More Walls Broken: A Tale of Ghosts and Alternate Realities
More Walls Broken by Tim Powers
So a few years ago I read a book by this author Tim Powers. It was a supernatural swashbuckling adventure called On Stranger Tides, a book that rumor has it, heavily influenced the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. The book was fun and I have been meaning to read more of his work for a while. And I finally decided to just choose one of his books at random and give it a read. The book is called More Walls Broken by Tim Powers.
The book follow three professors Cobb, Ainworth, and Blaine who are fearing for their department at the University after their co worker and friend dies. So they decide to use some of the late professor’s research and inventions to contact their dead colleague to find out why he killed himself and to learn what ever research he took with him to the grave. But instead of resurrecting his ghost, his daughter appears out of nowhere. At first they are confused, but the three men soon learn, not only did they break the barriers between life and death, but also between parallel worlds. This girl is not from their world and they must set things right.
The good? This story does really blend genres. It has ghosts, parallel dimensions, and even body swapping at one point. And it doesn’t feel over stuffed. The leads are unique. Not very many books focus on college professors. It seemed like a breath of fresh air. This also just fun book.
The bad? This was listed as book but is actually a novella or extended short story. Its around 80 to 100 pages and takes around ninety minutes to read. There’s no real threats eithers. It just focuses a mistake the leads made, that they are trying to be fixed. The really strange issue has to do with a certain scene. When the unconscious daughter of their dear friend appears in front of them, they argue about what to do. They care so little about her that at first most of the group believe it would be okay to slip a twenty in her pocket and leave her there, possibly injured. It made me want to scream, "What's wrong with you people! Help her!” They care so little about her. An unconcious injured woman left in a graveyard at night, could be harmed or killed by any creep that comes along. Then there’s mention Cobb at one point secretly took photos are her at one point for black mail. And the men make a rape joke as they finally decide to help her. It all seems bizarre and just morally wrong. If this book was from the 1970s or early 1980s I could go, “It was just the time.” But this was written last year, so I am confused. I know in the Tim Powers book I read before, On Stranger Tides, the one woman character passed out in every scene and was helpless all the way through the story. I am beginning to think that he may feel a certain about women. But on the other hand when the girl wakes up in this book, she does have a developed character, so maybe its too soon to judge. Just that one scene where the three men were discussing what to was very off putting. But maybe Powers intended them to unlikable people. He was intentionally trying to get a point across that possibly these men are cruel themselves. I really do hope so. I am not ready to judge Powers just yet. He still has some benifit of doubt in my opinion.
Overall, this is a fun read. It’s an original genre blender. It does have a strange scene in the first third that may be upsetting to some readers. But if you’re willing to blow off the weirdness of those two pages, then you’ll have a lot of fun. This is a great light hearted read worth checking out.
3 smoothies out of four.
Overall Rating: A Tale of Ghosts and Alternate Realities