them, but also wishing that these were my own friends.

However, then Murphy takes a very childish turn about 80% of they way through the book and instead of remaining sophisticated starts getting just plain goofy. I think that this was the point of the story, and I understood why she did what she did, but I felt all of a sudden like I was reading a book written for 7th graders and not a fitting ending to a great start. In fact it was a pretty lazy ending. Also, the characters that I was enjoying reading so much fell apart as well and became cardboard imitations of them selves.

If you have not read Connie Willis before, I would recommend that you start with her before Pat Murphy. I was even thinking at the back of my mind that Murphy might have been an alias for Willis before it started falling apart. `To Say Nothing of the Dog' might be the best science fiction book written in the last two decades and would be a much more satisfying read I promise you.

If you have read both Willis and Pat Murphy and are looking for similar authors, I would recommend that you branch out into mysteries and try `Break Up' by Dana Stabenow or `Agatha Raisin and the Vicious Vet' by MC Beaton. One other author of note similar to what Pat Murphy is attempting here would be `Practical Magic' by Alice Hoffman.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jacqueline G. Emrys on May 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Just remember the phrase "Flaming Rum Monkey" & you'll be okay.
I have to tell you that after being delighted by this book; I went to Emeril's restaurant at CityWalk in Orlando for my birthday & had their best barkeep Susan make this drink for me...AWESOME. But it is only a portion of the book that keeps me coming back & re-reading it over & over again - & learning something new each time.
Pataphysics, Time/Space Continuim, things that I as a math phobe in a million years wouldn't be learning in college...however, as a confirmed sci-fi reader since the early 60's & a profound collector of names like Saberhagen, Sagan & Asimov; have bumped into the use of said ideas.
The writer's workshop onboard ship also fired me to begin writing again. What a GREAT book. Even the use of firing the imagination & watching those things come to life, albeit with extra stimulis & the use of locations like the Bermuda Triangle.
What I would have to say about this book is that it allows you to SCIENTIFICALLY let your hair down & just suspend your mind long enough to enjoy the personal interactions with the characters & fill your mind with the additional more technical subjects like Shroedinger's Cat & become enchanted with science like you've never envisioned it before, certainly not out of any middle or upper level high school or undergrad college course that I ever took.
I loved this book, my mother, the first woman draftswoman engineer graduated in America in the 1940's loved it & I'm sending it now to every engineer type that I know to see what happens to their own personal goals in creating new concepts from seeds of change...
Seeds of change...that's what Pat Murphy's books are...
seeds of change...
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