Derryl Murphy’s second collection reprints over a dozen stories that span a wide range of his career, including his second-ever sale (and Aurora nominee) "Body Solar," as well as his most recent piece of short fiction, "Ancients of the Earth" from Tesseracts 12. Over the Darkened Landscape is a mix of fantasy and science fiction, and also includes his four published "Magic Canada" stories, stories that take events in Canada’s history and then give them a little bit of a fantastical spin.
"Murphy assembles 13 of his previously published tales, which cover a substantial part of the speculative spectrum, in this excellent collection. A Canadian sensibility is clear even in tales set in outer space. “Northwest Passage,” one of the strongest and most optimistic pieces in the collection, borrows smartly from Jack London. Characters include children like Barrie’s Lost Boys, suddenly forced to grow up, in “More Painful than the Dreams of Other Boys”; talking storybook animals in “The Day Michael Visited Happy Lake”; a disturbed version of H.G. Wells in “The Cats of Bethlem”; and a heroic astronaut calling to say farewell to his wife in “Last Call.” The diverse characters latch on to readers and compel them to seek the end of the story; sometimes the result is bleak, as in “Body Solar,” or creepy, as in the bordering-on-horror story “Clink Clank.” Murphy’s range is impressive, as is his ability to immerse readers in a variety of worlds."
"Derryl Murphy’s ideas are off-the-scale inventive, and his writing reels you into the lives of his characters before you even realize you’re hooked. Crisp, surprising images and stories that revolve around real people—some with insane but neveretheless convincing problems—will leave you blinking with culture shock when you return from Murphy’s universe to the so-called real world."
—A.M. Dellamonica, author of Blue Magic
"Derryl Murphy’s stories are smart, kinetic, and mercilessly wry; they possess a historical awareness that imbues them with both breadth and sense of wonder and are filled with exciting, unusual ideas that linger in the imagination."
—Claude Lalumière, author of The Door to Lost Pages
"Moving from the dark edge of a future where people wear bodies like rented suits, to the whimsies of a child’s relationship with a book he loves, and a collection of oddities in between, Derryl Murphy’s short stories cover a vast and uniquely imagined ground."
—James Van Pelt, author of Summer of the Apocalypse
"Derryl Murphy is one cool writer: smart as a whip, funny, insightful, and always engaging. He’s a master storyteller and a brilliant stylist."
—Robert J Sawyer, author of Quantum Night
"Plunk us both down in the same imaginary world and [Murphy will] be wandering its outback like a native while I’m still standing in the bus station, face scrunched up over the tourist map, trying to make sense of the grid references."