Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Tim Powers on Cthulhu stuffed toys

The day Thomas Pynchon sheds his mortal coil, Tim Powers will move up into the top slot on my Favorite Living Writers list.

Science fiction writer AR Yngve has a few clips of Tim speaking at the Oslo Science Fiction Festival last August. The picture quality is poor, but if you're a fan, you'll enjoy them. I've always wanted to hear him speak, just to see how it compared to his writing voice.

If you haven't read Tim Powers, I'd direct you first to The Anubis Gates. Then I'd say: read the rest. His latest, Three Days to Never lives up to the quality of his previous work. His novels have strong occult and paranormal themes and range throughout history, so at first glance, many might shy away. However, his use of fantastic elements are always convincing and relevant and his well-researched and implemented historical environment always gives one a good sense of time and place. Books like Declare, On Stranger Tides and The Stress of Her Regard explore the hidden magical struggle behind the Cold War spy game, voodoo slinging pirates, and alien vampires ala Byron and Shelley, respectively.

His protagonists are unfailingly human, his villains and incidental players are often odd, even horrifying, yet all believable. With compelling stories and characters, a great feel for narrative and emotional description, a wonderful sense of humor and the absurd, and a talent for making the fantastic and bizarre tangible, his novels always push my boundaries, such as they are.

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