Archive for the 'Book Stores' Category

Douglas Adams and Nick Landau in Forbidden Planet Bookshop, 1979

Forbidden Planet 1979

Douglas Adams (holding The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy double LP) is on the left; Nick Landau (co-founder of the original Forbidden Planet and Titan Books, holding the just published Hitchhiker’s novel) is right. All comics 12p!

Forbidden Planet was one of London’s first comic book specialty shops, after Dark They Were, and Golden-Eyed and Weird Fantasy.

I found the photo at the Collectors Society forums. It was taken by Colin Davey.

Queen City Book Store, 1977 – 1980

Queen City 1977-4

Queen City 1977-3

Queen City 1977-2

Queen City 1978-2

Queen City 1978

Queen City 1979

Queen City 1979-2

Queen City Late 1970s

Queen City Early 1980s

Emil J. Novak, Sr. opened Buffalo, New York’s Queen City Bookstore in 1969. He and his family still own and run the place. I found all of the remarkable photos on the website’s history gallery. Some of the gems I spotted are posted below.

What can I say that I haven’t said before? We need more stores like this. Kids need more awesome stuff like this. They deserve the chance to roam around in places that exist with them in mind (I’m talking about libraries too), flip open a random book, and have their minds blown forever. What we now dismiss as “obsolete physical media” once propped up local communities and ignited the imagination of generations. It’s not just books that influenced and inspired me, but the places I found them in.

You can see more book stores and comic book stores here.

Alien Trading Cards 1979

LOTR Fotonovel 1979

Star Trek Catalog 1979

Star Wars Special Edition 1977

Space Wars 1979

Bram Stokes and Diane Lister in Dark They Were and Golden-Eyed Bookshop, Circa 1970

Dark They Were 1970

Stokes is holding the 1970 Dover Occult edition of L. Sprague de Camp‘s Lost Continents. Dark They Were and Golden-Eyed, the place that inspired Sherry Gottlieb to open A Change of Hobbit, was also London’s first comic shop, predating Forbidden Planet by more than 10 years. It closed in or about 1981.

And here’s a store bag from 1978. The artist is James Cawthorn, an illustrator primarily associated with Michael Moorcock who also co-wrote (with Moorcock) one of my favorite movies, 1975’s The Land That Time Forgot.

Dark They Were 1977

(Images via Comica Festival and Secret Oranges)

A Change of Hobbit Bookstore, 1974

Hobbit 1974

A Change of Hobbit, the dream-child of Sherry Gottlieb, opened as an unadvertised, 12-by-15-foot book closet above a coin laundry in Westwood Village in 1972, and closed in 1991 as probably “the largest and oldest science fiction bookshop in the world“—chased out of town by soaring rent and the big book chains. Seen in the postcard above is Hobbit’s second location (there were four in all) on Westwood Boulevard. Gottlieb, the Sylvia Beach of speculative fiction, tells her extraordinary story here.

Years ago I lived in Westwood, and at least once a week I would walk to the Domino’s Pizza on Westwood Blvd., order a small pepperoni, and walk across the street to browse the stacks at Border’s until I was ready to pick up the pizza. The “stacks” were decidedly neat and corporate, but it was the only book store within walking distance, and I am and always will be a book (front cover, back cover, printed paper in between) hound. That Domino’s Pizza (below) sits at the exact same address as A Change of Hobbit as seen in the postcard. I had no idea until I saw the photo.

Now all the bookstores are gone, and some people in high places seriously believe in an eyeless, mindless beast named post-literacy. Have a nice day.


(Postcard image via Jordan Smith/Flickr)

Harlan Ellison’s Chocolate Alphabet, 1978

CA 1978-1

CA 1978-8

CA 1978-2

CA 1978-3

CA 1978-7

CA 1978-4

CA 1978-5

CA 1978-6

“From A to Z, in the Chocolate Alphabet” is a short story—a series of short shorts, really—written by Harlan Ellison and first appearing in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (October, 1976). The inspiration for the story came from a Larry Todd painting called “N is for Nemotropin,” which Todd showed to Ellison in 1974 (see the title page above). Ellison wrote the story two years later while sitting in the window of the dearly departed A Change of Hobbit bookstore in Westwood, California.

The comic book adaptation was published by Last Gasp Eco-Comics in 1978, with Todd responsible for all artwork. The original “N is for Nemotropin” painting (below) appeared on the back cover. Note what Ellison calls Todd in the introduction: “one of America’s premier visual technicians.”

Nemotropin Todd

The Things We Have Lost (Part One)

Marquee Hanover Theater Penn

Borders Closing 2011

(Photos via Classic Horror Film Board and Reddit)

A&M Comics and Books, 1978

A&M 1978

A&M 1978-2

A&M 1978-3

Among the many ruined institutions of post-internet life lies the pulp book shop, where deviant human beings of all ages, nauseated by the mundane modern world and its small-minded minions, once went to find comfort and adventure. My dream is to open one and slowly go broke as three or four or five of us roam the aisles, sifting through and savoring all the accumulating treasure.

A&M stands for owners Arnold and Maxine Square. Pat at Destination Nightmare worked there in the late ’70s and tells the story here.




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