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Tim Powers - Queue
January 9th, 2004
10:40 am

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Tim Powers
I haven't read any Tim Powers, and I think I'd like to do so before Arisia. If I'm only going to read, say, two of his books before the con, anyone have recommendations on which ones to read? And, if I'm not able to find them at the library, does anyone have a copy they'd be willing to lend me?

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From:ts52
Date:January 9th, 2004 07:56 am (UTC)
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Hmmm, only two?
Well, I'm not sure I've read enough of his work to tell you which two of all his work, but from what I've read:
The Drawing of the Dark
Last Call

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From:prog
Date:January 9th, 2004 07:57 am (UTC)
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My favorite might be "The Drawing of the Dark". The title is a reference to a magical stout beer, so how can you not like that? I ask.

Also of note:
"On Stranger Tides" has lots of the wacky pirate antics that the kids clamor for these days. (And has voodoo. Voodoo-powered Blackbeard, very scary.)

"Last Call" takes place in the (to me) very interesting world of professional poker players. (And has tarot-based magic.)
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From:cthulhia
Date:January 9th, 2004 08:03 am (UTC)

declare

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mainly because it's the most recent.
It's hard for me to choose, since I like all his work.

And, I have copies of some of them at my place. :)
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From:jazzfish
Date:January 9th, 2004 08:14 am (UTC)
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Jeez. Picking only two of Tim Powers's books is like being put in a candy store and being told to pick two jelly beans.

Declare is his most recent, so that one's probably a good one to read. (Cold war espionage, Kim Philby, djinni, and the Middle East.) My personal faves are The Anubis Gates (time travel, werewolves, and a nonexistent poet) and Last Call (mystic poker and lots and lots of sympathetic magic). If you're into the Romantic poets at all you'll probably get a lot more out of The Stress of Her Regard than I did. Drawing of the Dark (weird Arthur story) and Dinner at Deviant's Palace (weird postapocalyptic story) were pretty good as well. I'd recommend against starting with Expiration Date or Earthquake Weather. And I've not been able to find a copy of On Stranger Tides, though people tell me it's great.

I'd love to be there for Arisia. . . . If only money and classes weren't so weird this month.
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From:cthulhia
Date:January 9th, 2004 09:18 am (UTC)

deviant palace

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Was too much trying to be like all the other writers who also hung with PKDick. (Powers was PKD's executor). At least, Jeter. Powers and Blaylock tend to be more speculative than distopian.

Tim is a devout Catholic, and this does come up in his work. Any religious service in his books seems to involve drinking, and, I'm not always thrilled with his attitudes towards women as a result. But I'm not sure that is overt enough to notice if you didn't spend a few undergrad years as so feminist you stopped having a sense of humor.
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From:jazzfish
Date:January 12th, 2004 08:59 am (UTC)

Re: deviant palace

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Hm. I could believe that, though I've never read any Blaylock (I know, I know) and precious little Jeter. Now that you mention I can see some Dickian influence, more prominently than in the rest of Powers's stuff.

I'd not noticed the women attitudes. To the left, I've not (re)read any Powers since my feminism started developing this past fall.

Anubis Gates. . . if you read it first you can pick up on the Ashbless references first time through, which is good if you're not a compulsive rereader. (I am, so I don't know which would be better.) Also, there's passing mention of "the volume of Ashbless poetry" in Brust & Bull's Freedom and Necessity, which cracked me up for about thirty seconds when I caught it.
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From:cthulhia
Date:January 9th, 2004 09:24 am (UTC)

Anubis Gates

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William Ashbless turns up in most of Powers' (and Blaylock's books) sort of like how DEATH has at least cameo in most Pratchett books. Sort of an in-joke gone horribly wrong in a highly amusing way.

It's a must read. Not sure if it's a must read first.
(Although, I'm now envisioning a lot of SG-1 like scenes in it, despite the setting...)
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From:queue
Date:January 9th, 2004 10:19 am (UTC)
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Well, the BPL has a copy of Last Call on the shelves, so I'm going to grab that. They also have Expiration Date and Earthquake Weather, but I'll take jazzfish's advice and not start with those.

Hmm, brave the cold now? The library is only open until 5 on Fridays, so I can't wait until after work, since I got in late today. Gues I'll do a little more work then think about making it to the library.

(Hmm, as of about 30 minutes ago, it had made it up to 7 degrees, with a windchill of 11 below.)
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From:ts52
Date:January 9th, 2004 10:52 am (UTC)
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Personally, I really enjoyed Expiration Date and Earthquake Weather, but I made the mistake of reading them first, before I read Last Call. Definitely read Last Call before the other two.

Glad you posted the question, now I know what other books I need to look for when I go shopping this weekend!
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From:jazzfish
Date:January 9th, 2004 02:42 pm (UTC)
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Expiration Date is weird. It's not a sequel so much as taking place in the same world. You could probably be okay reading it first. I just don't think it's nearly as good as Last Call.

Earthquake Weather, though, really /is/ a sequel. To both of them. And, again, I didn't like it as much as Last Call. (But Last Call was my first Powers, so I'm probably a tad biased.)
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From:jencallisto
Date:January 9th, 2004 10:46 am (UTC)
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the only two Tim Powers i've read so far are Anubis Gates and Declare, in that order. i loved them both, but i think slightly preferred Declare, probably 'cause i have thing for WWII-era spy stories.
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