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August 14th, 2011:

Our Reading At Who Else! Books


As I mentioned in my entry for August 10, 2011, Jim Strickland and I landed a reading/signing slot yesterday afternoon at the wonderfully quirky Who Else! Books at The Broadway Book Mall in Denver. I wasn’t sure what to expect; but let’s call that needless anxiety. It was all good: Who Else! Books owners Nina (pronounced Nye-Nah, not Nee-Nah) and Ron Else were wonderful, and had the coffee machine running and a table set up for us long before we got there. How many people would show was the great mystery. I was expecting six or seven–and by my count, we got 19. That was actually a lot of people for a smallish space filled with that many books, especially on a hot Saturday afternoon in the summer.

We followed Mark Stevens, a local writer of what I might characterize as eco-mysteries set in western Colorado. Mark has two well-regarded novels in print from People’s Press, and I think most of the people who attended stopped by to hear him. However, almost no one left when he was finished. Our friend Eric Bowersox was there, as was our fellow workshopper Sean Eret from Taos Toolbox 2011. Sean, who had broken his ankle shortly before the workshop began and was wheelchair-bound the whole two weeks, was on a walking crutch yesterday and is getting around pretty well.

I did a brief intro to the Drumlins World concept, and then Jim and I both did short readings from Drumlin Circus and On Gossamer Wings. After the readings we took questions. One gentleman in the first row looked familiar, and asked some excellent questions. It was a hard virtual whack to the side of the head to realize that this was Ed Bryant. I had met and spoken with Ed at some length back at LACon in 1984, but as I suggested (and he confirmed) I’d had more hair then, and he less.

A few rows back was Eytan Kollin, author (with his brother Dani) of The Unincorporated Man and its two sequels, The Unincorporated War and The Unincorporated Woman. Eytan asked whether 800 people (the number cast away on the Drumlins World) represented enough genetic diversity to survive long-term. I’d fretted over that issue, and added another thousand or so frozen embryos to bring it up closer to 2,000 genetically distinct individuals. Eytan suggested (and there’s research to back him up) that the number is closer to 10,000–but that’s a big starship! (I’ll freely admit that I fudged a little there, though I’ve seen some speculation that fewer than 5,000 individuals were the forebears of nearly all of modern humanity.)

So overall it was a very sharp crowd. We sold some books, we had a lot of superb conversation, and I dropped $80 on various titles at the store, much but not all of it SF. The photo above is toward the end of the event, after most people had left the store. L-R: Ed Bryant, Jim Strickland, Eric Bowersox, and Ron Else.

Overall a fine time, and very heartening to see a small indie bookstore almost literally packed to the walls with people. I came home with a head full of ideas for another short novel called Drumlin Strongbox, and those notes still need to be taken. Tomorrow fersure.