Read The Bible Repairman and Other Stories Online
Authors: Tim Powers
The Skies Discrowned
Epitaph in Rust
The Drawing of the Dark
The Anubis Gates
Dinner at Deviant’s Palace
On Stranger Tides
The Stress of Her Regard
Night Moves and Other Stories
The Devils in the Details
Three Days to Never
“These smart, always-engaging stories, so open to mystery and speculation, demonstrate once again that Tim Powers rocks, rules, and prevails. He is one of the best, most significant writers in this country, and ‘A Time to Cast Away Stones’ is one of his masterpieces.”
A Dark Matter
“One of the most original and innovative writers … the quality of Powers’ prose never falters…. His writing defies characterization and he never repeats himself.”
–Washington Post Book World
“Whether writing about zombie pirates of the Caribbean (On
female vampires preying on Romantic poets
(The Stress of Her Regard)
, or the escapades of a time traveler in 19th-century England
(The Anubis Gates),
Powers always goes the distance, never taking easy shortcuts that tempt authors with lesser imaginations.”
San Francisco Chronicle
“Tim Powers is a brilliant writer.”
“Powers orchestrates reality and fantasy so artfully that the reader is not allowed a moment’s doubt.”
–The New Yorker
“The reigning king of adult historical fantasy …”
“Powers plots like a demon.”
“… a reigning master of adult contemporary fantasy.”
“Philip K. Dick felt that one day Tim Powers would be one of our greatest fantasy writers. Phil was right.”
Nine Princes in Amber
Lord of Light
“Powers has already proved that he is a master of what he terms ‘doing card tricks in the dark,’ referring to the incredible amount of historical, biographical, and practical research that goes into his works.”
“The best fantasy writer to appear in decades.”
“Tim Powers is a genius.”
“… one of fantasy’s major stylists …”
The Bible Repairman and Other Stories
© 2011 by Tim Powers
This is a collected work of fiction. All events portrayed in this book are fictitious and any resemblance to real people or events is purely coincidental. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form without the express permission of the publisher.
Cover design by Josh Beatman
Interior design by Jacob McMurray
San Francisco, CA
SMART SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Series Editor: Jacob Weisman
Project Editor: Jill Roberts
ISBN 13: 978-1-61696-047-6
ISBN 10: 1-61696-047-7
First Edition: 2011
Printed in the United States of America by Worzalla
9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
“The Bible Repairman ” © 2006 by Tim Powers. First published as
The Bible Repairman
(Subterranean Press: Burton, Michigan).
“A Soul in a Bottle” © 2006 by Tim Powers. First published as
A Soul in a Bottle
(Subterranean Press: Burton, Michigan).
“The Hour of Babel” © 2008 by Tim Powers. First appeared in
Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy,
edited by William Schaefer (Subterranean Press: Burton, Michigan).
“Parallel Lines” © 2010 by Tim Powers. First appeared in
edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio (HarperCollins: New York).
“A Journey of Only Two Paces” © 2011 by Tim Powers. First publication. A shorter version of this story first appeared in 2009 in “LX Eastercon: The Souvenir Book” edited by Steve Cooper. (Bradford, United Kingdom).
“A Time To Cast Away Stones” © 2008 by Tim Powers. First published as an original signed limited edition by Charnel House (Catskill, New York). Visit them on the web at
To Karen Purvis,
for advice and friendship
When people ask me what it was that I was trying to say, in this-or-that story, I like to answer with a line from an old Dave Barry article: “Nobody wins when you play games with traffic safety.” Or, “Floss your teeth for better dental hygiene.”
The thing is – as far as I can recall – I’ve never tried to make a point in any of my stories, never “had something to say.” Writers like C. S. Lewis or George Orwell can do that and somehow make a compelling story too, but if I tried it I’m sure I’d wind up with a tiresome quasi-allegory.
Of course some “theme” or other is present in just about any story, even when the theme isn’t inserted deliberately. (In fact deliberate themes can turn out to be in conflict with the themes the subconscious sneaks in, which makes for a jarring story!) I’ve sometimes reread an old book of mine and found at least rudimentary themes working – one of my books seemed to have “something to say” about the value of children, for example, though at least consciously I’m indifferent to children. And I’ve noticed a lot of fathers-and-sons conflicts in my books, though in fact I always got along fine with my own father.
But I’m happy to leave my fictional themes, such as they may be, to sort themselves out.
And there are plot elements, too, that seem to show up repeatedly of their own accord. One time somebody pointed out to me that most of my books ended with the protagonist going away in a boat; I checked it out, and sure enough, he was right. I was mildly pleased with this insistent element from my subconscious, but at the same time I realized that I would now have to stop it – if I were to do it again in the next book, it would at that point be just a forced gesture, an arbitrary consistency. So I made a resolution – no more boats at the end!
Later it occurred to me to go back and see what I had done instead; and I found that the next book I had written ended with a woman beckoning to my protagonist from the far side of a pond … and then, instead of walking around the shoreline, he walks straight across to her, wading right through the pond.
Interesting! But of course after noticing that, I couldn’t end a book with any sort of travel-across-water at all.
I hope nobody points out to me any more accidentally recurrent elements in my books!
But there are things I do deliberately.
One day in late ‘81 or early ‘82, I drove Philip K. Dick to his doctor because Phil had decided that he had a hernia. I read a book in the waiting room while the doctor looked him over, and eventually Phil came out.
He was looking crestfallen, and as we left he explained that – it turned out – he didn’t have a hernia after all. He brooded about it on the drive home.