Is any kind of store more important to a writer than bookstores?
Nope. That’s why every week I’m showcasing one of the bookstores around the world I’ve visited and loved. Today that is Bakka Phoenix Books.
The wife and I get to Toronto once or twice a year because, against all odds, two of our three sons have settled there. Visiting the boys is nice, of course–but wow, this bookstore! (Just kidding, guys. Love you both.)
What’s so special about Bakka Phoenix? It’s a science fiction bookstore, and it’s well established, having opened in 1972. It’s a great place to get recommendations for what’s new and hot in the field. The main problem with that is the airline’s weight limit on my suitcases; I can’t bring home nearly as many books as I’d like.
It’s also a place to meet science fiction writers. For example, I’ve met NYT bestselling fantasy author Michelle Sagara, and Nebula Award winner Cory Doctorow. Just casually, you know–they’re in the store, I’m in the store, we talk. Cool
Cory has written some wild stuff. Perhaps the most memorable to me is Anda’s Game, which has recently been turned into a comic book. It’s the tale of a young female gamer who learns about wider social issues through a MMORPG (that’s a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, for those of you from my generation).
Robert J. Sawyer, perhaps the leading writer of hard sf, used to work at Bakka. I’ve been privileged to meet and work with Rob on several occasions, and he has reviewed my books, including The Trial of Tompa Lee. While I attended a week-long workshop at the Banff Centre for the Arts, he introduced me to the work of author Julie Czerneda.
Best of all (for me, at least) the store is less than half a block from the dormitory where my youngest son lived while attending the University of Toronto. Brett has moved on to better digs, but it’s still an easy walk from his place.
Next time you’re in Toronto, make this bookstore one of your must-sees…and tell them I sent you.
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Robert J. Sawyer award winning books
- Nebula Award for Best Novel of 1995: The Terminal Experiment
- Hugo Award for Best Novel of 2002: Hominids
Julie Czerneda award winning books
- Romantic Times 2001 Reviewers’ Choice Winner: Best Science Fiction Novel for In the Company of Others
Cory Doctorow award winning books
- 2007 Locus Award for Best Novelette for “When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth“
Michelle Sagara award winning books
- 2013 Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award: best Fantasy Adventure for Cast in Sorrow
And for good measure, here’s part of what Rob Sawyer had to say about my own The Trial of Tompa Lee: “Ed Hoornaert is a marvelous writer: a terrific, engrossing storyteller and a consummate stylist.” Thanks, Rob!
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Check out other Bookstores I Love.