29 July 2013

FWS Topics: An Ode to the Bookstore

My wife and I recently took a couple's vacation to Austin.
While Austin is known for many things: tattoos, music, a statue to Stevie Ray Vaughan, and UT, it is also home to one of the greatest independent bookstores in Texas...the Book People. This was my wife's first time at the Book People, and we killed a couple of hours, forcing us to abandon the planned expedition to Ikea. My wife and I love bookstores, and when we were dating, we often closed down Barnes & Nobles after dinner. Yeah, that's right...I married a bookworm, and honestly, I love that my wife reads, and likes the sights and smells of a great bookstore. While there, I got into a discussion about David Brin's Uplifter novels, and bought a few books, while spreading the word about FWS. While I work on the upcoming massive blogpost about Powered Armor, I wanted to devote some space to the place where I fell in love with the world of wars on far-off worlds...the beloved bookstore. I hope that they never disappear. Seriously, if you are in Austin, check this place out, and if and when I get published, I'm going to do a book sighting there.

How You Know You're in a good bookstore

What I bought

My Wife Reading away

My wife in the historical fiction section

How you Know You're in a good Bookstore part II


  1. Christopher PhoenixAugust 1, 2013 at 7:10 PM

    That looks like an awesome bookstore, it has been a while since I last visited a good bookstore. I loved going to bookstores, my favorite places to visit with my parents were Barnes&Noble and Bookmans (a used bookstore that sadly no longer exists). I tend to order books from the library now, and they ship it to the closest pickup station, but I miss the fun of browsing through the shelves looking for a good book.

    One of my first favorite SF books came from Bookmans- I now have absolutely no idea what its title was, and have never found it again. I remember it as a collection of very pulpish SF stories, including one about a group of astronauts struggling to survive on a planet covered by giant spiders and woolly mammoths (!?) after being shot down by aliens trying to hide an FTL crystal mine located on this planet, and one about a space prison on the Moon where the inmates get free and capture the crew of a space patrol ship- while a giant, radiation-mutated plant scientists modified to survive in lunar conditions lurks outside, plotting to get in. XD It had some real stories of the space age, too, including those of some pilots who ascended miles into the sky on a high altitude balloon flight.

    There was a comic strip, too, about British space cadets who face various challenges from ruthless space pirates stealing Admiral Nelson's original, preserved flagship and dropping it in a Japanese lake filled with mutant dinosaurs (created by the atom bombing of Japanese cities, of course!) and alien infiltrators bent on stealing a high-technology space fighter to ascertain human defenses before an invasion. And a rigged race to Venus, as I recall. Seriously ray-gun gothic design on the ships, weapons, future cities, etc. If any of this rings a bell, I'd love to know what this book was called. I imagine it must have been old. Good lucking finding a book of tales of the SPACE AGE like that nowadays.

    Despite the cheesy SF stories, I suspect I can trace my love of SF and space travel back to this book, along with my nonfiction books. I found Ray Bradbury's "The Illustrated Man" and "The Martian Chronicles" pretty young too.

    Real, physical books are one of the best ways to learn, and to fire a young person's imagination... there is something about finding a new book on space travel, or a new collection of space age tales, and taking it down from the shelf to read that an Ebook can't replicate.

    I suppose that a true spaceage library will be entirely computerized and copy a thousand volumes at once straight onto a tiny holographic crystal that you could wear as an earring... but will it be as much fun? :D

  2. My hope that books never go out, because of the transfer of knowledge that can survive, unlike completely electric records. I have print-outs of FWS...just encase. I can remember the firs time I read the Martian Chronicles...what a great book, deep flawed miniseries. Those special bookstores, with the great smells, and great staff are some of my favorite places, and if I ever become a noted MSF author, than those are the places I will go to sign copies and met fans. One sweet day.

  3. Yep, that's how you know when you're in a good bookstore, when they have Glenn or Glenda


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