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Julie Czerneda

Being Canadian is a rather odd thing. Our love of this vast, beautiful landscape comes wrapped in an obsession with weather. Our civility, for we are admittedly civil and patient depending on how long the queue is at Timmie’s, goes hand-in-hand with a keen disdain for organized stupidity (especially from those we elect, but any group who wilfully misbehaves on or off the ice is fair game). At our core, though, is a strength derived from caring for those around us. Family, friends, community. Even when they drive us bonkers.

All of which brings me to the collection of stories you’re about to enjoy. They span speculative fiction from hard SF to horror, Murphy’s craft sure-handed and determined regardless of genre. Like any skilled artist, he uses the medium of his choice to illuminate why we are as we are. He explores what’s possible at the interface between human and other, be it technology or monster. His protagonists range wildly—from H.G. Wells to a curious child, from a group of discarded astronauts to a woman waking from sleep. There’s a dog. A living ship. Magic here; starships there. What ties them together is how Murphy paints, all too convincingly, the evil we are capable of—and the good.

As I read, however, it wasn’t only the imagination and ideas here that caught my attention. It was how Murphy’s nailed what it is to be Canadian—warts and glory—in a way I didn’t see coming.

You can read these stories for what they are: flights of fancy, occasionally wicked, often poignant, and always entertaining. But if you’ve ever blinked away tears from a minus 20 wind, stood patiently in a queue, or shook your head at bureaucratic “wisdom,” (quite possibly all at once), you’ll feel at home here.

And, if you’ve ever cared about those around you, your heart will, too.

Julie Czerneda

Orillia Ontario

September 2012

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