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Bad Grrlz' Guide to Reality: Wild Angel and Adventures in Time and Space with Max Merriwell: The Complete Novels Kindle Edition
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“[Wild Angel] provides the reader with a rip-roaring good time.” —Locus
“Murphy’s Adventures in Time and Space With Max Merriwell has nothing to do with history and everything to do with imagination, both the scientific and the fictional kind.” —The New York Times Book Review
“This cerebral equivalent of a roller-coaster ride . . . is replete with absorbing ponderings on the nature of reality and the nature of the novel. . . . The questions of who is in charge, who is real and whether the answers to those questions matter will leave readers pleasantly dizzy.” —Publishers Weekly on Adventures in Time and Space with Max Merriwell
About the Author
In addition to writing fiction, Pat writes about science for children and adults. She has authored three science books for adults and more than fifteen science activity books for children. Her science writings have been honored with the American Institute of Physics Science Communication Award, the Science Books and Films Prize for Excellence in Science Books, the Pirelli INTERNETional Award for environmental publishing, and an award from Good Housekeeping.
In 1991, with writer Karen Fowler, Pat cofounded the James Tiptree, Jr. Award, an annual literary prize for science fiction or fantasy that expands or explores our understanding of gender roles. This award is funded by grassroots efforts that include auctions and bake sales, harnessing the power of chocolate chip cookies in an ongoing effort to change the world.
Pat enjoys looking for and making trouble. Her favorite color is ultraviolet. Her favorite book is whichever one she is working on right now.
- Publication date : April 15, 2014
- File size : 4440 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 725 pages
- Publisher : Open Road Media Sci-Fi & Fantasy (April 15, 2014)
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B00J84KLG2
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Lending : Enabled
Best Sellers Rank:
#573,026 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- #1,656 in Fantasy Anthologies & Short Stories (Kindle Store)
- #2,051 in Fantasy Anthologies
- #3,199 in Historical Fantasy (Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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You may also want to check out "There and Back Again," which is her homage to "The Hobbit."
Pat Murphy writes great stories, and does an excellent job at explaining science -- check out her work at San Francisco's Exploratorium when you get the chance.
The one third missing from this omnibus is There and Back Again, the first novel of the loosely linked 'series', and as you can probably surmise from the title, it's inspired from The Hobbit. And, apparently the Tolkien estate took exception to that. Following some threats it was apparently taken out of print, and in this state it remains. The purpose of the three meta volumes and some of their links (which arise mostly in the third novel) seem to be lost due to this unfortunate control, but for the most part the two novels here can be read effectively on their own (particularly Wild Angel) or in combo as presented by Open Road Media in electronic format for a great price.
There and Back Again was the fantasy component to the trilogy and you can probably tell from its titel that the second novel of the omnibus here is the science fiction component. This leaves Wild Angel, which is basically a Western adventure, or historical novel. I found Wild Angel absolutely brilliant and empowering, dominating over Adventures in Time and Space with Max Merriwell, which seems bound in the meta construction of the trilogy, interesting, but not profound.
In Wild Angel, a young girl named Sarah witnesses, while hidden unseen, her parents horrifically murdered by opportunistic bandits in the hills of California. Scalping the victims to make the attack superficially appear like a native American raid, the bandits steal the gold that Sarah's parents were collecting while Sarah flees silently into the wilderness. Traumatized and alone amid nature, Sarah is adopted by a she-wolf who raises her among the pack. As Sarah grows and learns survival as a wolf, one of the thieves secures the gold and begins using it to establish a reputation in the budding old west town, only to hear rumors whispered of a young wolf-girl in the wilds, a potential witness to his crimes and ill-gained position.
Partially inspired by Tarzan, more generally the novel seems influenced by timeless legends of feral children and most particularly the archetype of the wild woman (turned to from time to time for feminist analysis as by Estés). Murphy also uses Sarah and the plot to explore feminist themes and to criticize concepts of Western culture exceptionalism. The civilization of Western expansion is contrasted to the civilization of native populations and the inherent biological capabilities, instincts, and intelligence of humans when even stripped of all 'civilized' remnants. This permits Murphy to highlight absurd social constructs that people, especially females, are expected to conform with for no rational purpose other than to facilitate separation or oppression. Things that otherwise we take for granted until stripped down to the simplest of lives that Sarah enjoys.
Beyond the significance of its themes, Wild Angel is simply well written and a fun read. It has a good mixture of contemplative seriousness, light humor, conflict and danger, and tenderness. In contrast, Adventures in Time and Space with Max Merriwell is far more limited in scope and vision. Taking place on a cruise ship full of eccentric characters as it heads into the Bermuda Triangle, the novel mixes quantum physics with a murder mystery to tie together the other two novels in the series into its recursive plot. It is in this third novel that the Bad Grrlz' Guide (to Physics) comes into play, comparing facts of quantum physics such as entanglement, with events in the macro. Aboard the ship reality begins to go askew as events turn surreal and the line between characters real and imagined, living and dead, begin to blur as if existing in two states simultaneously.
Events from both There and Back Again and Wild Angel are retold by characters in this book, for instance one 'scene' in Wild Angel where a surreal turn of events uncharacteristic for that novel's setting and tone. In Wild Angel, this is where the universe of Adventures in Time and Space with Max Merriwell become entangled with its plot. Characters appearing in Wild Angel (and presumably There and Back Again) reappear in this third novel, including a character named Pat Murphy. The real Pat Murphy actually writes Wild Angel as an artist and adventurer named Max Merriwell, who is also a major character in that novel, and who writes frequently under pseudonyms like Mary Maxwell. This recursive structure for the novels with its gender swapping is in the background of the other novels, not essential to the stories or themes, but relating to them. In b Adventures in Time and Space with Max Merriwell this becomes the crux, in relation to modern physics and in relation to writing. Point to point decisions, quantum events end up defining observed reality as a wave of possibilities collapse. Or in the Bermuda Triangle, the reverse happens and perspectives, possibilities all coexist like in the mind of an author, a creator.
Personally I found Adventures in Time and Space with Max Merriwell too gimmicky in this respect, and think that its surreal, almost farcical nature would have fit better into shorter form. Though more lighthearted, Murphy does still compose this final novel exceptionally well, keeping a consistency with references to the previous novels and vice versa, despite the walls, laws, of normal macro reality breaking down. Very different novels, though interlinked on many levels, both are worth checking out. And now I'll have to scour second-hand shops for There and Back Again.
Disclaimer: I received a free advanced reading copy of this from Open Road Media via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review that originally appeared at Reading1000Lives.com
Here are my reviews for each book:
What a completely unexpected breath of fresh air. I have to admit that before I started reading Wild Angel I was a bit wary about it. I just didn't think I'd end up liking a story about a girl raised by wolves. I needn't have worried though because once I started reading it, it was extremely hard to put down.
Sarah was one of the most fascinating characters that I have read about in a while. To go from such sorrow at a young age to joining a wolf pack and learning the ways of a wolf made me grow to really like her. At times she could be frustrating and it felt like she developed wolf-like senses way too fast but I loved how strong she became once she was adopted by the pack. I mostly liked the secondary characters (I loved Max) but Sarah was the character that really shined in this.
I absolutely loved that this took place during the gold rush. This allowed the story to alternate between focusing on Sarah and showing what life was like back then. After reading this I really look forward to reading more books that take place during that time period.
Adventures in Space and Time with Max Merriwell
After reading Wild Angel and liking it I was excited to start this book. While I did enjoy it overall, this one definitely did not have the same magic as Wild Angel. This takes place on a cruise ship in which Max Merriwell's pen names show up and start to cause trouble. Ironically enough Max Merriwell and his pen names are pen names of the author, Pat Murphy.
Sometimes it was a little hard to keep my attention in this book. I ended up liking the characters who weren't the '"pen names" more than those who were and was a bit annoyed at all the appearances of the pen names. All the talk of physics in the 'Bad Grrlz' parts of this book could at times be a bit over my head and ended up lessening my enjoyment. I understand how important those parts were to the book but they weren't my favorite parts.
I wasn't really big on the ending. It really connects back to all the physics and pataphysics stuff discussed (which I already wasn't fond of) and it just seemed like it went out with a fizzle. I would recommend this to people who have read Wild Angel or another of Pat Murphy's books There and Back Again.