Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Paperbacks, Where do you get yours?

Last we left off with the demise of the beloved used book store. Now we shall move on to Online.

Online books;

My first and favorite is the hugely popular PaperBackSwap.com. This is a tour de-force of online trading. And I mean trading. The basic primise is that books are traded book for book. Just pay for postage, no small change nor expensive, more like Goldie Hawn Locks, just right. The cost is from $2.50 to about $3.50. Now here is the interesting part, you don't pay the other person to send you a book. You post or list the books your willing to trade, then when someone wants one of your books, you mail it to them. When received you get a credit and can request any book. Then that book is sent to you by its owner and they get the credit next. This I have found is the cheapest and easiest of the online paperback acquiring methods, it does have draw backs; time delay is one of the smaller problems, the books are mailed 'media mail' and subject to lower rates, this means they can take longer to reach there destination. Choice is the next problem, allot of very popular, rare or expensive books don't show up very often. Then the biggest problem with SciFi is we readers of SciFi have a tendency to hang on to the books we really like. So head on over to PaperBackSwap.com, Sign up and start trading... and if you have any "Doc Smith" post them... ;)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Paperbacks, Where do you get yours?

In the world of SciFi Paper backs acquiring new books was almost as much fun as reading them and I seemed to put in effort as well. When young we seem to have much more time, a seemingly endless supply, I chock that up to everything being new or at least not as old. As we grow older the reverse seams to apply. Then add in the  money factor, younger not as much money, now that I'm older, I have enough. So when I was young and relatively low on currency, I spent all my time at the Big chain book Stores. Mine were Waldon's and Dalton's. Oh I belonged to the SciFi book clubs at the stores for a measly ten percent discount, not really much help there. Hardly ever looking into a used book store. In my own defense the SciFi dept in used books stores was always low on the SciFi/Fantasy. Now that I'm aged, I spend most of my time looking for used books or really good deals on new books, rarely paying more than three fifty a book. Another twist in the irony dept. I used to love the fantasy novels in hard back now of course it is the reverse, SciFi and paperbacks.

So how do we collect our treasured books?

Used book stores;

Long gone seams the day of used book stores, Especially the well stocked ones. I remember the area of old overland park, KS, with in a two block area where three great stores resided. These weren't some old dusty place begging you to buy something it was a smorgasbord. One shop even had an author autographed section of books. As time went on, or more accurately the internet grew, book stores new and used begain to dwindle, and left us only with the mega big super giant stores. The only outlet for used books now around here seams to be Half Priced Books. The others remaining hold outs have all gone.
1/2$Bks is a great used book store I make to or thee pilgrimages there a year frequently coming out with a small bag of goodies. When searching half priced books look for the older covers, The price of the book is half the cover price. So a book from the eighties and nineties will run you around two to three bucks but later printings of the same book can run four to five bucks. Not a huge difference but when I buy eight to fifteen on a single haul, that's eight of fifteen bucks or three or for more books.

Don't forget to check out front as well as the dollar racks. The key here is to look at every title, I've found many books here for just one dollar and they were worth the time. Like the classics? Many old classic books can be found bagged for one dollar. Last tip for 1/2$Bks, when you walk in ask someone behind the counter for a ten percent off coupon.

Next Post Online hunting for SciFi Paperbacks!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Ilium an Epic Novel

Ilium is set in mankind's distant future. Three stories unfold into a epic style journey only comparable in its complexity with its initial premise the Iliad. Mankind is now nothing but a shell of it former greatness, brought down by our lazyness, our ultimate demise. Unlike some distopia predicted by the likes of Gibson, Stevenson or even Tevis, this futrue is of opulence and decdence. Mankind neither creates, explores or builds, they live a dream life of being served and seeking only pleasure. On teriformed Mars at the base of Mons Olympos lies the plains of Ilium where the the Iliad is being replayed for the pleasure of the Greek Gods, all of them. Sent to investigate the happings on Mars is a team of robots/syborgs from depths of our solar system.

Unlike many dystopian futures of Gibson, Stevenson and Tevis, Simmons takes mankind down a more Wells or Clarke path. The advance technology, an ultimate liberating force, is the ultimate path to an Eloi way of life, sans Morlocs. Though the story of the remaining humans, after the Posts humans have gone, is a cross between Mockingbird and Logan's Run. The mind runs through "what would I do in that place" scenarios as we learn more and more about life after post humans. The world of earth is filled with the types of tech only the really future hungry can appreciate. The only thing none advanced is a the none faxing form of transport, walking or riding in alien pulled carts. Mankind has forgotten how to use most of the really cool stuff left around.

On the plains of Ilium the Trojan war rages on fueled by the Greek Gods. In the mix are a group of Professors called Scholics  specializing in Homer's Iliad. They observe the Iliad as it plays out reporting to the muses, who are in charge of the Scholics, any discrepancy's in the story line as it plays out. At first this is a bit tedious not quite as bad a reading the Iliad or for that matter any other work translated from Homer. The story does take on a life of its own as the the plot begins to thicken, in a way only the Greek Myths, or their modern day equivalent, the Soap Opera, can imbue. This then gets intwined with the robots from space.

Morvacs a race of robots inhabiting the solar system began to see strange quantum signatures from mars and notice odd figure heads poping up on coastlines across mars, reminiscent of easter island. Our Morvac mission comes under attack and almost comes to an end except for the aid of a cult like aliens "little green men". Even though they are not described as having three eyes I'm unable to see anything but the little green alien toys from Toy Story. The tail of the Morvacs is soon intertwined with the story of the Iliad being played out. 

Ilium was thoroughly an enjoyable read. I look forward to Olympos!