More Walls Broken
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.

More Walls Broken Details

TitleMore Walls Broken
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 28th, 2019
PublisherSubterranean Press
ISBN-139781596068865
Rating
GenreScience Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Horror, Fantasy

More Walls Broken Review

  • Jessaca Willis
    January 1, 1970
    I’m struggling to review this book. I received an unedited ARC from Netgalley, which means that I should ignore grammar/prose issues, but those things play a major role in a novel’s quality as well as readability and enjoyability. It’s one of the main things I critique because bad writing bothers me so much!The paragraphs weren’t indented, making the entire novel appear as one big blob that I found myself spacing-out from on numerous occasions, forced to backtrack just to risk it happening all o I’m struggling to review this book. I received an unedited ARC from Netgalley, which means that I should ignore grammar/prose issues, but those things play a major role in a novel’s quality as well as readability and enjoyability. It’s one of the main things I critique because bad writing bothers me so much!The paragraphs weren’t indented, making the entire novel appear as one big blob that I found myself spacing-out from on numerous occasions, forced to backtrack just to risk it happening all over again. There were typos, incorrect usage of words, and other formatting issues that I just couldn’t handle! This biggest of them being Cobb’s random first-person internal monologues in a story written in third-person POV—it made me want to vomit.There, now that I’ve got that all out, maybe I can review the story itself more clearly and try, TRY not to let the lack of editing affect my judgement.More Walls Broken attempts to redefine seances, suggesting they are as much paranormal as they are scientific. Cobb, Ainsworth, and Blaine attempt to resurrect a colleague of there’s, but the more they meddle, the more everything backfires.It sounds good on paper, but this story just felt bland to me.The dialogue was so disorienting. One character would ask a question and no one would answer, another would reference something or speak vaguely about something I’d never heard of. The conversations didn’t flow organically, they clunked around like rusted gears on a clock, going through the motions with loud raucous and little else. Every scene felt longer than it needed to be, and yet like it wasn’t complete. The story itself felt rushed but the writing seemed to dawdle at the most inconvenient times.I just... I’m sorry. I’ve learned my lesson. I will no longer accept any unedited ARCs because I clearly can’t get over all of the technical issues and plot/character issues that will probably get corrected after the editing process. So please, if you’re reading this, take this review with a grain of salt.
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  • Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for providing me with a copy of this in exchange for my honest opinion.Right from the get-go of this regrettably short story, you get two impressions. Impression the first, Tim Powers is an excellent writer. The story flows smoothly, the dialog is excellent, and the plot is intriguing. The second, the first few chapters are Keystone Cops (the professors) in a graveyard. This story is not a comedy, but I found the first few chapters funny. What this is, is Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for providing me with a copy of this in exchange for my honest opinion.Right from the get-go of this regrettably short story, you get two impressions. Impression the first, Tim Powers is an excellent writer. The story flows smoothly, the dialog is excellent, and the plot is intriguing. The second, the first few chapters are Keystone Cops (the professors) in a graveyard. This story is not a comedy, but I found the first few chapters funny. What this is, is a modern-day occult ghost story. Three professors from Cal-tech enter a graveyard to perform an occult ritual to materialize the ghost of departed Armand Vitrielli, what happens is they materialize Vitrelli's daughter instead. They flee the cemetery with the "daughter" in tow (keystone cops part) completely missing what emerged after they left. From this beginning, Powers crafts a well written, if sometimes bland plot. The story is solid, but after the initial chapters in the graveyard it didn't resonate and connect with me as much as I would have liked it too. I would certainly want to read Power's other works, however. Powers is an excellent writer of dialog and story flow. But this just wasn't my favorite.
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  • Cats of Ulthar March of Shoggoths
    January 1, 1970
    In every single story by this illustrious and utterly imaginative author is contained a core that is magical. Mr. Powers surpasses telekinesis and "Scotty's" "Beam me up" transporter from Star Trek. If there is anyone who can "magically" (or "quantumly") effect travel through dimensions, that person is this author. There is no need for suspension of disbelief. Belief is intrinsic. There is no need to parse the reader's feelings for the character; we know intrinsically who is good and who is not, In every single story by this illustrious and utterly imaginative author is contained a core that is magical. Mr. Powers surpasses telekinesis and "Scotty's" "Beam me up" transporter from Star Trek. If there is anyone who can "magically" (or "quantumly") effect travel through dimensions, that person is this author. There is no need for suspension of disbelief. Belief is intrinsic. There is no need to parse the reader's feelings for the character; we know intrinsically who is good and who is not, and we line up with them accordingly. Tim Powers possesses an illimitable imagination, and for the duration of reading his work, so do we. The wonderful aspect is that this expansion of imagination does not end when we close the book: it lasts forever, and we are different individuals after than when we came in.I only wish that MORE WALLS BROKEN had been a novel, not a novella; it has a terrifically cliffhanging ending, and this inquiring mind needs to know: "What happened? And in which world? Are the "good characters" all right, in the end? Did the "bad guys" get their just desserts?"To the final question, I already know the answer. "Can I believe?""Yes, I can."
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  • Nayad Monroe
    January 1, 1970
    I received an advance uncorrected proof of this book from the publisher, with no mention of any expectations about whether or not I would review it! But without trying to explain the plot, which would be impossible to do without spoilers, I will say that I enjoyed this lovely and strange story thoroughly, and I recommend it.
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  • Kristin Rix
    January 1, 1970
    In modern day Los Angeles, three Cal Tech professors enter a graveyard to perform a mysterious ritual which they hope will raise the ghost of a recently deceased professor. But things don't turn out exactly the way they expect, and each must try to deal with the consequences in their own way.This is not your average ghost story. “More Walls Broken” by Tim Powers is a fascinating genre-bending speculative fiction novella with three things I love to read about: ghosts, powerful and intriguing devi In modern day Los Angeles, three Cal Tech professors enter a graveyard to perform a mysterious ritual which they hope will raise the ghost of a recently deceased professor. But things don't turn out exactly the way they expect, and each must try to deal with the consequences in their own way.This is not your average ghost story. “More Walls Broken” by Tim Powers is a fascinating genre-bending speculative fiction novella with three things I love to read about: ghosts, powerful and intriguing devices, and quantum physics. Powers’ clear, direct, concrete writing voice keeps the story grounded in reality while dealing with the scope of a science-bending romp into the multi-verse. This is exactly the kind of story I love to dig into, and I read it straight through to the end. I found myself pulling it out at every little chance to sit and read, just to find out would happen next. The characters of “More Walls Broken” have depth and complexity. Our hero, Clive Cobb, is an imperfect and disappointed (but not disappointing) sort of anti-hero with a solid moral compass buried underneath his brooding demeanor, and we get a real chance at seeing his soft inner core. I appreciate the way Powers handles the characters. Without giving too much away about the story, unseen characters are discussed that raise interesting questions about the nature of personality and identity. Really, this book raises a lot of questions and gets you thinking about deeper ideas being dealt with on the page. For example, the device used in the first pages of the story operates in a unique way involving sound. I loved that, and I also enjoyed the careful description of the device and its use, as well as how Cobb felt using the device. I could really envision it. The places where I struggled with this novella were the beginning and the end. The opening sentence was convoluted and felt passive. In the first few pages I struggled to identify characters and determine who was ultimately the main character. For example, one of the significant supporting characters is first described as an “elderly driver,” even though we soon get his name and other details. The point of view is limited third person tied to Clive Cobb, who knows who the elderly driver is, but it’s as if we are starting out as one of the novel’s ghosts and gently floating into Cobb’s head. This may have been the author’s intent, and it would certainly make sense in hindsight given the novella’s themes, but as a first impression it left me floundering to find my footing with the story. Once we’d arrived at the cemetery and established characters, the story picked up for me and I was able to dig into the developing tension and mystery, but it was a jerky start.This is a novella, and by definition short, but the story seemed to be too short for me. The ending felt chopped off and unsatisfying, coming at a moment in the story when I felt a strongest investment and interest in two of the main characters: Clive Cobb and a woman named Taysha. I was left with more questions than answers, and I wanted to see where it all went. This is a testament to the character development and world building of the novella’s author, Tim Powers. I want more, and it makes me wonder if this is the first novella in a developing series. If it is, I will definitely be continuing with future installments. If not, then I am still left with an enjoyable and worthwhile read that was evocative and thought provoking. Either way I will definitely be reading more of his books in the future.Many thanks to NetGalley and Subterranean Press for providing an advanced reading copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Callum
    January 1, 1970
    More Walls Broken is a fascinating, unique sci-fi ghost story. It takes some pages to get in to, but when you do the characters are interesting, the science fun and easy to understand, and the plot mostly entertaining. When Cobb - working with, and trying to to impress, two other Cal State professors, Blaine and Ainsworth, in a bid for tenure - tries to summon the ghost of his old colleague, Vitrielli, who killed himself 2 months ago, Vitrielli’s daughter appears instead, unconscious. What follo More Walls Broken is a fascinating, unique sci-fi ghost story. It takes some pages to get in to, but when you do the characters are interesting, the science fun and easy to understand, and the plot mostly entertaining. When Cobb - working with, and trying to to impress, two other Cal State professors, Blaine and Ainsworth, in a bid for tenure - tries to summon the ghost of his old colleague, Vitrielli, who killed himself 2 months ago, Vitrielli’s daughter appears instead, unconscious. What follows from there is a bizarre series of events as the situation gets massively out of hand. It’s hard to exaggerate how disconnecting the opening to this story is. For the first few pages or so, it’s hard to know who is who, what’s going on or why anything is happening. This initial resistance did put me off from the story initially, but then something happens, things start to click and everything begins to make sense. This happened one other time in the book, where it seemed incredibly unclear why something happened, but by the end of the story everything made a lot more sense. In hindsight, it actually ended up being fun trying to make sense of what was happening, you just have to hang in there long enough for the story to reveal itself to you. The highlight of this novella is the characters. Cobb, the protagonist, is a flawed person, doing something he knows is entirely wrong for personal gain. His evolution across just over 100 pages is really great to see, and it’s a credit to Tim Powers’ writing that he is such a fascinating character to read. Other characters, such as Taysha, were great to read, and make you feel invested. I do wish the dynamic between Cobb and Taysha wasn’t quite so rushed but I think this is probably a side effect of the brevity of this being a novella. Come for the weird and unique plot, stay for the characters you will undoubtedly end up rooting for. It’s a lot of fun and a quick read. 4 stars.Thanks to NetGalley and Subterranean Press for an ARC of this novella in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Lou Jacobs
    January 1, 1970
    Enter a world where it's perfectly acceptable to have adjacent worlds of alternate time lines. The setting ... 3 professors .... 2 old and irascible and bumbling and 1 younger and adept ... are at the gravesite of Armand Vitrielli in a chilly moonlit cemetery ... ready to embark on a scientific enterprise utilizing Vitrielli's device - the "slide-rule" - to cleave reality. And, hopefully allow Vitrielli's ghost to materialize allowing his capture and interrogation. Clive Cobb, the younger profe Enter a world where it's perfectly acceptable to have adjacent worlds of alternate time lines. The setting ... 3 professors .... 2 old and irascible and bumbling and 1 younger and adept ... are at the gravesite of Armand Vitrielli in a chilly moonlit cemetery ... ready to embark on a scientific enterprise utilizing Vitrielli's device - the "slide-rule" - to cleave reality. And, hopefully allow Vitrielli's ghost to materialize allowing his capture and interrogation. Clive Cobb, the younger professor from California State University Consciousness Research Department , is knowledgeable on using Professor Vitrielli's device ... But, instead of conjuring up the Professor, his daughter unceremoniously plops out of thin air onto the gravesite in an unconscious state .... and all are perplexed. The keystone cops of a group flee the cemetery with "daughter" in tow .. only to miss another entity coalesce at the grave. Has Vitrielli's soul been transmigrated across the time continuum?This sets up Powers' complicated plot regarding possible alternate realities and serious consequences with interference. Powers with aplomb makes the situation entirely believable and riddles the landscape with comic happenstance in an effort for Cobb to set things right. Thanks to Netgalley and #Subterranean Press for providing an Uncorrected Ebook proof of this delightful tale in exchange for an honest review!!
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  • Ralph Blackburn
    January 1, 1970
    More Walls Broken by Tim Powers- A rather sedate occult novella. Three University professors skulk to the local cemetery, planning to séance a deceased colleague back to life so they can steal the secrets he took to the grave. Of course, things don't go as planned. What they get is an unexpected outcome, and a lesson in the transmutation of reality. Well told and with heart, but not as engaging as some of Tim Powers' previous offerings.
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