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Dinner at Deviant's Palace Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 1991
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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.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The author's approach to the story, well described in his preface, takes the story in a fresh direction different from most post apocalyptic stories. This is a world where people live, not where they yearn to return to what's been lost.
The evil in the tale is horribly and thoroughly frightening. It is also creative and fascinating. Worst yet, it's oddly believable, which brings you right back to being scared.
There are times when you can see that the story is an early effort by a writer whose skills have since progressed, but these moments do very little to lessen your enjoyment as a reader.
The place is SoCal, the plot has to do with deprogramming, religious cults, strange alien (or are they?) lifeforms and even stranger drugs. Don't worry, it all makes sense in the end. The protagonist is an unusually thoughtful musician cum deprogrammer facing some difficult choices and many trials and tribulations.
There will be no spoilers here (essential) --- go and read it! Highly recommended.
PS. An interesting aside about Powers is that he has a truly encyclopedic knowledge of geography of SoCal, on many levels. This shows even here, in post-apocalyptic realms. It's kinda cute if you know the area :-)
Well written story, good characters and the willing suspension of disbelief comes easy. I'd suggest this as a first Powers read.