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Derryl Murphy

Derryl MurphyBorn in Nova Scotia, raised in Edmonton, Alberta, and followed by stints in Logan, Utah and Prince George, BC, Derryl Murphy now lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan with his wife and two sons. When he isn’t writing, Derryl referees and coaches soccer, and continuing the soccer theme cheers on his boys as they play. His first short story, “Father Time,” appeared in Tesseracts 4 in 1992. Since then, he’s sold numerous stories to magazines and anthologies. In 2005 his first book, Wasps at the Speed of Sound, came out from Prime Books. A collection of ecological science fiction stories, it holds ten reprints and one original short story. In 2009, Derryl co-wrote Cast a Cold Eye with William Shunn, a novella of ghosts and the Spanish flu which was released by PS Publishing. He has been nominated three times for Canada’s Aurora Award, once for a science fiction review column he once wrote, once for his short story “Body Solar,” and once for “Mayfly,” a short story he co-wrote with Peter Watts.

Napier’s Bones: Fascinating idea not fully developed

Napier’s Bones by Derryl Murphy

Imagine being able to manipulate numbers to do magic, just as so many fictional wizards manipulate words, as spells, to accomplish their ends. Imagine seeing everything as a number, with formulae streaming into the air from every physical thing, allowing you to bend and change them — using your abilities to smear a license plate into a new number, say, or blurring the serial numbers on dollar bills. It gives new meaning to the word “numerate.”

Derryl Murphy’s protagonist in Napier’s Bones is a numerate. As the novel opens, Dom is seeking an artifact of mathematical power when the numbers throw him far away, onto a bus in a city distant from his search. More than that, he has somehow picked up an adjunct; that is, residing in his body with him is the mind and soul of Billy, another numerate whose physical body died an unknown time ago. Billy remembers little of his past, but he k... Read More

More speculative fiction by Derryl Murphy

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsWasps at the Speed of Sound — (2005) Publisher: In over a decade of writing short fiction, Derryl Murphy has consistently and poignantly examined the human experience, in relation to other people and to the environment. There are eleven stories in this collection, ten of them gathered together for the first time and one making its debut in these pages, and all of them examine our experience with the world(s) around us, anticipating Dread and Disaster with every turn, even while Hope is sometimes allowed to win out. Come witness: the destruction of the Earth; an alien tourist and the death of a species; Earth at the end of time, coming back from a very long trip; a man and his father, lost in time; sailing on seas of garbage; an insect rebellion; a virtual future that creates an unrealistic past; water, politics, and a big machine; monkeywrenching taken to a new level; lessons in photography; and rebellion on a distant world. Eleven stories that take you into the future even as you wrestle with the present.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsCast a Cold Eye — (2009) With William Shunn. Publisher: 1921. Rural Nebraska. In a region devastated by Spanish flu, where not a single life has gone unscathed by tragedy, 15-year-old Luke Bryant has lost more than most. Orphaned, Luke toils as a farmhand for his strict uncle and aunt, barely recalling a world not gray, deadening, and oppressive. Worse, he can’t so much as visit the twin graves of his parents without the statues in the cemetery opening their stony eyes and watching his every move. Enter Annabelle Tupper, itinerant spirit photographer. Half-blinded by the chemicals of her trade, she travels the countryside in pursuit of the ghost of her dead husband. When a local pastor arranges for Annabelle to take on the boy as an apprentice, both find their every belief turned upside-down. For Annabelle, eking out a bare living while trying not to be run out of town as a charlatan, Luke represents a power she can only dream of. But for Luke — reluctant, resentful, and increasingly violent — the older woman stands for every nightmare that haunts his waking hours. As more and more restless spirits converge on the unblinking eye of Annabelle’s camera, Luke’s only hope for peace will be to confront the most terrifying specters of all — the ones he carries inside.