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Berkeley Poetry Review #39

News from my friend Adriana, a student at California State University at Berkeley:

"...the latest issue (issue 39) includes an exclusive (and really
smart and hilarious) thirteen-page tim powers interview and three
of his sonnets. my job is to advertise this to powers fan sites and
encourage fans to buy the issue--easy, right? the interview is so
clever it will sell itself, i am sure. i thought i should let you
know about it personally because you are a fellow powers fan (and are
also responsible for making me a big fan of the anubis gates!) so to
buy an issue you can send a check for ten dollars made out to
Berkeley Poetry Review/ASUC, and here's the address:

Berkeley Poetry Review
10 Eshleman Hall JA
Berkeley, CA 94720

(I thought you all should know! I'm buying mine tomorrow!)

- Patrick

The Hour of Babel

There's a new anthology out, Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy, which contains one of Powers' rare short stories, called "The Hour of Babel."

Tim Powers at Context 20

Tim Powers is the main GoH at Context 20, which will be held September 28-30, 2007 in Columbus, OH.

He's giving a seminar on plotting novels at the convention; the session is free to registered congoers. However, space is limited, so people must sign up for his seminar in advance.
If you were to group Tim Powers' work and style with the work of other authors, who would they be?

Philip K. Dick and Kurt Vonnegut come to mind, PKD is way more scifi and Vonnegut is way more satire.

Tim is cool...

He spotted my kid today at OCHSA during her first week of 7th grade and came over to talk to her. He offered to yell at anyone who needed yelling at, just in case she noticed anything that needed straightening out. She was so pleased that he saw her first, recognized her, and took time out of his obviously busy day to talk to her!

Tim is way too cool!

The Lost City of Ubar

(lonesomenumber1 suggested that I crosspost this to here from my own journal)

I have been re-reading one of my favorite books, "Declare", by Tim Powers the past few days. I came across the part of the book where he narrates about going to the lost Arabian city of Ubar, the details of which are fascinating. There is some mention of it it Arabian tales as well as the Koran, as a wicked city that Allah destroyed. T.E. Lawrence as well as St. John Philby and Wilfred Thesiger had done searches in the past with no result. I remembered suddenly I had a book on this city that I had bought some years ago and hadn't gotten around to reading, so I found it on one of my bookshelves.

The book is called "The Road to Ubar: Finding the Atlantis of the Sands", by Nicholas Clapp. The author, Clapp is a film maker who was largely responsible for finding the location of Ubar, starting in the 1980's. Using literature, the Koran and other clues he finally found the place with the help of NASA imaging satellites, which identified old incense trade routes. The area of Ubar is located in the southern part of the Arabian peninsula, in a region called "The Empty Quarter" which is claimed by no country but is surrounded by Oman, Yemen and the Emirates. The Bedu are the only ones who claim it for their own.

Ubar was a major trade city in ancient times for frankencense, and was located near groves where it was harvested.

I saw some of these trees in the desert when I was in the UAE and Oman. The frankencense is sap that weeps from the trees and hardens into an amber-like resin. The smell of frankencense is very pervasive in the souks of Arabia, where you can find large burlap sacks of it for sale everywhere. I brought some back with me and burn it once it awhile, it brings back very vivid memories of the time I spent there.

I love making these kind of connections with books, it's not difficult to do most of the time. It makes reading such an enjoyable and personal experience for me.