What does Tim Powers write about?

Brian G Turner

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I'm curious - Tim Powers comes up as a name about the place, but I have no idea what he generally writes about, his ideological slant, or the general impact of his stories and writings.

So how does Tim Powers stand within the general sff gener, and what are his strengths and weaknesses?
 

Jayaprakash Satyamurthy

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Attn: Littlemissattitude. :)


I have only read two of his books but I can say that he is a fantasy writer who has as original spin on the genre as any of the new fantsy rebels, essentially taking diverse elements of folklore and myth and throwing them into real-world settings. The Fisher King appears to be a recurring theme, and I've heard that the sequence of novels starting with Last Call could be seen as a sort of mythology for California, tying in various concepts, alrgely that of the Fisher King as King of the West with this most Western (georgraphically) of locales.
 

Jayaprakash Satyamurthy

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The only Harrison I can think of just now is M John Harrison, so I suppose that's a fair enough conclusion. I've also seen Powers' work characterised as 'secret histories', where events in the real world are re-examined to show the behind-the-scenes story, usually one that includes a good dose of strangeness and the occult. Some of this is the case in Last Call, where Bugsy Siegel's life and death are woven into the fabric of the Fisher King legend and all its symbolism, but I've only really read two of his books and should stop holding forth like this!
 

littlemissattitude

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Well. I just saw this thread.:eek:

All of the Tim Powers books that I've read probably qualify as urban fantasy, taking place in the present or in the near (say fifty or sixty years) past. I don't think that's all he does, though. I'll be finding out...since the con this weekend, I'm on a crusade to find and read more of his work.

By the by, he said this weekend that he's currently working on a novel that takes place in the 1980s in Pasadena, but that hinges around some thing that happened while Einstein spent some time at Cal Tech in Pasadena. Sounds really interesting, and I can't wait - but he sounded like he was only about half-way through the writing at present.
 

Leto

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His earlier works : The deviant's palace for example was more classical urban sci-fi. IIRC, during this time he was quite close to K W Jeter.
 

rune

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I'm curious about this author after seeing him mentioned in another thread :D


I am concerned that his work is quite detailed though, unfortuantely I dont have the patience to stick with many detailed books. Where is a good place to start with this author.
 

Jayaprakash Satyamurthy

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I'm certain that by 'detailed' you mean 'dense'. Rest assured, Power's prose style is economical and flows well. In addition, his plotting is marvellous - really pulls you through the story. You hardly notice how much information has been thrown at you until an hour or two after putting down the book!
 

Teresa Edgerton

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Gosh, what DOESN'T Tim Powers write about? Lately he seems to have been concentrating on urban fantasy, but "On Stranger Tides" is about pirates, and "The Stress of Her Regard" takes place in the early nineteenth century and features the poets Shelley and Byron as characters, and "The Drawing of the Dark," which I read a long time ago and don't remember perfectly well, took place in a medieval (or was it Renaissance?) city under seige.

But while Powers's style is very straight-forward and not at all flowery, I would say that his books are, increasingly, both detailed and dense. He does alternate the descriptive passages with a lot of action, though.
 

Leto

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Depends on what you're looking for : The Anubis Gate or the Drawing of the Dark are pure fun. The Last call serie is modern urban fantasy, On Stranger Tides and The Stress of Her Regard are more light horror stories.
But if you're only looking for fantasy, stay away from The Skies discrowned and Dinner's at Deviant Palace. They're post-apocalyptic sci-fi ones. Even if IMO they largely worth the read.
 

Rane Longfox

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Wow, I seem to have chosen my next book to buy quite well. The more I hear about this guy, the better he sounds:D
 

rune

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I've got Earthquake Weather on order at my library, hoping it wont take too long to come so that I can finally get to read a Tim Power book :D
 

Teresa Edgerton

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It will be interesting to hear what you make of it. Not sure it's the best introduction to his work, or the most likely to appeal to you personally.
 

rune

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Kelpie said:
It will be interesting to hear what you make of it. Not sure it's the best introduction to his work, or the most likely to appeal to you personally.

The library didnt have much to offer for this author so I didnt have choice!
 

Stalker

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I read two novels by Tim Powers - both excellent. He's got a brilliant sense of the style and writes on topics I, personally, find interesting.
His Anubis Gate deepens the reader into times of England of early 20s of 19th century. I would characterise the book as Cryptohistorical Fantasy. Byron and Ashbless are the central figures of the novel. Misterious Egyptian cult carrying out its magical rites in the heart of London, the thieves' society and variety people of all London's foul places are depicted with Dickens' mastery. It will certainly strike your imagination once you've read it!
On Stranger Tides is a good piece of Adventure Fantasy ill bring you to Caribbean pirates, and when I watched the movie Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl I supposed that general motif of the movie was influenced by the above book by Tim Powers although its plot has nothing to do with the book one of whose central characters was Edward Teach known generally as Black Beard.
 
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Culhwch

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Where's this guy been hiding? All sounds great, and it's the first I've ever heard of him. Pirates and Gaiman-esque urban fantasy. Should be good, will keep an eye out...
 

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