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As this ingenious new novella, More Walls Broken, begins, a trio of academics have just entered a deserted California cemetery late at night, bringing with them a number of arcane devices aimed at achieving an equally arcane purpose. What follows is the sort of dizzying, mind-expanding entertainment that only the always reliable, always astonishing Tim Powers could have written.
These three men, professors in the “Consciousness Research” department at Cal Tech University, have come together to perform a seemingly impossible task. Their goal: to open a door between the world of the living and the world of the dead, and to capture the ghost of the recently deceased scientist Armand Vitrielli. For their own desperate reasons, they hope to avail themselves of the secrets Vitrielli left behind at the time of his death. Their experiment, naturally, fails to come off exactly as planned. A door between the worlds does, in fact, open, letting in something—someone—completely unexpected, and setting in motion a chain of events that will reverberate throughout the narrative.
Intricate, intelligent, and always thoroughly absorbing, More Walls Broken mixes fantasy and quantum physics in utterly unique fashion. The result is a brilliantly imagined account of multiple realities and unintended consequences that is pure dazzle, pure storytelling, pure—and unmistakable—Tim Powers. In book after book, story after story, Powers has set the standard for literate imaginative fiction. With this essential, beautifully realized novella, he has done it once again.
“Three professors fumble their way through opening gates to increasing disaster in Powers’s enjoyable novella… He likewise weaves in dark humor amid the professors’ nerve-racking attempts to fix the ‘walls’ between realities. If the tropes inherent in crossing parallel dimensions are overly familiar, Powers (Alternate Routes) puts his own small twists on them, keeping readers guessing about how he’s going to clean up the mess—though some messes may not be cleanable.”