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Expiration Date (Fault Lines #2)

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  1,720 ratings  ·  67 reviews
Los Angeles is filled with ghosts -- and half-ghosts, and ghost hunters, and ghost junkies -- chasing each other in a mad quest 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 vital spark. Brimming with the wild imagination and heart-stopping e ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published March 20th 2007 by Orb Books (first published 1995)
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Best Books of 1995
100th out of 206 books — 87 voters
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Locus Award Winners
62nd out of 76 books — 62 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,641)
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Erin
Dec 04, 2009 Erin rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Erin by: SarahQ
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 ...more
Jacob
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 more), or observe that it has provided a reading of Carrol's Alice book
...more
Greg Zink
I tried to like this book, I really did. It seemed to have all sorts of things going for it that I usually like - strange supernatural/fantasy events taking place within the ordinary real world, and a bunch of different story threads that eventually tie together into a cohesive tale. Both of those usually lend themselves to books that I enjoy, but I think both of them were a little overdone in this case. After a while I started to get frustrated, and I decided it just wasn't worth sticking it ou ...more
Melissa Proffitt
I love Tim Powers' novels, and what I love about this one is the intersection of Thomas Edison's life with the secret world of ghost-hunters. This book is far too complicated to summarize in a few words, or even more than a few, but the core of the story is that a boy with the unfortunate name of Koot Hoomie Parganas has accidentally freed the ghost of Thomas Edison, and several people want to kill him and consume Edison's ghost. That's right, consume; in this secret history, ghosts can be eaten ...more
Conor
I'm going to have to agree with one of my buddies on this one.

He said
Having recently read "On Stranger Tides" this one suffers by comparison. I like its hallucinatory quality 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' best.


I 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 wo
...more
Angela
Sep 16, 2007 Angela rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: sf
I found it really hard to actually care about the fate of any of these characters. Not sure why - maybe it was because it seemed like any one of them could die (or something equivalent for the ones that were already dead), any moment. So I didn't want to invest any feelings towards any of them.

The world Tim Powers created was certainly interesting, and I liked how it was fed to the reader in bits and pieces. I didn't like how it seemed every time you were given enough clues to piece together so
...more
Danica
Somehow manages to be expertly written yet completely unengaging at the same time? Points for the creativity and vivacity of the language, but minus 100000 for glacial plot movement and the endless carousel of superficially-quirky-but-actually-cookie-cutter characters, most of whom I couldn't bring myself to give two hoots about. Plus, the whole "thomas edison's ghost is on the loose and spiritually piggybacking a prepubescent boy and all the ghost junkies wanna piece of him! OH LOOK RANDOM ACTS ...more
David
Theoretically, "Expiration Date" is the second book in Tim Powers' "Fault Lines" series. I have no idea why. Nothing carries over from the first book: no characters, no events, no locations (except for the broad location of Los Angeles). Heck, even the mythos is different: this book revolves around plain old ghosts, whereas "Last Call" revolves around the Fisher King and avatars of the Major Arcana from the Tarots. At this point, I'm assuming that this is the sequel to "Last Call" solely because ...more
Victoria Radford
Oh, Tim Powers. You're so very, very clever. And yet something, somewhere is missing in this book. The blurb on the back of the book jacket describes the author as "the astonishingly popular Tim Powers", and in this book at least, I am astonished as to his popularity too. I cannot make my mind up about Powers'work. On Stranger Tideswas a rip-roaring success, The Anubis Gateswas the most human, relateable and interesting of his works I've read so far,The Stress of Her Regard had so many amazing i ...more
Glen Engel-Cox
Tim Powers is one of the reasons that I had so much trouble in college. It was his On Stranger Tides that distracted me from at least a complete day of classes. I remember reading On Stranger Tides quite vividly, spending an 8 hour stretch curled up in a chair in the graduate library of the University of Texas, vicariously living the life of a pirate. Most of Powers' other novels have had the same hold on me, with the possible exception of The Stress of Her Regard, which I found somewhat slow an ...more
Lynne Collins
Jun 02, 2010 Lynne Collins is currently reading it
Doh! I read the first, and then the third in the Trilogy (dang ex-hub steering me wrong! but Right in the first place). Now, I am reading the second. Powers is muy lyrical, complex, mystical, and intense. Good stuff.
Harris
[3.5]

On the mean, gritty streets of early ‘90s Los Angeles, a city still reeling from the LA Riots, under the glamour of the Hollywood Sign, weirder things are stirring; the city’s many ghosts, and those that prey on them. Soon, a large, and bizarre, cast find themselves converging in the City of Angels as the bottled ghost of Thomas Alva Edison resurfaces and everyone wants to be the one to grab him first. Not unlike other dealers in secret goods, the ghost hunters of LA do not play nicely and
...more
Shmarya
Another thoroughly underwhelming showing from Tim Powers. A real pity. The core concept is both interesting and sustainable, much the same as that of Last Call was, but the entirety of the package is far from satisfying.

Though Powers has an undoubtable hand for descriptive writing, and a stock of interesting and clever stories to work with, he seems incapable of satisfactorily pulling it off. Both this novel and Last Call would have been far more successful as novellas or even short-stories. As
...more
Pamela Lloyd
Of the three books in the Fault Lines trilogy, I think this is the strongest. It's hard hitting and not for those with weak stomachs, but his primary viewpoint characters are sympathetic and believable.

One of the things I've noticed about his works is the way they draw on real-world facts (generally about various famous people, but also scientific news items and other things we see as true) to strengthen the sense of reality about everything we read in his books. For example, much of what he say
...more
Beth Rosen
This book was a lot of fun - ghost-inhaling junkies looking for eternal life buy ghosts from organized crime syndicate. It is set in a world where nobody believes in ghosts & any ghost evidence is ignored/denied much as it is in our world. I liked the main characters & thought that the whole thing held together well. For me the only problem was the beginning. I generally don't like books that start off with alternating narrative stream from different characters who have nothing to do wit ...more
Punk
SF. Classic Tim Powers. He takes the world we're familiar with, in this case Los Angeles in the early 90s, adds in some speculation, some science, and even a little fantasy, and suddenly you've got an L.A. filled with ghosts. Some people can see these ghosts, some people hunt them down and suck them up to gain their energy, some people kill for them.

That sounded like the back of a book jacket. Moving on! Enter the ghost of Thomas Alva Edison, 61 years dead, incredibly powerful, and newly release
...more
Amanda Pants
8/14/11 update: I'm only on page 47. You know me - I read incredibly quickly, so this is very unusual given that I've been working on this thing for almost two weeks now. I'm just having a difficult time getting into the story so far. Not that it isn't interesting... it just isn't quite compelling yet. Tim Powers is a strong writer, and I know he won't disappoint, but still. Meh. Also, just a minor annoyance - the main character complains that everyone calls him by this awful nickname Kootie, bu ...more
John
I'd read this before, but it got misshelved among some new acquisitions, so I picked it up again, and was 50 or so pages in before I remembered it. I decided to finish it again anyway, because at that point I was hooked.

This is a great urban fantasy, set mostly in a Los Angeles only slightly different from our own - that might be our own if only we noticed a few secret truths. Ghosts roam the streets, some powerful and aware, others mindless and just barely held together, while people hunt, cap
...more
P.J.
Terrible. I give each book a minimum of 100 pages. This one made it no further. It sounded like a good premise, but in reading, I wondered if it would ever get there. I had no clue what was going on or where the book was going by the 100th page.

The characters are all interesting and not completely flat. 10 year old Koot is very 10. The evil characters are very evil. The electrician guy seems interesting.

However, none of that was worth continuing on in a plot that wasn't interesting. I read the b
...more
Norman Howe
When Kootie Parganas runs away from home"," he sets in motion events which will change his life forever. There are people who have learned to prolong their lives by devouring the ghosts of others. Now"," they're after Kootie"," because he is unknowingly carrying with him a very powerful ghost indeed!This quest through the streets of Los Angeles is both surreal in its depictions of characters"," and shocking in its brutality.
David H
This was hard work and it has taken me months to read - I should have just given up on it after the first 100 odd pages. Having liked Last Call, I was determined to press on with this odd story and it was not really worth my time. The story takes a very long time to get going and is narrated by several different characters - a bit all over the place. It kind of comes together at the end and the pace and interest level picked up a bit, but I have to say that I really did not enjoy this book and I ...more
martha
So this turned out to be an interesting and gritty piece of urban fantasy -- it took me forever to get to that point, though, since the book started in a way that I personally hate, jumping from unrelated character to unrelated character without explaining their connection to the plot, or even the rules of this universe. As it is, I felt like things only started to come into focus and really pick up halfway through, and the fact that the climax of the entire book was in the epilogue was totally ...more
Marc Hutchison
Tim Powers is one of my favorite writers. He is consistently creative and you know that when you pick up one of his books, it not going to be like every other fantasy/sf/mystery novel you've ever read. This is not his best (The Anubis Gates, Last Call or Declare would get my vote there), but it's among the top picks.
zeb
Another Tim Powers book, expanding his own weird little genre. Most alternate history consists of plucking a gem from history and fitting it into another setting. "Hey, Al Capone's fighting Nazis!" Tim Powers finds baroque pearls in the ocean of history, and strings them into dark and terrible necklaces, looped with unsettling twists and coils. It's not the juxtaposition of the historical elements that's interesting, instead it's the thread that links them together.

Allusive asides and hints abou
...more
Mick
I recently read Tim Power's [B:]Expiration Date[/B:] and was fairly disappointed. A lot of elements of his modern fantastic setting were great, and certain sequences were amazingly gripping, but the overall effect was sorta, I don't know. Boring? I never really related to the main character's struggles, and many of the side characters were unappealing and even a little boring. The writing was decent, and would have been fine in service of a better story, but as it was felt flat.

It's weird. His
...more
Macha
3 stars. i dunno why i find Tim Powers difficult to read, in spite of his excellent powers of invention. but somehow i always have to plow through them doggedly, which sorta takes the fun out. in spite of, here, the most marvelous conceit, of ghosts more real than the living world, prized by collectors, pursued by ghost junkies who want to swallow them, taste the vintage. should be a romp, and he takes the whole concept to every possible conclusion. but i still like his books more in retrospect ...more
Xenophon Hendrix
In this book like his others, Tim Powers displays an astonishing creativity and an ingenious blending of fantasy with historical fact. Unfortunately, the author introduces so many characters and delays the explanations for what is going on so long that the reader is left confused for about half the novel. For a novel this long, that is a considerable amount of time feeling frustrated and remembering a great deal of yet unconnected information.

Once things begin to make sense, though, the reading
...more
Jonathan
Once again, historic facts get mixed into a paranormal world, this time ghosts and those that would consume them. Unfortunately the rules that govern ghosts are so complex that the narrative never gets beyond the surface details, and the ending doesn't make enough sense. Add in a character that at first disbelieves what is happening and then somehow becomes an expert off panel, and the book is a mess.

Yes, it's a somewhat interesting premise, but it's all flash and no substance. The characters an
...more
Henrydyall
Poor follow up to Last Call. Drags for the first 150 pages and lacks sufficient suspense.
Stuart
Had a hard time getting into this. Maybe because it's the second in a series, which I did not know when I picked it up. But it's all a bit silly and pointless.
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Timothy Thomas Powers is an American science fiction and fantasy author. Powers has won the World Fantasy Award twice for his critically acclaimed novels Last Call and Declare.

Most of Powers's novels are "secret histories": he uses actual, documented historical events featuring famous people, but shows another view of them in which occult or supernatural factors heavily influence the motivations a
...more
More about Tim Powers...

Other Books in the Series

Fault Lines (3 books)
  • Last Call (Fault Lines, #1)
  • Earthquake Weather (Fault Lines, #3)
The Anubis Gates Last Call (Fault Lines, #1) On Stranger Tides Declare The Drawing of the Dark

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“A kid just couldn’t see the difference. It was like being color-blind or something, or preferring Frazetta to all those blobby old paintings of haystacks and French people in rowboats.” 0 likes
“The other suicide had been the actress Clara Blandick, who, one day in 1962, had got her hair fixed up and had carefully done her makeup and put on a formal gown and then pulled a plastic bag over her head and smothered herself. She was chiefly remembered for having played Auntie Em in the 1939 version of The Wizard of Oz.” 0 likes
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