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10 thoughts on “The Anubis Gates

  1. J.G. Keely J.G. Keely says:

    A fairly common mistake made by authors is failing to be familiar with their genre They end up retreading old ground and relying on long dead cliches because they aren't aware of what's already been done So it behooves an author to get some familiarity with the genre he intends to work in to ensure that he isn't just writing the same old story over againIn that spirit I thought I'd check out this award winning early piece of Steampunk It was a rough start One of the first red flags in an author's prose is how often they use 'almost' 'seemed' or worst of all 'almost seemed' in their descriptions and metaphors Such words are meaningless filler and are usually a sign that the author is not comfortable with his own figurative language or is trying to seem mysterious without really knowing how to do itWe're barely a page in before Powers gives us 'a musty fetor almost shockingly incongruous when carried on the clean breezes of Hampstead Heath' Almost shockingly incongruous but not actually shockingly incongruous But if it isn't actually shockingly incongruous why not tell us what it really is like? Why use a phrase that almost describes the situation but not uite? What is the benefit to this imprecision?Of course in most cases it is just 'shockingly incongruous' and the 'almost' just happened to slip in there for no reason at allFrom there we move on to the conflicted metaphors His cloak flapping behind him in the wind like the wing case of some gigantic insect'Like some' is another meaningless phrase to look out for in figurative language It's meant to sound mysterious but really it's just filler Beyond that to anyone actually familiar with insect wing cases this metaphor just doesn't make sense because wing cases are rigid and held out steadily from the body during flight They don't flap In the case of the scarab which I assume Powers is trying to evoke here in his Egyptian magic story they're also shinyAlso why does it have to be a 'gigantic' insect? Because he's a person and people are bigger than insects? Figurative language already has that covered If you say 'his gaze darted about like a viper's' you don't have to continue 'but a viper with hair and external ears and lacking scales and also much larger than a normal one and with limbs and no tail and without the capacity for natural poison' There's a reason that explaining a metaphor that way is often done as a joke it's simply not necessaryHere's another one The tent looked thought Fikee like some huge nun in a particularly cold weather habit crouched beside the river in obscure devotionCan you picture that? Does that produce a clear and effective image in your mind or a rather confused muddle? For me it was definitely muddle These two metaphors appear on the same page along with another one about a smile being 'like a section of hillside falling away to expose old white stone' which isn't so bad but that's a lot of trying too hard similes to cram on just one pageNext page Romany intoned his voice becoming deeper as though trying to wring an echo out of the surrounding carpets'As though' is another vague little bit we want to be careful about when we write I don't think the verb 'wring' works there at all Are you imagine someone twisting carpets with their voice in order to try to sueeze some extra echoes out of them because that's what this description paints into my mind and it is not remotely workingA few pages on and we break suddenly into a long stretch of story exposition straight from the narrator about all this stuff that happened before to set up the story So why start off with a mysterious intro where your characters are mumbling odd references to events if you're going to explain them all a few pages later? That's a pretty uick way to kill all the mystery you had just been trying to build upThen the characters themselves start delivering long pieces of story exposition to one another even though they all know these things already I'm sure you haven't forgotten how you suffered after playing with the weather at the Bay of Aboukeer three years agoSo yeah that's definitely enough of this book

  2. Brad Brad says:

    More time travel than steampunk although it has been categorized as the latter Tim Powers' The Anubis Gates is fun but it leaves one feeling a little short changedThe problem is that Powers' story has the narrative scope of Neal Stephenson's Baroue Cycle but it is packed into a mere 380 ish pages Beggar's guilds Egyptian wizards Romantic poets business magnates and prize fighters mix with cross dressing vengeance seekers mad clowns body snatchers fire elementals and gypsies Time slips from 1983 to 1810 to 1660 something and back to 1811 seemingly following a linear path of cause and effect then spilling paradoxically into a strange whirlpool motion where effect can be cause before effectAnd all of this is tremendously effective It generates curiosity makes one read at high speed fills the imagination with wonder and provides great entertainment but it is not enough There are huge gaps in the tale like Brendan Doyle'sWilliam Ashbless' time in Egypt where the story jumps too uickly leaving the promise of adventure sweeping adventure epic adventure unfulfilledPowers creates characters so compelling even his supporting characters that one finds oneself wanting but the never comes We spend a tantalizing amount of time with Horrabin the puppeteer clown beggar master but it is never enough We barely get to know Powers' versions of Lord Byron and Samuel Taylor Coleridge and then they are gone There is simply never enough of these characters and it leaves one feeling cheatedSo in case you haven't already guessed the great failing of The Anubis Gates is that it leaves the reader wanting too much Occasionally that feeling can be healthy but in this case it is mostly frustrating Had Powers reduced the scale of The Anubis Gates or increased the size of his story to match the scale it could very well have been his masterpiece But without serious alterations The Anubis Gates is little than an entertaining sci fantasy confection that is difficult to recommendBut recommend it I shall to anyone who likes time travel or creepy clowns or good old fashioned chases No matter how frustrating The Anubis Gates is it is never boring nor a waste of time

  3. Bradley Bradley says:

    Re Read 81716Well apparently the universe doesn't want me to write a review so let's try this a third time I wanted to like this re read a lot than the first but unfortunately the things I thought were uninteresting the first time around like the Egypt expedition were still uninteresting but I stuck around because all the run ins with the egyptian magicians was still pretty damn wonderfulAs for the first half of the novel I'd easily give it 5 stars I mean where else can you see some unknown poet scholar of Coleridge and an even unknown poet by the name of Ashbless turn into a time travelling swashbuckling hero able to make mortal enemies of near immortal Egyptian wizards and do it all the while in 1810 London for 35 years?The details and the plot and the funny bits are absolutely great I like Doyle before and after his transformation into an orange ape too Perhaps after his transformation I love Dog Face Joe the body switching werewolf all the dirty streets of London and practically every single enemy in the book So many of them had other sides to them and evil is not absolute I still regard this book very highly especially for the ideas the wonderful ideas the surprising magic system the awesome time travel problems and its clever solutions Even the writing is clear and interesting well past the middle part and there was nothing in it to really turn me off about it except perhaps that it was too light and too action y? I don't know I didn't feel very invested It turned around again of course and the ending was very satisfying but not enough to knock this book up to a 5 where my mind thinks it should be but my heart refuses to budge Old ReviewI was surprised to find a novel that was much complicated and rich than I might have otherwise expected I knew this was a time travel book and I knew there would be magic in it I didn't expect it to be forerunner of the steampunk movement or to be so literary Mr Powers put a lot of consideration into the lives portrayed here and while Doyle was hard to truly love he grew on me as he grew as a character I really liked him by the end There are many twists and turns to the story and the plot is both intricate and complexThe novel is in third persion limited omniscience which allows for a great deal of variety while sacrificing the immediacy and the feeling of being in the character's skin I almost wish it was written in first person because the sheer amount of detail and description in 1810 London was astounding and beautiful in the horrible way those grubby English types can be and feeling what he felt would have been an extraordinary treatThis is no urban fantasy novel The magic was strange and had some very curious aspects to it and pitting a magical viewpoint with a time traveler in a closed loop system felt like a stroke a of genius I have to say that the novel while sometimes slow was well thought out and complex I think it succeeded as a traditional fantasy novel a traditional science fiction novel and also as a traditional horror novel in eual parts I may be jaded by modern fiction that throws together whichever genres you like to make a goulash that's tasty and strange or even some science fiction or fantasy that simply draws from the tradition of horror This novel balances all three and even spares a tithe to mystery romance action adventure social commentary a la Dickens and poetry The fact that Mr Powers pulls it all off is a testament to skill as a writer

  4. Phrynne Phrynne says:

    This book was just so much fun It was really really entertaining and I have no problem giving it five stars Basically it is a story about time travel It reminded me a lot of the Doomsday Book by Connie Willis which is one of the best books I have ever read so I mean this as praise indeed The method of travelling is very original and the purpose very deviousHaving travelled our hero spends a large part of the book living in the past and often suffering accordingly We meet Coleridge and Lord Byron and travel geographically as well as time wise Magic comes into play but it is a very flawed magic and does not always behave as it shouldOccasionally I must admit it all got too smart for me and I got a bit lost as to who was who Did I mention there was some body swapping going on as well? In the end I decided just to go along for the ride and enjoy myself and eventually it all fell into place There was a masterpiece of an ending which tied up all the loose ends and I sat back and asked myself what else this guy has written because boy is he good

  5. carol. carol. says:

    Two and a half stars for me by the GR system; 'okay' verging on 'I liked it' My appreciation could probably benefit from a second read Ultimately I can see where others liked it but it's not executed in way I enjoyedIn some ways it reminds me of Connie Willis' To Say Nothing of the Dog in that while there is some time traveling there is very little of technological surprise and most of it takes place within Victorian England In similar fashion to TSNotD a historian accidentally gets left behind; in this case he is kidnapped shortly after his time traveling group goes to England to hear Coleridge speakThe magic system isn't well explained but involves some Egyptian spirit theory and some earth magic and perhaps the most interesting developments of the book are when these devices are employed or executed The fact that it isn't well explained however contributes to the choppiness of the overall story The plot was interesting and Powers develops a number of characters that grew on me but the execution was rough and choppy A body switching spirit comes into play and by the second half of the book at points we only know there has been a switch by a death scene and new names coming into play It becomes distracting and confusing to know who is important to plot and character development as body switches and secondary characters enter and are uickly dropped When the main character Doyle first escapes from his kidnappers we uickly go through a score of characters and neither he nor us apparently are supposed to look back Freuent references to poets like Byron and Coleridge and the general Victorian setting a period which I normally avoid and it only adds to the confusion The initial scene probably started me out with a number of wrong assumptions as it created some sympathy for the both the main antagonist and his boss but it was sympathy that would never be recaptured through the course of the story

  6. Jokoloyo Jokoloyo says:

    I had a real life experience that comparable with the critical moment of the main protagonist view spoiler I had food poisoning and the cure was just like on the book I ate carboncharcoal It works like magic Three hours after I ate carbon I vomited a lot Five minutes after that I feel good again hide spoiler

  7. Penny Penny says:

    My main feeling during the book was that it was weird Not bad weird not necessarily good weird just a bit odd I found it took a while to get into I was never bored but I also wasn't really all that interested for a large portion of the beginning of this one Then it started to pick up and I found I really started to enjoy things once we met Jacky and that lot There were a lot of interesting ideas strange characters and weird happenings in this novel I enjoyed it but I'm sure I don't understand half of it Although a few of the motivations were very clear most really weren't I know what they were trying to achieve but I still don't know why I'm not sure it really matters It was a fun read anyway Strange but fun

  8. Toby Toby says:

    A time travel novel featuring sorcery evil clowns Ancient Egyptian Gods body switching a condensed version of Dante literary scholars cross dressing fencing champions dog faced men and Romantic poetsThat opening sentence lost it's short pithy catchphrase like nature somewhere along the way Mirroring the novel in that way infact An American Coleridge expert gets invited on a time travel adventure to hear said poet speak only to find himself trapped in the early 19th century London adventure and skulduggery ensue There's so much plot that even Powers doesn't know what to do with it half of the time and after the first two thirds he was either forced to drastically cut whole swathes of storyline or he really liked the idea of a nonstop series of action seuences which repeatedly puts the protagonist in peril with very little linkage between each onePrior to this point it was an exciting adventure story peopled by intriguing characters and entertaining passages of action if not uite fully evoking the time and place at least giving enough detail to make certain that you're not in 1980s America the time travel element is dealt with very well and isn't foregrounded to the extent that you're always aware of it and puzzling over it but really this should have been multiple books or at the very least a 900 page novel I found myself sucked in to the story by Powers way with words reminiscent of the golden period of science fiction than contemporary fantasy novelists and what starts as a pretty typical time travel idea becomes so much so uickly that you barely have time to draw breath It's constructed so cleverly and entertains to thoroughly that the switch two thirds of the way through isn't the disaster it might have been in a lesser novel yes in essence you're dragged over the finish line in a river of blood but he got you there and he entertained you en route At no point did I even consider giving up early and going homeAll in all a great read that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to anyone open to a time travel fantasy

  9. Wanda Wanda says:

    I’m not sure exactly what I think of this time travel adventure There are aspects that I love some that leave me confused and at least one that produced both sensationsI loved the Ancient Egyptian connections—hieroglyphs gods goddesses the great boat of Ra I appreciated that it wasn’t easy for the time displaced person to fit into the new society that they found themselves in Coming from the privileged twentieth century didn’t mean beans when it came to supporting oneself in the late 19th century something which I think many writers forget or discount I also loved the use of the Beatles’ song “Yesterday” as a signal amongst the time travelers in old London something that every 20th century person of a certain age would be familiar withOne of the confusing aspects of the book for me was the role of the Gypsies I’m unsure why they were inserted into the narrative—perhaps because there was once a line of thought that the Romany people had originated in Egypt? Also at least one of the characters Dog Faced Joe has the ability to switch bodies At points in the latter part of the book I just couldn’t keep up with who was housed in which body—it became a little much especially as they were busy eliminating one anotherWhat was both wonderful and confusing was the poetry of Ashbless Brendan Doyle has studied Ashbless’ poetry in the 20th century and indeed memorized it a lost skill these days While waiting in an inn for Ashbless to show up he writes out a poem from memory Doyle is confused when Ashbless does not arrive as he remembers his history—Ashbless was to spend time at the inn write that specific poem there leaving Doyle to wonder if history is being changed At that point I realized that Doyle had to actually become Ashbless and write the rest of his poetry from memory—leaving the wonderful paradox if he learned the poetry in the 20th century wrote it from memory in the 19th century where did the actual poetry come from? A lovely circular dilemma for the reader to enjoyAn interesting ending as well in that most writers would probably want to bring their main character home to the 20th century and Powers chose not to do that a detail that I consider to be realistic if one can speak of such things in the context of time travelBook number 183 in my science fictionfantasy reading project

  10. Emma Emma says:

    25 stars Complicated chaotic time travelling riotous caper combined with sorcery from Egypt There were some great ideas in here but the story as a whole was just too much I was so relieved to get to the end

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The Anubis Gates ➳ [Reading] ➶ The Anubis Gates By Tim Powers ➩ – Brendan Doyle a specialist in the work of the early nineteenth century poet William Ashbless reluctantly accepts an invitation from a millionaire to act as a guide to time travelling tourists But whil Brendan Doyle a specialist in the work of the early nineteenth century poet William Ashbless reluctantly accepts an invitation from a millionaire to act as a guide to time travelling tourists But while attending a lecture given by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in he becomes marooned in Regency London where dark and dangerous forces know about the gates in timeCaught up in the intrigue between rival bands of beggars pursued by Egyptian sorcerers and befriended by Coleridge Doyle somehow survives and learns about the mysterious Ashbless than he could ever have imagined possible.