Secret Histories

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From his web site, here is some history on how he decided to put together Powers: Secret Histories : I have a very real fear of being thought of as one of those people clearly obsessed with a grand scheme, but who seems completely incapable of bringing it to fruition. You know the kind I mean -- "Oh, there's old Berlyne, still going on about his so-called Powers book" -- the guy who folks laugh at behind their hands. How is your book coming along John?

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And how long has it been now? Seven years? By that time I had unearthed so much fascinating information for the site about the many and varied editions of Tim's works that it struck me a properly researched and presented Powers bibliography would be a really nice collectable in its own right. Thinking of myself as the target demographic, I was sure that there would be other Powers fans who might like such a document, perhaps nicely bound, maybe even signed by Powers himself.

I'd discovered by this time that any pre-existing bibliographic lists of Powers book were all woefully inadequate -- in fact the thin Ultramarine pamphlet by Christopher Stephens and Tom Joyce entitled A Checklist of Tim Powers remains the only official bibliography of Powers's works, and it is now half a career old. There's no question that there is a market for an updated and definitive Powers bibliography, signed or not -- and even in this age of on-line catalogues, official author web sites and unofficial fan tribute sites, the true collectors of which there are many where Powers is concerned still desire a physical reference work from which they can tick off those elusive titles they still need to fill the gaps on their shelves.

For someone setting out to create such a reference, certain choices must be made -- not least how much detail to go into. The Stephens check-list is pretty spare and what detail there is turns out to be not all that helpful for the bone fide collector.

This is not surprising, given that Stephens and Joyce created their minor Powers bibliography as part of a larger series of similar pamphlets. Additionally I've been recently enlightened to the fact that putting together a bibliography ain't exactly a picnic, and it must have been a damn site harder before the arrival of the internet, although ironically for the bibliographer the internet tends throws up more red herrings than a trawler could catch.

Nevertheless the very basic requirements of a bibliography dictate that every title an author's published canon be listed -- and within that brief, a further choice must be made. How much detail is necessary? Are we talking about every edition of every title? Are we going to dealing purely with British or American publications or do we go global? Are we talking simply novels? Or shorter fiction too? This would constitute an author's 'primary' bibliography, but what of other writings by our man? Continued on John Berlyne's site at www.

Powers: Secret Histories has been nearly ten years in the making and brings together a broad range of Tim Powers information and material. For years, the idea languished, until Vulcan was introduced. It was no secret that Professor Miles Warren A.


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When the Jackal resurfaced, Reilly confronted Peter and began operating as Spider-Man after a test showed that Peter was actually the clone. In the end, it turned out that Reilly was in fact the clone, and on top of that, the entire Clone Saga was actually years-long manipulation by a resurrected Norman Osborn. Her death at the hands of Norman Osborn was shocking to readers and devastated Peter for years.

According to the story, rather than simply trying to get at his hated enemy Spider-Man, Osborn murdered Gwen to cover up their torrid love affair which had resulted in the birth of twin babies, fathered by Osborn. Sarah and Gabriel Stacy were revealed to Peter after Osborn convinced them that he was their father.

While the story never explicitly stated the last names of the characters, the intent was clear. Still, it got a slight nod in Spider-Man: Homecoming when Aunt May referred to "sneaking out of the house" as a teenager. From his secret son Nick Fury, Jr. How did Nick accomplish all this? Captain America's young sidekick Bucky died defending the world from a scheme by Nazi scientist Baron Zemo in the same incident that led to Captain America being frozen for decades - or so the world believed.

Contrary to popular belief, Bucky actually survived - his badly damaged body recovered by Soviet scientists and rebuilt into the Winter Soldier, a super assassin who was brainwashed and reprogrammed to fight for the ol' Russkies. For decades, Winter Soldier operated in secret, even training other Marvel characters such as Black Widow and the All-New Wasp, and being used by the Soviets as a weapon to shape politics during the Cold War.

Born with Edgar Allan Poe's detective Auguste Dupin, the crime novel developed principally in the English-speaking world. A classic Agatha Christie or Arthur Conan Doyle crime story consisted of a mystery, usually a murder, solved by a detective's intelligence. The expression "the butler did it" reflects the social world of this fiction: the settings were aristocratic, as only the rich could afford a butler. North American crime fiction—particularly the "hard-boiled" fiction of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett—brought out other traits.

The detective was no longer from an upper-class background but rather was someone marginal, lonely, and with a taste for drink—a Philip Marlowe.

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The story would take place in a disreputable urban setting rather than an elegant drawing room. For hard-boiled fiction, the city is the preferred space—the city viewed from the margins, not the center, from a perspective that provides intimate knowledge of its darkest secrets. Other Latin American writers followed, albeit with appropriate changes in narrative structure to suit local realities and domestic politics. The type of crime also shifted—from murders to political corruption, in the writings of Argentine Osvaldo Soriano; to torture by security forces in dictatorships, in the books of his compatriot Miguel Bonasso.

Meanwhile, Cuba contributed the cop-who-fights-internal-corruption with the work of Leonardo Padura from Havana. In Who Killed Palomino Molero? In that book, a small masterpiece, the crime is revealed in the very first sentence. Earlier, the Argentine Jorge Luis Borges and his countryman Adolfo Bioy Casares gave life to inspector Bustos Domecq, an investigator who solves crimes from inside a jail cell. The sicario —an eighteen-year old more or less who grew up as a hired assassin for drug traffickers and who kills for a ridiculously small amount of money—is Colombia's contribution to noir literature.

These novels notwithstanding, there is still relatively little noir writing in Colombia, considering the regrettable wealth of material provided by daily life in the country.

The Works of Tim Powers » Secret Histories

What he has expressed through his characters, as in the case of the celebrated Maqroll , is a vague existential anguish, a clear pessimism, and an absolute incredulity to ideals like order, the nation, and the state—something that is truly Colombian. From the memorializing genre, Alfredo Molano's work has shown the other side of the official history.

These people have a voice only in fiction. And books alone have enabled us to know the painful truth. What is fascinating about this process is that we are dealing with truth expressed through fiction—through events that technically might not have happened. Well-crafted literature always tells the truth. It awakens one's consciousness and opens new paths. Given the crises in which Colombia finds itself, there is little doubt that the moral proposals inhabiting the pages of novels, short stories, and poems are clearer, more transparent, and more powerful than those found in insipid political speeches.

Speeches, which are thrown in your face and piercingly amplified by the same mass media that hypnotizes society with oases of palm trees and graceful fountains when election time comes but does nothing to bring forth the unifying national vision that our country so desperately needs. In these writings Castro Caycedo provides a critical eye to problems such as the guerrillas, Colombian immigration to the United States, drug trafficking, and the ecological balance of the Amazon rainforest.

Despite the difficult task of separating the wheat from the chaff, it must be said that there are also special cases within the print media. You might have noticed the absence of paywalls at Boston Review. We are committed to staying free for all our readers. Now we are going one step further to become completely ad-free. This means you will always be able to read us without roadblocks or barriers to entry. It also means that we count on you, our readers, for support. If you like what you read here, help us keep it free for everyone by making a donation.

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Jonathan Beecher Field.