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Topic: Seasons Greetings from San Diego

From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego
Date: 12/24/2007

Happy Holidays Greg!

I finally caught Bill at Burgette Books, here in Normal Heights. Since your last exchange when you asked me to say "Hi Bill" every time I've gone down there he's been out, either across the street at the Post Office shipping stuff off for Christmas Shopping, or mining some one's estate.

Having not done thing one to celebrate Sir Arthur's 90th Birthday this month, other than watch his 10 minute message, I went down looking for a copy of Profiles of the Future, an out of print, but some one beat me to it. Still found many out of Print Clarke essay collections, and Bill had just gotten in used THE BUTLERIAN JIHAD, hard back, which he "gave" me for $6.

As we were finishing up our transaction I said "An old costumer of yours, who moved away, and used to shop with you when your store was over in Lemon Grove, asked me to send his Regards. You might remember him, he writes a bit of fiction from time to time...Greg Bear"

Bill had been nodding along, slightly interested, and his eyes LIT UP when I got to your name.

"I remember Greg! He used to come in all the time and buy history books from me. And lived over in Spring Valley. I know he's been writing and winning awards, but what happened to him?"

So I quickly brought him up to date that you were living up on the Seatle Area, writing away, and that many of your more recent works were bordering on the main stream, with your latest novel, Quantico, being pretty much a cross over, and that I actually had to find it in the Mystery section of Borders when I bought it new last summer.

He fondly remembered your earlier works, but said he hadn't had the time follow your writing for much of the last ten to fifteen years. I then mentioned that your next novel, due out summer of 2008, seem to be a return to your roots and Stapledonian influences, and that I was eagerly awaiting it.

So Bill says : Hi back!

On a similar note, earlier this month, I was charged with placing some of my Dad's antique furniture with various Antique Dealers along Antique Row near the west end of Adams Avenue. Once I completed my task for the Estate two doors down from the last furniture dealer was Papyrus Antiquities, a Store that dealt in out of print magazines from all decades of the 20th Century...and a great place to score copies of Galaxy Magazine missing from my collection. Popped in, grabbed three of my favorite issues from the late 1970s, and then started chatting up the owners of the store that I was in a hurry, but needed to come back once I figured out which issue's Greg Bear's stories where in...

In Stereo they said "Greg Bear! We haven't seen or heard of him in years, what's he up to?"

So I gave them a brief overview of your writing career since the early 1980s and that you'd moved the Seatle and started a family.

Eventually I need to go back and dig thru their shelves and look for those issues where your stories appeared.

Hoping all is Well with you and your family this Holiday Season, and Best Wishes for the New Year ahead (and the release of THE CITY AT THE END OF TIME!

Re: Seasons Greetings from San Diego

From: Greg Bear
Date: 12/24/2007

Hm... makes me wonder how many of my books end up in used book stores in San Diego! I usually manage to check in to Wahrenbrock's when we're down there for Comic-Con, but need to get to the Outlying Regions soon.

Re: Seasons Greetings from San Diego

From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego
Date: 12/24/2007

Regarding your books in used bookstores: More than a few, but it seems most of your readers consider them keepers.

There was a point when we had something like seven or ten book stores (some where gift stores as well) on the avenue that any store that had an SF section not only had some of your books, there would at least be one signed copy of The Infinity Concerto, and last time I was at Adams Avenue Books there was one such copy.

In Bill's collectible Paper Back area there is a copy of THE SERPENT MAGE which appears to be signed.

All that's on the shelves of the SF section in Paperback Row at Bill's store is one lone copy of ETERNITY.

Your work can be as hard to find used around hear as almost Anything by Tim Powers, and I should know, since I track both of your works in used book stores.

The only author I find more rare on the shelves is Philip K. Dick, which even after his '82 early passing I could still find rare and unusual paperbacks everywhere. Now, zilch...and that may be my own fault as I was talking up Phil's work to every book seller I could corner for more than five minutes all thru the 1990s, if they have anything, it's now in the special sections.

Book Row on Adams Avenue is pretty much gone, reduced to just two used book stores and one new/used (metaphysical) with the closing of Betty's Bookstore last summer.

Meanwhile, Bill's shelves groan with Gordan Dickson books that are sinking under layers of dust!

So look at it this way: Your writing has hit the point where it's in KEEPER STATUS, with very little of it getting cycled into the used shoppes. And your readership is still mostly your age and then younger. Eventually, though, your work will get back into the used market via Estate Sales, where Bill seems to be getting most of his rare sf paperbacks now. Almost all of my replaced Michael Moorcock New Wave SF came from the Library of a James R. Holly, via Bill's store, and he spookily had a lot of the same tastes in Science Fiction as I do.

Something to ponder as you work on the revisions of your current book: the personal library life cycle of all your books in and out of print out there in people's homes. A thougt to ponder on New Years Eve? An almost Borges meditation, a story that isn't quite a story...

Cheers!

MG

ps: Geez...I haven't been in Wahrenbrock's in 17 years, and I used to hit it at least once a month during the '80s. But living right on Book Row in the '90s spoiled me rotten for browsing, as I could go from store to store from 10 am to 6 PM on a Saturday, stop for lunch, and be within walking distance of home the entire time. Even Aardvark Books moved up here, right on the corner of my Block; but Forrest and Anne sold the business off to their friend Anne when she came into her Fortune, and last they told me they were running the Theosophical Library over on El Cajon Blvd...Aardvark was the third store to go when Book Row started to fade

Re: Seasons Greetings from San Diego

From: Greg Bear
Date: 12/27/2007

Ah, well there's quite a few used copies of my books available here in Seattle! I think web sales are accounting for an awful lot of transactions these days, and a number of stores are relinquishing bricks and mortar as a result.

Re: Seasons Greetings from San Diego

From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego
Date: 12/27/2007

The Dearth of used Greg Bear books in San Diego the last five to ten years may also be a "Favorite Son" thing going on.
I remember, way back in the day, actually finding in Book Stop III on El Cajon Blvd selling the first paper back run of HEGIRA nested in it's own special display on the front counter...and I think that was the first and perhaps only time they sold a new book. That WAS my primary used book store for classic paperback SF when I was at Mann and Crawford. And I remember that summer night when I walked into the store, saw the display and told the clerk: Hey! I've met that guy! I'll take a copy! completely forgetting what I had come into the store to browse for...

Re: Seasons Greetings from San Diego

From: Greg Bear
Date: 01/06/2008

Of course, I worked at Book Stop for a while a few years before that... Might make a difference!

Re: Seasons Greetings from San Diego

From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego
Date: 01/06/2008

I didn't know that! But it makes perfect sense. But probably long before I shopped there...but then again, we used to hit the Basken-Robbins 31 next door to it from the late-mid 1960s onward...which is how I found Bookstop #3...as I forwent a cone once for books.

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