Cover image for There and back again : by Max Merriwell
There and back again : by Max Merriwell
Murphy, Pat, 1955-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Tor, 1999.
Physical Description:
300 pages ; 22 cm
General Note:
"... author Pat Murphy (collaborating with her imaginary friend, Max Merriwell)"--Jacket.

"A Tom Doherty Associates book."
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



When an asteroid miner stumbles upon a mysterious message pod, he finds himself in the middle of an adventure involving the richest family in the galaxy who believes what he has found could be the key to mapping the wormhole system.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Murphy cheekily but confidently rewrites a classic in this delightful space opera centered on a short, rotund asteroid norbit, or miner, named Bailey Beldon. Bailey lives quietly in a hollowed-out asteroid. But a raucous party of Farr family clones and the powerful, mysterious adventurer Gitana draw him into a wild adventure that spans hundreds of years and most of the known universe. The clones are hunting for a missing sibling and the source of what Gitana believes is a complete map of all the wormholes in space. They and the norbit encounter the soulless Resurrectionists, who consider clones biological spare parts to be recycled in grisly ways; a feisty fighter ship named Fluffy; and a terrifying Boojum on the planet Indigo's moon. Later, hiding in the Resurrectionist ship, Bailey picks up a Moebius bracelet that enables him to accelerate and decelerate time. Half the fun here lies in recognizing the characters and events of The Hobbit in Murphy's homage to Tolkien, which, with its fast pacing and entertaining supporting cast, never becomes tedious. --Roberta Johnson

Publisher's Weekly Review

Purporting to be a space opera by the prolific hack "Max Merriwell," this latest and disappointing novel from top fantasist Murphy (Nadya, etc.) is a transparent translation of Tolkien's The Hobbit and Carroll's "The Hunting of the Snark" into SF. One day Bailey, a chubby "norbit" who lives contentedly on an asteroid, is visited by the adventuress Gitana and seven members of the Farr Clone, who are on a quest. They seek to rediscover a lost colony and a rumored treasure of the Old Ones, those ancient beings who created the wormhole system that crisscrosses the galaxy. Gitana, over the Farrs' objections, insists that Bailey is exactly the additional member the group needs to form a cohesive whole, despite his lack of obvious talents. Readers who have read The Hobbit and are familiar with the conventions of space opera can probably guess the rest of the plot. Murphy seems to be having a lot of fun with her pastiche, but it founders. Although there are some lovely bits involving Bailey and a feisty spacecraft named Fluffy (after the cat who makes up part of the craft's cybernetic AI), too often the tale reads like what it purports to be, a second-rate space opera. There aren't enough humorous moments or brilliant variations on Tolkien to make up for the recognizabilityÄand thus predictabilityÄof the story line. In an afterword Murphy reveals that she's working on a fantasy novel, The Wild Angel, to be published as by "Mary Maxwell," one of Max Merriwell's pseudonyms. Hopefully, Murphy as Max as Mary writes with more panache than Murphy as Max. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

A diminutive asteroid miner discovers a mysterious message pod and plunges headfirst into an adventure that takes him and a crew of garrulous, bickering clones on a whirlwind journey into the heart of the galaxy in search of a legendary artifact. Murphy (The Falling Woman) pays deliberate homage to Tolkien in her affectionate retelling of The Hobbit, with outer space as backdrop. She ably demonstrates the durability of a good tale in this tongue-in-cheek account of a reluctant hero who rises beyond his own expectations. A good selection for both YA and adult sf collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.