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Expiration Date Hardcover – September 30, 2008
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Koot Parganas has stolen the ghost of Thomas Edison, preserved in a hidden glass vial. Now he's on the run through the dark underside of Los Angeles, among characters who extend their lives and enhance their power by catching and absorbing the ghosts of the recently dead. Like The Anubis Gates and On Stranger Tides, this fantasy has an astonishing power that remains long after the last page is turned. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
From Publishers Weekly
The playful spirit of Lewis Carroll's Alice books-"the Old and New Testament for ghosts," as one character in this screwball supernatural comedy puts it-live on in World Fantasy Award-winning Powers's latest dazzler (after Last Call). The ghosts here aren't malevolent specters but lingering essences of the dead that are snorted and ingested by spirit junkies for the rush of memories they yield. When 11-year-old Koot Hoomie Parganas becomes possessed by the ghost of Thomas Alva Edison, a feeding frenzy begins among West Coast ghost eaters eager to absorb the great inventor's genius. Kootie's efforts to elude his pursuers eventually dovetail with electrical engineer Pete Sullivan's quest to prevent his evil stepmother from eating the ghost of his father and thus covering up her complicity in his death. Powers builds this world on a wacky foundation of physics and metaphysics, and he peoples it with eccentrics like Sherman Oaks, a one-armed ghost hunter who detects his quarry with his phantom limb, and Nicky Bradfield, a deceased teen celebrity who subsists entirely on cinnamon candy. Although filled with routine chase sequences, the novel is a minefield of exploding surprises that will have readers convinced that the author has tapped into a more magical reality behind everyday life.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top customer reviews
I really enjoyed the use of existing technology to find and monitor ghosts. It was sort of like the 20th century take on steampunk ideas, but for street people who sell their finds on dirty bedspreads.
Which is not to say that I did not enjoy it. I think that Powers is one of the most (if not *the* most) creative, inventive and possibly mad fantasy writers working today. It is rarely that I read a writer who really makes me say "How on earth did he think of *that*?"
Powers creates a plot centering around the ghost of Thomas Edison, the idea that ghosts can be inhaled for their essence, and complicated ideas about magic and superstition. Somehow he makes this plot feel almost inevitable-- it never feels odd for the sake of odd.
So why is it my least favorite? I think that it is largely an issue of comparison. For all that the premise in this book is highly believable, it's not quite as real to me as the Last Call world. There are a few too many characters and there are almost places where some of them feel as though they are driving the plot. But largely it is because I don't quite believe the motivation where deLarava is concerned-- I find her one of the weakest of the Powers characters and I have trouble buying her eventual character arc.
Still, any Powers is more worth reading more than the best book by almost anyone else.
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