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Dinner at Deviant's Palace by [Powers, Tim]
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Dinner at Deviant's Palace Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

First published in 1985, this legendary and still distinctive novel may attract new fans, although the postnuclear-war theme has become somewhat dated. Technology has vanished in a barbaric, 22nd-century California run by a Sidney Greenstreet lookalike messiah, Norton Jaybush, who boasts a fancifully colossal "night club of the damned" in Venice and his own Holy City in Irvine. His young hippie followers, aka "Jaybirds," drift in a hallucinatory Philip K. Dick-style dream, while "redeemers" strive to rescue them. The serviceable plot focuses largely on the efforts of the hero, Gregorio Rivas, a musician and former redeemer who lives in "Ellay," to bring back a runaway. The film Mad Max (1980) seems to have inspired many of the images in this rundown world, such as "an old but painstakingly polished Chevrolet body mounted on a flat wooden wagon drawn by two horses." Powers has a nice knack for puns, e.g., a "hemogoblin," a balloonlike monster who sucks blood from its victims, and "fifths," paper money issued by a "Distiller of the Treasury." The antireligious tone of the book, not uncommon in science fiction of the era, is a refreshing change from much of today's blatantly proselytizing SF (see feature, "Other Worlds, Suffused with Religion," Apr. 16). At times Powers's heavy prose style can be trying, but his engaging conceptions will keep most readers turning the pages.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


“Tim Powers has long been one of my absolute favorite writers.” —Peter Straub
“A typical Powers novel—if anything the man writes can be called typical—combines supernatural melodrama with scrupulous research, seamlessly intertwining the real and the fantastic. . . . He has produced some of the most memorable imaginative fiction of recent decades.” —The Washington Post
“Legendary and still distinctive . . . refreshing . . . [Powers’s] engaging conceptions will keep most readers turning the pages.” —Publishers Weekly 

Product Details

  • File Size: 1031 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Open Road Media Sci-Fi & Fantasy; 2 Reprint edition (July 30, 2013)
  • Publication Date: July 30, 2013
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DUOP8W8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #454,648 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael Battaglia on October 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover
As a writer, Powers had a penchant (reputation?) for being both tricky and odd in his constructions. His great talent is the ability to take a fairly "real" scenario and add layers of twists onto it that tweak it into something that is just left of the world we know, where magic lurks just underneath the surface and the stakes are as great as the rewards. His best novels (most people agree on "Last Call" and "Anubis Gates" being the peaks) section themselves off into a territory of urban fantasy characterized by intelligent and extremely deft plotting as well as a seemingly endless stream of ideas.

"Dinner at Deviant's Palace", however, is something different. It's far closer to science-fiction than almost anything else I've read from him before. Granted, it's an early novel (though not embryonic, "Anubis Gates" had already been published) but it shows an interesting direction that he could have gone in, plus an example of what a novel in another genre might look like once he applied his abilities to it.

It takes place in a future US where civilization has been drastically rearranged. Currency appears to be based on alcohol and several nuclear wars seem to have occurred, leaving the remaining cities to function more or less as their own entities. Fairly musician Greg Rivas is going about his business as usual when an old girlfriend's father shows up with a proposition. Even though he hates Rivas' guts, he will pay him handsomely for a job he used to do: "redeem" people. You see, there's a cult wandering around the area, the Jaybirds, who are very good at bringing people into the flock and not letting them out. In fact, people don't want to get out. Rivas, as a former cult member, is more than decent at it, so against his better judgement he goes in again.
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Format: Kindle Edition
"Deprogramming" -- kidnapping someone who has supposedly been brainwashed by a religious cult and coercing their abandonment of the cult's belief system -- was in the public mind during the 1970s. Tim Powers (one of the most underrated writers of speculative fiction) grabbed hold of the concept in his 1985 classic Dinner at Deviant's Palace, incorporating it into a story of a post-apocalyptic future. In his introduction to the Open Roads edition, Powers explains the novel's interpretation of the Orpheus myth (a connection I would have missed if Powers hadn't explained it).

Dinner at Deviant's Palace is a science fiction novel with elements of fantasy. You can always expect the unexpected in a Powers novel, and this one adds a strange creature called a hemogoblin to the standard description of America-turned-wasteland. The novel was written long before the current obsession with post-apocalyptic vampires, and the hemogoblin isn't a vampire in the traditional sense, but blood does play a central role in the imaginative plot. Powers is an exceptional storyteller who often adds horrific elements to the stories he tells, usually to shed light on some horrifying aspect of the present, but no matter the plot device, his true subject has always been human nature.

It's been a hundred years since the age of electricity, and California as it once existed is long gone. The calendar is based on a deck of cards, brandy is used as currency, and residual radiation renders some places off limits. Trash men run loose -- not quite human, not quite robot, a little like a talking vacuum cleaner mated with a barbeque grill -- and the San Berdoo army is threatening to invade Ellay.

Gregorio Rivas is a musician, but he used to perform redemptions.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Post nuclear holocaust LA? - Heard it before! Lost love refound? - Been done. So why read this one? Because it's so different.
Aspects of this book have become quite common place in the SF movie world, that I can't help wondering just how many people read Powers. I can't give any examples here, 'cos I don't want to spoil the astounding revelations exposed throughout the book but if you read it, you'll know what I mean. And you should read it.
Amusing word plays - like the blood lusting Hemogoblin - show Powers humour to be unsubtle, unlike the plot, which is so full of sub-plots and different levels, that you can't help sharing the calm desperation of the main character as he sinks lower and lower into a reality he could not have suspected existed.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Anubis gates is one of my favorite books so it is pretty hard to live up to that. I would rank it after Declare and Last Call but much better than Drawing in the Dark - could not get into that one at all. Pretty much classic Powers with a reluctant hero, convoluted - yet highly enjoyable - plotting and very creepy malevolence.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Tim Powers is an author who seems to forever fly under the radar of popular readership. And there doesn't seem to be an obvious reason. His stories are well crafted; the prose has been revised numerous times until it's a lean and brisk; and the sense of the fantastic he utilizes is always vivid and invigorating. His 5th novel, Dinner at Deviant's Palace, has all of these qualities on display. Recently brought back to life by Open Road Media after two decades out of print, the novel has everything a genre fan could love, including one layer just beyond quality entertainment.

With echoes of Stephen King's The Stand, Dinner at Deviant's Palace is a post-apocalyptic novel in an American setting. The story occurring in the crumbling remains of L.A. long after a nuclear catastrophe, humanity has reverted to pre-industrial times. Cults roam the land, bandits and brigands hide along broken roads, ragged buildings sag in the sunlight, and people scrape by in whatever manner they can--alcohol the only dependable currency. Wandering the decrepit scene is Gregorio Rivas. Once a redeemer but now a musician for hire, Rivas assumes his past is behind him, that is, until preparing for a gig at Spinks one evening. Made a most inviting offer that involves redeeming a former lover, Rivas can't refuse 5,000 temptations, and he's suddenly back in the saddle on a mission to rescue the kidnapped woman. Walking the tightrope with an evil drug, tangling with creatures mutated by the nuclear catastrophe, and attacked by hooters and pocalocas, the cult of the Jaybirds he must infiltrate will only kill or make him stronger.

If a wandering musician on a quest to find a woman rings a bell, it should. Dinner at Deviant's Palace is a variation on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice.
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