Humorous Short story by George Alec Effinger, which created the genre of "Preppy" Science Fiction, and spawned a number of sequels.

Also the name of the protagonist in the stories. Maureen "Muffy" Birnbaum is a typical sorority-type girl who aquires a broadsword and a gem-studded gold bikini, and happens to find herself in various well known science fiction and fantasy universes.

I'm often asked where the character of Maureen Birnbaum came from. The glib reply is that I was sitting in a college hangout called Fat Harry's one afternoon. I was working over a few pages I'd written that day and enjoying a good cheeseburger, fries, and a large Coke (Nature's Perfect Meal).

At a table near me were four Tulane co-eds who were talking just loud enough for me to catch every word. To make a dull but true story very short, each of them was an ideal model for Muffy. The conversation ran the entire emotional gamut from sweaters to--God forbid--Peter Pan collars. And they spoke in frequent italics. You could just hear them chiming.

All I've done is taken one of those college girls, put a broadsword in her hands, and maroon her in the familiar milieus of some of my favorite SF authors. At last the fantasy and science fiction field has a heroine who can truly shop her way out of a paper bag, I am quietly humble about this achievement.

-- George Alec Effinger

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