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Salvage and Demolition [Kindle Edition]

Tim Powers , J.K. Potter
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $2.99

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Book Description

Salvage and Demolition, the astonishing new 21,000 word novella by Tim Powers, begins when Richard Blanzac, a San Francisco-based rare book dealer, opens a box of consignment items and encounters the unexpected. There, among an assortment of literary rarities, he discovers a manuscript in verse, an Ace Double Novel, and a scattering of very old cigarette butts. These commonplace objects serve as catalysts for an extraordinary--and unpredictable--adventure.

Without warning, Blanzac finds himself traversing a 'circle of discontinuity' that leads from the present day to the San Francisco of 1957. Caught up in that circle are an ancient Sumerian deity, a forgotten Beat-era poet named Sophie Greenwald, and an apocalyptic cult in search of the key to absolute non-existence. With unobtrusive artistry, Powers weaves these elements into something strange and utterly compelling. The resulting story is at once a romance, a thriller, and the kind of intricately constructed time travel story that only the author of The Anubis Gates--that quintessential time travel classic--could have written. Ingenious, affecting, and endlessly inventive, Salvage and Demoliton is a compact gem from the pen of a modern master, a man whose singular creations never fail to dazzle and delight.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* It might be small, but Powers’ novella packs a wallop. Rare-book dealer Richard Blanzac receives a box of items on consignment, among which is a verse manuscript written, apparently, by one Sophie Greenwald. Before he’s quite figured out what the manuscript is, he gets a call from a stranger, an elderly woman, who begs him to destroy it. And, soon after that, he encounters a man claiming to be a scholar who seems quite intent on getting his hands on the manuscript. Baffling as those two incidents are, they pale by comparison to the next thing that happens: Blanzac is transported 55 years back in time, where he meets the author of the manuscript, who tells him that she has already encountered him earlier that same day (although that meeting lies, apparently, in Richard’s own future) and that the manuscript, if it lands in the wrong hands, could have terrible, world-altering consequences. Evoking such genre notables as Richard Matheson’s Bid Time Return, Jack Finney’s Time and Again, and Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife (along with such films as Source Code and The Terminator), the book is a sort of literary Möbius strip, looping around on itself, finding its ending in its beginning. Powers is an acclaimed SF and fantasy author—The Anubis Gates (1983) is considered a time-travel classic—and this new title has the feel of a cult favorite, the kind of small-press jewel that will develop a devoted following. --David Pitt

Product Details

  • File Size: 668 KB
  • Print Length: 160 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Subterranean Press (January 29, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00B7RTTL6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,734 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Confection of Noir and Sci-Fi Adventure February 21, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Tim Power's Salvage and Demolition is the best sort of homage, and owes something to the Maltese Falcon and the novels of H. Rider Haggard and even the to the genre of lost arcane knowledge novels made popular by Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, though I wish I could find a better example of that genre to reference.

Richard Blanzac is a rare book dealer in his mid forties, scraping a living in his dusty shop when he receives a bonanza on consignment, the works and letters of a minor Beat Poet of the fifties, Sophie Greenwald. The items come oddly package, signed first editions by Ginsberg and company mixed in with a TV guide, an Ace double science fiction paperback, letters to and from Sophie Greenwald and the more famous poets of the time and what appears to be a religious manuscript in verse, all packed together with newspaper and the contents of an ashtray. Richard of course receives the de rigueur mysterious phone call about the contents of the box and is bounced back in time to meet Sophie Greenwald, though the time travel is non-sequential and Richard doesn't always remember previous visits and events.

Written in spare prose that mimics the noir style, in contrast to Power's usual rich Victoriana, Salvage and Demolition moves deliciously fast, in fact, there is enough here that is toothsome that it could easily have been a full length novel, but works well as a love song to the genres of noir, adventure and time travel. I am a fan of Powers in general and Salvage and Demolition gave me a couple hours of pleasure on a snowy afternoon and I will re-read it some day. The highest praise from this reader.

Subterranean Press editions are always beautiful, but this edition surpasses even the usual with the photographic realism of the pencil and ink illustrations by J.K.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A small gem of a novella April 8, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Note that this is a mere 21,000 word, 160 page book. It's "merely" a novella. But for it's briefness, the prose shines more brightly.

Beautiful illustrations, lovely prose, and a gem of a printing job.

Now- on to the story. As Powers has done before, we have a "everyman" who buys old books from estates, etc. He discovers some mysterious manuscripts and then gets a mysterious phone call- which sets off some decidedly non-normal adventures & even a relationship of sort. Crossing Dashiell Hammett with Midnight in Paris, if that makes any sense.

But as wonderful as this little gem is, it's price is high for such a short read. Not for an introduction to Tim Powers, but a must for the dedicated fan.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good tightly written story August 29, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
There is nothing like Powers at his best. This story was just a nudge short of that list, but still very good and exhibiting many of the elements of greatness.

The time travel elements were written both smartly and tightly. For it is strange to think of 160 pages as just a short novella, when I grew up reading scifi books that averages about 180-200 pages in length versus the behemoths we have now. A 400 page book is not short! <grin>

I liked the characters and was drawn into their stories. The puzzles were there but not so convoluted that it requires a lifetime of study to decipher them.

Another good Powers book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Time Travel Story! December 9, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Finding a logically consistent, intelligent, interesting, and serious time travel story is like finding water in the desert. It's not impossible, it's just very rare and a great joy when found. Here is one of those "water in the desert" stories.

Richard Blanzac is a rare books dealer who stumbles across a manuscript in a cardboard box from a 1950s San Francisco poet. It's a translation of an ancient Sumerian text. If you've learned anything about ancient Sumeria from movies, television, and novels, they were a crazy bunch who worshiped the sort of gods that love to mess up the universe. It might be apocalyptic destruction; it might be mass insanity. Any way, it is bad news. Naturally, people are after the manuscript, including some lady in an old-age home who is the legal executor of the poet's estate. She wants it destroyed; others want it for their own nefarious purposes. The big twist hits early when Richard is cast back into 1950s San Francisco where he encounters the young poet. She is also being pestered by cultists for the manuscript but she wants it preserved.

The story has nice twists and turns which keep up the excitement. And, as I say, it is a nicely consistent and smart time travel story that will have you on the edge of your seat. It's very enjoyable as a science fiction story and has interesting characters.

Parental warning: There's a bunch of drinking and smoking (the part in the 1950s), some violence, and one implied sex scene. This isn't for little kids, but teens and older will enjoy it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars quintessential powers October 12, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
this novella (took me about 2 hours to read) is pure powers: the everyman unwitting protagonist stumbles into finding the world isn't as simple as it seems--that the romantic world of myth is alive tho subdued in our modern quotidian experience.

the big question is: is it worth the money for 160 pages or so? for me, the answer is emphatically YES. Not only is the length right for the story, it allows Powers to tell just the story: no filler or padding needed. I detest the 600 page tomes that would have los nothing if they were 200 pages--which, unfortunately, is true more often than not.

the story leaves me yearning for a happier ending, and to know more, to hope that there is more, but that poignancy is delightful.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read!
Good Tim powers book.
Published 1 month ago by martyu
5.0 out of 5 stars Really liked this!
Very interesting setting for time travel! Really liked this!
Published 1 month ago by WILLIAM E REID
5.0 out of 5 stars Just wish it were longer!
Wonderful story. Powers is in top form here. I generally say I don't like time-travel stories, but Powers is the exception.
Published 2 months ago by S. Kulyk
4.0 out of 5 stars A Short Story
Tim Powers is one of my favorite authors, but I was disappointed by this book. Just as it feels like the story is getting into its stride, the book is over. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Peter Maloy
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
True Tim Powers goodness in a small package.
Published 4 months ago by J.M
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I think this was probably the best novella I've ever read.

Fast, tight, engrossing. 'Nuff said.
Published 8 months ago by Jeff
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent. Tightly-constructed time travel novel
Excellent. Tightly-constructed time travel novel.
Published 9 months ago by David Hobby
5.0 out of 5 stars It could only have been better if it was longer!
Great work by Tim Powers as always. This novella showcased all the skills that made Anubis Gates and Declare the huge delight that they are. Wish it could have been longer. Read more
Published 10 months ago by black hat
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
I'm a fan of Tim powers; I expected to like this and I did,. It might not be his most accessible story but it's a good one.
Published 13 months ago by Harry Crane
4.0 out of 5 stars Short and strange. Good fun from Tim powers.
I've read a lot (all?) of Tim Powers. His interpretation of the supernatural is clearly unique. Salvage and Demolition is a lightweight form and a shorter version. Read more
Published 13 months ago by B. Chen
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