Jul 24 2013 4:00pm

The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe: Tim Powers

Welcome back to The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe, a recurring series here on featuring some of our favorite science fiction and fantasy authors, artists, and others!

Today we’re joined by Tim Powers, author of The Fault Lines series, the World Fantasy Award winning novel Declare, and his most recent novella, Salvage and Demolition. On July 30, Open Road Media will publish several of his classics, including Earthquake Weather, Expiration Date, Dinner at Deviant's Palace, and more.

Join us as we cover subjects ranging from procrastination methods to Narnian cuisine, and more!

What’s your favorite method of procrastination?

Re-reading old paperback books! Heinlein, Raymond Chandler, Ian Fleming, Lovecraft, Leigh Brackett—I’m always picking one up off the floor when I should be writing, and starting to read it—and then I stop and tell myself, “Powers, this book is a distraction from your proper work, an obstacle. And you’re a pro. You must get this obstacle out of your way as quickly as possible!” So I look at the paperback, estimate that I probably can finish reading it before bedtime, and start reading it as fast as I can.

Do you have a favorite underrated/unknown/under-read author?

I love James Branch Cabell. He was a fair best-seller in the 1920s, but was pretty much forgotten by the ’50s, and, despite efforts by people like James Blish and Lin Carter to rouse interest in him since, he remains obscure. It’s understandable—his novels are fantasies, but very stilted and stylized and mannered—but once you get used to his peculiar tone of voice, novels like The Cream of the Jest and The Silver Stallion are affecting as well as affected!

Tim Powers Dinner at Deviant'sChoose your preferred fictional vacation spot: Narnia or Middle Earth (or some other fictional realm)…


Narnia, in the period when Peter, Edmund, Susan and Lucy were the kings and queens. Cair Paravel would be a great vacation spot, and the food (as I remember!) would be terrific.

What was your gateway to SF/Fantasy, as a child or young adult?

Robert Heinlein’s Red Planet, a copy of which my mother got me when I was eleven. I immediately read all the other Heinleins I could find, and then moved on to Sturgeon and Lovecraft and Leiber... and my fate was set.

What’s the most embarrassing guilty pleasure you’ll admit to? (music, movies, pop culture, food, drink, etc…all fair game!)

I love to watch the old TV show Leave It To Beaver. We’ve got all six seasons on DVD.

The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe: ‹ previous | index | next ›
Cool Bev
1. Cool Bev
Also a J.B. Cabell fan - introduced by a selection from Jurgen in The Mathematical Magpie, I think.

Since Mr. Powers is also a Heinlein fan, he probably noticed that Heinlein's late novel Job - A Comedy of Justice is more or less a pastiche of Jurgen.

Also, I'm a big Powers fan! Think I've read every book he has had published.
Allana Schneidmuller
2. blutnocheinmal
Gah, Tim!
I've loved his work since I heard of a book called The Anubis Gates (which was at that time out of print) and got it through the college library system.
The Fault Line books were excellent. I'd really love an omnibus, or better yet a leatherbound from B&N. /pipe dreams
On Stranger Tides was much better than the movie. Though I can completely see why they stole the general plotline.
Sol Foster
3. colomon
@1 -- looks like it was actually Fantasia Mathematica. Which I didn't know existed, so thank you!
Steven Halter
4. stevenhalter
I'll have to check Cabell out. Powers, I have checked out and he is wondeful fabulousness.
I couldn't help but think of "The Stress of Her Regard" as I passed the Keats-Shelly house in Rome.
Shelly wb
5. shellywb
I was introduced to Cabell as a teen when I found a copy of Jurgen at a church rummage sale of all places. I couldn't stop laughing. Or thinking about all the ideas he played with. Cabell remains one of my favorites, as does Powers.

Subscribe to this thread

Receive notification by email when a new comment is added. You must be a registered user to subscribe to threads.
Post a comment