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Newsletter #59 September - November, 2002

Used Book Sale

        I mentioned last issue how drastically sales dropped at the Uncles in April. We then had improved sales in May and June, enough better to make up about 1/3 of April's drop in sales. In July sales dropped very seriously again. So, let's have a sale and try to sell some more books!
        All used books will be 20% off, whether you have a discount card or not. The sale includes used paperbacks, used hardcovers, used magazines, and bagged books. The sale will run Friday, August 30 through Sunday, September 8--that gives you two weekends to haul away bargains. We will be closed Monday, September 2 for Labor Day. The sale will only be for customers shopping in the store--it does not apply to mail orders.

Award News

        The British Science Fiction Association Award for Best Novel went to Chasm City by Alastair Reynolds ($23.95), which is the sequel to Revelation Space ($7.99).

        The James Tiptree Jr. Award is given annually to a work of science fiction or fantasy that explores and expands gender roles. The 2001 Award went to The Kappa Child by Hiromi Goto, and the other finalists were Half Known Lives by Joan Givner, Dark Light by Ken MacLeod ($24.95), The Song of the Earth by Hugh Nissenson ($24.95, signed first editions), and The Fresco by Sheri S. Tepper ($7.50).
        The 2001 Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel went to American Gods by Neil Gaiman ($7.99). The other finalists were From the Dust Returned by Ray Bradbury ($23.00),, The Lost by Jack Ketchum ($5.99), and Black House by Stephen King and Peter Straub ($28.95).

        The Locus Awards are voted on by the readers of Locus: The Magazine of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Field. The 2002 winners include Best SF Novel to Passage by Connie Willis ($6.99), Best Fantasy Novel to American Gods by Neil Gaiman ($7.99), Best First Novel to Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey ($7.99), Best Art Book to Spectrum 8: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art edited by Cathy & Arnie Fenner ($27.00), Best Collection to Tales From Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin ($13.95), and Best Anthology to The Year's Best Science Fiction: Eighteenth Annual Collection edited by Gardner Dozois ($18.95). Complete information about all the categories, the vote totals, etc. can be found in Locus Issue #499 ($4.95).

        Terry Pratchett's The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents ($16.95) won the 2002 Carnegie Medal.

        The nominees for this year's World Fantasy Awards in the novel category are American Gods by Neil Gaiman ($7.99), Brown Harvest by Jay Russell, The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold ($25.00 signed first edition), From the Dust Returned by Ray Bradbury ($23.00), The Onion Girl by Charles de Lint ($14.95), The Other Wind by Ursula K. LeGuin ($25.00), and The Wooden Sea by Jonathan Carroll ($13.95).

        The Mythopoeic Award for Adult Literature was won by The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold ($25.00 signed first edition, $7.99 pb due early October, signing at Uncle Hugo's Saturday, October 19).

        This year's Prix Aurora Awards for works of Canadian SF included In the Company of Others by Julie E. Czerneda ($6.99) in the category of Best Long-Form Work in English. (She also won for short-form.)

        The Arthur Ellis Award (given by the Crime Writers of Canada) for best novel went to In the Midnight Hour by Michelle Spring ($23.00).

        The nominees for the 2002 Anthony Award include the following.
        Best Novel: The Devil Went Down to Austin by Rick Riordan ($6.50), Flight by Jan Burke ($6.99), Mystic River by Dennis Lehane ($25.00 signed hc or $7.99 pb), Reflecting the Sky by S. J. Rozan ($6.50), and Tell No One by Harlan Coben ($6.99 or $22.95 signed hc).
        Best First Novel: Austin City Blue by Jan Grape, The Jasmine Trade by Denise Hamilton ($24.00), Open Season by C. J. Box ($6.50), Third Person Singular by K. J. Erickson ($24.95 signed hc or $6.99 pb), and A Witness Above by Andy Straka ($5.99).
        Best Paperback Original: Dead of Winter by P. J. Parrish ($6.99), Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris ($5.99), Dim Sum Dead by Jerrilyn Farmer ($5.99), The Houdini Specter by Daniel Stashower ($6.50), and A Kiss Gone Bad by Jeff Abbott ($6.99).
        Best Non-Fiction/Critical Work: Dashiell Hammett: A Daughter Remembers by Jo Hammett, The History of Mystery by Max Allan Collins ($45.00), Seldom Disappointed: A Memoir by Tony Hillerman ($26.00), Who Was That Woman? Craig Rice: The Queen of Screwball Mystery by Jeffrey Marks ($21.95), and Writing the Mystery: A Start to Finish Guide for Both Novice and Professional by G. Miki Hayden.

Signed Books

        Since the last issue of the newsletter, Steven Brust stopped by Uncle Hugo's and signed Issola ($23.95), The Book of Jhereg ($15.00 trade pb of Jhereg, Yendi, and Teckla), The Book of Taltos ($14.00 trade pb of Taltos and Phoenix), The Sun, the Moon, & the Stars ($11.95), and To Reign in Hell ($13.95). By the time you receive the newsletter, we should have signed copies of Katya Reimann's Prince of Fire and Ashes ($27.95).
        Uncle Edgar's has gotten the following signed books: C. J. Box's Savage Run ($23.95), Andrea Camilleri's The Shape of Water ($19.95), Mark Coggin's Vulture Capital ($26.00), David Fulmer's Chasing the Devil's Tale ($24.95), Elizabeth Gunn's Seventh Inning Stretch ($23.95), Steve Hamilton's North of Nowhere ($23.95), Kathleen Hills' Past Imperfect ($24.95), Alex Kava's The Soul Catcher ($24.95), Nora Kelly's Hot Pursuit ($24.95), Keith Miles' Bermuda Grass ($24.95), Mike Nichols' The Waking ($24.95), Dana Stabenow's A Fine and Bitter Snow ($24.95), and Blair Walker's Don't Believe Your Lying Eyes ($22.95).

House of Stratus

        House of Stratus is a British publisher that has put back into print a huge number of long-out-of-print titles in very nice trade paperback editions, and they've just started distributing in the U.S. Just before the newsletter went to the printer, we received our first shipment of about 130 titles. The only book of interest to Uncle Hugo's was Trillion Year Spree, a history of the science fiction field by Brian Aldiss and David Wingrove ($14.95). All the other titles were mysteries:
        E. C. Bentley: Trent Intervenes and Other Stories ($11.50), Trent's Own Case ($12.95).
        John Buchan: Castle Gay ($12.95), The Dancing Floor ($12.95), Gordon at Khartoum ($16.50), Greenmantle (12.95), The House of the Four Winds ($12.95), Huntingtontower ($12.95), The Island of Sheep ($11.50), A Prince of Captivity ($11.50), The Three Hostages ($12.95).
        Henry Cecil: Alibi For a Judge ($11.50), Hunt the Slipper ($11.50), No Bail For the Judge ($11.50), Cross Purposes ($11.50), Tell You What I'll Do ($11.50), The Wanted Man ($11.50), Natural Causes ($11.50), No Fear or Favor ($11.50), Truth With Her Boots On ($11.50).
        Freeman Wills Crofts: The 12:30 From Croydon ($12.95), The Antidote to Venom ($12.95), Anything to Declare? ($11.50), The Box Office Murders ($12.95), Crime at Guildford ($12.95), Death on the Way ($12.95), Fatal Venture ($12.95), Fear Comes To Chalfont ($12.95), French Strikes Oil ($12.95), Golden Ashes ($12.95), The Groote Park Murder ($11.50), The Hog's Back Mystery ($12.95), James Tarrant, Adventurer ($12.95), A Losing Game ($12.95), The Loss of Jane Vosper ($12.95), Man Overboard! ($12.95), Many A Slip ($12.95), Murderers Make Mistakes ($12.95), Mystery In the Channel ($12.95), Mystery On Southhampton Water ($12.95), The Mystery of the Sleeping Car ($11.50), The Pit-Prop Syndicate ($12.95), The Ponson Case ($12.95), The Sea Mystery ($12.95), Silence For the Murderer ($12.95), Sir John Magill's Last Journey ($12.95), Sudden Death ($12.95), Death of a Train ($12.95), Enemy Unseen ($12.95), Inspecter French and the Cheyne Mystery ($11.50), Inspector French and the Starvel Mystery ($12.95), The Affair At Little Wokeham ($12.95), Found Floating ($12.95).
        Nicolas Freeling: The King of the Rainy Country ($11.50), The Long Silence ($12.95).
        R. Austin. Freeman: The Cat's Eye ($12.95), A Certain Dr. Thorndyke ($12.95), The D'Arbley Mystery ($12.95), Dr. Thorndyke Intervenes ($12.95), Dr. Thorndyke's Casebook ($12.95), The Eye of Osiris ($12.95), Felo De Se ($12.95), From A Surgeons Diary ($12.95), The Further Adventure of Romney Pringle ($12.95), The Golden Pool ($11.50), The Great Portrait Mystery ($12.95), Helen Vardon's Confession ($12.95), The Jacob Street Mystery ($11.50), John Thorndyke's Cases ($12.95), The Magic Casket ($12.95), Mr. Polton Explains ($12.95), Mr. Pottermack's Oversight ($12.95), The Mystery of 31 New Inn ($12.95), A Savant's Vendetta ($11.50), The Shadow of the Wolf ($12.95), A Silent Witness ($12.95), When Rogues Fall Out ($12.95), As A Thief in the Night ($12.95).
        James Hadley Chase: Goldfish Have No Hiding Place ($12.95), The Whiff of Money ($12.95).
        Cyril Hare: Best Detective Stories ($12.95), Death Is No Sportsman ($12.95), An English Murder ($12.95), Tenant For Death ($12.95), That Yew Tree's Shade ($12.95), When the Wind Blows ($12.95), With a Bare Bodkin ($12.95).
        Mark Hebden: Pel and the Touch of Pitch ($12.95), Pel and the Bombers ($12.95), Pel and the Faceless Corpse ($12.95), Pel and the Missing Persons ($12.95), Pel and the Paris Mob ($12.95), Pel and the Party Spirit ($12.95), Pel and the Picture of Innocence ($12.95), Pel and the Pirates ($11.50), Pel and the Predators ($12.95), Pel and the Promised Land ($12.95), Pel and the Prowler ($11.50), Pel and Sepulchre Job ($12.95), Pel and the Staghound ($11.50), Pel Is Puzzled ($12.95), Pel Under Pressure ($12.95).
        Georgette Heyer: A Blunt Instrument ($12.95), Footsteps in the Dark ($12.95), No Wind of Blame ($12.95), They Found Him Dead ($12.95), The Unfinished Clue ($12.95), Why Shoot a Butler?($12.95).
        Sapper: Bulldog Drummond at Bay ($12.95), The Return of Bulldog Drummond ($11.50), The Dinner Club ($11.50).
        Dornford Yates: And Berry Came Too ($12.95), The House That Berry Built ($12.95), Perishable Goods ($11.50), Ne'er-Do-Well ($12.95), B-Berry and I Look Back ($12.95).

Liaden News

        Uncle Hugo's not only carries the Liaden novels by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, but also the series of chapbooks that they self-publish. All of the chapbooks are signed by the authors. Here's a listing of the Liaden chapbooks.
         #1--Two Tales of Korval contains two stories. "To Cut an Edge" details how Val Con met Edger. "A Day at the Races" features Shan and Val Con in skimmer races on Liad, much to the dismay of Aunt Kareen. Both these stories take place in the years between Scout's Progress and Conflict of Honors. (56 pgs., $10.00)
        #2-Fellow Travelers contains three stories set on Sintia, the homeworld of Priscilla Delacroix y Mendoza. "Where the Goddess Sends" and "A Spell for the Lost" feature a previous, possibly first, incarnation of Moonhawk and her companion, Lute. "Moonphase" tells part of the story of Priscilla's expulsion from the Circle. All of these stories take place before Conflict of Honors. (52 pgs., $10.00)
        #3-Duty Bound contains two stories. "Pilot of Korval" is an adventure of Daav yos'Phelium and Er Thom yos'Galan set more than 20 years before the events in Local Custom and Scout's Progress. "Breath's Duty" is a Daav story that takes place concurrently with Plan B. A one page "Incomplete Liaden Universe Timeline" through Plan B is also included. (52 pgs., $10.00)
        #4-Certain Symmetry contains two stories. "Wine of Memory" is a Moonhawk and Lute story. "Certain Symmetry" finds Pat Rin yos'Phelium called upon to Balance the accounts of a deceased acquaintance, in his own particular style. (52 pgs., $10.00)
        #5-Trading in Futures contains two stories. "Balance of Trade" is described as "a Liaden Universe story introducing a Terran viewpoint storyline" set more than 240 years before Local Custom. "A Choice of Weapons" is a Daav yos'Phelium story set before Scout's Progress. A two page Liaden Universe bibliography and a two page Partial Liaden Dictionary complete through Plan B are also included. (52 pgs., $10.00)
        #6-Changeling contains one long story about Ren Zel dea'Judan, Clan Obrelt, with timely appearances by Shan yos'Galan. Set before Conflict of Honors. (56 pgs., $10.00)
        #7-Loose Cannon contains two stories. "A Matter of Dreams" features Moonhawk/Priscilla. "Phoenix" is described as "part of the story of the great Terran painter Belansium." (52 pgs., $10.00)
        We also have the following signed chapbooks, which are not in the Liaden universe: Chariot to the Stars by Steve Miller (44 pgs, $9.00); Endeavors of Will by Sharon Lee (8 short stories and 1 poem, 56 pgs, $9.00); A Quiet Magic (1 story by Sharon Lee, 1 story by Steve Miller, 1 story co-written, 52 pgs, $9.00), TimeRag II by Steve Miller (poems, 32 pgs, $5.00), and Variations Three: by Sharon Lee (3 stories and an intro by Rosemary Edgehill, $9.00).
        An additional Liaden Universe story not yet collected in a chapbook edition is "Naratha's Shadow" (16 pgs.), described as "about the perils of being a Scout." It is available in the anthology Such a Pretty Face (320 pgs., $16.00), a collection of "tales of power and abundance that prove that heroes and heroines come in all sizes."
        Sharon Lee and Steve Miller are planning to come to the Twin Cities next year for Marscon (February 28 to March 2, 2003) and are tentatively planning to have a signing at Uncle Hugo's on Thursday evening, February 27 starting at 6 pm. Their next new novel, Tomorrow Log, scheduled to be published by Meisha Merlin next February, will not be a Liaden novel. It will be the first of a new series, and they hope to alternate between Liaden novels and novels in the new series.

Neighborhood Update
by Don Blyly

        I mentioned last issue that the development company owned by the bank with the mortgage on the former Sears building had presented a proposal that was obviously not going to work. The city started looking for a new devolper. Months later, the city is still looking for a new developer, while wondering if they really need an outside developer instead of just having MCDA (Minneapolis Community Development Agency) develop the property themselves.
        A large chunk of cleared land north of the former railroad tracks is being sold to the hospital so that they can start construction of a new parking ramp by October (to be used for hospital employee parking--no parking for the general public in this ramp). This is part of a $120 million addition to the hospital that will add an eight-story heart hospital above the current emergency room area, but by the time they finish the new addition, move all the existing heart-oriented facilities into the new building, and then refurbish the old facilities for new uses, they are talking about a total cost of about $200 million dollars (and almost 2000 additional employees by about 2 years after construction is completed on the new addition).
        One of the problems with redeveloping the rest of the huge Sears complex is that the city building code requires that an entire "building" be brought up to code before it can receive an occupancy permit. Ray Harris got around this by constructing a concrete block wall on every floor to partition the portion of the building over the tracks from the rest of the complex, turning it into a separate "building". He then rented out various pieces of it to various high-tech corporations (including Enron), some of which started making major improvements to the spaces they had leased, and then all of the corporations went bankrupt in the dot.com crash, leaving the bills for the major improvements unpaid. The city had to pay off all the mechanic's liens to get clear title to the property, and now finds that other high-tech corporations would love to lease the spaces with all these expensive renovations already made. But the city is trying to decide if they should lease the spaces and start making money on the spaces immediately, or wait until they have a new developer for the whole project and let the new developer handle the leasing of the space and start making money quickly on the finished spaces as an incentive to tackle the more difficult portions of the project. Since this use for the space would involve lots of expensive hardware and a few highly paid technical people on site, with few customers actually coming to the site, it would not take many parking spaces to be able to rent these spaces.
        The city is also considering following Ray Harris' example by partitioning off the front part of the building that faces Lake Street to create another "separate building" out of that four story piece of the complex, and they have tenants lined up eager to rent that space. But those tenants would have many employees and many customers coming to the site to do business, causing a real crunch for parking. Also, it would take a considerable investment to get the section ready to rent. Besides new heating and air conditioning, electrical, and plumbing for that section, it would also need a new roof, new windows, and the parapets repaired around the edges of the roof. (The parapets are crumbling all around the building, and recently a 400-pound limestone piece of a higher part of the parapet fell and punched a hole in the roof several floors below. It's because of the crumbling parapets that the sidewalk on Lake Street has been fenced off for several years, forcing pedestrians to walk in a traffic lane to get past the building.) New elevators would also need to be installed. In all, millions of dollars in repairs would be needed before the front section would be ready to rent.
        Parking will remain a big problem for years. All of the cars parked on the site where the hospital's new parking ramp will be constructed will have to move south during construction. When the hospital ramp is completed sometime next summer, many of the cars parked on the surface lots will move into the lot, but then the city will supposedly start construction on a ramp on the east side of the property to handle cars of employees and customers of businesses to move into the former Sears complex. But, back when they were going to build the ramp to meet Ray Harris' proposed needs they were talking about a 7-story ramp, and that wasn't going to provide parking for any employees in the warehouse north of the tracks. (In the original plan the ramp north of the tracks was supposed to handle both hospital employees and warehouse employees, but the new plan calls for the hospital ramp to handle only hospital employee cars.) Now, they are talking about perhaps only needing a 3-story ramp to handle both the warehouse employees and all the vehicles for the main complex. And that is without having any idea what is going to go into the main complex. Regardless of how many stories they build the ramp, it will probably take until the summer of 2004 before enough parking is available to allow much renting to take place in the main complex.
        There have been suggestions that much of the Sears tower be converted into 300 apartments, but that idea was strongly disapproved of by all the surrounding neighborhood organizations. Many years ago there was a proposal for a hotel somewhere on the site to serve families of patients in the hospital (which draws patients from a five-state area, and will draw even more patients from outside the metro area when the new heart hospital is completed). I'd certainly prefer to see the tower turned into a hotel than a bunch of apartments, and the hospital is still a strong supporter of the hotel option, pointing out that there are three major hotels in Rochester to serve the Mayo Clinic campus.
        A few weeks ago the construction crews started removing all the railroad tracks from the trench to the north of the Uncles. Construction should be completed sometime next summer on this segment of the Greenway bike and walking paths that will stretch from the western edge of Minneapolis to the Mississippi river, with this segment extending the Greenway from 5th Avenue to Hiawatha. The bike and walking paths will be on the north side of the trench, and eventually a trolley line is supposed to be on the south side of the trench going from downtown Hopkins to the LRT station at Hiawatha, for easy transfer either north into downtown Minneapolis or south to the airport and the Mall of America. There is supposed to be a trolley stop across the street from the Uncles, making it much more convenient for many people to get here by mass transit.
        Along the path of the Greenway, there are about 30 bridges that carry street traffic over the trench, and most of those bridges were built around 1915-1920. All of those bridges will eventually have to be torn out and replaced at a cost of over $1 million each (or in some cases just torn out and not rebuilt). The 2 bridges that are in the greatest need of rebuilding, partly because of how much traffic they carry, are Park Avenue and Chicago Avenue.
        Two or three years ago I attended some meetings regarding streetscaping on Chicago Ave. and Lake St. to complement Ray Harris' plans for the former Sears site, and one of the things that came out of all those meetings was some very nice design work for replacing the Chicago Ave. bridge over the trench. Everybody from the neighborhoods and the business community was very pleased with this bridge design concept.
        This year, a new design group was hired to come up with design ideas for both the Park Ave. and Chicago Ave. replacement bridges, with the idea that these two bridges would serve as models for all the other bridges to be replaced. I found out about this when some of the design people did a presentation on their proposal at a meeting of the Chicago-Lake Project Review Committee, a few days before the "final" public review meeting on their proposal. What I saw made me nervous enough to go to the review meeting to see the entire proposal. My guess is that at the earlier meetings the Greenway people showed up in force, and the people who actually use the bridges were hardly represented at all. As a result, the design work had lots of interesting, innovative ideas to benefit people using the Greenway. But I think there are major problems with the design for people who would actually use the bridges rather than ride bicycles underneath the bridges. And the design at street level was totally different from the design work done by the other group 2 to 3 years before--enough so that I suspect the new design group didn't even know about the work done by the previous design group.
        At present, each bridge is slightly arched with lanes of traffic in the middle, with raised sidewalks on either side, and with solid concrete walls about 3 foot high on either side to keep pedestrians or vehicles from sliding into the trench underneath on icy days. The new design calls for each bridge to be replaced with 3 bridges--a slightly arched central bridge for traffic only, and then an 8-foot-wide gap on either side looking down into the trench, and then a slightly sagging pedestrian bridge on either side, with a metal handrail with parallel vertical metal struts going down to the walking surface of the bridge, with perhaps 6 inches between the vertical struts. When I saw this design, I immediately thought of my mother, who has a problem with heights. She can use the current bridge by looking towards the center of the traffic lanes and ignoring the trench on the other side of the concrete wall--but I don't think she would be able to cross the replacement bridge. As I discussed this problem with other people, both at the store and elsewhere, I was surprised by how many other people share this problem. But when I raised the issue with the design people, I was told that any time a design was changed, it made things better for some people and not so good for other people--for example the design for the Greenway made things better for people with bicycles but didn't do much for people without bicycles. Similarly, the design people claimed that their new design made things better for people without a problem with heights, and people who do have a problem with heights would just have to find a different way to get across the Greenway (which could be hard if all the bridges are replaced using this design). When I asked what the benefits were of the new design that outweighed the problem of a large number of people not being able to use the bridge to walk, for example, between the hospital and the Chicago-Lake merchants, I was told that the Greenway would be safer if the drivers of the cars going north and south on Chicago Ave. could look east and west into the Greenway while driving across the bridge.
        My problem with the design was far from the only one voiced at the meeting. An older woman complained about the crime potential. Now, if you're walking across the bridge and you see somebody or a group walking towards you that look dangerous, you can walk to the other side of the bridge, and it's possible for a car going past to stop and aid you. With the new design, a pedestrian is trapped on a narrow pathway with no way to get away, and an 8-foot-gap preventing the driver of a car from stopping to aid a victim. There were also concerns about the pedestrian bridge being below the traffic level, so that in the center of the span the pedestrian's face is at the about the level of the car's exhaust pipe. We were told that auto exhaust rises (true, if there is no wind blowing down the trench) and the splashed slush wouldn't make it across the 8-foot-wide gap (I doubt that this can be counted on, even without wind--and I've had lots of experience with wind blowing down the trench while shoveling snow in front of the Uncles). In fact, the design people seemed to dismiss every concern regarding the design that impacted people using the bridges, but took seriously the equally intelligent concerns voiced by the chief spokesman for the Greenway people regarding design elements below the bridges.
        Shortly after the design review meeting, we discussed these issues at a meeting of the Chicago-Lake Business Association. Naturally, the Chicago-Lake merchants want to insure that as many people as possible from the hospital complex (currently about 5200 employees, plus patients and families of patients) will feel comfortable and safe walking across the Greenway to get to the businesses. The cops who were at the meeting were asked about the crime concerns regarding the new bridge design. We were told that there used to be a specially-trained officer in the Minneapolis police department downtown who would review design plans and give an analysis of the plans from a crime-prevention point of view. But the position is currently vacant and there are no plans to either hire a new person or provide the necessary training for a current officer to take over the position. The budget problem has caused a hiring freeze, and the city council wants to keep as many officers as possible in the neighborhoods. The 3rd Precinct is 15 officers short of what they should have, and it's like that city-wide. The officers doubted that the downtown position would be filled until the Precincts were back to full strength, and that wouldn't happen until the city's budget problem went away.
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