Welcome back to The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe, a recurring series here on Tor.com 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!
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.