pow­ers up

World Fan­tasy Award win­ner Tim Pow­ers is tak­ing Al­ter­nate Routes

SFX - - Red alert -

Amer­ica’s mo­tor­ways, says Tim Pow­ers, can be spooky places. “On the free­ways, or­di­nary time and space are warped, stretched or con­densed, and you only re-en­ter the real world when you exit,” he says.

Wel­come to the world imag­ined by Pow­ers in his new novel, Al­ter­nate Routes. It’s a tale that takes in not just the idea of free­ways as mys­ti­cal and el­dritch places that “fa­cil­i­tate the ap­pear­ance of ghosts”, but the leg­end of the Mino­taur and the no­tion that Th­e­seus may have needed “a string aba­cus” to find his way out of the Labyrinth.

“I like to find mytho­log­i­cal or folk­lor­i­cal roots for the su­per­nat­u­ral el­e­ments in my books,” says Pow­ers, “to con­vey to the reader, ‘See? I’m not mak­ing this stuff up. It’s been go­ing on for cen­turies – in fact, you’ve al­ready heard of a lot of it, you just never linked up all the clues!’”

As with his more his­tor­i­cal works like The Anu­bis Gates and On Stranger Tides, Al­ter­nate Routes sees the au­thor hard at work on re­search.

“It gen­er­ally turns out that I don’t know as much about this world as I thought I did,” he ad­mits. “What ex­actly do po­lice do, or paramedics, or drug deal­ers? How ac­cu­rate is a .45 at a hun­dred feet? I have to re­search those sorts of things pretty thor­oughly.”

As to why he should want to an­swer such ques­tions in his mid-six­ties, Pow­ers is driven at least in part by his work ethic. “I al­ways feel that if I’m not in the mid­dle of writ­ing a book or a story, I have no right to de­prive other peo­ple of the oxy­gen I’m selfishly con­sum­ing,” he jokes.

To which end, he’s cur­rently work­ing on se­quel to Al­ter­nate Routes. “It seems Ce­cil B DeMille did some­thing in the ’20s that’s hav­ing reper­cus­sions in Los An­ge­les now,” he says. “Su­per­nat­u­ral, of course. And it turns out that it in­volves Sil­i­con Val­ley and Do­rian Gray paint­ings and biker gangs from the ’60s!” JWr

Al­ter­nate Routes will be avail­able in the UK in Au­gust via Di­a­mond Dis­trib­u­tors and For­bid­den Planet.

Au­thor Tim Pow­ers brings us into strange new worlds.

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