Last Call


Here, but not all there.
Apr 27, 2007
I'm almost finished with Last Call by Tim Powers. I'm finding the story to be very original for a fantasy book. I like the mix of tarot, gambling, and the twist on the Fisher King.
I just read Last Call a couple of weeks ago. At first I wasn't too into it but it definitely grew on me and by the end of the book, I was really enjoying it. It was my first Tim Powers book and I think I'll be picking up some others in the near future.
I loved this book, especially the way he drew so many seemingly unrelated things together (Arthurian legends and Las Vegas! Who would have thought?)

When you've worked your way through Tim Powers, you might try James P. Blaylock, who writes in a similar vein.
[name drop] We got to have dinner with Tim Powers and his wife at ConText last weekend. They are just some fantastic folks. [/name drop]

He mentioned in one of his panels, in response to a question, that Last Call (along with Anubis Gates) was one of the works for which he would like to be remembered. I have not read Last Call yet, but now feel I must add it to my reading queue.
He mentioned in one of his panels, in response to a question, that Last Call (along with Anubis Gates) was one of the works for which he would like to be remembered.

The Anubis Gates was the first of his books I read. A fascinating mixture of genres. I've liked all his others as well. I think "Last Call" is calling me. :p


I had a tough time getting into Last Call, and almost put it down half way through. but the second half had me totally hooked, and it's turned into one of my favorite Tim Powers books. in fact, as I'm sort of on a Tim Powers kick, i think Last Call is going to get a reread.
I did read The Last Call last week and thought it had many strenghts,was deep,great characters,nice humour,great sense of magic,history,mythology.

It might not be my fav Powers book since that is still The Drawing of the Dark but it is his best book so far to me.
I just finished this book last week. Like a couple of readers I wasn't initially that drawn to the concept, not being a big fan of gambling, or the whole Las Vegas scene in general which I've always found incredibly naff. Powers, though, is the sort of writer who can make you see things in a different way, and he does so here. Seen through his transforming lenses, the smoky underworld of the professional poker circuit becomes a sinister and darkly magical thing, a place where more than just money is won and lost. Gangsters become kings, gambling becomes religion, and the casinos themselves become vast, neon-lit temples to nameless gods of chance.

I won't deny that this book was great fun. Powers convincingly weaves a number of disparate strands together into a strange brew that's part occult thriller, part horror, part secret history (Bugsy Siegel plays quite a pivotal role in the tale). Unlike The Anubis Gates and The Drawing of the Dark Powers's writing here has a tense, biting edge to it that only rarely veers into the pulpy. The book is filled with interesting and well-rounded characters. There's a wonderful camaraderie between the three male leads who early on in the book engage on a sort of middle-aged roadtrip that I found genuinely exhilirating to read. Peripheral characters are no less intersting, though rather more strange: a body swapping old lady, a grotesquely fat and tattoed hitman with an insatiable appetite for inedible foods, a crazy failed-poker genius who spends his life living in boxes scattered around the Nevada Desert, etc.

The book is perhaps a shade too long; I found my interest waning about a hundred pages before the end, and there is a little too much of what felt like aimless wandering once events reach Vegas. Still a very worthwhile read, and currently my favorite Powers novel.
I didnt find it to be too long because the aimless wanderings in Vegas made it less predictable before the showdown happened. Plus there were many interesting peripheral characters that made me forget the feel of it being too long.

I agree about the writing, it felt different from his earlier books that had more flowing prose,less terse,thriller edge to them.

The strange characters i will remember fondly and hope he does similar in his later works.
Yeah its a novel with contemporary setting that is easy to copy, its very visual story. No Disney ride in the way of Tim Power characters this time.

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