46th Anniversary Sale

        Uncle Hugo’s is the oldest surviving science fiction bookstore in the United States. We opened for business on March 2, 1974. To encourage you to help us celebrate Uncle Hugo’s 46th Anniversary, we are having a sale. Come into either Uncle Hugo’s or Uncle Edgar’s and get 10% off everything except gift certificates and discount cards. A discount card will save you even more–you’ll get the 10% off from the sale plus the 10% discount from the discount card. (Sale prices apply only to in-store sales, not to mail orders.)
        The 46th Anniversary Sale lasts Friday, February 28 through Sunday, March 8, giving you two weekends to take advantage of the sale.

New T-shirts & Sweatshirts

        We are almost out of T-shirts and are getting low on some sizes and colors of sweatshirts, but we have to order at least 250 shirts at a time to get a reasonable price, and it doesn’t make sense to invest in new T-shirts in the middle of winter. We will be ordering a new printing of T-shirts and sweatshirts around the end of March. We normally order T-shirts in sizes adult small through XXL and sweatshirts in sizes adult large through XXL, but we can order smaller or larger sizes if we know that you want them before we place the order. The prices have stayed the same for the last six years, but we don’t know yet if the price will go up this time. The current prices are $14 for T-shirts in sizes up to XL and $17 for XXL; for sweatshirts the current prices are $27 for sizes up to XL and $30 for XXL. Add a few dollars for XXXL and even more for XXXXL.
        The shirts either have Uncle Hugo’s on the front and Uncle Edgar’s on the back, or Uncle Edgar’s on the front and Uncle Hugo’s on the back. For sweatshirts we usually go with ash (light grey), black, Kelly green, purple, red, and royal blue. We usually do about 10 different colors for the T-shirts, including the same colors as for the sweatshirts. The T-shirt manufacturers take some colors out of production and introduce some new colors each year, and we don’t know yet which additional colors will be available this year.
        If you are interested in placing a special order, let us know before the end of March what size you want, which logo you want on the front, whether you want a T-shirt or a sweatshirt,
and your preference for color. An e-mail would be best so that we know how to contact you when we find out what the cost will be and to contact you again when the shipment arrives.

Award News

        The Alex Award for 2020 for adult novels with special appeal to teen readers included A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C. A. Fletcher ($16.99), Middlegame by Seanan McGuire ($29.99, $19.99 tr pb coming early April), and Do You Dream of Terra-Two? by Temi Oh ($16.99)

        The Mystery Writers of America have announced the nominees for the 2020 Edgar Allan Poe Awards.
        The nominees for Best Novel are Fake Like Me by Barbara Bourland ($28.00), The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths ($15.99), The River by Peter Heller ($25.95, $16.00 tr pb due early March), Smoke and Ashes by Abir Mukherjee ($25.95, $15.95 tr pb due mid May), and Good Girl, Bad Girl by Michael Robotham ($27.00, $17.00 tr pb due early May).
        The nominees for Best First Novel by an American Author are My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing ($26.00, $16.00 tr pb due early March), Miracle Creek by Angie Kim ($27.00, $17.00 tr pb due early April), The Good Detective by John McMahon ($17.00), The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott ($26.95), Three-Fifths by John Vercher ($24.99), and American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson ($27.00, $17.00 tr pb due early March).
        The nominees for Best Paperback Original are Dread of Winter by Susan Alice Bickford ($15.95), Freedom Road by William Lashner ($15.95), Blood Relations by Jonathan Moore ($14.99), February’s Son by Alan Parks ($18.00), The Hotel Neversink by Adam O’Fallon Price ($15.95), and The Bird Boys by Lisa Sandlin ($16.95).

        The nominees for the Agatha Award for Best Contemporary Novel are Fatal Cajun Festival by Ellen Byron ($26.99), The Long Call by Ann Cleeves ($26.99), Fair Game by Annette Dashofy ($15.95), The Missing Ones by Edwin Hill ($26.00), A Better Man by Louise Penny ($28.99), and The Murder List by Hank Phillippi Ryan ($14.99).
        The nominees for Best First Mystery Novel are A Dream of Death by Connie Berry ($26.99), One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski ($16.99), Murder Once Removed by S. C. Perkins ($7.99), When It’s Time for Leaving by Ang Pompano ($16.99), and Staging for Murder by Grace Topping ($15.95).
        The nominees for Best Historical Mystery are Love and Death Among the Cheetahs by Rhys Bowen ($26.00), Murder Knocks Twice by Susanna Calkins ($17.99), The Pearl Dagger by L. A. Chandlar ($15.95), Charity’s Burder by Edith Maxwell ($15.95), and The Naming Game by Gabriel Valjan.

How’s Business?
by Don Blyly

        Nationally, it was not a good year for the book industry. Bookstore sales were down, while the rest of retail was up. Here at the Uncles, in-store sales for the year were down about 4% but mail order sales were up by about 34%, so overall our sales were up by about 2%.
        Then came January. The previous year January was known for the polar vortex, including three days in a row with low temperatures below -20 degrees, and we had to close for a while because the furnace stopped working during the polar vortex. This January we had very little snow and above average temperatures. It was so much easier to get around this January than last January that we expected to see a significant increase in business. That didn’t happen. But at least our heating bill was lower than last year.

        I read a report that there were around 1.5 million new self-published titles last year, a large increase over the 1 million new self-published titles the previous year. I also read that 93% of all books sold less than 50 copies per year. While a few people are doing well with self-publishing, the vast majority are not.

        The last 3 months have not been kind to Ecko, the store dog. She loves to drag me on half mile walks around the neighborhood near the store several times per day, being especially interested in the “sidewalk smorgasbord”. One day she found half a burrito on the sidewalk by the hospital; another day she found 2 slices of bacon on the sidewalk in front of the hotel. And there are chicken bones from Popeyes scattered all over the neighborhood. One morning she found something in the alley behind Popeyes and when I tried to take it away from her, I found that it was some kind of plant material instead of a bone, and she managed to swallow some of it. A few hours later, her legs started to shake, she looked frightened, and then she couldn’t even stand up. I took her into an emergency vet clinic, and they started asking me if she could have gotten into some anti-freeze, some household cleaners, some human medicine, etc. They then did a blood test and found THC in her system. Apparently somebody had dropped their stash in the alley behind Popeyes and she managed to eat some of it. The vet explained that a dog has over 100 times more receptors for THC than a human has, so she was very stoned and scared because she had never experienced anything like this before. She gave Ecko some activated charcoal mixed into baby food to help absorb anything still in her digestive tract and injected a lot of water under her skin on her back to make her urinate a lot more to flush the THC out of her system. $484 later, we managed to leave the clinic, having turned down the offer to leave her overnight at the clinic for observation for an additional $1000 plus. She is always so eager for food that I couldn’t tell if she had the munchies or not. She spent a couple of days at home in a darkened room and then returned to the store. (After this experience, I talked to another guy whose dog had also found a bit of weed while taking a walk, with similar results and a similar vet bill. This raises a problem with legalized recreational pot that I had never thought of before.) She didn’t learn any lessons about grabbing food-like items on her walks. Since she supposedly has a sense of smell around 10,000 times better than a human, I’m constantly amazed at how often she lunges for a cigarette butt on the sidewalk, thinking it is a chicken wing bone.
        About a month later she partially tore the dew-claw on her front right foot, probably while running up and down the length of the chain link fence along the back edge of the back yard, telling off somebody in the alley. That has resulted in several visits to the vet, some pain pills, some antibiotics, and hundreds of dollars in vet bills.