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Dinner at Deviant's Palace

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  1,676 ratings  ·  97 reviews
Winner of the Philip K. Dick Award: In a nuclear-ravaged California, a humble musician sets out on a dangerous quest to rescue his lost love from the clutches of a soul-devouring religious cult

In the twenty-second century, the City of Angels is a tragic shell of its former self, having long ago been ruined and reshaped by nuclear disaster. Before he was in a band in Ellay,
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published 1985 by Ace Science Fiction Books
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Average rating 3.65  · 
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 ·  1,676 ratings  ·  97 reviews

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Jul 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i'm glad i read the introduction to this book before i started. i don't generally, because they tend to give too much away, but this one was a really nice intro from powers himself, reminiscing about when he wrote this book 20 years ago. see, i thought it was a new book when i clicked it on netgalley, and finding out that it was written in his writer-infancy was good to know going into it.

not that this is a bad book, or an immature book at all. in fact, it was cool to see that a lot of what is
Dan Schwent
Jun 09, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: new-weird, 2010
Gregorio Rivas used to be the best redemptionist in the business but now he's just a pelican gunner in a band in Ellay. At least, he was until the Distiller of the Treasury shows up and sends him on a mission: to rescue his daughter from the Jaybirds. Is Rivas still up to the task and can he keep from becoming one of Norton Jaybush's followers?

Tim Powers' books are always full of crazy ideas but this one takes the taco. Dinner At Deviant's Palace is a post-apocalyptic story with a level of
Michael Gardner
Jun 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Although I’ve prattled on about The Anubis Gates being my favourite Powers book, if I had to choose one that I’d recommend as an introduction to his work, it’s this one. The Anubis Gates, while brilliant, is a hefty, uncompromising adventure that asks you to stick with it even if you have no idea what the hell is going on. It rewards patience.

Dinner at Deviant’s Palace is a wham-slam post-apocalyptic adventure like no other. It’s more straight forward—if you can use that phrase to describe
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
a pretty good post-apocalyptic tale. It had some truly horrific moments, some neat conceits (I especially liked the hemogoblin - a great name for a blood-sucking parasite) and the typical Powers reluctant hero. It felt a little average compared to his other books, though. Perhaps the setting felt a little dated.
May 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really loved this book. It's set in a future following some kind of societal collapse, and it brilliantly takes you into a world with generally medieval level technology, but with ruins and artifacts from the electricity age all around. The story follows Greg Rivas, a former cultist turned cult-deprogrammer turned musician, pulled back into performing one last 'redemption' when a former love is taken in by the cult.

But this cult is not ordinary, and as we read on it becomes clear that it has
Jul 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve been a fan of Tim Powers for years, ever since I read Last Call and Declare. There’s no one else quite like him in fiction. His books are strange and original and fantastical. Reading them is an immersive experience where you have to learn what’s going on with a minimum of expository text; you learn everything from context. Dinner at Deviant’s Palace is not a new book. It was originally published back in the 1980s. But because it was set in a future, post-apocalyptic version of Los Angeles, ...more
Jul 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Tim Powers became one of my favorite SF writers due to his book,"Anubis Gates." In this and other books of his that I've read, I've enjoyed his mix of SF and history with supernatural elements added in.In this one, it's another post-apocalyptic setting, although a cut above most of them.Set in L.A. after the bombs were dropped ( it was written in 1985, still during the Cold War), it concerns a mysterious cult which takes away people for a mysterious purpose. The hero is a guy known as a ...more
Sanya Weathers
Mar 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
It started out as a five star. Great concept, great character, great world building without drowning me in either jargon or Fancy Future Wordz. It was recognizably a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles without hitting me over the head with it.

I also loved the plot, and the way the author ratcheted up the tension with the hemogoblin (something that could have easily been pure cheese).

In fact, the tension build was marvelously executed on multiple levels, and I think that might have been the problem. I'm
Mar 27, 2011 added it
Reviewed at: Suite101.

Dinner at Deviant's Palace is a lavish, lucid, carefully crafted and extremely fun novel, a novel difficult to put aside, a novel you love to come back to, to listen to the wild music again, to fight the hemogoblin and crazy sect members and the Deviant himself, to be the hero rescuing the damsel in distress, and to fall in love again, while running away with nothing but doughnuts.

The review: Dinner at Deviant's Palace by Tim Powers.
Sam Reader
May 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"They can't stand the bitter rain, so they run underneath one of the two awnings--religion or dissipation-- and guess who's waiting for them, under both awnings at once..." - Sevatividam

I freaking love Tim Powers. I'd like to just get that out of the way. The man flings ideas into the air and then makes them collide at high speeds, he helped invent the steampunk genre, and more than that, he tends to write books that unfold at equally high speeds with a lot of substance. Whether
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"To sing?" he demanded, his voice shrill with incredulous scorn. "You'd stop saving lives--souls!--to sit in a bar and sing? Oh, but you only did it while you needed the money, isn't that right? And now that you can fiddle for it, everybody else can... can be gutted and skinned, and it won't disturb your self-satisfaction even as much as a wrinkle in your precious costume would, huh? It must be nice to be the only person worthy of your concern."

Rivas was a redeemer: someone who was hired to find
Sep 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

He leaned back and looked out the window at the sunlit but still damp landscape. To the west he could see a green band that was the edge of the south farms, but to the south was nothing but the spread of tumbled, empty buildings, a scene lost somewhere between cityscape and landscape, animated by rolling tumbleweeds and, once in a while, the ragged figure of a scavenger too weak to venture very far from the Harbor.

After some unspecified event or events, California (and most likely the rest of
Mon Padelis
May 17, 2018 rated it liked it
I decided to read this for the title alone, and I have no regrets. It's a very enjoyable read, imaginative and with great world building, but falls a little flat in other areas.

The main character, Greg Rivas, is the generic selfish hard drinker who never quite got over his first love and now has to rescue her from a mind-bending cult. It is not a bad rendition of such a character template, and his personality does develop and soften, but its not a book to read for the character.

Instead the novel
Alexandra Peel
Jun 10, 2019 rated it liked it
This is one of Powers' earlier titles; written in 1985. I came to his work first, reading The Anubis Gates; which I absolutely adored.
Dinner at Deviant's Palace has a whole different feel to it. Partially because it is set in America - the west coast primarily, and partially because of the very 'alien' feel of some of the beings in it. Gregorio Rivas is a musician, a pelican player, (I didn't know what this was, had to look it up), who used to be a Redeemer - a person who finds and 'saves'
Bill FromPA
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 1980s
Taking a setting from the standard SF toolkit - post apocalypse southern CA, ruined cities, human and animal mutations, 15th century level of technology - Powers adds in a PI plot overlaid with the myth of Orpheus. Retired "redeemer", musician Gregorio Rivas is persuaded to take up his former occupation to rescue (redeem) his long-lost love, the daughter of Irwin Barrows, Ellay's most powerful citizen, from a brainwashing religious cult.
The book gets off to a slower start than the other Powers
Aug 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Like most of Power's novels, this one is a little hard to figure out what selves to put it on. Elements of science fiction, and some almost, but not really, supernatural elements. Also like most of his novels, the threat here isn't physical, though the hero does get pretty beat up, but the real threat is to him, and everyone else, is to their sense of self, to their identity. He's done scarier (to me), but this pretty creepy. Needed that 1/2 star.
Michael Davis
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good, strong, weird stuff, as usual from Mr. Powers. It’s very interesting to read one of his earliest tales after having read nearly all the others; seeing some of his ideas and themes before they’d been honed and more fully developed didn’t take away from the excitement of the story or the likability of the main character at all.

Now if I can only find ANOTHER one of his that I haven’t read yet...
Eric McLaughlin
Mar 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thoroughly enjoyed this book, even if the concept seems dated. Early eighties book, post apocalyptic irradiated california, comes off sounding like escape from LA. It certainly evokes that spirit. But Tim Powers has this way making his stories unique. From the strange cult, to mind control, the strange vampiric hemogoblins, the strange mech, the unique drugs, the psychedelic vision. He is one of kind in writing. Once again, he has projected very clear and detailed imagery into my mind without ...more
Sep 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
That was strange. It was inventive and interesting, with a premise that mostly holds up, but strange. In the style of classic science fiction, it went off into an odd tangent midway through to explain things (although admittedly in a plot-relevant way), but the story was at least interesting. Doesn't stand up if you think about it too much, but it works otherwise.

Well, whatever, I enjoyed it enough.
Dec 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
If it's Tim Powers it's good.
Heard this was an inspiration for fallout, and you can see some of the influences.
Reading the foreword as well was good as the cult inspiration and brainwashing/isolation techniques that are present in all cults is a fascinating subject, if somewhat morbid.
Luke Kanies
Dec 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Light, fun, and a bit crazy

Like so work of Tim Powers's work, this is light, kind of magic, definitely crazy, but downright fun. It got better as the book progressed, and I enjoyed both the dystopian aspects, and the fact that the book really had nothing to do with the dystopian aspects. They were just background.
Feb 04, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Dnf'd at 25%.

The book wasn't long or incomprehensible per se, but I constantly found myself drifting off reading it. The beginning was fine, but soon, I began trudging through pages. The writing felt flat, and I didn't feel connected to the main character at all.

And for the love of all that's holy, please italicize inner thoughts.
Kieran McAndrew
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Greg Rivas is hired to find and deprogram a rich man's daughter after she joins a dangerous cult. A cult Rivas managed to walk away from years ago.

A science fiction wonderland, set in post apocalyptic California, the book pulls readers along at break neck pace as the mystery of the enigmatic Norton Jaybush, cult leader extraordinaire, is exposed.
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
I just didn’t find this book to be much of anything. It wasn’t thrilling, it wasn’t suspenseful, it wasn’t funny. I didn’t have her become invested in any character, didn’t care about the outcome. It was an interesting concept but executing left a lot to be desired for me.
John Willson
May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
All the wonderful weirdness that we expect from Tim Powers. If it had less impact on me than his other works, it is because this one's imaginative post-apocalyptic setting is a bit more removed from real life (I hope!). Still, it was very engaging and I greatly enjoyed reading it.
Jordi Salazar
Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Buen final. Algún problemilla en el world building
Bryan Wigmore
Early work by Tim Powers. A few traces of his spectacular imagination, but otherwise a mediocre post-apocalyptic fantasy.
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Post-apocalyptic dystopia from the mid 1980s. Twisted, creative, predictable in some ways and totally unpredictable in others.
Nov 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Pretty solid early Tim Powers, set in Ye Olde Post-Apocalypse. Declare is still by far one of my favorite books.
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed this one. Going to have to read some more Powers books!
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Much the same 1 6 Sep 26, 2013 12:02AM  

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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