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The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl (Bantam Spectra Book) Paperback – November 29, 2005

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Product Details

  • Series: Bantam Spectra Book
  • Paperback: 402 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra; First Edition edition (November 29, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553383388
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553383386
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,741,749 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Pratt (Little Gods), praised for his short fiction, stumbles in his first novel. Marzipan "Marzi" McCarty, a 20ish California art school dropout, writes quirky comics. Marzi's also the night manager–barista of Genius Loci, a Santa Cruz coffeehouse decorated by vanished muralist Garamond Ray to hold in elemental Evil. The wild adventures that Marzi concocts for her cowpunk character, Rangergirl, start coming true after her artsy friends become obsessed with freeing weird gods. When the Outlaw, a representative of everyone's worst fears, busts loose from its surreal corral, the Desert Lands, it's up to Marzi, the new artist-guardian, to save the whole shootin' match from disaster. Pratt's simplistic message, glimpsed sporadically behind clouds of neo-hippie jargon, self-consciously naughty language, outdoor sex and nasty violence, is pretentious and even a little naïve—that art can trap our fears and hold them at bay. Like too much marzipan, it all turns cloying mighty fast, pardners. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Marzi works at Genius Loci, a coffee shop in Santa Cruz, California, whose claim to fame is the murals in it, painted by Garamond Ray, who disappeared after the 1989 earthquake. Marzi also writes a neo-western comic called The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl, in which the heroine battles otherworldly versions of the villains of westerns. When one of the shop's regulars shows up claiming to worship the god of the earthquake, and moments later a quake rocks the place, and Marzi sees an oddly dressed figure running off--well, then, things are clearly becoming strange. Life begins to imitate art too closely for comfort: a woman made of mud, part of a story in Marzi's comic, is wandering the streets trying to achieve her own mysterious goals, and the villain of the same piece--a primal force from the otherworld behind the locked door in the Desert Room of Genius Loci--turns out to want to destroy California. With Lindsay, a friend from art school, and Jonathan, who lives in Genius Loci's attic apartment while he is studying the murals for his thesis, Marzi travels beyond the possible into a grand and magical western, indeed. Regina Schroeder
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Tim Pratt was born in Goldsboro, NC, and grew up in various places in the American South. He relocated to Northern California in 2001. His fiction has won a Hugo Award, and he's been a finalist for Sturgeon, Stoker, World Fantasy, Mythopoeic, World Fantasy, Scribe, and Nebula Awards, among others. His other books include three short story collections; a volume of poems; contemporary fantasy novels The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl and Briarpatch; gonzo historical The Constantine Affliction under the name T. Aaron Payton; fantasy roleplaying game tie-ins; and, as T.A. Pratt, eight books (and counting) about sorcerer Marla Mason. He occasionally edits anthologies, including the Rags and Bones anthology co-edited with Melissa Marr. He works as a senior editor for Locus magazine, and lives in Berkeley, CA, with his wife Heather and their son River. Find him online at

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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See all 9 customer reviews
It's a fun read and well worth it.
This is a fantastic classic good vs. evil confrontation where both sides have powers in the final battle that will decide what happens to the rest of the planet.
Harriet Klausner
My main problem here was an ending that seemed abrupt and just a bit pat.
Richard R. Horton

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Nathan on December 4, 2005
Format: Paperback
I really wanted to love this novel. I like Pratt's short fiction. I love the cover: the image, the title, and the tagline: "If primal evil wants California, it's going to have to go through her first. . . ." It looks like great fun, sort of H.P. Lovecraft by way of Aaron Allston's GALATEA IN 2-D, and has nice cover quote from another couple authors I like. But, while I didn't particularly dislike the book, I didn't find it all that interesting, either. It was rather dull and will, I suspect, be quickly forgotten. The characters were pleasant enough but not particularly captivating or memorable, and the story seemed too thin for its four hundred pages -- it probably would've made a better novella than full-length novel. The villain is disappointingly weak, and inconsistencies abound: in one scene, the villain's incidental touch hurts a character, while later he slaps that character with no ill effect. At one point several police officers are slaughtered, and then for the rest of the novel the police do . . . nothing. They just take it in hand. In one chapter a character interacts with another, and several chapters later seems to have no recollection of it. And too often our heroes get out of their trouble a little *too* easily and conveniently; there's rarely any sense of danger. This book is a reasonably well-written, reasonably amusing read, but it never achieves the energy or excitement that it promises. If you want to like it, you probably will. It's mildly enjoyable, but not particularly recommended.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Richard R. Horton on May 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
About The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl I think I can say: "this is a very promising first novel, and well worth reading, but also quite clearly a first novel." This book is Urban Fantasy, despite not being set in Seattle or Minneapolis or Newford. That said, it has an original flavor: the fantastical elements have an Old West manifestation.

The protagonist is Marzi (short for Marzipan: hippie parents), night manager of a coffee shop in Santa Cruz called Genius Loci. Marzi is an artist, having dropped out of UC Santa Cruz after a nervous breakdown a couple years previously. She draws a fairly successful underground comic called The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl, about a woman who travels to a fantasy Old West and confronts weird villains. Her best friend is Lindsay, a talented bisexual artist still at UCSC. Lindsay keeps trying to set her up with men, but Marzi is skittish just now, after the breakdown. Then a new young man moves in above the coffee shop. Jonathan is studying Garamond Ray, a modestly famous artist who painted the walls of the coffee shop before disappearing during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Lindsay pounces immediately, and perhaps surprisingly has a bit of success pushing Marzi at him.

But at the same time the very strange artist Beej seems to go completely nuts, and starts talking about the Earthquake god. And another couple of artists, Dennis and his ex-girlfriend Jane, act oddly too. In particular Jane seems suddenly to be made of mud, and she seems to want to kill Marzi. All this seems perhaps connected with a locked storeroom, entering which precipitated Marzi's breakdown a couple years previously. That storeroom has an unknown Garamond Ray mural ... which means Jonathan is very interested.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By gcon on February 27, 2006
Format: Paperback
i wouldn't say "go out now and buy this book right now!!!", however, if you are looking for a good sci-fi/fantasy type of book, with a straight up plot that is pretty straight forward, this book is worth your time. the characters are interesting, not stereotypical, and are fleshed out enough so you know them but you are not overburdened with smothering details.

for me, the story moved a bit slow at first, and seemed thin and plodding in spots, but the book reads smoothly enough to where the short comings didn't kill the book completely.

i like the statement it makes (in my opinion, this is how i took it) about art and how artists see the world around them. i like how the author includes the santa cruz earthquake and the way he describes some of the scenes are just perfect.

the writing is good, not pretentious, and pretty smooth. the story is good, basic plot, pretty straight forward. worth it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By karistim on May 7, 2011
Format: Paperback

Marzi is a comic book artist working in a coffee shop trying to get her life back to normal after surviving what she thinks is a mental breakdown over the fear of opening doors. As she starts to remember why that fear started and as everyone starts acting really strange around her, Marzi begins to believe she might not be quite as crazy as she thought. Marzi/her alter ego Rangergirl (her comic book hero) may have to have a good old-fashioned, Western showdown with a supernatural evil older than life.

This is one of the most original ideas for a story that I've read. It mixes westerns, fantasy, sci-fi, the supernatural, comic books and more for a fun-filled read. The biggest problem I had was the ending was kind of anti-climactic, but that doesn't ruin the rest of the book.

I would love to see a comics series or graphic novel of the Rangergirl story that is part of this novel.

I don't know why this book only has a handful of reviews on Amazon and isn't more popular. Don't let this discourage you from reading it. It's a fun read and well worth it.
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