February 3rd, 2016
Black Fractals is the official Black History Month program at Ontario College of Art Design University (OCAD) celebrating not only past and present achievement of people of African ancestry but also looking to the future.
This Saturday, February 7th, OCAD will hold Black Fractals: Call And Response Conference. Check it out.
In addition, they’re hosting the not-to-be-missed 4th annual Afrofuturism Art Exhibit.
February 2nd, 2016
Gentleman Jole And The Red Queen, Lois McMaster Bujold (we have signed copies!)
All The Birds In The Sky, Charlie Jane Anders
Revisionary, Jim C. Hines
Kingfisher, Patricia A. McKillip
I Robot: To Preserve, Mickey Zucker Reichert
Criminal Magic, Lee Kelly
Unhooked, Lisa Maxwell
High Mountains Of Portugal, Yann Martel
Mad Apprentice, Django Wexler
Shadow Cabinet, Maureen Johnson
City Of Savages, Lee Kelly
Dreaming Death, J. Kathleen Cheney
Best Of Bova: Vol 1, Ben Bova
Shadow Of The War Machine, Kristin Bailey
Fire Sermon, Francesca Haig
Charles Fort, Jim Steinmeyer
King Rising, C.S. Pacat
Alive, Scott Sigler
Exquisite Captive, Heather Demetrios
Blood Of Innocents, Mitchell Hogan
Remembrance, Meg Cabot
Prudence, Gail Carriger
Dead Heat, Patricia Briggs
Wickedly Powerful, Deborah Blake
Alchemy Of Chaos, Marshall Ryan Maresca
Visions In Silver, Anne Bishop
Winterwood, Jacey Bedford
Grave Visions, Kalayna Price
Graft, Matt Hill
Darkness Raging, Yasmine Galenorn
January 29th, 2016
The Merril Collection is one of the Toronto Public Library’s three Special Collections. Begun with Judith Merril’s personal donation of artifacts, the Merril currently houses the largest public library collection of SFF on the continent. We’re talking books, periodicals, art, correspondence, manuscripts, etc. It’s an amazing place. And it’s just a few blocks away!
For the next several months, the Merril is offering an ongoing Saturday program, ‘Curator’s Choice’, which will highlight different aspects of the collection. Free, and only half an hour long, these mini-presentations are a really cool way to get a sense of the depth and breadth of the Merril’s fantastic collection (and even more fantastic staff).
The Merril is on the 3rd floor of the Lilian H. Smith branch of the Toronto Public Library, at 239 College (one block east of Spadina). If you haven’t already visited, you really should.
January 26th, 2016
…and the upcoming freeze, and the thaw that will follow immediately thereafter, etc.
Staked, Kevin Hearne
Bands Of Mourning, Brandon Sanderson
Star Wars: Force Awakens, Alan Dean Foster
Dragon’s Return, Stan Lee
City Of Blades, Robert Jackson Bennett
Roadside Magic, Lilith Saintcrow
Night Study, Maria V. Snyder
Broken Hero, Jonathan Wood
Firefight, Brandon Sanderson
Skull Throne, Peter V. Brett
Daughter Of Blood, Helen Lowe
Devil’s Bag Man, Adam Mansbach
Castaway Planet, Eric Flint & Ryk E. Spoor
Mothership, Martin Leicht & Isla Neal
No Going Back, Mark L. Van Name
Brimstone Deception, Lisa Shearin
Graveyard, William C. Dietz
City Of Light, Keri Arthur
Fields Of Wrath, Mickey Zucker Reichert
First And Last Sorcerer, Barb Hendee
Midnight Taxi Tango, Daniel José Older
Unbound, Jim C. Hines
January 22nd, 2016
We got an email today from someone who’d read an article which claimed independent bookstores (not us, other stores) were ‘censoring’ conservative authors by refusing to carry their books. This author was worried the story was true, and was looking for more information.
I could go on for ages about the difference between reaping the consequences and censorship, but the email seemed to be in good faith and deserved a real answer. Our response, with names redacted, is below:
“We are Bakka Phoenix, a different bookstore entirely. We’re not going to comment on a rumour about XXX’s activities: that way lies madness and a lot of silly Twitter feuds. You might want to contact them directly (their website is XXX). Also, please note: from a Canadian perspective, Breitbart looks more like an outlet for the borderline-lunatic fringe than a credible news source.
But if you were wondering, we can assure you that we ourselves carry many books we find personally or politically reprehensible. Let’s face it, your left wing is somewhere off to our right, enough so that we’d have trouble even agreeing on the definition of ‘conservative’. Frankly, we find a lot of US political posturing completely unhinged.
But… so what? We’re in the business of selling books. Good books. Bad books. Titles some people love; titles others hate enough to throw across the room. Some books will transform readers minds and lives and be remembered for decades. Others will be forgotten immediately upon reading (or even partway through). We don’t have to like a book, its author, or its message in order to sell it. To suggest otherwise merely proves that the suggester spends very little time in actual bookstores.
The many wonderful independent booksellers I’ve met feel the same way. Independent bookstores exist for precisely that reason: to ensure that readers have the widest choice possible. So we — all of us — stock books we think our readers might be interested in, personal taste bedamned.
That said (read: rant over), economics is a sad truth in the life of all small businesses. If we find that a particular author isn’t selling as well as he used to, we will out of necessity order fewer copies of his next book. If we take a chance on a new author and her book hits big, we’ll order more copies next time around. Financial consequence is not censorship, no matter how it feels from the author’s perspective. We know too many authors not to understand that terrible squeeze from both sides.”
January 19th, 2016
This week’s new books include:
Radiant Road, Katherine Catmull
Medusa’s Web, Tim Powers
Deep Sea Diver’s Syndrome, Serge Brussolo
Killing Jar, Jennifer Bosworth
Barsk, Lawrence M. Schoen
Pagan Night, Tim Akers
Darker Shade Of Magic, V.E. Schwab
Funeral Games, Jay Allen
Darkest Part Of The Forest, Holly Black
Karen Memory, Elizabeth Bear
Three-Body Problem, Cixin Liu
Inside A Silver Box, Walter Mosley
January 19th, 2016
…is a rise in counterfeit US bills. Several stores have been hit in our neighborhood, and the locals banks have given us a warning (and a demonstration, which was even more helpful).
Thus for the next little while, we will not accept American bills of any demonimation at the store.
This may seem like overkill, but as a small business, we don’t have a lot of room for slack. With the exchange rate being so bad, a couple of fake US 50s = a part-timer losing a shift. And that’s not acceptable.
So if you must use US cash (and really, why? This is Canada), we’ll send you to the bank next door to exchange it first.
*to us, anyway
January 12th, 2016
This Census-Taker, China Miéville
Truthwitch, Susan Dennard
Only The Stones Survive, Morgan Llywelyn
Doom Of The Dragon, Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman
And Again, Jessica Chiarella
City Of The Lost, Kelley Armstrong
Book Of David: Hell, Robert Boyczuk
The Wildings, Nilanjana Roy
Ancestral Machines, Michael Cobley
Born With Teeth, Kate Mulgrew
Carbide Tipped Pens, Ben Bova & Eric Choi, editors
Finn Fancy Necromancy, Randy Henderson
House Of War And Witness, Mike, Linda, and Louise Carey
January 9th, 2016
Okay, from the looks of it, our phones have mostly been fixed, so we should be able to take and make calls now. Fingers crossed that it doesn’t go down again!
January 7th, 2016
It’s always fun to look back at which titles sold best over the course of the year. Here they are, by format (an * means ‘Canadian author’).
1. Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison
2. Rendezvous With Rama, Arthur C. Clarke
3. Foxglove Summer, Ben Aaronovitch
4. Midnight Riot, Ben Aaronovitch
5. Name Of The Wind, Patrick Rothfuss
6. Written In Red, Anne Bishop
7. Who Fears Death, Nnedi Okorafor
8. Hounded, Kevin Hearne
9. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman
10. Dune, Frank Herbert
1. Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie
2. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep, Philip K. Dick
3. Vn, Madeline Ashby*
4. Lilith’s Brood, Octavia Butler
5. The Martian, Andy Weir
6. Virga, Karl Schroeder*
7. Ancillary Mercy, Ann Leckie
8. ST: The Klingon Dictionary, Marc Okrand
9. Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie
10. Defiant, Karina Sumner-Smith*
1. Scorpion Rules, Erin Bow*
2. Inheritance Of Ashes, Leah Bobet*
3. Fangirl’s Guide To The Galaxy, Sam Maggs*
4. Shepherd’s Crown, Terry Pratchett
5. Uprooted, Naomi Novik
6. Book Of Spirits And Thieves, Morgan Rhodes*
7. An Ancient Peace, Tanya Huff*
8. The Affinities, Robert Charles Wilson*
9. Prairie Fire, E.K. Johnston*
10. Just City, Jo Walton*
- It’s not surprising to see Canadians dominate the hardcover list; we launch a lot of books for local(ish) authors. Like, a LOT.
- The #1 mass market paperback sold more than twice as much as #2. Because we loved it. Handselling works.
- Ann Leckie owned our trade paperback list this year.
- These top 10s aside, our most-sold author this year was Terry Pratchett. Only two of his titles made this list, but overall, we sold more of his titles to more people than any other single author. Which isn’t entirely suprising. And makes us happy.