You may be familiar with the scene in the film Shakespeare in Love which sees one hopeful actor after another stammering their way through a stock audition piece from Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, leading to huge surprise and relief all round when the heroine arrives to give a speech from a play by Shakespeare. I’m certain he’s far too polite to admit it, but I suspect that Tim Powers feels a similar sense of relief whenever someone tells him that they love his work and goes on to mention a book other than The Anubis Gates.
Usually when someone asks you if they’d like a particular author, you need to find out what sort of book they enjoy. With Tim Powers that isn’t really an issue, because he’s written pretty much every type of speculative or fantastic literature that you’d want to read.
He’s written stories of magical suspense and stories of science fiction adventure. He’s written about ancient legends. He’s written about Romantic poets. He’s written about ghosts, zombie pirates, and several varieties of vampire. And just in case regular Eastercon attendees are getting concerned that this diversity leaves out core science fiction, he’s written more than one novel about time travel – and he’s written about beer. (To offer a balanced drinks menu, he’s also written about wine, and indeed the Fountain of Youth.) Many of his novels are set in the past, secret histories that draw real historical figures into the action. Most involve complex plotting, sparkling pace, vivid characterisation and on top of all that are also really good stories.
I was first captivated by Tim Powers’ work over twenty years ago, so I’m delighted to have the opportunity at the 2009 Eastercon to finally meet him and talk to him about all the stuff that makes him even half this enthusiastic. And sometime in that conversation I’m probably going to admit that I still really like The Anubis Gates. But since it’s the book that made me want to read everything else that Tim Powers has ever written, I’m hoping that he’ll be able to forgive me.
Visit the extensive The Works of Tim Powers for more about Tim and his work.