Powers, Tim. Salvage and Demolition.

Burton, MI: Subterranean Press, 2013.

Powers is one of my “automatic” authors; anything he writes, I want to read. He’s published several novellas recently (this one is 155 pages) and this complex time-travel yarn is one of the best he’s written.

Richard Blanzac is a rare book dealer in the San Francisco area who is given a box of books and manuscripts on consignment, one of which is what seems to be an epic poem by a very minor Beat poet of the late ’50s. He’s paging through it in his home office, wondering about its value, when he’s suddenly yanked through time and dumped in the back hall of a cafe on the Embarcadero in 1957. A girl immediately grabs him who seems to know him, and he slowly discovers that he’s been here before, and that the girl is Sophie Greenwald, the poet in question — and also the translator of an ancient Sumerian manuscript with occult powers that she is anxious not to give into the wrong hands. And Blanzac has indeed been there before, or will be, because his visits are out of sync with her memories. Not only that, he has also met her in another place and time. As I say, it’s a rather complicated plot and you’ll have to pay attention, but it’s worth the effort. More than that, the publisher does beautiful work, this time including highly realistic art by J. K. Potter. Great stuff.

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