Monday, June 18, 2012

Your local bookstore is...thriving?

I spent the past weekend in Seattle, accepting the Locus Award for Tim Powers' short story collection, The Bible Repairman.  It was a whirlwind trip, in Friday morning, out Saturday night.  Talked to many old friends, made a few new ones, and managed to escape without too much ridicule from Toastmaster Connie Willis for lacking the proper attire for the Hawaiian shirt contest that accompanies the award ceremony.

I always feel a strange sense of unreality when I visit Seattle, like the opposite of déjà vu.  I went to school nearby and lived there for about three years in the late 1980s.  Suffice it to say, Seattle has undergone major changes.  I had some time on my hands prior to the Friday events and wandered about the area adjacent to the Seattle Center, visiting a few old haunts, matching old memories to what is there now.

A Thai restaurant I used to frequent was still there, as was Kidd Valley—a very pedestrian fast-food chain that inexplicably carried boysenberry milkshakes with real chunks of boysenberries.  They still do.  The most shocking thing, the shop I least expected to see, was Mercer Street Books.  

Back in the 1980s, this tiny used-bookstore faced an enormous Tower Books directly across the street.  Tower, which went out of business since the mid 90s, was the equivalent of Barnes & Noble or the recently departed Borders chain, only with a larger and more eclectic selection.  Mercer Street Books with its tall, narrow wooden shelves seemed threadbare and destined for the slag heap of time.  Today, Mercer Street Books appears to be thriving.  I bought a couple of books and chatted a bit with the clerk.  

I talked with a couple of other booksellers that weekend, too, ones who'd made the trip for the Locus Awards.  Obadiah Baird told me how well his stores, The Book Bin, in Salem & Corvallis, Oregon, has also thrived, even branching out into selling new books since the local Borders shut down late last year.  That seems to be the case nationwide.  Smaller, independent shops that have weathered the battle of the chain bookstores are thriving, at least temporarily—as long as Borders, not Barnes and Noble, was their main competition.  It's the best news the book industry has had in a long, long time.


This week's SF in SF event brings us two—TWO!—can't miss authors, Robert J. Sawyer and Rachel Swirsky.

Robert J. Sawyer is the Hugo and Nebula-Award winning author of over 21 novels, including Flash Forward and WWW: Wake. His newest book, Triggers, will be available at this event.

Rachel Swirsky is the all-star short fiction author of "The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers Beneath the Queen's Window." Check out her story, "A Memory of Wind" on to find out why she belongs on your favorite author list.

You can meet and Q&A with both these authors at SF in SF this Thursday, June 21st.

Doors and cash bar open at 6PM, event starts at 7PM.
$5-$10 suggested donation at the door, all money from the event goes to Variety Children's Charity.

All SF in SF events take place at:

The Variety Preview Room Theatre
The Hobart Bldg., 1st Floor — entrance next to Citibank on Market St.
582 Market Street @ 2nd and Montgomery
San Francisco, CA 94104

Right off the BART, so no need to drive!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Apes give great face

In celebration of apes everywhere, editor Richard Klaw has created a Facebook page for his forthcoming Tachyon anthology, The Apes of Wrath. Stay tuned for breaking news from the Rue Morgue, the jungles of Tarzan, the fables of Aesop, and outer space, where the apes in these fantastic tales boldly go where humans dare not.

Friday, June 08, 2012

More Praise for After the Fall

We never get tired of seeing our books get praise, particularly from folks we admire. Today's love is for the post-apocalyptic eco-thriller,  After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall by Nancy Kress.

Bookgasm—which you should definitely check out whenever you want to find out if a book is worth reading—gave After the Fall a looksee:

"An engaging, cautionary tale concerning the causes of our planet’s demise and its outcome...A very impressive and obviously heartfelt work."

Read the rest of the review here—but warning! Spoilers!

Locus Magazine also reviewed After the Fall in this month's issue. I've said it before and I'll say it again: if you are a science fiction or fantasy fan, you need this magazine in your life. This is our favorite bite of the review:

"After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall is a swift and engaging story about the end of the world as we know it."

The complete review is only available in the June 2012 issue, but you can visit Locus's website for previews of each issue, more reviews, and online content.