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Salvage and Demolition

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  785 ratings  ·  125 reviews
Salvage and Demolition, the astonishing new 21,000 word novella by Tim Powers, begins when Richard Blanzac, a San Francisco-based rare book dealer, opens a box of consignment items and encounters the unexpected. There, among an assortment of literary rarities, he discovers a manuscript in verse, an Ace Double Novel, and a scattering of very old cigarette butts. These commo ...more
Kindle Edition, 160 pages
Published January 29th 2013 by Subterranean Press
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Average rating 3.85  · 
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 ·  785 ratings  ·  125 reviews


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Patrick
Feb 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For those of you who have never tried reading Tim Powers you could pick a worse place to start than this story.

It's just a short work, about 21,000 words. And because of that, it's less complex and intricate than his longer books, but I think it gives a good taste of his style.

If you'd rather jump in with both feet and read some of his best stuff, you might want to try Declare or Last Call instead. They're brilliant works that I've been meaning to re-read for some time.

B
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Mir
Jun 15, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mythology, books, fantasy
Cool plot concept, liked the lit nerdiness and the art panels. I think it could have used a little more development, especially of the villains: they were awfully determined and active for random fellows whose motive is simply (view spoiler).

I didn't feel that the writing was as good as the prior Powers I'd read, but it had been years, maybe I'm just pickier.
Andrew
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now lets see how well this works as I am typing this up on an aging laptop while I try and find a somewhere that is cool enough for me to think

So what do you do when its too hot to concentrate on a book and you are feeling ill, simply (or at least in my case simple) find something else to read that is not so mentally demanding. Enter the latest Tim Powers novella (okay chapbook is anyone recognises the name). This time we are weighing in at 172 pages - so not exactly a heavy read and
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Bryan Alexander
Jul 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gender, sf
I freely admit to two biases in reviewing Salvage and Demolition, and both come from years of working in a used book shop. The first is a fondness for that trade, the arcana of dust jackets and dusty paperbacks, sifting through collections and sharing the love of precious books.

The second is due to being a longtime Powers fan. Around 1987 I started with The Anubis Gates, one of the best time travel yarns of all time, and a copy of which I treasure, having been rebound specially for me by a gifted fri
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Amal El-Mohtar
Feb 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I really enjoyed this! I read it in a sitting, and found myself marvelling at the structure -- like a Penn & Teller show, it manages to tell you everything there is to know about the trick involved while skillfully performing the mystery. It's a very dextrous novella, which, for all that it retreads some old ground for Powers -- poetry-magic, rare book dealers, and time travel shenanigans -- does it so well and so enjoyably that I was totally captivated.
Kat  Hooper
Dec 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally posted at Fanlit.
http://www.fantasyliterature.com/revi...

Richard Blanzac is a 40-year-old rare books dealer in San Francisco. While examining the contents of a few old boxes someone brought in, he discovers a manuscript with some poetry written by a little known San Francisco Beat poet named Sophie Greenwald who died in 1969. Shortly after, he is summoned to the bedside of an old lady in a nursing home. She’s the execut
...more
Julie Davis
Apr 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a long short story but, as one might expect from Tim Powers, it is packed full of food for thought. Oh, and it's an interesting time travel story where anonymous men with guns hunt for a translation that may have unexpected powers. That's why you read it. For the story which is arresting. The food for thought is extra.
Kyle Muntz
Sep 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this a lot. It's very Hollywood in some ways--with its relentless pace, secret societies, conspiracy theories, and deterministic treatment of time travel--but I liked how quick and engaging the story felt. It's a very simple story, but it makes me curious to check out The Anubis Gates, which sounds much more complex, and I really enjoyed the hour or so I spent reading this.
David Schwan
Feb 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nice, concisely written novella. Has elements of a gritty 1950's pot boiler detective story set in San Francisco. The central object of the story is the translation of a mystical manuscript. Too hard to say much more here without giving away secrets, and the secrets are the star of this story.
Simon
Jul 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
A good story involving time-travel that, as far as I can tell, makes sense (and coherently illustrates a couple of the possibilities allowed by David Lewis's model of time travel).
Logan
Nov 20, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So most of it was executed really well and was sort of a science-fiction time-traveling story where the guy meets the girl at several points, but backwards in sequence for him while forwards for her. The symmetry and the interaction was enjoyable. But then the love interest just seemed far too cavalier to be meaningful and the resolution (while indeed a resolution) wasn't the best payoff for the build-up. Not a bad read though.
Thomas
Aug 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, fantasy, e-book
Tim Powers! This is one of my favorite authors. I don't follow him on the same level as I do Neil Gaiman or Stephen King, but whenever he has a new book come out, I pay attention. I found Salvage and Demolition on sale and added it to my Kindle collection. When I found myself killing time before a meeting, I pulled this up and started reading. Just a few hours later, I finished it. (And yes, I did make it to the meeting.)

The story is about Richard Blanzac, a rare book dealer who is g
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Geoff
Apr 25, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
With all the jumping between locations and times that happen in this story it is difficult to be sure which, if any, is the true timeline. The manuscript at the centre of the novella appears to have mystical powers, affecting all associated with it. To some it is evil, to others it is the answer to their dreams, to Richard Blanzac, the central character, it is a literary curiosity that could be worth publishing. Has the manuscript really been destroyed or not? If not, what will happen if it is f ...more
Jeff Raymond
Jul 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-sci-fi
In Salvage and Demolition, our protagonist comes upon a lost manuscript and is quickly transported through time as a number of interested parties have different plans for the manuscript and push and pull against everything as a result.

The book sounds more confusing than it is, but this quick novella really does a good job balancing the science fictional time travel with a discovery/mystery/thriller angle that made for a fast and fun read.

Nothing you need to think too hard about, but
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Mark
Mar 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's a Tim Powers book, so to review it by stating plot would be to court spoilers. So instead I'll just list a few of the plot's elements that struck me, that made me smile. A suicidal ancient god, a lost manuscript from a forgotten Beat poet, a nihilistic cult, time travel and the truth of Chatterton's madness. It contains all of that, but in the end, it's a love story, and like the best of them, it's exhilarating and sad, simultaneously. Recommended.
Jason
Jun 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2013
4.5 Stars

This is a fun and well written novella by Tim Powers. It plays out like a disjointed mystery novel with a touch of science fiction in it. I enjoyed it and can accept how Richard and Susan would have felt drawn to each other. This is a short read that most readers could find something that they liked about it. Perfect for an afternoon read in the shade.
Edward Rathke
Apr 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very fun little book that only takes about 90 minutes to read. Maybe not even that long.

It has time travel, love, and a pretty fast paced narrative. It's basically a mystical thriller.

Not a lot to say. This is the first thing I've read by Powers and I think it's a perfect way to meet an author: reading one of their novellas.
Ken Feucht
Aug 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
By far the best time-travel-occult-romance-noir novella I've ever read.
William Fuentes
Aug 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very enjoyable time travel novella that has got me ready to read Anubis Gates!
Kathy
Apr 10, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
quite nice. and reminds me that maybe I can still write something.
Andrew Diamond
This short novella is a quick read, and I think sci-fi fans will really enjoy it. I normally read in other genres, and look for good character development, along with social and psychological insight. That's not what the author was aiming for with this book. This is more of a mind-bending tale of time travel, with a focus on our perception of time and how logic and reason depend on the assumption that time moves in one direction. The most interesting thing about this book is that the sequence of ...more
James
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, fiction
This was a fairly random grab from the local library. I am trying to flesh out the breadth of my science fiction experience. Being a novella with some positive reviews made it an accessible addition.

Powers depicts a concise time travel rather successfully within the scope of 155 pages while allowing for some limited character development. As described on the book jacket there is a bit of a love story compounded with a sci-fi thriller.

I think my only contention is that, as this book
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Stephen Dorneman
Sep 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A light work for this author (who I love). The novella still showcases Powers's amazing alternate-world-building, mixing supernatural elements with extremely well-researched actual history, has interesting characters and a potentially world-shattering conflict, but in this case it's all wrapped around a star-crossed (well, time-crossed) romance and the resolution is never really in doubt. I did wish he could have thrown in at even some mumbo-jumbo explanation for why the protagonist travels thro ...more
Gereg Jones
Jun 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Time travel at its twistiest

Powers always delivers a tight tangled plot, and this short piece delivers one that plenty of authors would have sounds into a full novel. To say much of anything would be spoiling the surprises that start immediately. So ignoring the finely drawn cast of characters, the rainswept picture of San Francisco in 1957 that has you (like our hero) smelling the raindrops, and the quiet hints of an elder pantheon that leave Cthulhu and his buds looking downright beneficent by
...more
Jamie
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
My first Tim Powers's read, of which there will surely be more to come. This is an excellently told, short time travel story with romantic themes and just a hint of Lovecraftian style overtones :)
Zardoz
Mar 31, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lots of potential here, but sadly the story fell flat. It’s a quick read. I finished it in a cross country flight. The story would have benefited from some slower moments and better character development.
Shipofools999
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed
A nice little story. It feels like a slice of the main character's life. Lots of stuff happens but it didn't need to be an epic book to tell the story.
Derek Simon
Interesting story, but a little too clever for its own good.
John C. Hathaway
Apr 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Riveting Read

This is a fast-paced and thrilling sci-fi and romance. Powers does a fantastic job of linking the past to the future and back again.
Jeremy
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A nicely constructed little time travel story.
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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 and ac
...more