ePUB Tim Powers · · Expiration Date PDF ´

Los Angeles is filled with ghosts and half ghosts and ghost hunters and ghost junkies chasing each other in a mad uest for immortality As a series of disasters strikes Los Angeles a young boy inhales the last breath of Thomas Edison and becomes a precious prize in a deadly hunt for the elusive vitalspark Brimming with the wild imagination and heart stopping escapades that won Tim powers the World Fantasy Award Expiration Date is an exuberant and inventive tale from one of fantasy's most original talents


10 thoughts on “Expiration Date

  1. says:

    Regular readers will remember that I'm in the middle this year of reading the complete oeuvre of cross genre author Tim Powers for the first time; I started with his award winning The Anubis Gates then jumped back to his very first book the mediocre traditional space opera The Skies Discrowned then decided to jump to his much loved '90s Fault Line trilogy that made me want to read him in the first place starting with the flabbergasting 1992 Last Call Today's book written four years later is the second title of the trilogy and like most trilogies' second volumes falls a little flat compared to the first although I've been trying to pinpoint the reason but seemingly can'tLike Last Call it's a contemporary story about a secret history of magic that exists hidden in plain sight in the broken down back alleys of Los Angeles; but while the first volume deals with a complex invented mythology concerning magicians tarot cards ancient Egypt and the Holy Grail this second volume deals pretty exclusively with just the subject of ghosts which I suppose is part of the reason it's a letdown over the previous book Also even though it deploys Powers' usual storytelling techniue of following several disconnected sets of characters and their own individual struggles with them slowly coalescing as a group and as the manuscript continues here it felt like it took forever for that to happen; and some of those individual storylines such as the one concerning a preteen Indian kid whose body is being inhabited by the spirit of a wisecracking cigar smoking Thomas Edison were threads that I got tired of uickly making it difficult to stay fully engaged as long as they continued to take place in their own hermetically sealed environmentI mean it's not a bad book by any means with even so so Powers easily rising above most of the other dreck in the urban fantasy genre any book that can tie together Edison Harry Houdini the permanently docked steamship The ueen Mary the history of 1950s television and the hippie cults of '60s southern California is an all right book in my view but I feel that one can convincingly argue that Last Call is better making it a bit disappointing when you read them back to back as people often will when wanting to read this trilogy The third book 1997's Earthuake Weather supposedly ties together all the sets of characters from both unrelated first two volumes and details a secret magical history to the Napa Valley wine industry so I'm definitely looking forward to taking that on next; so please keep an eye out for my review of that here in the next few weeks


  2. says:

    Tim Powers does a great job with the secret history concept especially with LA as a backdrop Expiration Date is a love letter to the seedier side of the city encompassing abandoned apartment complexes Latino herbalists and the deteriorating ueen Mary But while the novel is pretty fast and entertaining I found it slightly disappointing There were a lot of confusing concepts related to real electrical engineering Thomas Edison is a character and a complex underworld of ghosts and ghost hunters Too many times I had no idea what people were talking about I also thought the novel went from having too many characters and perspectives to not enough Toward the end Powers abandoned almost all of his characters including some of the interesting ones and collapsed the narration into the single POV of the chief protagonist Expiration Date has a lot of intriguing ideas and is certainly readable but it's definitely not the strongest of Powers' novels


  3. says:

    If Atwood was ghost writing Pynchon and they managed to get William Gibson as their editor then maybe just maybe there would be another book as uncannily brilliant as this One could list the topics life death and afterlife; recreational drug culture; mercenary telephone exchange operators; palindromes; Thomas Alva Edison's lost years and peculiar relationship with Henry Ford; the time space continuum; Harry Houdini and or observe that it has provided a reading of Carrol's Alice books that makes them appear to be a straightforward biography but that would all miss the mark I haven't even mentioned the ueen Mary after all nor touched on the incredible characterization of the incredible charactersAnyway this kind of book is why science fiction matters


  4. says:

    Tim Powers is one of the most creative writers of modern fantasy that I have ever read Expiration Date touches on so many original ideas that it is hard to describe them without giving away spoilers Powers has created his own pneumatology in terms of ghosts undead I know they aren’t “spirits” but they are supernatural and existence beyond material life Imagine a capitalistic economy based on ghosts but handled much like drug deals of the present day That is the crux of this novel And imagine that ingesting another’s “ghost” is like adding hisher soul to one’s psychic and physical inventory along with trying to digest said phantoms and use them to live foreverI will also contradict myself in some fashion my usual objection to changing point of view at a uick pace Powers restricts the number of characters involved in this brain transplant chain of perspectives It wasn't a matter of such uick takes that I found myself getting lost There is a juvenile protagonist a female protagonist who happens to be a mental health professional with a twist a fraternal twin who becomes a major protagonist a celebrity ghost supporting character a soul ingesting vampire antagonist and a zombie antagonist with another twist Early on it looks like the juvenile has stumbled into a Topper style comedy with sophisticated ghosts in tuxedos but the plot turns dark and ugly almost immediately This is no Topper or any other of the sexy sophisticated supernatural comedies of Thorne SmithIndeed Expiration Date is a fast moving adventure which uses the imagination to challenge the pure materialistic world view Yes I know it’s a “fantasy” but fantasies often touch on archetypes and beliefs with which even modern humanity struggles As such they symbolically place brush strokes about the nature of addiction and deal with the altruistic “release” which comes from self sacrifice and a sense of moving one’s own life forward It also takes advantage of the physical descriptions of Los Angeles Long Beach and Santa Monica to describe some of the conditions of the homeless It may be fantasy but those descriptions are gritty enough to feel real Expiration Date is also a parable on love family and the uest for meaning Its scenes cover the idea of facing up to past mistakes as well as getting beyond those mistakes and trying to guarantee that those same mistakes aren’t made in future new relationships It describes the idea of commitment and risk within relationships in a rather bold way Readers who like to have a fascinating milieu for their fantasy yet long for very human in every sense stories will enjoy Expiration Date another Tim Powers masterpiece akin to the unforgettable Last Call Expiration Date simply exceeded my high expectations


  5. says:

    Tim Powers is one of my favorite writers but EXPIRATION DATE isn't among my favorite of his books I've started and stopped it several times in the past but this time I have the next in the loose series EARTHUAKE WEATHER to read and I was determined to push through and get to the end But to be honest I found it a bit of a slogIt's as well written as any of Powers' books but I don't think the central idea of ghosts being able to be caught and sniffed as a kind of psychic cocaine is strong enough to hold this rather rambling plot together That and the fact that the main protagonist is an eleven year old kid who gets a ton of shit thrown at him in the story rather turned me against the whole thing from an early stageThere are some of the great visual touches and dexterity with a sentence that we expect from Powers but too much of the story consists of people going somewhere to get something then going somewhere else to get something else then meeting someone who will tell them where to go to get the next thing It's like a modern LA version of a rather dull Dungeons and Dragons adventure and as such I found myself flicking pages to get to the good bits I think the main problem is one of too many point of view characters We could have lost the lawyer completely from the story and it wouldn't change it a bit and likewise the female psychiatrist was often just hanging around to be someone for one of the protagonists to talk to Still even second rate Powers is better than most other things and there was enough to entertain me to make sure I made it to the end this time Onward to EARTHUAKE WEATHER


  6. says:

    I liked this but not as much as Last Call It took a little too long to get into the action of the story there were too many narrators at the beginning a few of which we never hear from again and I felt that it didn't gel as a story until well after page 100 or so That's a lot of pages for a reader to be wondering I'm not exactly sure what's going on here and how it relates to the other threads of the story being told Powers does a lot of the old write about something that your readers don't know the details of yet but that the author reveals later which seems common in sci fi and speculative fiction and is a techniue that I like but in Expiration Date I felt the lag between when Powers caught you up with the needed details was just too long You just kind of flounder as a reader in this one a lot to be honest It also seemed weird to me that this was billed as a companion novel to Last Call when frankly I don't see how the two novels are linked at all However the story was imaginative and fun and it was a good read overall


  7. says:

    I'm going to have to agree with one of my buddies on this oneHe said Having recently read On Stranger Tides this one suffers by comparison I like its hallucinatory uality and the writing is interesting but it felt flabby and weak compared to his previous effort Last Call I like it and I would recommend it but it isn't Powers' bestI haven't read On Stranger Tides but this one was just OK compared to Last Call which I've read about four times and loaned with care to people I know would love it


  8. says:

    Whew That was a tougher read for me Maybe I wasn't mentally focused enough for it because I had a hell of a time keeping all the characters in place in the beginning of the book I stuck with it because I trust in Powers' writing but it wasn't until about 300 pages in that the book finally had me hooked and I was swept along for the rest of the way I'd probably appreciate this one on a second read than I did this first time around


  9. says:

    Pretty good premise for a book but too confusing and honestlyI didn't really care what happened to any of the characters I liked two of them Kootie and Pete but just lost all interest in their plights Couldn't find the interest to even skim through and find out what happens in the end


  10. says:

    The sea breeze was suddenly chillier on his immobile face and he realized that he was crying He couldn't taste the tears but he knew that if he could they would taste like cinnamonWhere Last Call was about the magic of gambling and chance and set in Las Vegas Expiration Date is about the magic of ghosts and masks and is set in Los Angeles Because that after all is where such a story belongsBoth stories have a brother sister dynamic for the main characters And both use the history of their city as background for the story Real events have a magical explanation—that probably makes as much sense as their real explanation if they even have one The occasional spontaneous combustion of a human body is explained as a ghostly chain reaction much like a nuclear bomb but localizedBack in 1982 Alan Perlis wrote that “The best book on programming for the layman is Alice in Wonderland but that's because it’s the best book on anything for the layman” I tend to agree with that; perhaps Tim Powers does as well because in this book Alice in Wonderland is the best book on ghostly magic for the layman Most chapters are preceded by a uote from one of the Alice books and ghosts when they ramble tend to uote from AliceThere isn’t much except tone to connect Expiration Date to Last Call; however if I remember right characters from both books appear in the third book of the series Earthuake WeatherIn the opening chapters a kid whose parents are grooming him to be a spiritual powerhouse ends up inhaling the ghost of Thomas Edison Edison himself was wise in the ways of ghosts and I think for that reason is a powerful ghost himself People in this book eat ghosts and the powerful the better so everyone is after Edison’s Even people who don’t know they’re after Edison’s ghost are after it because when Edison is initially freed his loosing is felt throughout the Los Angeles areaWhich is how Pete Sullivan ends up losing his sister and heading back to LA despite his fear that he will be used in a plot to eat his father’s ghostThe way Powers deals with famous ghosts is extraordinarily well handled pun somewhat intended see book for details as is the way he weaves the history of the film industry into the story