Reading into the Treasure Trove of SF – Tim Powers

The first book I read by Tim Powers was ANUBIS GATES and I was hooked by his writing ever since. At his panel at LACon in 2006 he told us he’d never been to London, England before and that struck us all with amazement because his description of London in one of his books was so vivid that he must have had at least set foot in that city and seen this particular building and that particular street with his own eyes. To which he declared, yes, he saw the city, but saw the city only through photographs which he lined up on the carpet in his living room and strung his tale around them. Which leads me to mention his book DECLARE which is a gripping alternate history of the British Secret Service, not only battling Nazis and Communists but also evil djinns. And from the foundation of DECLARE Charles Stross spun his tale of the Atrocity Archives.

First Contact

I’ve finished reading Infinity Beach by Jack McDevitt. It deals with the question: are we alone in the universe? Without spoiling things too much for those who haven’t read the book, yet, it also extrapolates that first contact is fraught with misunderstandings, accidents and disasters. In short, don’t go into First Contact with Celestials (aliens in more picturesque terms) unprepared. Good PR, a linguist and “we should have brought a writer”, is what one player in the story quipped. A science fiction writer of course, fluent in speculative metaphors. We, writers, will have a job waiting to do at the first glimpse of a Celestial on the scanners.