By The Count

I cannot walk past a bookshop. Worse, once in, I will more than likely find something I like especially if it is a second hand book store. To relieve the budgetary strain, I started avoiding bookshops, streets with bookshops, friends who might take me to bookshops.

Amazon has since put paid to that as well. I am bloated with literature. I have no less than 5 half-read books on my night stand and more than a dozen on my e-reader. Add to this the distraction that twitter has become… The concentration I need to fully immerse myself in a book seems to be getting harder to come by.

Take this post for instance, it was supposed to be about a memorable trip to a bookshop but has turned into whatever this is. Sigh. Concentrate.

Anyway, it was one of those rare occasions when I go to a bookshop purposefully. I knew the book I wanted (I had espied it on a previous visit) and I knew its price. I also knew there was but one copy. This last bit worried me but I took heart in the belief that most people here are not keen readers of my favourite genre.

The book was in the SF and Fantasy section. Why is that by the way? Why would you put a hard SF in the fantasy section? Do they even know what cyber punk is? Soft SF? Alternative history? I am sure they do this just to piss us off. There must be nothing more hilarious than an SF fan ranting about how a light saber is different from a fucking magic sword. Shit, I did it again. Concentrate.

So yes, I walked straight to the SF and Fantasy (woosah) section and looked through the titles for what I was looking for. It was missing! Gone! I went straight to the counter, forcing a calm I did not feel, and asked whether the book was still in stock.

“We have one copy. We have had it for weeks.”

Relief! The book was still in the store. Obvious conclusion, one of the patrons had it and was yet to pay for it. This was a media store and even as large and as varied as it was, I had never seen more than 10 people at the book section at any single time. I saw him.

He was in the Drama/Thriller section. The book was in his hands. Open. I kid you not, I nearly left the store but what’s this? He was walking back to the Fantasy section. The look on his face indicated that perhaps the few passages he was reading were not to his liking. I felt light. Perhaps I even felt elated. I floated back to the Fantasy section trying to look unconcerned, just another shopper looking for something to read. He placed the book back on the shelf.

Do you know what planck time is? It is the shortest measurable, observable time. Turns out the universe is digital after all. Amazing right? Damn, digressed again. I snatched that book off that shelf in a planck instant. He turned to look at me and by the look on his face, he could not understand the triumph he clearly saw on mine. Ah well, there will always those who don’t understand.

The Book: Black Man by Richard Morgan. It was as amazing as anticipated.

The Bookstore: Numetro Junction before Silverbird bought it.