On Stranger Tides. Anyone read it?

Trying to break out of my regular schlock of pulpy romance books, I’m running with my current obsession of pirates, due to Pirates of the Caribbean. In a way I am still that 14 year old Tiger Beat girl

So, wandering around Amazon one night, some guy recommended On Stranger Tides by Tim Power as a better pirate story than the cardboard book version of PoTc.

I’ve never bought a book from some anonymous stranger’s review online.

Maybe it was the fact that it is not in print anymore that lured me. Unavailble means I must hunt it down.

Maybe it was the loftier price tag of $20 to buy a $3.95 book.

Maybe I’ll never explain why I bought it.

I’m only three chapters into it and I am really liking it so far.

Anyone else read it?

Yep. One Powers fan right here. On Stranger Tides is one of his better works. After that, I highly recommend The Anubis Gates, which is the best time-travel novel I’ve read and is more tightly plotted that Tides. My only quibble with Powers is that he’s better at plot than character.

I think I’ve read every one of Power’s published novels - he’s on my very short list of “if he wrote it, I’ll buy it” authors. Even his weakest work is, in my opinion, well worth reading.

On Stranger Tides is not one of my favorites by him - I prefer The Anubis Gates and Dinner at Deviant’s Palace, then The Stress of Her Regard. I’d put this one about the middle of the pack among Power’s work. But if I were “into” pirates more, I would probably go absolutely nuts over On Stranger Tides.

Very good book. Maybe not his best, but better than 90% of the stuff out there, and maybe the best modern pirate book written. Powers did something I’ve never seen in literature (the spoiler tag is unnecessary, but I’ll put it in anyway):

He wrote an epilog that cranked up the action, instead of it being a usual winding down

I was/am very surprised to see this labeled Sci-Fi, when it seems to me ( at this stage of the book) it is an adventure/historical/fantasy.

Just a thought

I’ve only read THE STRESS OF HER REGARD (oddest most intricate vampire novel I’ve ever read)- I’ve seen LAST CALL recommended- what’s the buzz on that?

Last Call is one of his best. If I were rating the one’s I’ve read, I’d go this way:

  1. The Anubis Gates.
  2. The Stress of Her Regard (though you need to know something about the biographies of Keats, Shelley, and Byron to really admire what he did).
  3. Last Call
  4. Dinner at Deviant’s Palace (the only one that’s straight SF).
  5. On Stranger Tides
  6. Earthquake Weather
  7. Declare (oddly unengaging, and going over Neal Stephenson’s ground)
  8. Expiration Date

Anything[ by Tim Powers is a good, challenging read. Last Call is no exception. Poker playing, ghosts, Pasrifal and the Fisher King and the patterns made my smoke in Las Vagas casinos all make for a book where you might have to make notes if you don’t pay attention. Be warned, though. If you finish it, there are two more books (Expiration Date & Earthquake Weather) in the series.

Another vote for The Anubis Gates. I also agree that Tides is not really one of his best. If you like Powers, be sure to check out James Blaylock. The two are apparently friends, and they hang out together, tossing story ideas back and forth.

I love On Stranger Tides. Stress of her Regard was very good too. After that, I didn’t like as many of his books.

Drawing of the Dark is a good one, although it is very much a “freshman effort” by Powers.

BTW, anyone else notice that Powers:

Has some weird obsession with hand mutilation/injury? Seems that damn near every one of his main characters gets injured in the hand or has a hand mutilated in some way. What is up with that?

I love Tim Powers! Last Call is the best book I’ve read in the last several years. On Stranger Tides is a terrific pirate book.

Tim Powers is the boss!

My list would have to be:

  1. The Anubis Gates
  2. On Stranger Tides
  3. Dinner At Deviant’s Palace
  4. Last Call
  5. The Drawing of the Dark

The rest of them I kinda think blow ass… Just my opinion.

Even in his weaker books, he’ll come up with some bizarre concept that will never leave your brain… Ghosts and palindromes, I’ve had that one clicking around in my head for a while, as well as never being completely at ease around very realistic statues… :wink:

Ooooh, I missed this thread last week, but it doesn’t seem old enough to get anyone’s ire up for me bumping it.

Mark me down as another person who has read On Stranger Tides, and for that matter, buys everything by Powers I see. (I’m in the midst of Declare at the moment.)

I really, really liked The Anubis Gates (I’m a sucker for time travel stories), and Dinner at Deviant’s Palace.

And I second Tapioca’s recommendation for Last Call, but I’m not sure I would call Expiration Date a direct sequel to it. At most, LC mentions the name of one character who is in ED. However, Earthquake Weather is, oddly enough, a sequel to both of these, and should be read after you read both of the others. Of the 3, I found Last Call to be the most engaging, and to have the best story.

Powers in general has this idiosyncratic view of modern magic that is not only kind of neat, but also sets him apart from anyone else - I literally cannot think of anyone to compare him to.

Mr. Miskatonic, I would go one step further and say that Powers has a habit of mutilating his protagonists in general - as they go through the book, they go through massive abuse, and often end the story with a lasting injury. No unscathed heroes going back to a perfect life for Tim, nosiree, they have to live with the consequences of the book’s action.

Mark me as another Powers fan who likes everythign he has written. I’m just lucky they’re not publishing his laundry lists, as I’d probably be buying them.

My fave is Declare – really nice take on the Cold War with some truly chilling imagery, especially WRT the djinn that “becomes” Mother Russia.

Last Call would come next on my list, followed by On Stranger Tides and Anubis Gates.

Every book Powers writes delves so deeply into the genre/theme/time he is exploring that you can pick up on his work through it. I.e., if you like pirate stories, you will like “On Stranger Tides” if you like spy novels, you will like Declare, if you like stories set in the modern west, you will like “Last Call.”

And yeah, that palindrome/ghost/obsession with stacking stuff in Last Call sticks to you. My wife and I became convinced that an Eckerds near us was a ghost Eckerds, inhabited by the ghosts of former employees, because of its abandoned air. We toyed with the idea of, instead of paying full cash value for things, just spilling a pile of pennies on the counter and absconding while the “employee” obsessively stacked them.

Oooh, Evil, I’m reading Declare right now. (Well, not right now, right now I’m posting, but I’m sure you know what I mean.)

I’m obviously not very far into the action yet - the main char isn’t very injured yet, he’s only slammed into a roof once.

I’m a little late to this thread, but what the heck.

I think his books could best be called “Magic Realism”, not quite like typical fantasy, ya know?

I’m re-reading Earthquake Weather right now, and it really does do a good job uniting Last Call and Expiration Date

Whenever I see someone walking down the street talking to himself, I wonder if I’ve slipped into Tim’s reality, and if I need a mask.

Also, Bruce Sterling, postmodern-cyberpunk-author-dude, once set Tim Powers’ hair on fire in a short story-- “The Sword of Damocles”

Note to self: The preview button is there for a reason.


Darth, I know exactly what you mean. Lately, when I spot someone smoking, I wonder if they are really after the nicotine, or is it something else.

I’m still reading Declare, and it’s not a stereotypical Powers novel in the following sense: I’m at least halfway through, and the main character has sustained no real physical injuries. That’s got to be a first.

Actually, there are some other things I’ve been wondering about Declare, but I think that deserves it’s own thread, and I’ll probably wait until I’m done with the book to start the thread, lest someone spoil the ending for me.

PS. I only used preview this time because of your comment, and I caught two typos. (I wonder how many I didn’t catch.) :smack:

Ok, I ordered Anubis Gates from Amazon and am awaiting delivery.

Dopers haven’t let me down before in book recommendations, so I anxiously await it’s arrival.

And I am still working onOn Stranger Tides because I stalled on it because of another doper recommendation of The Silver Pigs a mystery set in roman times. (which totally throws me off my PoTC themed reading. My day dreams now are sooo confused. Pirate…roman…)