Minneapolis Star Tribune, Thursday, December 13, 2001
An Appreciation of Scott Imes by Don Blyly
Scott K. Imes, manager of Uncle Hugo's Science Fiction Bookstore for the last 25 years, died suddenly and unexpectedly on December 11, 2001, at the age of 52.
Scott grew up first in the Denver area and later in Utah and North Dakota. He graduated from the University of North Dakota with a degree in mathematics. In the early 1970s he moved to Minneapolis, discovered fandom, and it changed his life as he changed and enriched fandom. Within a couple of years he had quit his mundane job and become manager of Uncle Hugo's. He and Margie Lessinger became lifemates. He started helping first with the local convention, Minicon, and then with various worldcons. At MidAmericon in Kansas City in 1976, he was in charge of video-taping the convention and operating a 'round-the-clock closed-circuit TV network of fannish programming among all the convention hotels, the first time this had been done at a worldcon. As with many of his other projects, he gathered a team of friends to help, and then worked himself to exhaustion to get the job done. What Do I Read Next? is an annual library reference book of genre fiction. If somebody comes into a library and says, "I just read a great book-what should I read next?", the librarian can look up the book the patron liked and make suggestions of other titles to try. Scott assembled a team of friends to provide the fantasy and science fiction annotations for eight years. He figured that he put in so much work and was paid so little that he was only making about $1 per hour, but it allowed him to get his recommendations into libraries all over the country. Even after he stopped working on What Do I Read Next?, he continued to talk to various groups of librarians about science fiction and fantasy, and especially the importance of using it as a way to get young people hooked on reading.
He also made recommendations to customers at Uncle Hugo's. Over the last eight years he talked hundreds of people into trying Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton, getting them hooked on the Anita Blake series, and thus eventually selling thousands of Hamilton's books. He had hand-sold over 100 copies of Pilots Choice by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller before I got a chance to read it. Others that he vigorously hand-sold over the years included David Brin, Octavia Butler, Pat Cadigan, Julie E. Czerneda, Kate Elliot, Robin Hobb, J. V. Jones, Juliet E. McKenna, Lyda Morehouse, Sharon Shinn, Amy Thompson, John Varley, Vernor Vinge, and Sarah Zettel, as well as Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett and Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. Once Scott got behind an author, their sales at Uncle Hugo's would go through the roof. A few months before his death, he started pushing Ventus by Karl Schroeder, so I tripled our initial order of the paperback reprint, and it still wasn't enough. Ventus hit #1 on our paperback bestseller list for December because of Scott recommending it.
What really set Scott apart from the other people who work at Uncle Hugo's (all of whom recommend books to customers, though less vigorously than Scott) was his incredible memory for people. He would recognize people and call them by name as they came through the door, even if they hadn't been into the store in 5 years. (He was also good at recognizing people who had bounced a check years before and still owed for it.) He not only knew their names, but he often remembered where they worked, what their kids were doing, and what they liked to read-and he knew this for thousands of customers. Scott also took particular care to encourage kids to read and to excel in math.
Scott also had a great memory for books and short stories. As a couple of customers commented in a condolence card, they could ask him "if there was ever a sequel to the book with the little alien lizards that cleaned coffeepots. Not only did he know which book it was, he let us know the sequel sucked."
He was so successful at recommending the right books for the right customers that people would come in and say, "I haven't been able to get to a good bookstore in 2 years. Give me the 100 best books published in the last 2 years." He would go through the store, handing them his recommendations for their personal tastes, and they would end up with a "100 best" customized to what they had enjoyed in the past. And they were always happy when they got around to reading their personal "100 best."
Shortly after Scott became manager at Uncle Hugo's, Frank Herbert came through Minneapolis on a signing tour and ended up at a small party at Scott and Margie's apartment. Frank asked Scott why he had three copies of Dune on his bookcase. Scott said it was because his other 5 copies were currently loaned out to friends he had decided needed to read it.
Ever since MidAmericon, he had worried about all the irreplaceable science fiction and fannish programming captured on video tape, which is slowly deteriorating with age. He collected as much convention programming on tape as possible, and tried for years to get funding to convert it to another format before it is too late. Of course, there are copyright issues-sometimes not all panel members got around to signing a release, and the releases that were signed were often for "non-commercial use" of the videos, so that corporate money to turn them into midnight filler for the Sci-Fi Channel (for example) is not an option. Scott's attitude was to save it first or else there will be nothing to argue about in a few more years, and future scholars, writers and fans will never have a chance to see these older authors (many already dead) discuss their craft, their lives, their experiences with editors, publishers, and other writers.
A couple of days after Scott died a customer and close friend said, "Before I met Scott, I thought 'Pillar of the Community' was just a polite phrase. After I got to know Scott, I came to understand what the term really means." Both the store and the science fiction community have lost a major pillar.
I miss Scott a great deal, but I also feel fortunate to have worked side-by-side with him for a quarter of a century. He had a positive impact on the lives of thousands of people, often one person at a time.
28th 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 28th anniversary, we're having a big sale. Come into either Uncle Hugo's or Uncle Edgar's and get an extra 10% off everything except gift certificates. A discount card will save you even more-you'll get both the 10% savings from the sale and the 10% savings from the discount card. Come in and save on new books, used books, jigsaw puzzles, games, audio books, music, magazines, model kits, etc. With the sale discount, any remaining calendars will be 50% off. (Sales prices apply to in-store purchases, but not to mail orders.)
The 28th Anniversary Sale lasts Friday, March 1st through Sunday, March 10th-giving you two weekends to take advantage of the sale.
(A note to our St. Paul customers: We heard a lot of complaints because nobody in St. Paul received the notice of Uncle Edgar's Anniversary Sale in time to take advantage of it. The issue of the Newsletter with the information about the sale went to the bulk mail center the day before Thanksgiving, on November 21. Almost everybody had received their copy by November 29-except the people in St. Paul. The earliest anybody in St. Paul saw a copy was December 10, and most people in St. Paul received it even later than that. We know that people on the East and West Coast always receive their Newsletters sooner than the people in St. Paul. That's why we always stretch our sales over 2 weekends-to give the people in St. Paul a chance to get the Newsletter in time to take advantage of the sale. We're sorry that the St. Paul Post Office screwed up even worse than normal last issue, but there's nothing we can do about it.)
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 per category plus perhaps a sixth title selected by a jury. The Preliminary nominees for Best Novel are The Quantum Rose by Catherine Asaro ($7.99), The Wooden Sea by Jonathan Carroll ($13.95), Eternity's End by Jeffrey A. Carver ($7.99), Hunted by James Alan Gardner ($6.99), Dykstra's War by Jeffrey D. Kooistra ($6.99), Mars Crossing by Geoffrey A. Landis ($7.99), A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin ($26.95), The Collapsium by Wil McCarthy ($24.95), Deepsix by Jack McDevitt ($7.99), The Tower at Stony Wood by Patricia A. McKillip ($16.00), Distance Haze by Jamil Nasir ($5.99), His Dark Materials 3: The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman ($19.95 signed first edition hardcover or $6.99 paperback), The Outpost by Mike Resnick ($24.95), Calculating God by Robert J. Sawyer ($6.99), Brain Plague by Joan Slonczewski ($6.99), Written in Venom by Lois Tilton, Passage by Connie Willis ($6.99), and The Chronoliths by Robert Charles Wilson ($23.95).
The nominees for the Philip K. Dick Award (for best paperback original science fiction novel) are Ship of Fools by Richard Paul Russo ($6.50), Compass Reach by Mark W. Tiedemann ($16.00), Divine Intervention by Ken Wharton ($6.99), In the Company of Others by Julie E. Czerneda ($6.99), The Ghost Sister by Liz Williams ($5.99), and Meet Me in the Moon Room by Ray Vukcevich.
The Mystery Writers of America have announced the nominees for the 2002 Edgar Allan Poe Awards. The nominees for Best Novel are The Judgment by D. W. Buffa ($24.95), Tell No One by Harlan Coben ($22.95), Money, Money, Money by Ed McBain ($25.00), Silent Joe by T. Jefferson Parker ($23.95), and Reflecting the Sky by S. J. Rozan ($6.50).
The nominees for Best First Novel by an American Author are Open Season by C. J. Box ($23.95), Red Hook by Gabriel Cohen ($23.95), Line of Vision by David Ellis ($7.99), Gun Monkeys by Victor Gischler, and The Jasmine Trade by Denise Hamilton ($24.00).
The nominees for Best Paperback Original are Adios Muchachos by Daniel Chavarria ($13.95), Hell's Kitchen by Jeffery Deaver writing as William Jefferies ($6.99), The Mother Tongue by Teri Holbrook ($5.99), Dead of Winter by P. J. Parrish ($6.99), and Straw Men by Martin J. Smith ($6.99).
The nominees for Best Fact Crime are Leavenworth Train: A Fugitive's Search for Justice in the Vanishing West by Joe Jackson ($26.00), The Wrong Man: The Final Verdict in the Dr. Sam Sheppard Murder Case by James Neff ($25.95), Dark Dreams: Sexual Violence, Homicide, and the Criminal Mind by Roy Hazelwood and Stephen G. Michaud ($24.95), Base Instincts: What Makes Killers Kill? By Jonathan H. Pincus, M.D. ($25.95), and Son of a Grifter by Kent Walker with Mike Schone ($25.00, $7.99 paperback due early April).
The nominees for Best Critical/Biographical Work are The History of Mystery by Max Allan Collins ($45.00), Dashiell Hammett; A Daughter Remembers by Jo Hammett ($30.00), My Name is Friday by Michael J. Hayde, Selected Letters of Dashiell Hammett: 1921-1960 edited by Richard Layman with Julie M. Rivett ($40.00), Who Was That Lady?: Craig Rice: The Queen of Screwball Mystery by Jeffrey Marks ($21.95), and Edgar Allan Poe: A to Z by Dawn B. Sova ($17.95).
Robert B. Parker will receive the Grand Master Award.
The Dilys Award is given by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association for the book that was the most fun to sell. The nominee are The Cold Blue Blood by David Handler ($23.95), Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris ($5.99), Mystic River by Dennis Lehane ($25.00), Purgatory Ridge by William Kent Krueger ($23.95), and The Reaper by Peter Lovesey ($23.00).
The Hammett Prize is given by the North American Branch of the International Association of Crime Writers for a work of literary excellence in the field of crime writing by a U.S. or Canadian author. The nominees are Kingdom of Shadows by Alan Furst ($24.95), Mystic River by Dennis Lehane ($25.00), Silent Joe by T. Jefferson Parker ($23.95), Right as Rain by George P. Pelacanos ($6.99), and Hollowpoint by Rob Reuland ($24.95).
The Mary Higgins Clark Award is given for the book written most closely in the Mary Higgins Clark tradition of romantic suspense. The nominees are Murphy's Law by Rhys Bowen ($22.95), Summer of Storms by Judith Kelman ($24.95), Perhaps She'll Die by M. K. Preston ($23.95), and Murder of a Sweet Old Lady by Denise Swanson ($5.99).
The Lambda Literary Awards Finalists include the following:
Lesbian Mystery: Back to Salem by Alex Marcoux, Kiss the Girls and Make Them Spy by Mabel Maney ($14.00), Merchant of Venus by Ellen Hart ($13.95), Moving Targets by Pat Welch ($11.95), and Witchfire by Lauren Maddison ($13.95).
Gay Men's Mystery: Boy Toy by Michael Craft ($23.95), The Butcher's Son by Dorien Grey, Making a Killing by Warren Dunford ($13.95), Rag and Bone by Michael Nava ($24.95), and Sex and Murder.Com by Mark Richard Zubro ($23.95).
Science Fiction/Fantasy/ Horror: Bending the Landscape: Horror edited by Nicola Griffith and Stephen Pagel ($28.95), Bound in Blood by David Thomas Lord ($14.00), Gumshoe Gorilla by Keith Hartman ($16.00), Point of Dreams by Melissa Scott and Lisa A. Barnett ($15.95), and Vampire Vow by Michael Schiefelbein ($12.95).
Bending the Landscape: Horror edited by Nicola Griffith and Stephen Pagel is also a finalist in the Fiction Anthology category.
Sales Tax Changes
The state of Minnesota passed a bunch of changes to the sales tax law that went into effect on January 1, 2002, but only one aspect impacts the Uncles. Prior to the change, we didn't have to charge sales tax on shipping charges under any circumstances. Now, if what the customer orders is taxable (such as books to an address inside Minnesota), then we also have to charge sales tax on the shipping charge. If what the customer orders is not taxable (such as books sent to an address outside of Minnesota), then the shipping charge is also not taxable. We've changed the layout of our order form on the inside back cover to make it easier for you to figure the correct payment to send
Photo by Greg Cotton at Convergence 2001
"Sci-Fi expert Scott Imes dies at 52"
Minneapolis Star Tribune, Thursday, December 13, 2001