married Serena Batsford (a legal secretary), 1980.
381 Park Avenue South, Suite 1020, New York, NY, 10016.
1986 Philip K. Dick Memorial Award, Dinner at Deviant's Palace;
1993 World Fantasy Award, Last Call;
1996 Locus Award, Expiration Date;
1998 Locus Award, Earthquake Weather;
2001 International Horror Guild Awards, Declare;
2001 World Fantasy Awards, Declare;
Powers won his first Dick award for his action-packed science fiction mystery and horror thriller The Anubis Gates. The novel details the adventures of Brendan Doyle, a twentieth-century English professor who travels to 1810 London to attend a lecture given by English romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. When he is kidnapped by gypsies and consequently misses his return trip to 1983, the mild-mannered Doyle is forced to become a street-smart con man, escape artist, and swordsman, in order to survive in the dark and treacherous London underworld. He defies bullets, black magic, murderous beggars, freezing waters, imprisonment in mutant-infested dungeons, poisoning, and even a plunge back to 1684. Coleridge himself and poet Lord Byron make appearances in the novel, which also features a poor tinkerer who creates genetic monsters and a werewolf that inhabits others' bodies when his latest becomes too hairy.
The Anubis Gates met with an enthusiastic critical reception. Reviewers commended Powers's inventive and lively storyline and applauded his finesse in managing the twisting and jam-packed plot. In addition, critics praised his characters, especially his roguish beggars, whom they compared to some of the wretched characters of English novelist Charles Dickens. Plotted with manic fervor, executed with exhilarating dexterity at breakneck speed," lauded Colin Greenland in the Times Literary Supplement, "The Anubis Gates is a virtuoso performance, a display of marvelous fireworks that illuminates everything in flashes, with scant afterglow."
Powers followed The Anubis Gates with Dinner at Deviant's Palace, a post-nuclear holocaust fantasy set in Los Angeles, California. The novel centers on a powerful "psychic vampire"--commandant of the foul nightclub Deviant's Palace--and his followers, who brainwash Los Angeles inhabitants and seize control of the entire city. Gregorio Rivas is a "redeemer," a member of a group out to reclaim the city, who sets out to save his former lover from the cult's sinister grasp. He barely escapes with his life after he encounters its alien, blood-thirsty demon leader. Radioactive wastelands and monstrous creatures, along with dark, underworld characters and spirits, round out the fantastic elements of Dinner at Deviant's Palace.
With his imaginative On Stranger Tides, Powers returned to historical fantasy. This novel traces the high-sea adventures of an eighteenth-century fortune-seeking young man, John Chandagnac. While traveling to the West Indies on a mission to retrieve his father's stolen inheritance, Chandagnac is shanghaied by the notorious pirate Blackbeard--now plagued with voodoo ghosts--and forced to join his band of zombie pirates. Captured too is a sorcerer with a fixation for matriarchs and a crazed widower who totes his wife's severed head in a box. With Chandagnac as gourmet chef, this motley crew ventures through the Caribbean and to a treacherous Florida swamp in search of the legendary Fountain of Youth. Their swashbuckling adventures lead them to encounters with ghosts, beach- strolling corpses, dancing dead chickens, animated plants, and finally to a watery reservoir used to resurrect the dead. "Tim Powers has written across the entire range of the literature of the fantastic," declared Orson Scott Card in his Washington Post Book World review, "but he is at his best when writing gonzo historical novels ... like On Stranger Tides."
Powers's 1989 historical fantasy, The Stress of Her Regard, also takes place against a backdrop of dark, supernatural, and mythical phenomenons. Set in 1815, the novel revolves around physician Michael Crawford and his relationship with the nephelim, or demonic vampire lovers. Blamed for his bride's violent murder--she was actually mutilated by Crawford's jealous demon lover--and hunted by his wife's schizophrenic twin sister, Crawford flees to London, where he encounters the great romantic poets John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Lord Byron, all of whom are engrossed with the supernatural nephelim underworld and creatively inspired by their own demonic muses. Chillingly haunted by his fiendish muse, Crawford endures supernatural battles and schemes; ultimately, in a high- altitude confrontation with the Egyptian Sphinx, both Byron and Crawford are released from the affections of their evil lovers.
|Many critics pronounced The Stress of Her Regard intriguing, a fascinating work conveying a fantastic story behind romanticism. Howard Mittelmark in the Washington Post Book World called the novel an "ingenious tale of erotic love and supernatural conspiracies," but conceded that the narrative line falters under Powers's complex mythological web. The Stress of Her Regard "is immensely clever stuff.... Powers's prose is often vivid and arresting," the critic continued, "but ultimately it is all too much." Although Sue Martin in the Los Angeles Times Book Review found The Stress of Her Regard a trifle lengthy, she thought the novel a "shining example" of Powers's strengths--his originality, his action-crammed plots, and his ventures into the mysterious, dark, and supernatural. "All in all," the critic added, "Powers' unique voice in science fiction continues to grow stronger."|
Sketch by Denise E. Kasinec Copyright 1997, Gale Research Inc. All rights reserved.