Newer readers may be wondering what I mean when I drop occasional mentions of my biblioholism. Allow me to elaborate. But before you start with the ridicule, know that I am aware I am opening myself up to it by doing this. So, if you insist on poking fun, exceed my expectations, will ya’, and make it really funny. As defined by me.
I regularly visit used bookstores. They are the best places to browse out-of-print science fiction and fortunately (or unfortunately) for me, Houston has an inordinate number of them. It used to be just me but in the past couple of years, the family has taken a shining to it. (Red Rum!)
My collection already contains more books than I could possibly read in my lifetime unless I was, say, augmented with Klausner-like nanotech, which has yet to be invented (sadly). I am honestly not bragging here – this behavior is illogical and, some would say, on the wrong side of sane. I think the affliction is the result of growing up in Long Island which is essentially a 100-mile-long strip mall. (Note to self: add “strip mall’ to list of phrases that make me giggle.)
I was doing well for a while. I think I went three whole weeks without stepping foot inside a bookstore. My recent visit to the awesome Borderlands Bookstore in San Francisco put the kibosh on that dry spell. I dare anyone with even a remote fondness for science fiction to step into that store without wanting to walk out with oodles and caboodles of crunchy, sf goodness. I couldn’t do it.
Anywho, in recent weeks, I found some good (to me) treasures that, while they are things I wanted, were not really things I needed. These titles fall into distinct categories. (Like Jeff from Gravity Lens once said, sf fans love to categorize.)
Gotta love the omnibus. Two or three books in one. Sometimes more! The Science Fiction Book Club publishes lots of em’, much to my biblioholic chagrin. Recent acquisitions:
- Robots and Murder* by Isaac Asimov
- Succession* by Scott Westerfeld
- Confluence* by Paul McAuley
- Evergence* by Sean Williams and Shane Dix
- Geodesica* by Sean Williams and Shane Dix
I am not a scholar of science fiction, just an enthusiastic fan. In addition to reading sf, I like reading about sf. Recent acquisitions:
- Science Fiction Writers – Critical Studies of the Major Authors from the Early Nineteenth Century to the Present Day – A massive text book that contains 98 (!) extensive author biographies and criticisms.
- The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction* – The essential hardcopy sf reference edited by John Clute and Peter Nicholls with many collaborators.
Who doesn’t like a spontaneous treat? The biblioholic will take Unnecessary Books for $100, Alex.
- Diamond Dogs and Turquoise Days* – There was absolutely no reason I wanted this other than (1) they were two awesome stories, and (2) the pretty U.S. mini-hardback is an upgrade from my paperback overstock U.K. version. This one was a tough call but I justified it by calling it a “treat”. This is what biblioholics do; a book becomes a treat like a good meal or night at the movies.
So here’s where the biblioholism comes in…
Those books denoted by an *asterisk* are books I already own in one form or another. You will notice that this includes all but one of them. That’s a sign of biblioholism; the repeat purchases outnumber the new purchases. My justification for getting these was basically bang for the buck; 2 or 3 books for less than the price of a new mass-market paperback. It matters not that I am spending money on something I already own. Logic goes out the window faster than book money flies out of my wallet.
In the case of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, this latest one is my fifth copy. Here’s how that went. (As if I could ever justify this purchase.) I bought the first one (in paperback) at a discount. Then I stumbled on a hardback copy for an even better discount. I figured I could keep one in another part of the house as if they needed to be within reach heaven forbid some unforeseen sf emergency occurred. The third one (another paperback) was even cheaper and there was an empty spot on my desk at work waiting (nay…yearning) to be filled. It was filled up nicely, too, until someone [looks at JP] decided it would look better on his own desk. I figured I might as well share the wealth. But that, of course, left the aforementioned empty spot on my desk again which, in turn, provided a reason to pick up copy #4 (another bargain paperback version) and fulfill the original but artificial need of having a copy at work. (You just never know when the fate of the world depends on a critical overview of the career of Lionel Fanthorpe.) As fate would have it, this recent 5th copy was only two-and-a-half bucks. How – how, I ask you – could I pass that up?
I think I’ll keep this one in the car.