Who needs 29 books?

Apparently I do.

Yes, I know. Today is supposed to be an episode of Sci-Fi Saturday’s bookshelf spotlight. But in my getting used to my new weekly commute to Wellington, I’ve gotten behind on writing posts, and have at least three other posts I need to write that aren’t spotlight posts. So I thought I’d show you the outcome of today’s venture into town instead. There are some Sci-Fi books here, so I’ll share their blurbs so that it’s still kind of a spotlight post. Kind of 🙂.

I headed into town this morning, planning to be gone for only a couple of hours, with just two errands: visit the second hand bookshop and go to the supermarket. Such a simple little plan. You wouldn’t really think that it could go wrong. Well, unless you know me.

The first deviation was following the impulse to pop into the op shop between the bus stop and the bookshop. I wasn’t expecting them to have any books I was interested in. I was wrong. I saw the two Feist books first. It may have taken me 20 years to forget the spoilers that stopped me from starting this series in the 90s (and then several additional years of forgetting that I wanted to continue the series once I had), but I have recently been wanting to continue. Largely due to my bookshelf spotlight of the Riftwar Saga that reminded me how much I enjoyed these books way back then. The Eddings book is because I needed books 1 and 3 to complete that set. I no longer care about a matching set, so picked up this hardcover copy. Being op shop purchases, these were super cheap at $3 each. Score!

Demon Lord of Karanda by Eddings and Shadow of a Dark Queen and Rise of a Merchant Prince by Feist.

This deviation to the op shop wasn’t too bad. It really only put me behind by 15 minutes. So off to the bookshop to continue raiding their Sci-Fi/Fantasy collection. I was actually pretty restrained there, and only picked up 12 books. The Bitterbynde book is because I have been wanting to get this series and read it for a while. And I’m pretty sure the other two books are available in the bookshop I’ll be visiting on Monday. Well, unless someone else has bought them since last Monday. And obviously having picked up books one and two of Serpentwar, I had to get book four when I saw it.

The Battle of Evernight by Cecilia Dart-Thornton and Shards of a Broken Crown by Raymond E Feist

This next book though was 100% a cover buy. I don’t have any idea what it is about as I didn’t read the back. I just looked at it and thought “cat people, cat gods? Sure, why not” 😆.

I managed to find two more books of Andre Norton’s Time Traders series – now I just need book one. And one more from the Solar Queen series – just one left there too. And now I see that I ordered the books wrong in this photo. The Time Traders novels are the two with the covers that look like they go together.

And then I saw these three Sci-Fi standalones that sounded like I had to read them. These are the three I’ll share blurbs of. Because they just sound weird and/or cool enough that if you haven’t heard of them, I think you should track down copies too.

First off Chocky by John Wyndham. Yes, the creepy cover is definitely appropriate.

At first they thought that Matthew was just going through a phase of talking to himself. And like many parents they waited for him to get over it. But it started to get worse not better. Matthew’s conversations with himself grew more and more intense. It was like listening to one end of a telephone conversation while someone argued, cajoled and reasoned with another person you couldn’t hear.

Then Matthew started doing things he couldn’t do before. Like counting in binary-code mathematics.

So he told them about Chocky – the person who lived in his head. Whoever or whatever Chocky was, it wasn’t childish imagination. It was far too intelligent and frightening for that.

At only 153 pages, I think I might need to sneak Chocky into my March reading. It might be a good one to take with me one week in case I finish my book too early and need something for the flight home.

Next up, The Green Brain by Frank Herbert of Dune fame.

It began when a stranger walked into the small town. A man whose face was always in shadows, always turned away from an inquiring gaze. A face that seemed to shimmer and change. A face of multi-faceted iridescence.

Nobody in the town took much notice of the stranger with his odd fluid walk. People minded their own business. Until…

Until the power that held the figure together began to weaken its impossible hold. And the strange man began to lose his shape. Began to split into an infinity of parts!

I’m pretty sure the cover gives us a clue as to what the “strange man” is made up of.

Last Nor Crystal Tears by Alan Dean Foster. Apparently this is a prequel to his series that starts with The Tar-Aiym Krang.

In the beginning, before Man and the insect Thranx became allies, in the days when the reptilian AAnn were just occasional raiders of the Thranx colony worlds, one young Thranx agricultural expert lived a life of quiet desperation. A dreamer in a world of sensible well-adjusted socialised beings, Ryo buried himself in his work of reclaiming marshland until…

Until he met the Aliens. Grotesque two-legged creatures, unpleasingly soft-skinned, gross in their appetites, alarming in their movements, all in all a pretty revolting species, yet his curiosity overcame his queasiness and he befriended them. And discovered they were called Man.

Having found this lovely bundle of treasure, I was all set to head to the supermarket and come home. Until the bookstore owner uttered one fatal sentence: “Friends of the Library have a sale on today”. At that point, I decided I had enough food at home and headed in the opposite direction to the park. It was the first time I had been this way since the cyclone. I had heard that a lot of trees had come down and many uprooted down in town, and I knew roads had been closed and a lot of homes without power for the day. But this is the first time I had seen any evidence of the aftermath. There was a lot more than is in these two photos, but knowing the power of the wind that had to be behind snapping that tree like a twig, and uprooting these others (including the pipes running under one), made me realise just how strong it got here. I am grateful that we didn’t get it anything like the East Coast and my heart goes out to all of those who are dealing with the aftermath.

At the park, at first I thought I would be coming away with nothing. Then I hit the mother-lode. And a super-cheap mother-load at that. All of the books in the following photos that don’t have prices on them were 50 cents each!

There were so many Barbara Hambly novels. I was tempted to buy some that I already had just in case they made better matched sets. But I refrained. I was able to finish my collection of Darwath, with books four (Mother & Winter) and five (Icefalcon’s Quest). Dark Hand of Magic completed the Sun Wolf and Starhawk trilogy, and Knight of the Demon Queen means I now only have the final book to find to complete Winterlands.

Books 4 and 5 of Darwarth, book 3 of Sun Wolf and Starhawk, and book 3 of Winterlands. All by Barbara Hambly

They had the whole Windrose trilogy, so though it was further down my list of Hambly titles I was interested in, I wasn’t going to say no to $3 for the full trilogy.

Windrose trilogy by Barbara Hambly

I found Magicians of the Night which sounded interesting, and also said it was the continuation/conclusion of The Rainbow Abyss. So had to snap up both of them when I found the latter on another table. And Sorcerer’s Ward (aka Stranger at the Wedding) sounded interesting enough to be a “why not” purchase. After all, if I don’t like it, I’ll just donate it back and it only cost me 50 cents to try it.

The Rainbow Abyss, Magicians of the Night and Sorcerer's Ward by Barbara Hambly

I’d previously found book one of Patricia McKillip’s Riddlemaster trilogy and my local bookshop, and happily found books two and three at the sale. The Forgotten Beasts of Eld looks like it’s a standalone, so that seemed like a no-brainer. I haven’t read anything by this author, but she has been recommended to me in a SFF facebook group.

I picked up Moon Called by Andre Norton because I’d previously seen it in Wellington and wasn’t sure if it sounded like something I would be interested it. So, not wanting to spend $8 on a maybe, I put it back. No such concern at these local prices. Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings is to replace my missing copy that I loaned someone many many years ago and couldn’t remember who so never got back. It doesn’t match my editions, but at least it’s not the hideous modern cover. And lo and behold, book three of Serpentwar was there too. So now I had managed to pick up the full Serpentwar Saga in one morning.

And finally, I picked up this omnibus of The Castings trilogy. I have not heard of this series, or the author, but the back cover made it sound interesting. So after a quick check on Goodreads to make sure it wasn’t YA, it got added to my trolley.

The Castings Trilogy by Pamela Freeman

All this book buying was exhausting, so I sat in the park for a time to chill out.

The lake in the park on a beautifully sunny day

The rest didn’t last long however as I remembered that while I had enough food at home, I did need cat litter. So I walked through the rest of the park to the supermarket half way between town and my house. It was a nice walk through the geothermal areas of the park.

Alas it wasn’t much cooler after leaving the geothermal layers as the sun was baking down. But finally, I made it to the end of my errands, and home. Only five hours after I left. What’s three hours between books.

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