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Send us your letters! Locus Online has more room than the magazine for letters. They can be about Locus or the SF field in general.

January 2000

Letters on this page:

  • Bruce Appelbaum comments on editorial On Buying Books
  • Ian Covell and Lawrence Person respond to Gene Jung's book ID query
  • Rich Horton has a best of 1999 short fiction list

    Dear Locus Online,
         Yours was an interesting editorial, which provided much to consider. Here is a bit more grist for your mill:
         (1) Store discounts: Borders and B&N's recent change in policy follows an older change already instituted by B&N. When B&N began their big push into the superstore arena, they originally discounted EVERY book in the store: paperbacks at 10%, hc at 20%, bestsellers at 30%. A few years ago, they came up with their former policy of 30% bestsellers, 10% hc, no general pb discount. Their rationale was ''consumer preference.'' Everybody knows that consumers want to spend more money for books. It's amusing that Borders has had to fall back on the same hackneyed nonsense. Those who don't study history and all that...
         (2) On-line discounts: the discounts given by the dot coms (Amazon and B&N) are not across the board. From time to time I will find a book not discounted at Amazon at all, while B&N has at least some discount. I prefer Amazon, since I don't have to pay sales tax to them (you have to pay sales tax to B&N if you are in a state where the dot com has a physical presence -- warehouse, headquarters, etc., and I'm in NY). When asked about the lack of discount, I get a ''form'' e-mail saying that Amazon never promised to have the lowest price and that they don't actually discount everything.
         (3) More store discounts: the mall versions of the big boys (Borders = Waldenbooks and B&N = B. Dalton) do have discount programs. For a small fee ($10 per year is typical) both bookstores offer a 10 percent discount off most everything in the store, and when you spend $100 (not all at once) you get a voucher for $5 off your next purchase. Dalton will order anything not in stock (they are tied into B&N's distribution system), honor the 10% discount, and not charge shipping -- and if you don't want it after it arrives, you don't have to take it. You can work the system if you're clever. Too bad we have to get in the position of having to figure out the angles.

    Bruce Appelbaum
    Yorktown Heights, NY
    17 January 2000
    (posted Tue 25 Jan 2000)

    [ On point 2), no doubt you're right; I've noticed the 30% discount on lots of current books, but there are still plenty of older and specialty books that aren't discounted on On point 3) I recall those discount programs now that you mention them; I rarely shop at mall bookstores anymore, when parking is easier and the stock is bigger at the superstores down the street. One thing I expect we can be sure of : things will change, and we will have to keep figuring the angles. How soon before web transactions are subject to sales tax? --ed. ]

    Dear Locus,
         Took me a while to realise (I think the ''generation'' may be the stumbling block) but Gene's description sounds awfully like a cross between two novels by the much-underrated J.T. McIntosh. i.e., One in 300 (a 3-part novel, first being ships leaving Earth; 2nd in flight; 3rd on the new planet, though NOT that long a space journey) and 200 Years to Christmas, a generation-ship in flight, and landing. Both were Ace doubles, both by McIntosh,and both titles start with a number.
         If it turns out NOT to be what I suggest, it's a hell of a coincidence.
         J.T. McIntosh has been too neglected for too long!

    Ian Covell
    14 January 2000
    (posted Mon 17 Jan 2000)

    Dear Locus,
         RE: ''The book is actually three books in one and details the destruction of the earth. The first piece (novella?) has the people of earth building a ship to go to another planet. The second piece is about the trip to the planet (it takes generations to get there). The final piece is about them getting there generations down the line.''
         This sounds rather like Ben Bova's Exile's trilogy: Exiles From Earth, Flight of Exiles, and End of Exile.
         (BTW, this is the perfect type of question to ask on rec.arts.sf.written.)

    Lawrence Person
    Editor, Nova Express
    12 January 2000
    (posted Mon 17 Jan 2000)

    Dear Locus Online,
         I saw your Top Ten story selections for 1999 in Locus Online. As always, an interesting selection. I thought all the choices sound (though I haven't read the Baxter story), but oddly I would choose an almost completely different top ten.
         Mine would be ''Stellar Harvest'' and ''Dapple'' by Arnason, ''In From the Commons'' by Tony Daniel, ''At Reparata'' by Ford, ''Suicide Coast'' by M. John Harrison, ''Sailing the Painted Ocean'' by Denise Lee, ''Lifework'' by Mary Soon Lee, ''Yurek Rutz, Yurek Rutz, Yurek Rutz'' by Marusek, ''Human Bay'' by Robert Reed, and ''Jennifer, Just Before Midnight'' by William Sanders. I'd have also liked to squeeze on Wayne Wightman's ''Attack of the Ignoroids'', Harry Turtledove's diptych ''Twenty One, Counting Up'' and ''Forty, Counting Down'' (I really think both stories need to be read together), ''Border Guards'' by Greg Egan, and ''Orphans of the Helix'' by Dan Simmons. Oh, and ''Where Does the Town Go at Night'' by Tanith Lee, to give me three choices by three different Lees!

    Rich Horton
    10 January 2000
    (posted Mon 17 Jan 2000)

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