Friday, July 5, 2013

38. Salvage and Demolition by Tim Powers

Writer:  Tim Powers

First Publication:  2013

Summary from Amazon:
Salvage and Demolition, the astonishing new 21,000 word novella by Tim Powers, begins when Richard Blanzac, a San Francisco-based rare book dealer, opens a box of consignment items and encounters the unexpected. There, among an assortment of literary rarities, he discovers a manuscript in verse, an Ace Double Novel, and a scattering of very old cigarette butts. These commonplace objects serve as catalysts for an extraordinary--and unpredictable--adventure.

Without warning, Blanzac finds himself traversing a 'circle of discontinuity' that leads from the present day to the San Francisco of 1957. Caught up in that circle are an ancient Sumerian deity, a forgotten Beat-era poet named Sophie Greenwald, and an apocalyptic cult in search of the key to absolute non-existence. With unobtrusive artistry, Powers weaves these elements into something strange and utterly compelling. The resulting story is at once a romance, a thriller, and the kind of intricately constructed time travel story that only the author of The Anubis Gates--that quintessential time travel classic--could have written. Ingenious, affecting, and endlessly inventive, Salvage and Demoliton is a compact gem from the pen of a modern master, a man whose singular creations never fail to dazzle and delight.


Tim Powers is another one of the authors whose works I have wanted to try.  In the early days of my science fiction reading, this would have been a normal length novel at 160 pages.  Now it is considered a novella.  Since it is a shorter work, I thought it would be a good place to start reading Powers.

The first thing that caught my eye was the inclusion of an Ace Double Novel.  I was a big fan when these first appeared.  Ace advertised that you were getting two novels in each book.  When you reached the end of the first one, turn the book over and start reading the opposite way.  Each story had it's own cover.  Ace was done publishing them by the time I started collecting but I was able to occasionally find them in used book stores.

Powers came up with an interesting method of time travel.  The traveler had to have some connection to a person from the past.  To say more would give it away.

The story of the people who wanted to summon the god who killed himself was a different take on an elder gods tale.

Powers did an excellent job of combining an elder god, time travel, noir mystery, and books.  I found it to be a good read.

Highly recommended.  This is another author I hope to read more of in the near future.

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