Saw Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

Verdict: more than decent flick and lots of fun, as long as you aren’t expecting The Tempest… or, for that matter, Tim Powers’ own On Stranger Tides, which is kind-of, sort-of, not-really, actually-Tim-himself-is-fine-with-the-liberties-taken-because-he’s-getting-some-of-that-money-and-the-most-poetic-phrase-in-English-is-‘Pay-to-the-order-of’ the basis for the movie.  The movie shows a certain willingness to admit that, yeah, there was an actual historical time period that this series has been largely abusing, and it had more of the conventional pirate movie tropes than some of the earlier flicks did.

Also, they had proper Spaniards.

I’d say, all in all: catch it in matinee, and go have a beer or two afterward.  Or maybe one beforehand; either way, the afternoon will go pleasantly enough.


So, I told myself that I wasn’t going to get sucked into going to go see Pirates of the Caribbean 4.

But then they did this:

Yup.  They really and truly did throw some money at Tim Powers.  Which means that the original On Stranger Tides – WHICH IS THE BEST DAMN VOODOO PIRATE ADVENTURE NOVEL EVER WRITTEN – will almost certainly be re-released as the ‘novelization,’ which will put more money in Tim Powers’ pockets, and I hope to God that the man has an agent with the mother-wit to say the magic phrase ‘percentage of the gross,’ because while there are better things to do with one’s money than to give some of it to Tim Powers, the list is not exhaustive.

So.  Yeah, yeah, I kind of have to go see this movie now.

Via Nodwick.

Book of the Week: Liberating Atlantis.

As it is Sunday, we shall now switch out On Stranger Tides for Harry Turtledove’s Liberating Atlantis. It’s the third book of an alternate history series where the eastern half of the North American continent (named Atlantis by the inhabitants) had apparently been detached millions of years previously and more or less parked in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The previous two books highlighted the alternate’s version of the Age of Discovery and the American Revolution; this one looks to address Atlantis’ version of the American Civil War.

Or you could just buy it because it’s by Harry Turtledove. I find that to be a remarkably successful book-buying strategy.

Moe Lane

Looking for someone to read? (Tim Powers)

(Today’s author: Tim Powers)

Tim Powers is one of those authors who doesn’t exactly fit the standard criteria. Yes, it’s sort of fantasy; yes, it’s sort of modern fantasy, or sort of historical fantasy; and yes, there’s a sort of urban fantasy feel to his stuff. On the other hand, most authors don’t meticulously interweave historical accuracy in with the fantastic elements, and Tim Powers does. Read The Stress of Her Regard and you will totally buy the idea that the history of literature is the history of vampires, at least while reading it; and we are so conditioned now to accept that Voudon goes along with piracy* that we forget that this was first suggested by On Stranger Tides*.

If that hasn’t scared you away yet, good: because you’ll want to read Declare. This book involves three themes: the Catholic Church; the Cold War; and the secret occult origins and sustenance of the Soviet Union – with the last being treated in much the same way that modern fantasy treats the occult trappings of Germany’s Nazi regime. The book is written in a very classic Cold War spy fiction style: Len Deighton would have loved it (by the way, his SS-GB is one of the classics of the alternate history genre).  So check it out.

Continue reading Looking for someone to read? (Tim Powers)