Help Pick What SFF Goes On This Bookstore’s Shelves

By Cat Eldridge: Here’s a rare opportunity for all of you: help stock the science fiction and fantasy section at Longfellow Books, a locally owned shop here in Portland, Maine. It’s been around for some thirty-five years and is definitely a community asset.

Jack, one of the managers there, asked my advice on doing a revamp of what they stock in that section.  Right how it’s a haphazard stock consisting of older books that didn’t sell and newer material based largely on what travelling book reps suggest. There’s roughly one hundred and twenty linear feet of shelf space in his section.

What Jack wants is a mix of classic older titles that would sell well and newer fiction that you think will be profitable too. If you mention a series, please note what back titles in that series need stocking as well. Likewise, for titles not yet out, note when they’re coming out.

He asked for the fifty titles which Longfellow Books should stock, so be generous with your choices. Please publish your selections in comments here.  Don’t feel obligated to list fifty titles, just list those you think should be stocked.

Thanks to all of you for assistance!

 

34 thoughts on “Help Pick What SFF Goes On This Bookstore’s Shelves

  1. Ann Leckie’s Imperial Radch (Ancillary) trilogy.
    Elizabeth Moon’s Vatta’s War series, + new Vatta’s Peace novel.
    Walter Jon Williams’ Praxis (Dread Empire’s Fall) trilogy, + Impersonations.
    John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War series.
    Robert Jackson Bennett’s Divine Cities trilogy.
    Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty.

  2. All You Need Is Kill/Edge Of Tomorrow (Live. Die. Repeat.) by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. (Originally published under the first title, republished under the second title to go with the movie).
    Martha Wells’ Books of the Raksura (Five books, with the latest one concluding the series).

  3. This is kind of asking for a best-of list, of which there are many. Anyway, I think these are classics that should be on the shelves of any good SF section:

    Mary Shelley: Frankenstein
    Jules Verne: Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
    H. G. Wells: The Time Machine, War of the Worlds
    J. R. R. Tolkien: The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings
    Jack Vance: The Dying Earth, the Planet of Adventure series
    Arthur C. Clarke: Childhood’s End
    Robert A. Heinlein: Stranger in a Strange Land
    Philip K. Dick: The Man in the High Castle
    Hal Clement: Mission of Gravity, Needle
    Frank Herbert: Dune
    Roger Zelazny: Lord of Light
    Samuel R. Delany: Dhalgren, Nova
    Ursula K. Le Guin: The Earthsea trilogy (all six books), The Left Hand of Darkness, The Dispossessed, and Always Coming Home
    Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle: The Mote in God’s Eye
    Joe Haldeman: The Forever War
    Vonda McIntyre: Dreamsnake
    Joan Vinge: The Snow Queen
    James Tiptree, Jr.: Her Smoke Rose Up Forever
    Avram Davidson: The Treasury of Avram Davidson
    Howard Waldrop: Howard Who?
    Iain M Banks: The Player of Games

    This is by no means a complete list. List is sold by weight, not by volume. Contents may have settled during posting.

  4. CJ Cherryh – Downbelow Station, Chanur series (5 titles), Foreigner (1st of the series), plus Convergence (#18 in the series) and Emergence (#19 in the series to be published 2 Jan 2018).

  5. Please, please, stock Sharon Lee and Steve Miller ‘s “Liaden Universe.” This is, perhaps, not correctly punctuated, so I will elaborate. The “Liaden Universe” is comprised of over 17 novels(to date.) There are also 3 compilations of *short stories* which enhance the Liaden experience.
    Within the *universe* one encounters : amazing characters, polite (like you have never known) society, political intrigue, mechanisms for space travel (in three definitive forms), alien (to us) life forms and cultures, magic(?), kick…um..BUTT action!, oh, and yes, there are several sentient machines. (I like Jeeves a lot, but ..the one they left at the Jumble Stop is my fave.)
    Forgive me for rambling on.
    …But, REALLY! Stock up on Sharon Lee and Steve Miller ‘s Liaden Universe!
    I find myself always leaning to ” Conflict of Honors” when I advise fellow readers to an introductory story. This is because I think the manners and culture are more important than the *kick butt* and space battles. ALL of these are very apparent in the omnibus: “Partners in Necessity.”

  6. So, I’m suggesting primarily series, on the notion that if a person buys one and likes it, they’ll come back and pick up the rest. Likewise, I’m suggesting mostly authors who are still producing regularly.
    Lois McMaster Bujold: The Vorkosigan saga, as well as any of her other works. (17 books, I think?)
    G.R.R. Martin: Song of Ice and Fire series, the Wild Cards series. (Game of Thrones, Clash of Kings, Storm of Swords, Feast for Crows, Dance of Dragons) (Wild Cards Series:25 books now? 6 in the current series.)
    Kevin Hearne: the Iron Druid Chronicles (8 books, various shorts.)
    Walter Jon Simonson’s works
    L.E.Modesitt’s various series
    Larry Corriea: Monster Hunter International (You may not like his politics, but he’s prolific and popular.)
    Jim Butcher Dresden Files: (storm front, fool moon, grave peril, summer knight, etc.)
    Ben Aaronovitch Folly Series: (Midnight Riot, Moon over Soho, Whispers Underground, Broken Homes, Foxglove Summer, Hanging Tree.)
    Elizabeth Moon’s Vatta’s War. (Trading in Danger, Marque and Reprisal, Engaging the Enemy, Command Decision, Victory Conditions, Cold Welcome)

    I’ll post more later.

  7. I’d like to see some major current books, like New York 2140, Beren and Luthien, at least one of the “Best of the Year” anthologies.

  8. New(ish) books–
    Genevieve Cogman’s Invisible Library series
    “On The Edge of Gone” by Corinne Duyvis
    “The Space Between the Stars” by Anne Corlett
    Lisa Shearin’s “Supernatural Protection & Investigations” (SPI) series
    Mira Grant’s Newsflesh books
    “Food of the Gods” by Cassandra Khaw
    “The Last Adventure of Constance Verity” by A Lee Martinez
    “Winter Tide” by Ruthanna Emrys
    “Amberlough” by Lara Elena Donnelly
    “Heroine Complex” by Sarah Kuhn
    Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s Retrieval Artist series
    Laura Resnick’s Esther Diamond novels–seriously, how could you not enjoy a series with books called “Polterheist” and “Vamparazzi”?
    “Chicks in Chainmail”–I love the Ladies Aid and Armour Society

    Older/Classic–who can tell what will sell these days? But I’d go with Zenna Henderson’s People; John Brunner’s “The Sheep Look Up” and “Stand on Zanzibar”; Bradbury’s anything; Brin’s Uplift books; maybe Dick’s “Ubik” and “Time Out of Joint” as well as “The Man in the High Castle”; the “Dangerous Visions” books. And if you’re doing “Game of Thrones” I’d add “Tuf Voyaging”.

    I took the photo to be the SFF area in question. Was I the only one who tried to see what the titles were? All I could think of was that ‘some of those books look old; like really old maybe the original covers what are they?’ One of my sorrows these days is that used bookstores hardly carry old SF hardbacks and the Goodwill-types here in the Bay area seem to be buried in recent releases of all kinds of books that I’m not looking to read. And never any old interesting ones-like 30s,40s books. I get a thrill perusing shelves and seeing a book that sticks out because it’s got that air about it.

  9. Not repeating some of the excellent suggestions above:

    Shades of Magic Trilogy by V.E. Schwab
    Expanse series by James Corey
    Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor
    Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs
    Terry Pratchett!!

  10. Again, aiming to not repeat anything listed above, focusing on newer stuff:

    Kate Elliott: Spiritwalker trilogy – Cold Magic, Cold Fire, Cold Steel
    Jeff VanderMeer: Southern Reach trilogy, Borne
    Marie Brennan: The Memoirs of Lady Trent (5 books)
    N.K. Jemisin: Broken Earth and ideally Hundred Thousand Kingdoms trilogies
    Nnedi Okorafor: Who Fears Death, Book of Phoenix, Binti series (2 books + 1 forthcoming)
    Nisi Shawl: Everfair
    Mishell Baker: Borderline and Phantom Pains
    Kameron Hurley: Bel Dame trilogy (God’s War, Infidel, Rapture), the Stars are Legion
    April Daniels: Dreadnought and Sovereign
    Dave Hutchinson: Fractured Europe trilogy (Europe in Autumn, Europe at midnight, Europe in Winter)
    Charlie Jane Anders: All the Birds in the Sky
    Yoon Ha Lee: Ninefox Gambit, the Raven Stratagem
    Jo Walton: Thessaly trilogy, Among Others
    Catherynne M Valente: Radiance, Fairyland series (5 books)
    Philip Reeve: Mortal Engines (4 books), Railhead (2 books)

    I also love it when a bookshop has a full collection of new canon Star Wars novels, and a good selection of Gollancz SF Masterworks (i.e. more than just The Big Boys): Connie Willis’ To Say Nothing of the Dog; Joanna Russ’ the Female Man; Nicola Griffith’s Slow River and Ammonite; anything by Delaney all good off the top of my head.

  11. You are all evil. My Kindle is full!

    Not yet mentioned:
    Becky Chambers – Wayfarers
    Naomi Novik – Temeraire, Uprooted
    Max Gladstone – Craft Sequence
    More or less anything on recent Nebula shortlists.

  12. Harold notes I took the photo to be the SFF area in question. Was I the only one who tried to see what the titles were? All I could think of was that ‘some of those books look old; like really old maybe the original covers what are they?’ One of my sorrows these days is that used bookstores hardly carry old SF hardbacks and the Goodwill-types here in the Bay area seem to be buried in recent releases of all kinds of books that I’m not looking to read. And never any old interesting ones-like 30s,40s books. I get a thrill perusing shelves and seeing a book that sticks out because it’s got that air about it.

    Those are not selves in the bookstore. OGH, please remove at photo. There’s nothing exceptional about the previous stock as it’s truly a mix of new and legacy stock that just didn’t sell.

    Is there anyone out there that’d care to compile these suggestions into a coherent list of recommendations? I’m sure a book or two of your choice from me would been e your reward.

  13. Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents. A series featuring a demagogue promising to “Make America Great Again” is likely to sell well at this time.

  14. Hannu Rajaniemi’s Jean le Flambeur trilogy
    The Quantum Thief
    The Fractal Prince
    The Causal Angel

    Seconding Max Gladstone’s Craft Sequence
    Last First Snow
    Two Serpents Rise
    Three Parts Dead
    Four Roads Cross
    Full Fathom Five
    Ruin of Angels
    (forthcoming)

  15. Seconding Max Gladstone’s Craft Sequence
    Last First Snow
    Two Serpents Rise
    Three Parts Dead

    I hadn’t read the Craft sequence and recently read Three Parts Dead as my library had that listed as the first book. However I now feel pretty dumb about that because with the naming of the books it should’ve been obvious it was the third. Worked pretty well as a stand alone book however!

    Recommendations are hard because what I like and what would sell well are two different things.

  16. This will duplicate a lot that have already been said, but I figure that, in this case, the more something is mentioned, the better.

    I, Robot – Isaac Asimov (heck, practically anything that he wrote)
    A Stranger in a Strange Land, Have Spacesuit will Travel – Robert Heinlein
    The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (full series) – Douglas Adams
    The Expanse (starting with Leviathan Wakes) – James SA Corey
    Old Man’s War (full series) – John Scalzi
    Ancillary Justice – Ann Leckie
    Ender’s Game (full series – both original and Shadow series) – Orson Scott Card
    The Three-Body Problem – Liu Cixin
    A Fire Upon the Deep – Vernor Vinge
    Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, Something Wicked This Way Comes – Ray Bradbury

  17. Matt Y, you’re not dumb. Three Parts Dead was the first novel Gladstone wrote. (I remember seeing it in my Campbell packet a few years back.) He wrote the “Craft” books out of chronological sequence and has said that you can read them either in published order (which I did) or in numerical order, which is cleverly indicated by the numbers in the titles. I gather the newest book (that hasn’t come out yet) breaks the number chain however, and I don’t know if he’s just going to write chronologically going forward or not.

  18. OK, the spreadsheet linked above should have everything suggested to this point, in a format which I hope is useful – I can’t figure out how if google docs will allow me to wrap text within a cell, which would definitely make it nicer.

    There’s 360 individual and series books on here, not counting the “everything by author X” recommendations. Best of luck to you and Longfellow books in narrowing this down 🙂

  19. All of Ursula K leGuin, C J Cherryh Alliance/Union books and the Gate of Ivrel books. David Drake for military SF. William Gibson’s Neuromancer trilogy and his later books for sheer blue sky thinking. Heinlein’s juvenile books, he drifts as he gets older. Robert E Howard if available, it is more fantasy but he could really write. Probably duplicated a lot of suggestions but good luck with the sales.

  20. If I’m counting right, here are 46 books. Mostly series based on the idea that if they like the first one, then they ought to have a shot at the rest. In some cases, the later entries are not included as they didn’t keep up with the initial books.

    I’ll try to get them into the Google Docs sheet later.

    Heinlein – Starship Troopers, Stranger in a Strange Land, Job: A Comedy of Justice
    Asimov – Foundation Trilogy (Foundation, Foundation and Empire, Second Foundation)
    Silverberg – Lord Valentine’s Castle
    Volsky – Illusion
    Scalzi – Old Man’s War & Ghost Brigades
    de Castell – Traitor’s Blade, Knight’s Shadow, Saint’s Blood, Tyrant’s Throne
    Anthony – On a Pale Horse, Bearing an Hourglass, With a Tangled Skein, Wielding a Red Sword, Being a Green Mother, For Love of Evil, And Eternity
    Knaak – The Legend of Huma
    Brett – The Warded Man, The Desert Spear, The Daylight War, The Skull Throne, The Core
    Hambly – Those Who Hunt the Night
    Duncan – The Gilded Chain, Lord of the Fire Lands, Sky of Swords, Paragon Lost
    Saberhagen – The Complete Book of Swords
    Keyes – Flowers for Algernon
    Lancaster – 600 Hours of Edward (this is an heir to Flowers for Algernon, FWIW)
    Orwell – 1984
    Rawn – Dragon Prince, The Star Scroll, Sunrunner’s Fire, Stronghold, The Dragon Token, Skybowl,
    Tolkien – The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings
    Herbert – Dune, The White Plague

  21. Dann

    Rawn – Dragon Prince, The Star Scroll, Sunrunner’s Fire, Stronghold, The Dragon Token, Skybowl,

    Whenever anyone talks about how so many characters die in GoT I think of that series. I still hold faith that someday the Exiles Trilogy will be finished.

    Cassy –

    Matt Y, you’re not dumb. Three Parts Dead was the first novel Gladstone wrote. (I remember seeing it in my Campbell packet a few years back.) He wrote the “Craft” books out of chronological sequence and has said that you can read them either in published order (which I did) or in numerical order, which is cleverly indicated by the numbers in the titles. I gather the newest book (that hasn’t come out yet) breaks the number chain however, and I don’t know if he’s just going to write chronologically going forward or not

    Whoooo, that makes me feel better then, makes sense why the library listed it first as well.

  22. Kim Harrison – The Hollows series
    Holly Black – The Curse Workers series
    Susan Cooper – The Darkness Rising series
    Patrick Rothfuss – The Kingslayer chronicles
    Iain Banks – The Player of Games, The Algebraist
    Lloyd Alexander – The Chronicles of Prydain
    Neil Gaiman – The Anansi Boys
    Harry Harrison – The Hammer and The Cross, series

  23. What, no love for McKillip?
    classics:
    The Forgotten Beasts of Eld
    Riddle-Master (trilogy, sometimes in one volume)
    current:
    Kingfisher (winner of this year’s Mythopeic Award)
    more not-recent work:
    John M. Ford:
    The Dragon Waiting
    The Final Reflection
    Growing Up Weightless
    How Much for Just the Planet
    (the non-OST books are probably OOP, but they might get lucky)
    Emma Bull: War for the Oaks
    James Thurber: The Thirteen Clocks (nominally VYA, but enough about story that it’s still fun).
    all entered in spreadsheet

  24. You know, personally I’d just keel over if I could just walk into a bookstore and find some James Branch Cabell on a shelf, but I’m not within 200 km of Portland, Maine.

  25. And most of the books recommended are old favorites, not the new works that a bookstore needs to keep people coming through their doors. Filers seeing them in a bookstore would smile and NOT BUY THEM because we already have them…

    (No, I don’t have a solution to the problem, just an un-helpful observation.)

  26. @Cassy B: I’d have said there weren’t enough this-is-worth-reading-even-if-it’s-decades-old, but I don’t have to make a go of running a bookstore.

  27. Hmmmm. I think we should do something like when crowssourcing for what was nominated in the brackets. I’ll compule these into a post for that, but it will have to wait until after worldcon.

  28. Pingback: Pixel Scroll 9/2/17 Keep Your Eye On The Donut, Not On The Scroll | File 770

  29. Current works of L E Modesitt, Turtledove, David Weber, Steve White, Chris Nuttall, Patricia McKillip, McDevitt, Melissa Scott,

    There is some scheme so far as I can tell for selling all of the Smashwords.com ebooks *without* having any inventory, but the details are outside my technical competence. This is 100+ Sf novels. Per month.

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