How Do You Buy Books?

There are two kinds of book buyers: Hunters and Gatherers.

Hunters know exactly what they want. To them, it’s just a matter of browsing to Amazon or walking into a Barnes & Noble, picking the book and paying for it. Simple and quick, it’s over faster than you can read the dust jacket.

Gatherers (of which I am one) are browsers. They stroll into the bookstore perhaps looking for something to read, or just to see what’s on the shelves. Does anything pique their interest? What are the new releases?

I think people can be both Hunters and Gatherers depending on the motive or intention. I’ve Hunted for books before, although that’s rare because the huge backlog of books ensures that I always have something of interest to read. But sometimes I do look for a newer book because either (A) others I know are also reading the book and I want to be part of an impromptu book club, or (B) I want to finish a series for which I do not yet own the book. As an example for case (A), we have Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson. This was most definitely an impulse buy fifteen months ago, mostly because everyone else was on their way to a book signing to buy a copy and get it signed by the author. But as of right now, I have little desire to read it; it’s too daunting. An example of case (B) would be Foundation’s Triumph by David Brin. I had set a goal way back to read all of Isaac Asimov’s robots and foundation books (originally by Asimov and related by other authors) before the new millennium. Sure, it’s a geek thing, but hey, I’m a geek (or is it dweeb? Damn, someone really needs to tell me the difference). I achieved the goal but only because I had to Hunt for the Brin book to go along with all the other books I gathered. It’s like some innate ability allows me to adapt my shopping technique in order to consume more books.

I recently found that I am not alone. Others adapt their shopping technique as well. Are they Bibliophiles (or bibliomaniacs?) too?

I believe that most of the people I know are Hunters – they know exactly what they want. But what comes first, the need to hunt or the appearance of a target? Do they feel like reading a book and look for a recommendation? Or is it that they heard of a book and want to read it?

For Gatherer John, part of the fun of books is the browsing, stumbling across a good find (usually at a used bookstore – older sf appeals to me more than lots of the newer stuff). No, it makes no logical sense why I would continue to Gather when I already own more than I can read in my lifetime. But I do get enjoyment not just from reading a book, but from finding it too. So there.

The Incredibles Sweep The Annies

The Annie Awards honor achievements in animation. This year’s awards were held Sunday with a butt-load of the awards going to The Incredibles. Other winners included The Lion King 1 1/2, Lorenzo and SpongeBob SquarePants, but just about all of the nominees were deserving.

SfSignal Makes Top 40 List

SF Author and Asimov’s SF contributor James Patrick Kelly has posted a list of 40 interesting SF blogs. We’re proud – no – humbled…OK, we’re squealing like middle-aged geeks that we are – to be included (name misspelling notwithstanding). Now, if only we can leverage this auspicious occasion to wheedle an interview…


Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.

What book format do you prefer?


 (18 total votes)

EW Reviews SF

Noah Robischon, who reviews sf for Entertainment Weekly, has published another brief monthly roundup of recent sf books.

OLD MAN’S WAR by John Scalzi
Grade: B+
Lowdown: War‘s though-provoking first half overrides the sometimes cartoonish alien battles at the end.
CLEOPATRA 7.2 by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough
Grade: C-
Lowdown: The convoluted plot veers from thriller to fantasy, and needs major excavation.
HAMMERED by Elizabeth Bear
Grade: B-
Lowdown: Bear is talented, but this debut starts more good ideas than it finishes.
COYOTE RISING by Allen Steele
Grade: A-
Lowdown: An epic take on the challenges of starting a spacefaring civilization that would make Robert A. Heinlein proud.

Reynolds/Varley/Nolan Interviews

The SciFi Channel interviews Alastair Reynolds (Revelation Space, Chasm City, Redemption Ark and Absolution Gap), John Varley (The Ringworld series and Red Thunder) and William F. Nolan (Logan’s Run) this week.

SF Authors Behoax Unscrewpulous Publisher

Blogs are all a-buzz with a humorous experiment in which science fiction prove a point about a certain unscrupulous publisher. SF Author John Scalzi’s blog outlines the hoax and this website details it.

Basically, PublishAmerica is ripping off wannabe authors while providing no editing services and no marketing. The experiment entailed some authors submitting a horrible, horrible manuscript which was rife with grammatical, spelling and syntactical mistakes. The book, Atlanta Nights, was accepted as-is and a contract offered. Before you attempt to read the manuscript, make sure you are sitting down. It’s really, really bad. Pel Torro bad.

2004 Recommended Reading

Locus Magazing has released their 2004 Recommended Reading list. And boy is there a lot of stuff on there. I’ve read very few of the titles mentioned, and to read the rest would probably take me the rest of 2005, thus setting me even further back when the 2005 list comes out!

Look! Up in the Sky!

It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s…Ringo?

Stan Lee is working with Beatle Ringo Starr to create a new animated superhero based on Ringo Starr himself. What kind of superhero would Ringo be? How about an “evil-battling, Earth-saving—though reluctant—superhero with a great sense of rhythm.”

Uh…OK. Lemme guess…the arch-villain is Yoko. And he travels around in a yellow submarine, fighting crime.

Still More 30-Second Bunny Theater

Angry Alien is still at it. Now the list of animations include: The Exorcist, The Shining, Titanic, Alien, Jaws, It’s a Wonderful Life, Freddy vs. Jason, Scream and TX Chainsaw Massacre.

All of them 30 seconds long. All of them re-enacted by bunnies.

Upcoming projects include The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Pulp Fiction (cant wait for this one), Highlander, The Big Chill, Clerks, The Karate Kid, Thelma & Louise, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Night of the Living Dead and Weird Science.

Hitchiker’s Guide Toys has an article detailing the upcoming H2G toys, as distributed by Diamond. They gots action figures, plushes, and toys. Sweet!

I needs me a Marvin plush toy.

“Brain the size of a planet and they make me an 8″ plush, which some kid will promptly jam in their mouth and suck on….”

Way To Go Kenobi

At the risk of having John be called a Star Wars fanboy again, I thought I’d post the following fan parody of Episode III, The Lost Hope. It’s quite funny, with Yoday stealing the scenes he is in. And the whole EPT-1138 scene is just wrong. Funny, but wrong.

Episode III Opening Crawl

Lest I be accused of not living up to my unwarranted label as Star Wars fanboy, here’s a bit of news. The Episode III opening crawl has been released (click next on the page to see all 6 opening crawls).

Of Music And Zaphod’s Heads has part 3 of their Q&A with Garth Jennings and Nick Goldsmith about the upcoming H2G2 movie. I”m really interested to see how they do Zaphod’s heads. The TV series was, in the usual BBC TV manner, done very poorly. I hope this is better.

As for the Guide iteself, I always enjoyed, both in the books and in the TV series, the moments when the Guide would take over and explain stuff. The information always seemed to be coming from your smart aleck brother-in-law. I especially liked the entry on the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation. Classic.

REVIEW: Jennifer Government by Max Barry

REVIEW SUMMARY: A funny and worthwhile read.


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Satire in which a government agent investigates a murderous marketing campaign in a corporate-run future.


PROS: Lots of action; fast-moving plot; funny without overdoing it; a quick read.

CONS: Keeping track of characters and thinking about their interrelationships was a bit of a chore.

BOTTOM LINE: A worthwhile comical stab at corporate mentality.

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Xbox 2 thoughts

As I sit here and realize that we have had very few posts that might generate some comments over the last couple days (save John’s “asteroid” post.) I have taken it upon myself to wax poetically – okay not so poetically and definitely without wax. The topic of my thoughts go back to the coming of the Xbox 2 or Xenon as those in the know woud tell ya.

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Asteroid for Adams

Douglas Adams now has an asteroid named after him. I think he would’ve gotten a kick out of that.

Jealous? For $26, you could get a star named after you. To make sure you maximize the bragging period, be sure to get some asteroid insurance, just in case the big one hits.

A Terry Pratchett fan site

In the process of looking for a picture for JP, I came across this website: The Adventures of Cheery Littlebottom. The art is not so great but it does cover alot about Terry Pratchett and some of his characters from the Discworld novels.

Orson Scott Card, Firefly Fanboy

Like all right thinking people, Orson Scott Card realizes just how @$$-kicking double-plus good Firefly is.

Get the hence to a video store and/or NetFlix and rent said show!

DVD Commentary

Commentary DVD is a website devoted to (as if you couldn’t guess by the name) DVD commentary tracks. This is an interesting idea since the main appeal of a DVD commentary is the behind-the-scenes information that’s provided. This site summarizes some of the best comments. Like these tidbits from the BattleStar Galactica miniseries DVD.