The Anubis Gates

Discussion in 'Tim Powers' started by Connavar, Jun 24, 2009.

  1.  
    Connavar

    Connavar New Member

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    Please tell me there are more than one or two people here who have read this book ?

    People who liked it ? Who liked other TP books but not this ?
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    ktabic

    ktabic Save punctuation!

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    I haven't read this one yet. But it's getting really close to the top of the pile.
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    Connavar

    Connavar New Member

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    Will it be your first Tim Powers ? Its a different one compared to his other books.
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    revelshade

    revelshade New Member

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    I loved it. I would rate it above Drawing of the Dark and On Stranger Tides, and I liked them a lot too. I haven't read anything after those I'm afraid.

    I read a very brief review by Theodore Sturgeon in Twilight Zone magazine about a million years ago. Glanced through the book because of that. Thumbing through it I discovered it shares a character with The Digging Leviathan by James Blaylock (one of my desert island books), so I had to buy it.

    So what's to like? Convincing, sinister magic. Gaslight and fog. Thieves and beggars. Gender disguise. Spring-heeled Jack and Lord Byron and the way Doyle hears a particular song whistled on a crowded street. The way he finally finds Ashbless and the night-journey that (almost) ends the book. The final twist and a great last line.

    It's been almost 20 years since I read the book and now little details are teasing me, just out of reach. Do I remember little eggshell boats on a dark river? Or is another book spilling over into this one?

    Anyway, beautiful, giddy, exuberant book. Powers has compared what he does to performing card tricks in the dark, but in this case it seems more like he's juggling the complete works of Dickens plus the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the Necronomicon and the Wizard of Oz, doused in brandy and set on fire, while whistling the Monty Python theme. Or something.
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    ktabic

    ktabic Save punctuation!

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    Yeah, it will be my first Tim Powers. Decided to read some of his stuff after meeting the man himself at Eastercon. And it's a Fantasy Masterworks (I've come to the conclusion that the two Masterworks series are really good).

    Didn't realise the rest of his books where different, will have to track down some more I guess.
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    Teresa Edgerton

    Teresa Edgerton Goblin Princess Staff Member

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    I started it but didn't finish it, though I may still do so one of these days. It wasn't that I didn't like it; there was plenty about it that appealed to me strongly. Unfortunately, the main character wasn't one of them. I just put it down one day and came to realize that I felt no urgency about picking it up again, having no particular investment in what happened to him next. I didn't like him enough to want to see him overcome his predicament (except in the general sort of way one usually wishes a protagonist to succeed), or dislike him enough to wish him ill, nor was I particularly interested in what he might do next -- because so far he'd basically allowed himself to be carried along by events, and therefore showed no particular promise of doing anything much.

    I liked the setting very much though, so I could go back just to immerse myself in that, sometime when I'm in the mood.
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    HareBrain

    HareBrain Lagomorphing Staff Member

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    I loved the way he made those who used magic respond to different gravity - the magician with his spherical room and couch on casters was worth the price of admission by itself. I have to say the rest of it didn't do a great deal for me, compared to Declare and Last Call.
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    Connavar

    Connavar New Member

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    If it wasnt TP and his proven record with the others books i have read i would have stopped reading too i think.

    The settings,the time travel is very interesting but the main character is far from Duffy,Jack Shandy you rooted for those guys. Yeah he shows no promise of doing anything on his own.

    Whats with TP awarded books ? Both Declare and this isnt as good as Drawing of The Dark,On Stranger Tides. Lets hope his sf book Dinnerat Deviant's Place isnt the same...
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    Fried Egg

    Fried Egg Active Member

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    I'm quite glad to hear that this book is different from from his other words because, while I did like it, I wasn't especially bowled over by it.

    Here is my review:

    This is a high octane story of a historian who travels back in time and becomes intimately aquainted with the very people and times that he was studying, and in ways which he did not quite expect.

    I was gripped by this story from the beginning; you don't have to wait around for much preamble. The action begins almost straight away and the story develops at a break neck pace. At times it even felt rushed. So many events occur, so many characters are introduced that the author barely has time to do them justice. Having said that, towards the latter half of the book my enthusiasm began to wane and I began to feel it was a bit drawn out. I wanted it to wrap up sooner than it did. Perhaps another case of a book being both too short and too long.

    The settings are well drawn and it does a good job of immersing you in early 19th century London. Powers weaves into the story the lives of both real and fictitious historical figures such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Lord Byron. It feels well researched although I have no idea as too how accurate it really is.

    This is an ambitious work but I do not think it quite achieves the level of greatness it strives for. He tried to do too much in one book and consequently the pacing wasn't great and I found it eventually quite wearing. The suprises and twists in the story were too well telegraphed and I saw coming a mile off. That said, it was a good book and I look forward to reading something else by this author.
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    antiloquax

    antiloquax Trans-MUTE!

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    I am currently reading "The Anubis Gates" and enjoying it. I think I will certainly read "Last Call" at some point.
    I've also come across the name of James P. Blaylock. I have got hold of a copy of "The Elfin Ship". Has anyone read this?
    a
  11.  
    Connavar

    Connavar New Member

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    Last Call is much better imho, will be interesting to see what you think of it.
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    TheTomG

    TheTomG Thomas M. Grimes

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    I have read The Anubis Gates several times and really enjoy many parts of it, things like Horrobin (if I spell that rightly), the metal chains on the boots, the stilts, the whistled tune, the finale, the underworld, the gypsies - it was interesting to see how it took real legends and myth from history and mixed it all up into something unique. It's not quite like any other book I've read.

    Haven't read any other Tim Powers to compare it too, interesting to hear that this one is a departure in style. While it's a shame that there aren't other books from him that are similar in feel, it does make me intrigued as to what the other works of his are like!
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    dwndrgn

    dwndrgn Fierce Vowelless One Staff Member

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    I've only read Anubis Gates, Last Call and On Stranger Tides. All VERY different but all good in their own ways.
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    Connavar

    Connavar New Member

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    Its not different from his other works, his fantasy deal with similar themes of history, myths. Anubis Gates is just different setting, time travel thing.

    Powers has his own take on mythology, themes he uses often. Doesnt matter if steampunk,SF,Fantasy.

    Drawing of the Dark, On Stranger Tides, Last Call look too different on the surface but he does similar things really well in those books. Whatever you read of Powers he is a master of weird SFF books.
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    TheTomG

    TheTomG Thomas M. Grimes

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    Thanks Connavar! Gives me a good feeling about diving in to some more of his works and finding something that I can enjoy as much as The Anubis Gates! I'll check into some of those other works based on that, after all "the master of weird SFF books" - commendation doesn't come much higher than a statement like that as far as I'm concerned, heh!
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    Samwell

    Samwell A friend of Jon Snow

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    I liked it immensely. I'd rate it as one of his best books, even though he has written many after this one. It's a simple, imaginative, and intelligent story that beats the controlled sharpness and successful plot devices of his later works (I wouldn't advise anyone to read Stranger Tides.) Its twists and turns, escapades and patterns of setting adventures have influenced many: read Gaiman's Neverwhere and Meiville's Kraken-you know they both have been influenced a lot by Powers's novel.

    It was one of his younger phases: I bet he was smoking marijuana, and plugged to an old Beatles album, while he chose to chase academics out of their closets.:)

    Brendan Doyle as a Coleridge-expert impersonator? Brilliant.

    The Ashbless fellow is a bad writer of poems, but a very likeable soul.

    The part in the novel where Coleridge dreamwalks after a high-level opium dose, and absentmindedly starts speaking with monstrous creatures he considers part of his opium daze, is one of the highest peaks of speculative fiction.

    The end is hastily constructed, yes. But the book definitely deserves a reading.
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    HareBrain

    HareBrain Lagomorphing Staff Member

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    Can you give me a chapter number? I've forgotten that bit and I'd like to revisit it.
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    Connavar

    Connavar New Member

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    I strongly disagree the notion that no one should read On Stranger Tides!
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    Bugg

    Bugg A Lerxst in Wonderland

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    I enjoyed this book a lot and had no hesitation in recommending it to a couple of friends (who both liked it as well). I liked On Stranger Tides, too. I've got The Drawing of the Dark on my Kindle to read sometime soon.
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    End of Line

    End of Line New Member

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    I loved this book. Nuff said.

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