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Newsletter #45 March - May, 1999

Happy Birthday to Us

        Uncle Hugo's is the oldest surviving science fiction bookstore in the United States. We opened for business on March 2, 1974. To celebrate our 25th anniversary, we're declared a "We've Been Bringing You the Future for a Quarter Century" Sale. Everything at both Uncle Hugo's and Uncle Edgar's will be at least 10% off March 1-7, any remaining calendars will be 50% off, and there will be other markdowns throughout both Uncles. We're also having a lot of author appearances over the next few months to help celebrate--see the listing on the back cover.

Award News

        The Mystery Writers of America have announce the nominees for the 1999 Edgar Allan Poe awards, with the winners to be announced April 29, 1999. The nominees for Best Novel are Mr. White's Confession by Robert Clark ($24.00), Blood Work by Michael Connelly ($23.95, signed copies available), Beyond Recall by Robert Goddard ($25.00), The Last Days of Il Duce by Domenic Stansberry ($22.00), and A Likeness in Stone by J. A. Wallis ($22.95). The nominees for Best First Novel by An American Author are Reckless Homicide by Ira Genberg ($6.99), Cold Day in Paradise by Steve Hamilton ($22.95), Numbered Account by Christopher Reich ($7.99 or $24.95 signed hc), Nice by Jen Sacks ($21.95), and A Criminal Appeal by D. R. Shanker ($23.95). The nominees for Best Paperback Original include Atlanta Graves by Ruth Birmingham ($5.99), Butcher's Hill by Laura Lippman ($5.99), Zen Attitude by Sujata Massey ($5.99), The Widower's Two-Step by Rick Riordan ($5.99), and Murder Manual by Steven Womack ($5.99).
        The American Library Association gave Anne McCaffrey the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement.
        The Preliminary Nebula Ballot consists of all works that received at least 10 nominations. The Final Nebula Ballot will contain the top five vote-getters plus perhaps a sixth title added by a jury. The Preliminary nominees for best novels are The Last Hawk by Catherine Asaro ($6.99), Alpha Centauri by William Barton & Michael Capobianco ($6.99), Cosm by Gregory Benford ($6.99), Komarr by Lois McMaster Bujold ($22.00 signed hc, $6.99 pb due early April), Days of Cain by J. R. Dunn ($3.99), The Pleistocene Redemption by Dan Gallagher ($9.95), Commitment Hour by James Alan Gardenr ($5.99), The Dazzle of Day by Molly Gloss ($12.95), Forever Peace by Joe Haldeman ($6.50), Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson ($12.99), Maximum Light by Nancy Kress ($5.99), Moonfall by Jack McDevitt ($6.50), Cold Iron by Melisa Michaels ($5.99), Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman by Walter M. Miller, Jr. ($23.95), Once A Hero by Elizabeth Moon ($6.99), Vast by Linda Nagata ($5.99), Hand of Prophecy by Severna Park ($5.99), Kirinyaga by Mike Resnick ($25.00), Children of God by Mary Doria Russell ($12.95), Frameshift by Robert J. Sawyer ($6.99), Jovah's Angel by Sharon Shinn ($6.50), The Night Watch by Sean Stewart ($6.50), Island in the Sea of Time by S. M. Stirling ($6.99), Reckoning Infinity by John Stith ($5.99), Jack Faust by Michael Swanwick ($12.50), How Few Remain by Harry Turtledove ($7.99), The Merro Tree by Katie Waitman ($5.99), To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis ($6.50), and Darwinia by Robert Charles Wilson ($22.95, signed copies). According to the traditional way of doing things, the 1998 Nebula should be for a work first published in the U.S. in 1998, and a majority of these nominees were first published in the U.S. in 1997. But last year 3/4 of the preliminary nominees were also from the wrong year and the eventual winner was from the correct year.
        The nominees for the 1998 Philip K. Dick Award for best sf published in the U.S. in paperback original form in 1998 are 253: The Print Remix by Geoff Ryman ($14.95), Lost Pages by Paul Di Filippo ($15.95), Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson ($12.99), Slaughtermatic by Steve Aylett ($13.95), and The Invisible Country by Paul J. McAuley ($13.50).
        The nominees for the British Science Fiction Association Award in the novel catagory are To Hold Infinity by John Meaney, The Cassini Division by Ken MacLeod, The Extremes by Christopher Priest, Inversions by Iain M. Banks, and Queen City Jazz by Kathleen Ann Goonan.
        The Lambda nominees for Best Lesbian Mystery are Blue Place by Nicola Griffith ($23.00),Wicked Games by Ellen Hart ($24.95, signed copies available), Mother May I by Randye Lordon ($5.99), and Past Due by Clair McNab ($11.95). The nominees for Best Gay Men's Mystery are Uprising by Randy Boyd, Federal Fag by Fred Hunter ($11.95), Dead As A Doornail by Grant Michael ($22.95),Strachey's Folly by Richard Stevenson ($22.95), and Outburst by R. D. Zimmerman ($21.95). The nominees for Best Gay and Lesbian SF/Fantasy are Bending the Landscape: Science Fiction edited by Nicola Griffith & Stephen Pagel ($26.95), Desmond by Ulysses Dietz ($13.95), Falling to Earth by Elizabeth Brownrigg ($12.95), Galilee by Clive Barker ($7.50), and Things Invisible to See by Lawrence Schimel ($12.95).
        And now for something completely different: If you have internet access, you might want to look at www.crimepays.com/nevermor.htm
for a report on the Nevermore Awards, a send-up of the Edgar Awards given the evening before the annual Edgar Award ceremony. Among the awards given last year were the "Graphic Violence" Award for the Most Egregiously Destructive Art (in both hardcover and paperback divisions), the "Unsound Byte" Award for Lamest Jacket Endorsement (in both hardcover and paperback divisions), the "Testosterone on the Rise" Award for macho heroics, and the "Hole-in-One (Lung)" Award of the sleuth with the most serious chronic disabilities. Included are photos of authors at the event, letters of acceptance, letters of rejection, and a report on catagories in previous years.

Regarding Magazines
by Don Blyly

        Various people have commented over the years, both pro and con, about the fact that Uncle Hugo's has always carried a small selection of adult-only magazines. On a few occasions I've received thoughtful letters on the issue, and I've written back explaining my views, but I've never before discussed the situation in the newsletter.
        Briefly, dealing with magazines (and especially the local magazine wholesaler) can be a real pain in the neck. But most new authors in the science fiction and mystery fields have traditionally gotten started by writing short fiction for the specialty magazines, so I've always considered it important to try to support the science fiction and mystery magazines, although the work involved in dealing with magazines far exceeds the financial benefit from the specialty magazines. In an attempt to make all the work closer to being worth the effort, we've also carried a small selection of the adult-only magazines from the local wholesaler.
        The local wholesaler has always acted as if he should control what we carry in the store, and as a result has alway sent us many, many more titles than we want. About every six months I would take in a list of up to fifty titles that the wholesaler had added to my order and tell them to stop sending those titles. On average, less than 1/3 of the titles the wholesaler insisted on sending to Uncle Hugo's ever hit the shelf--the rest got returned at our first opportunity. Even on titles that we did sell, we would often get 10 to 15 times as many copies as we could sell. It made for big bills, lots of wasted paper, and lots of unnecessary work for everybody. Naturally, I kept trying to get the number of copies cut back to more reasonable numbers, but that had no more success than my efforts to get them to only send the titles I wanted.
        The local wholesaler has finally noticed that they have a problem with too many returns, and they have brilliantly decided that the fault lies with their customers for not selling enough of the junk the wholesaler decides to send to the customers. They've announced a new way of doing business--they will only send the titles that the customer requests in the quantity that the customer requests (Gasp!), but they will only sell on a non-returnable basis at a ridiculous discount, they only offered me 2 titles that I've ever put on the shelf at Uncle Hugo's (both adult-only titles--no science fiction or mystery titles were offered), and they will hit me with a $10 per week service charge just for the privilege of doing business with them. So, I will no longer be doing business with them, and we will no longer be stocking Playboy, Penthouse, etc. But we will continue to carry the science fiction and mystery magazines from other sources.

Robert Crais Update

        Last newsletter we announced that we expected to receive a new Robert Crais hardcover, Devil's Cantina, around the middle of January. The book never arrived. After we ordered the book, the author pulled the novel back from that publisher and sold it to another publisher, who changed the title and insisted on a different ending. The novel will now be titled L. A. Requiem and will arrive around the middle of June.

Small Press Titles

        As the large publishers have concentrated more on new titles by big-name authors, it has become increasingly difficult to get good older books back into print and sometimes even new books by good writers are not welcome with the large publishers, especially if the writers want the older books of a series brought back into print along with the newest addition to the series. Some small press editions of very sought-after books have recently arrived.
        Barry Hughart's Bridge of Birds won the World Fantasy Award, and has been relatively easy to find in paperback from Del Rey Books for most of the time since it won the award. A fantasy/mystery crossover set in an ancient China filled with magic and gods meddling in the affairs of humans, it features Master Li Kao, an aged scholar with a "slight flaw in his character" (in other words, he's the most skilled con-man of his period), and his young assistant Number Ten Ox. Two later novels in the series, The Story of the Stone and Eight Skilled Gentlemen, were briefly in print, but have been very difficult to find for many years. Just after the last issue of the newsletter went to the printer, we received a new omnibus edition of all three novels, titled The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox, priced at $19.95 in trade paper or $45.00 for a signed (by both author Barry Hughart and artist Kaja Foglio) hardcover edition. This was Uncle Hugo's best selling trade paperback for both December and January. Unfortunately, there is no word of a fourth novel.
        About a decade ago Steve Miller and Sharon Lee put out three very popular fast-action science fiction novels, Agent of Change, A Conflict of Honors, and Carpe Diem, which are set in the same universe. They tried without success to find a large publisher who would reprint the earlier books and print more books in the series, but eventually had to turn to a small publisher. The fourth book in the series, Plan B, should have arrived by the time you receive this newsletter, $30.00 for hardcover or $14.00 for trade paperback. There are plans to put the first three novels back into print, as well as publishing more new books in the series.
        Rue Morgue Press has been putting back into print a number of classic mysteries from the 1930s and 1940s, and we've been hearing very favorable comments from customers who've sampled them. Titles so far are The Man From Tibet ($14) by Clyde B. Clason, Murder is a Collector's Item ($14) by Elizabeth Dean, The Black Gloves ($14), The Black Honeymoon ($14) , and Great Black Kanba ($14) by Constance & Gwenyth Little, Murder, Chop Chop ($13) by James Norman, and Cook Up a Crime ($13) by Charlotte Murray Russell.

Signed Books

        George R. R. Martin was scheduled for a February 19th signing, too late to get the notice in the last issue of the newsletter. We expect to have lots of extra signed copies of A Game of Throne ($6.99) and the sequel A Clash of Kings ($25.95) by the time you receive this issue of the newsletter.
        Uncle Edgar's now has signed copies of Jane and the Genius of the Place by Stephanie Barron ($22.95), Death in a Cold Hard Light by Francine Mathews ($23.95), and My Face Among Strangers by Seymour Shubin ($23.95).
        Some of the larger publishers have started promising signed first editions of selected titles if you order at least 10 copies pre-publication, and the last time they promised signed copies they actually delivered signed copies 80% of the time. For the spring, they've promised that we'll receive signed copies of Dorothy Cannell's The Trouble With Harriet ($21.95, May) and Anne McCaffrey's The Tower and the Hive ($23.95, May, Rowan series). The last time they made a similar promise, the Cannell came in signed and the McCaffrey came in unsigned.
        I've mentioned before that we sometimes have "drive-by signings", where an author is in town to do a formal signing at one of the big chain stores, but drops in briefly to sign stock and chat for a couple of minutes at a number of other stores. We've been told that Nevada Barr will swing by for a few minutes to sign stock at the end of March--which means we can probably get her to personalize copies of her new hardcover, Liberty Falling ($23.95, due late March) if you let us know in advance. It's nice to get this kind of advance warning--it's more common to get a couple of hours warning at most.
        We received a bizarre offer of a signing opportunity last fall, but I won't mention the author (who I'm sure had no idea what the publisher was pulling) or the publisher. The author has appeared here before and drew a good crowd, and we would have been happy to have him back again. But the publisher demanded (1) that we order a minimum of 200 copies of his new hardcover in order to get the author, and (2) that we agree not to sell any of the author's books from any other publisher while the author was in the store. In 25 years in business, we've only had one author (Anne McCaffrey) sell 200 copies in hardcover during a signing, so I view the first demand as an attempt by the publisher to make sure there are plenty of copies of the hardcover left over to be remaindered when the paperback comes out in a year. But the second demand was so offensive (to the author, to the customers, and to the bookseller that would be doing the work of hosting and promoting the event) that I didn't bother to respond.
        We've been told that Neal Stephenson will be coming to Minneapolis on a signing tour for his new hardcover, Cryptonomicon ($29.50, due early May), and we've been trying to convince the publisher to send him to Uncle Hugo's, but haven't heard back yet.
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