If a used book store could have met or exceeded my expectations, Wonder Book and Video did just that. It’s about an hour from the house in Frederick, MD and there was some traffic getting there, but it was worth it. It easily rivals The Iliad Bookshop as one of the best used bookstores I’ve ever been to. And it far exceeds places like Strand in New York City in terms of the sheer volume of science fiction it contains (in fact, I think it out does Iliad as well–only Dangerous Visions had more back when it was a physical bookstore.)
I was a little nervous when I saw the place from the outside because it looked like a chain bookstore and not what I was used to seeing for used bookstores.
But once inside, I couldn’t have been happier. Here is a picture of a typical aisle of books in the store–just the way I like it, tall narrow and long with lots and lots of books.
Here is a picture of the science fiction hardcover and paperback aisle. The paperbacks are on the right, the hardcovers are on the left. In fact, the paperbacks go into another aisle back behind this one.
For those who don’t know, the Hugo Award is given for the “best of” in science fiction as voted by the fans who attend the annual World Science Fiction convention. It is essentially equivalent to the People’s Choice Awards for television and movies. The Nebula Award is given for the “best of” in science fiction as voted by the members of the Science Fiction Writers of America. It is essentially equivalent to the Oscars.
I keep a list of the books that I don’t have on a little notepad that I carry around with me. There are about 30 that I am missing. Well, was missing. After spending about 2 hours in the science fiction shelves along, I picked up 14 books.
- No Enemy But Time. Michael Bishop (Nebula Award 1982)
- Startide Rising. David Brin (Nebula Award 1983)
- Stand on Zanzibar. John Brunner (Hugo Award 1969)
- Flowers For Algernon. Daniel Keyes (Nebula Award 1966)
- The Wanderer. Fritz Leiber (Hugo Award 1965)
- A Canticle for Leibowitz. Walter M. Miller, Jr. (Hugo Award 1961)
- Rite of Passage. Alexei Panshin (Nebula Award 1968)
- Man Plus. Frederik Pohl (Nebula Award 1976)
- A Time of Changes. Robert Silverberg (Nebula Award 1971)
- A Deepness in the Sky. Vernor Vinge (Hugo Award 2000)
- The Claw of the Coniliator. Gene Wolfe (Nebula Award 1981)
- Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang. Kate Wilhelm (Hugo Award 1977)
- Lord of Light. Roger Zelazny (Hugo Award 1968)
But that’s only 13 books and I said I got 14. Well, the 14th “book” is actuall the Fall 1977 issue of Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, it’s 3rd issue (It began publishing in early 1977 and is still going on today). It’s the earliest issue I have been able to find and it was only $0.95 cents.
An the amazing thing about it, as is usually the case with a used bookstore. All 14 books cost be a grand total of $44, which is a virtual steal!
After the bookstore, I stopped in at Ruby Tuesday’s for some dinner (talapia and shrimp, cajun style) and then got ready for the hour long drive home. When I stepped outside the restaurant, the sky to the west was black and lightening was flashing all about (but no rain). I grabbed a picture to show just how dark it got. Take a look. It’s not nighttime here. That is a thunderstorm virtually on top of me.
So it looks like I have the rest of my summer reading taken care of. I’ll probably finish up Driving Blind this weekend. Then the big dilemma: which of these books should I read next?