On Bakka-Phoenix Books and the Life Long Passion

I recently submitted my last proofs and changes for Icarus Down. In between that, and Scholastic’s professional proofreading department, I expect (fingers crossed) that this will mean clean copy for the novel when it comes out on August 30. The book is now at the printers, and I await its release with baited breath.

We are working on launch and publicity events. I can, for instance, announce that Erin and I will be doing a joint launch of The Swan Riders and Icarus Down at Bakka Phoenix Books at 3 p.m. on Saturday, October 1.

I have a long history with Bakka bookstore. It was on Queen Street West near Soho back before I was even a teenager, as they were the best place in Toronto to purchase Doctor Who novelizations, and I spent a lot of my allowance on picking up those books. Bakka was a special bookstore, even then. Sure, there were other bookstores that were bigger (The World’s Biggest Bookstore, for instance), and there were chain stores like Coles where Doctor Who books could be found, but long before I appreciated the difference between independent bookstores and the chains, I felt that Bakka Bookstore had a particular passion behind it. There were books found here that I could not get elsewhere. And they were cool — for me at least, but back then I already knew that cool for me was not particularly cool for other people, and I was cool with that. I gave me something that others didn’t necessarily want to play with, and that meant more for me.

My mother and I went to Bakka Bookstore a lot, and it was likely the place where my mother researched contacts in science fiction publishing, and found an outlet to sell her first short story (in a Canadian science fiction magazine called Stardust, I believe). It was through Bakka that I found the book Doctor Who: A Celebration (celebrating the 20th anniversary of the series; this was thirty-three years ago!) that told me about the existence of the Canadian fan club known as the Doctor Who Information Network. Until then, I had no idea that there was such a thing as fandom, and people like me who liked things as strongly as me.. It’s safe to say that Bakka fostered my love of science fiction, and got me into fandom. The rest, as they say, is history.

So, to put it mildly, I chuffed to be releasing my first science fiction novel in the bookstore that made it happen. The location may not be the same (which, now that I think of it, must be why they tacked on “Phoenix” at the end of their name, correct?), but the people behind it and the passion they bring to it most definitely are. I’m looking forward to showing off and signing copies of Icarus Down on Saturday, October 1.

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