Winner of the Philip K. Dick Award: Nineteen stories of power and humanity from a science fiction master with otherworldly talent
In a small house in the desert, a chimp named Rachel watches Tarzan on TV. Although her body is an ape’s, her mind is something different—a hybrid between those of a chimpanzee and a young girl. When his wife and child died, the doctor who created Rachel implanted his daughter’s brain into that of the chimp. Rachel remembers the jungle; she remembers high school. And when her father passes away, she will embark on the adventure of a lifetime.
The Nebula Award–winning novella “Rachel in Love” anchors this haunting collection of stories, along with nominees “Bones” and “Dead Men on TV.” Pat Murphy, whose electric imagination is a testament to how wonderful science fiction can be, writes characters who struggle with alien lovers, vegetative wives, and the burden of seeing into the future. And always, like Rachel, they search for something more: not just what it means to be human, but what it is to be alive.
Although infused with a gentle sort of magic, the stories in Murphy's ( The City, Not Long After ) enjoyable collection are also tinged with barbed humor, alternating between hope and despair. Nebula Award-winner ``Rachel in Love'' portrays a chimpanzee whose brain is implanted with the personality of a young girl who has died. When the researcher who cared for the chimp dies, the hybrid draws on her mingled primate and human knowledge to make her way in a world that can be at once hostile and kind. In ``Prescience,'' a fortune-teller learns that there's a difference between seeing the future and changing it. Conversely, in ``Orange Blossom Time,'' a woman who travels through time cannot change the past or the present as she watches the city and the man she loves suffer painful deaths from rampant disease and the exhaustion of resources. Unappreciated wives get the last word in two stories: a wife's spirit escapes her abusive husband to join the ``Women in the Trees,'' and a farmer who grows a spouse from a packet of seeds finds that ``His Vegetable Wife'' is more quiet than docile. All but one of these 19 stories have been published previously in SF magazines and book anthologies.