I love Powell’s City of Books. Some may only know it as a kick-ass online bookstore, but book lovers in Portland, like me, know it as a giant warehouse of dreams. It may not be the largest bookstore in the world, but it’s up there, taking up a full city block and four floors, each filled to the ceiling with stacks and stacks of new and used books of every genre. Each section has a better selection than some whole bookstores.
I love this store even though they fired me. That’s how much I love it.
An example is my experience last night. One of my favorite authors is Philip K. Dick, and I consider myself a collector of his books and novels. His most famous novel is “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” which was made into the movie “Blade Runner”.
Now, don’t get me wrong, “Blade Runner” was a great movie. Ridley Scott directing, Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer and Sean Young… But there’s so much more to the novel it originated from, that the connection in my mind between movie and novel is thin. And… I’ve read the novel but I don’t own a copy of it.
I don’t own a copy of the novel because… well… I want to own a copy that doesn’t have the words “Blade Runner” on it. I want to own a copy printed before it became a hit movie.
I fully admit that this could be an elitist, or faux-elitist, idea. Like “I was cool before everyone else was cool”. Hopefully I’m puncturing that faux-elitism here by calling myself out. I just want to keep the novel and the movie separate. Is that so wrong?
Now, I’ve been looking for a copy of “Androids” that pre-dates “Blade Runner” for, literally, years. Maybe a decade and a half. Whenever I’m in Powell’s I’m looking for one. Haven’t found one yet. Have, several times, almost given up and bought a copy branded with a picture of Harrison Ford.
But now I don’t have to. Last night there were a bunch of old pulp paperbacks, each carefully wrapped in cellophane, in the “D” section of Sci-Fi in the Gold Room of Powell’s… Including the picture you see to the right.
I’ve finally got what I’ve wanted! Let’s hope that’s an omen… Not that I believe in those, of course.