Tim Powers is a fantasy writer who spins out tales of wild, mystic conspiracy that are so believable and weird, we're lucky he didn't follow L Ron Hubbard's example and found a religion, or we'd all be worshipping in his cult. Along with James Blaylock and KW Jeter, Powers was one of three young, crazy genre writers who served as Philip K Dick's proteges, and Powers gives us a glimpse of where Dick may have ended up if he'd managed to beat his own worst self-destructive impulses.
The Philip K Dick Award is given to the best paperback original each year (past winners include Tim Powers' Anubis Gates, Rudy Rucker's Wetware, William Gibson's Neuromancer and Meg Elison's The Book of the Unnamed Midwife).
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In Medusa's Web
, fantasy grandmaster Tim Powers presents us with another of his amazing secret histories, this one of Rudolph Valentino. In this guest editorial, Powers -- author of many of Boing Boing's favorite novels, including the World Fantasy Award winning Last Call
, Hide Me Among the Graves
, and Dinner at Deviant's Palace
-- explains the genesis of his latest book, and takes us with him for his field-research.
In The Oversight
, Charlie Fletcher introduced us to a secret history of London and the ancient order that defended it from the creatures of the dark. Now, with The Paradox
, a sequel, Fletcher plunges the bedraggled heroes of the Oversight into danger that they may not be able to best.
My first steampunk story, “The Ape-box Affair,” was published in Unearth magazine in 1978. I was paid half a cent a word for it and was happy to get the 40 bucks—and doubly happy simply to see it in print.
Mitch writes, "I interviewed fantasy novelist Tim Powers about how he writes. We talked about working through story problems, using YouTube as a secret weapon, why he avoids social media, and his obsessively detailed outlines and research notes. 'In order to build a building, you put up so much scaffolding that the scaffolding outweighs the building.'"
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James P. Blaylock's Knights of the Cornerstone is a light, nostalgic contemporary fantasy steeped in legend. Blaylock is a master of this genre.
Cartoonist Calvin Bryson receives an odd package that causes him to return to his family's home in New Cypress, on the borders of California, Arizona and Nevada. Secrets buried for generations come to the surface as Calvin joins the remnant of the Knights Templar to defeat an occultist, and defend what may be the real shroud of Turin.
This isn't the headiest or heaviest of work by Blaylock, but it is damn fine! I read it in an hour or so and was completely engrossed. Blaylock's work solo, and with Tim Powers, adds incredible fantasy to very familiar landscapes. If you haven't read any of his work, this is a good place to start. Then I suggest moving on to On Pirates, I wish I could find my copy.
The Knights of the Cornerstone by James P. Blaylock Read the rest
Tim Powers' novella, Salvage and Demolition, is a film noir love story showing time travel may not be neat and orderly. I read it in one sitting.
Rare book dealer Richard Blanzac receives a several box from the estate of a failed beat poet, Sophie Greenwald. The contents of the books sends him back in time, several times, each trip landing a few hours before the last. Can he solve the mystery, running through time in reverse? Can two people fall in love in a matter of hours? Hours spent out of order?
As always, Powers gives you exactly the right information to make you feel at home in his San Francisco, 1950s or present day. His take on film noir is spot on, not parody. A short story like this leaves me wanting to re-read his other work.
Salvage and Demolition by Tim Powers Read the rest
I picked up Harry Connolly's Bad Little Girls Die Horrible Deaths for his new Twenty Palaces story, and found myself thrilled with his collection of modern fairy tales.
I was looking for a new Twenty Palaces installment, and saw this collection of short stories. The titular story, Bad Little Girls Die Horrible Deaths, is fantastic. Eli, a super-natural practitioner in late 1800s Washington, is kidnapped somewhere outside of Seattle. Forced to solve a magical mystery or die trying, three demonic farm girls give him one hell of a bad time.
Connolly writes tales of magic and mystery in more modern times incredibly well. His work reminds me a lot of Tim Powers or Neil Gaiman. I highly recommend this collection.
Bad Little Girls Die Horrible Deaths: And Other Tales Of Dark Fantasy Read the rest
SF author/physicist Gregory Benford reminisces about his friend Philip K. Dick: Read the rest
Tim Powers' outstanding fantasy novel The Anubis Gates has been adapted for the stage and it will premiere at Loncon 3, this summer's World Science Fiction Convention. I've been excited as hell about having a Worldcon in town, but this is some awfully nice icing on the cake!
The Anubis Gates
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Keyan sez, "FOGcon is a literary speculative fiction convention in the San Francisco Bay Area. Now in its 4th year, it's big enough to be fun, still small enough not to overwhelm. This year, the theme is Secrets, and the Guests of Honor are Seanan McGuire, Tim Powers, and the late James Tiptree, Jr. It's on March 7-9, 2014."
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I recently re-read Tim Powers' absolutely fantastic, 1985, Dinner at Deviant's Palace, where troubled musician Gregorio Rivas struggles to extract his former love from the clutches of a mad cult in the ruins of post-apocalyptic 22nd century Los Angeles. It is purely fantastic!
True to his style, Powers takes a quasi-familiar Ellay, some few generations after the fall of our current society into feudalism, and builds just enough familiarity with the environment to get you filling in the blanks on your own. THATS when things get odd! Again and again, expect the unexpected. Hemogoblins, a booze based currency and Venice, California as you've never-seen-it-before but always suspected-it-must-be are just a few of the twists.
Truly a favorite!
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The 2013 Locus Awards final ballot has been announced, and as ever, it is a fabulous guide signposting some of the very best work published science fiction and fantasy in the past year -- a perfect place to start your explorations of the year's books.
I am very honored to have been included on the ballot; my novel Pirate Cinema made the Best Young Adult novel list, which is a particularly strong category this year:
* The Drowned Cities, Paolo Bacigalupi (Little, Brown; Atom)
* Pirate Cinema, Cory Doctorow (Tor Teen)
* Railsea, China Miéville (Del Rey; Macmillan)
* Dodger, Terry Pratchett (Harper; Doubleday UK)
* The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There, Catherynne M. Valente (Feiwel and Friends; Much-in-Little ’13)
See the full ballot after the jump.
2013 Locus Awards Finalists
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Welcome to this year's Boing Boing Gift Guide
, a piling-high of our most loved stuff from 2012 and beyond. There are books, comics, games, gadgets and much else besides: click the categories at the top to filter what you're most interested in—and add your suggestions and links in the comments.