Tag Archives: science fiction

Meanwhile, in Classics…..

book of snobsWe installed the Second Story Cafe in our bookstore just over a year ago, and making that possible meant moving things around. Among the stuff that shifted in The Great Upheaval were the Classics, Art, Theatre, and Writing books. They all went upstairs to the place formerly known as “Jack and Wendy’s bedroom,” and spread themselves about in a dignified manner as we tore the rest of upstairs apart, getting the dining room and kitchen set up on either side of them.

Which means they are now isolated up there, poor things, all alone, a little island of thought in a sea of food.

Me being me, I worried. “What if we don’t sell as many? We always sold a lot of Classics before, and now they’ll be the only books up there, isolated, unable to socialize with the other genres ….”

“Steady on, dear!” Jack said. “They’re books, remember? They aren’t living things that think; they provoke thought in living things.”

Jack says our Classics sales may actually have increased since they moved up the stairs. “Perhaps they’ve moved up the ladder as well, getting noticed more.”

Me, I’m thinking that the sweet little students in scruffy hats, and the happy retirees in scruffy coats,  who used to buy our Classics don’t eat out much, but maybe when they do, they favor soup. Our Good Chef Kelley makes three soups every day, and I see a lot of the Barricade Brigade up there, not even removing their fingerless gloves as they enjoy soup in the garret while reading Les Miserables.

Come to think of it, I suppose the Classics do feel at home in their new quarters Certainly they no longer have to mix with the riffraff down on the shop’s main floor–the cheap science fiction tramps in beat-up paperbacks; the lurid thriller covers of horror; the demure looking girls, long lashes resting against cheeks as eyes cast down, gracing the covers of the Amish romances.

God save us from the Amish romances…..

No, really, I worried unnecessarily about the “isolation” of Classics upstairs. They’ve been waiting all their life for A Room of Their Own.

They never wanted to socialize with the other genres anyway. Snobs.

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Cleaning up the SF/Fantasy Section

sf catThe other day I tackled a job I’d been dreading. Only because it offered procrastination on a job I dreaded more.

So now we know: when it comes to cleaning and culling the Science Fiction and Fantasy shelves versus doing laundry, SFF wins.

Not casting aspersions, CJ Cherryh needed some serious attention along the spines. It’s the hazard of being shelved low in a cat-fostering bookstore; hair accumulates. And of course, the cats WOULD gravitate to Cherryh….. (Inside joke: for those who haven’t read her, she has a feline world thing going. I suppose if we had staff unicorns, they’d hang with the Anne McCaffreys. But do unicorns shed?)

And then there was alphabetization….The SFF shelves line the walls, but one sticks out, chest-height, at a right angle into the room. So, should A – or, as it’s known in the biz, Asimov, Anderson, Anthony – start on the wall or the sticky-out shelf.

It would have made more sense to plan this from the get-go, but not until I hit the Hubbards and Forgotten Realms (for some reason side by side in my mismanaged universe) did I decide the series would fit on that low shelf. So sensible, so orderly, so non-chaos-theory!

Until one tries to decide what a series is.

Star Trek, TekWars, Dragonlance – sure. But what about Jordan’s Wheel of Time, or Martin’s Game of Thrones? A chance to put him alphabetically next to, oh, say Meuller’s lesser-known trilogy would afford opportunity to see it while hunting famous people.

Yeah, we book sellers are sneaky like that.

But then there are the space issues (heh heh). Herbert’s Dune is the 1970s Hunger Games more’s the pity – but it’s just too MUCH to get all that shelf space devoted to it. So I double-stacked him in the series section.

It felt a little like sending a has-been to the minor leagues. Spaceball? Hmmm…..

Anyway, I got all the way to L (aka Lackey and Lawhead) before I had to decide again. Jack Whyte went to series, but Lawhead? He’s esoteric: Christian themes, fantasy SF combo… Should I put him next to Bradley in series? Oooh, talk about a catfight. Bradley’s lusty Merlin next to Lawhead’s lawful good guy? Eeek.

So yes, I admit my organization of the SFF books became rather random and “because I say so” toward the end there. Burroughs isn’t in series, but Tolkien is–next to Star Wars, poor sweet elves. Pendleton’s bad-guy survivor series is, Axler’s Deathlands isn’t.

Because space dictated it. Space, the final frontier? More like the final border. There’s only so much room, guys.

But I must admit, all this arranging got me in the mood for some fun, campy, spacing out. When I picked up my cat afghan crocheting that evening, I started in on Firefly, which is silly, and sweet, and has GREAT music. A friend described it as “intellectual, plus all the guys wear tight pants.”

Go by, mad world.

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