Pat Murphy a Genre-Bending Thrill Ride with The Falling Woman

Illustration for article titled Pat Murphy a Genre-Bending Thrill Ride with The Falling Woman

Though often recommended as a good first foray into reading science fiction, The Falling Woman by Pat Murphy is not so easily classified. In this Nebula Award–winning novel, archaeologist Elizabeth Waters has made a name for herself by challenging her colleagues' ideas about Mayan civilization. She owes her insights in large part to a strange gift: Elizabeth can see the spirits of ancient peoples.


Years ago, in pursuit of the opportunities that her visions presented—while at the same time fearing them as a sign of madness—Elizabeth abandoned her husband and child. But the shadows of the past are not content to stay put, and Elizabeth finds herself on a dig with two specters before her: Zuhuy-kak, a Mayan priestess who can see and speak with Elizabeth, and Diane, Elizabeth's estranged adult daughter who has flown to Mexico unannounced.

As Diane and Elizabeth struggle to reconnect, they progress further and further into Zuhuy-kak's mysterious world of magic. Elizabeth knows an unprecedented discovery is at her fingertips, but is she willing to make the sacrifice it demands?


You may wonder, "Is The Falling Woman really science fiction?" Murphy answers this question on her website: "If this doesn't sound like science fiction to you, you'll have to argue with the Science Fiction Writers of America, who awarded The Falling Woman the Nebula Award for best science fiction novel." But this genre label doesn't stop The Falling Woman—or Murphy's other works, for that matter—from incorporating the mind bending of psychological fantasy, or the well-researched backdrops of historical fiction, or the thrill of a good adventure tale.


In other words, besides being a good introduction to SF, The Falling Woman is simply a great read for a variety of audiences.

For more of Pat Murphy's cross-genre ebook titles, visit her author page at

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