April 11, 2021

From the Office

by Alan Beatts

Hearing about John Varley's current health and associated financial difficulties (see the news section above or read about it here - https://www.gofundme.com/f/helpjohnvarley) this month and also hearing the very, very good news that Peter Beagle has finally and conclusively beaten his scumbag former manager in court . . . .  

It got me thinking.  Booksellers, as a group, have pretty poor retirement paths.  But, there are a few professions that have even worse ones.  A friend once outlined the usual retirement for a fencing coach; "Work 'til your knees give out and then live poor in a hovel for your remaining years.  If you're lucky."  That's pretty bad.  But, the retirement of a full-time mid-list author isn't much better.  

April News

*Overheard in the store:

"He's hardly some Svengali. I don't think he could mesmerize a Pet Rock."

"When I sit down to read a Terry Pratchett novel, I know that nothing can hurt me until after I'm done."

(Small Child, to stranger): "You look like a witch!"
(Guardian of Small Child, shocked): "[child's name], why would you say that? That's really not a nice thing to say!" (To Stranger) "I'm very sorry."
(Small Child, totally confused): "It IS a nice thing! Witches are pretty!"

#1: "Oh my gosh -- it's a wall of Tolkien!"
#2: "Is that a good thing or a bad thing?"
#1: "YES!"

* This was a tough month for literature lovers:

RIP Norton Juster: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2021/mar/09/norton-juster-author-of-the-phantom-tollbooth-dies-aged-91

Larry McMurtry passed away at age 84: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2021/mar/31/larry-mcmurtry-obituary

And we lost beloved "Ramona Quimby" author Beverly Cleary at age 104: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/beverly-cleary-obituary-cmwnfx38t

* Photosynthesis without sun! https://www.syfy.com/syfywire/deep-sea-bacteria-spurn-the-sun-instead-using-earths-internal-heat-for-photosynthesis

* This was completely amazing; the real life (and much better!) "Lord of the Flies" -- what actually happened when six schoolboys were shipwrecked for 15 months: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/may/09/the-real-lord-of-the-flies-what-happened-when-six-boys-were-shipwrecked-for-15-months

* Have you ever wondered how they did the special effects in that particularly gross scene in John Carpenter's movie "The Thing"?https://filmschoolrejects.com/the-thing-chest-chomp/

* We're all thrilled that brilliant fantasy author Peter S. Beagle has regained control of the rights to his work following a lengthy court battle with his criminal former manager Conor Cochran!  Read the press release here, and if you'd like to follow him on Twitter (@Peterbeaglever1) or Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Peter-S-Beagle-107876501377186), please use the official links listed: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-last-unicorn-returns-home-renowned-fantasy-author--screenwriter-peter-s-beagle-prevails-after-multi-year-legal-battles-against-elder-abuse-and-to-regain-control-of-his-literary-legacy-301254107.html

* Esteemed science fiction author John Varley is recovering well from recent heart surgery, but could really use some financial help.  Varley is a favorite writer of the staff not to mention being an all around lovely person.  A Gofundme campaign has been started by Spider Robinson and Steph Herman -- https://www.gofundme.com/f/helpjohnvarley

March Bestsellers

1. A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine
2. The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson
3. Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
4. Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
5. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
6. Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson
7. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
8. Across the Green Grass Fields by Seanan McGuire
9. The Burning God by R.F. Kuang
10. Persephone Station by Stina Leicht

Trade Paperbacks
1. The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
2. The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu
3. Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
4. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
5. The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix Harrow
6. The Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky
7. Memory of Empire by Arkady Martine
8. Agency by William Gibson
9. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
10. Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. Dune by Frank Herbert
2. Calculated Risks by Seanan McGuire
3. Neuromancer by William Gibson
4. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
5. Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
6. Foundation by Isaac Asimov
7. Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
8. The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
9. The Thousand Names by Django Wexler
10. False Value by Ben Aaronovitch