cover image The City, Not Long After

The City, Not Long After

Pat Murphy. Doubleday Books, $17.95 (244pp) ISBN 978-0-385-24925-6

The intersecting spheres of dreams and earthly passions that marked Murphy's recent novel The Falling Woman and her novelette ``Rachel in Love'' (both Nebula Award winners in 1988) continue in this story of a depopulated San Francisco. In the wake of a devastating worldwide plague, the handful of artists who have transformed the city with mirror mazes, self-propelled clockwork creatures and a coat of blue paint on the Golden Gate Bridge find that the city itself collaborates in unpredictable ways, from rains of flowers--or frogs--to the appearance of angels. When megalomaniac General Miles threatens the city, newcomer Jax works with painter Danny-boy, mechanical genius The Machine and others on a pacifist version of guerrilla warfare. Too often this novel recalls the studiously surreal antiwar stories of the '60s. A sweet fable, this is pleasing but evanescent, fading like the half-forgotten dreams it delicately evokes. (Mar.)