By Tim Powers
Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Harper, 2007, c2006
Genres:Fantasy, contemporary fantasy, urban fantasy, suspense, thriller, mystery
Intended audience: Adult
Number of pages: 405
Setting: Mainly Southern CA, but also Israel, various Europeans locations, Mt. Shasta, and NJ.
Time period: Most of the story takes place immediately following the Hamornic Convergence in 1987, however some scenes take place earlier in time.
Plot summary: When Frank Marrity receives a call from his Grammar telling him that she burned down her shed, he and his twelve year old daughter, Daphne, go to investigate. What they find at Grammar’s place doesn’t make any sense. Grammar called them about an hour before she was found dead on Mt. Shasta, hundreds of miles away. They also find a VCR and VHS tape labelled Pee Wee’s Big Adventure in the shed. When Daphne takes the tape home and watches it, life becomes even more confusing and improbable. Frank has much to learn in a very short time in order to save his daughter from a fate worse than death.
Pacing: Fairly quick pace throughout the story; a bit slower in the beginning as characters are being introduced.
Characterization: Told in third person. Most of the story is told through Frank’s perspective, but the reader also see’s the story through a variety of unique characters.
Frame: The darkness found in Southern CA is emphasized as much of the story takes place at night. Even the scenes which take place in broad daylight have a dark feel to them as Frank and Daphne try to evade sinister characters.
Story Line: A suspenseful and darkly humorous story which examines the consequences of individual actions upon the fabric of the world.
From Library of Congress:
Neal Stevenson – Anathem
Joe Haldeman – The Accidental Time Machine
John Scalzi – Old Man’s War
William Gibson – Spook Country
Personal notes: Not my favorite Tim Powers story, but I definitely enjoyed it. [Annotated 2/22/09]