In general, Powers does a fantastic job of conveying the feel of a time and place, and also a great job of creating a new set of rules of magic for each setting. However, there are a couple of recurring concepts that seem to show up in too many of his stories. Specifically, his characters drink abusive amounts of alcohol, but nobody ever calls them on it, which makes me wonder if maybe Powers himself has a serious drinking problem. Also, several of his heroes seem to have some kind of physical disability, including two separate characters who are each missing an eye. I look at the fixed gaze in that author’s photo on the dust sleeve and try to guess which one of his eyes is the glass one.
I’ll also mention that I continue to find the thematic use of alcohol within Powers’ novels intriguing. You can get pretty far into the early novels, The Drawing of the Dark, with the notiona that the “Dark” of the title is some sort of malefic force (as it is so many Tolkein-derivative fantasies), when in fact it refers to a dark ale. Several of the books have had characters go off on a bender for a week or a month before rallying to do whatever they have to do. Booze, or the lack of it, or needing to stop drinking it, has played a part in virtually all of them. Earthquake Weather is no exception, with wine playing a fairly significant role.
Drawing of the Dark
On Stranger Tides
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