January 01, 2010

Notes from a DVD Geek

by Jeremy Lassen

Welcome to 2010. While most of the world is focused on James Cameron's latest special effects extravaganza ("Avatar," AKA "Dances With Smurfs"), I thought I'd start out the new year by going over some of Cameron's earlier efforts.  Cameron's first film job involved building miniature sets, and supervising process-projection on Roger Corman's "Battle Beyond the Stars".  Not a great movie by any means, but Roger Corman once again launches the career of a future Hollywood heavyweight.  Cameron's first directorial effort was still within the area of low-budget genre thrillers -- "Piranha 2: The Spawning". He was originally hired to be the special effects director, but the director quit before production started, and he inherited the big chair.

December Bestsellers

1. The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
2. Makers by Cory Doctorow
3. Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie
4. The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
5. First Lord's Fury by Jim Butcher
6. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
7. Transition by Iain M. Banks
8. Under the Dome by Stephen King
9. Boilerplate: History's Mechanical Marvel by Paul Guinan and Amanda Bennett
10. Time Travelers Never Die by Jack McDevitt

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. Soulless by Gail Carriger
2. Unleashed by John Levitt
3. This is Not a Game by Walter John Williams
4. Anathem by Neal Stephenson
5. White Witch, Black Curse by Kim Harrison
6. Princep's Fury by Jim Butcher
7. Chalice by Robin McKinley
8. Passage at Arms by Glen Cook
9. Implied Spaces by Walter John Williams
10. Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan

Trade Paperbacks
1. XKCD Volume 0 by Randall Munroe
2. Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
3. Zones of Chaos by Mick Farren
4. Booklife by Jeff VanderMeer
5. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith tie with Alive in Necropolis by Doug Dorst

Cafe News

by Alan Beatts

First off, please forgive me for the lateness of this newsletter.  Jude had it ready to go out a week ago (late, but not too bad -- given the givens) but she was holding it waiting for this piece and my article about ebooks.  For my part, it's been a _very_ long few weeks and, though I've had time to write, I haven't had the concentration to do so.

You faithful readers and customers probably have a guess as to what's been taking up so much of my time and brain-space.  The new cafe next door has been operating for just a bit over a month now and it's proving to be a fair amount of work.  Moreover, it's hard to switch gears from being the manager there (as well as the #1 dishwasher -- I tell you, I'm one fast devil with a bussing tray full of cups) to being bookseller guy.  But, I'm managing and things there are going quite well.  I'm lucky to have a great crew to work with (Jim, Chris, John, Naamen, Cole and Peter are just as pleasant and quirky a group as the folks on the bookstore side.  Just about as well read, too) and the day-to-day operations are getting to be routine.  I've seen a fair number of customers from the bookstore over there and it's been great to get your feedback and ideas.

I'm looking forward to getting some of the final bugs out of the operation over there and then settling in for the process of building up the business and customer base.  I hope to have the place operating in a mostly self-sufficient way in about six months or so and then I'll be moving my office back to the bookstore.  But for now, you'll find me in the cafe most of the time that I'm at work.  My desk is set up towards the back and I'd love it if you'd say "hi" when you stop by.

I've two little pieces of cafe business that I'd like to mention before I close this.  Firstly, I'm looking for local artists who would like to show their work at the cafe.  If that's your thing or if you know someone who might be interested, please drop me a line and we'll get something set up.  I'm open to most sorts of static art and I would be proud to feature our customers' work.

Secondly, if you have a group of some sort that could use a place to meet, please consider meeting at the cafe.  We've plenty of room and I would be happy to reserve space for groups that need a place to meet.  Providing that sort of service was one of my original goals when I started planning this and I'd love to make it a reality.

In closing, I hope that the new year is treating you well and bringing you all that you hope.

Overheard at the Store

Okay, so normally this section is called "Overheard at the Con," and we only print it when we attend conventions & overhear things at them.  Well, you guys are just so gosh-darn quotable that we'll be expanding the section to include funny, out-of-context things we occasionally overhear at the store, too.  (And no fair oh-so-casually dropping funny quotes just so we'll include them in the newsletter!)

"I'm just at the part where the werewolf kisses her.  It's gone on for four pages; it's pretty intense!"

"I want to stab law school in the face."