Wednesday, December 26, 2018

The Governor, by Tim Powers

★★★★☆ Chilling, with Just the Right Twist

(Modern Fantasy Horror) When the old wizard dies in a car accident, his family gets together in his old house to try to find his talisman so they can have control over him before he reincarnates himself. (8,617 words; Time: 28m)

The Lovecraft book in the story is “The Outsiders and Others,” a 500-page collection of Lovecraft’s stories. It has been called “the beginning of serious specialist publishing of fantastic fiction in America.”

"The Governor," by (edited by Gardner Dozois), appeared in (RSR review), published on by .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Review: 2018.644 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: It's remarkable how quickly the story clues us in that this is modern LA, that the old grandfather who just died was the head of a family of witches, that no one expects his death to be permanent, that they expect to use his temporary absence to gain power for themselves (and maybe prevent him from returning), and finally that there's something special about Tom and something wrong with him.

The horror of Benjamin having placed a limit on Tom’s intelligence gradually grows on us as the story unfolds. More than anything else, it attests to what a monster he was. Tom is quite right not to believe his claims that Lucy won’t mind him controlling her body.

Although Benjamin tells Tom that killing him won’t remove the governor, there’s no real reason to believe him on that, so I had no problem with the ending. It's also very amusing that the oracle was correct when she told the old man that Tom would one day outsmart him. It's sad that Tom pays such a high price for his victory.

Con: Benjamin takes quite a chance in leaving the book with Tom. It could just as easily have sat on his shelf for 40 years without anyone ever finding the secret.

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Tim Powers Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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