Down and Out in Purgatory: The Collected Stories of Tim Powers
Baen. Nov. 2017. 496p. ISBN 9781481482790. $25. FANTASY
Among the few elements Powers repeatedly returns to in his works is time travel. A nice sample of his clever handling of the logistical difficulties of this trope are on display in this collection of stories, particularly in the marvelous "Salvage and Demolition." Fans of Powers's groundbreaking steampunk novel The Anubis Gates will enjoy "Nobody's Home," set in that world. Another element Powers uses are ghosts and people with secret knowledge of an unseen world, as shown with the World Fantasy Award (WFA) nominee "Night Moves." Each story is helpfully framed by an introduction by the author, providing a sense of how he drew on events from his own life in Southern California and magically transformed them. The collection also includes several collaborations with James P. Blaylock, a fellow pioneer of the steampunk subgenre who, like Powers, was mentored by Philip K. Dick.
VERDICT While Powers has won the WFA twice (for Last Call and Declare), many sf/fantasy fans might not be familiar with his books. For those readers, this collection should serve as a solid introduction to his style.

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