Louisville, KY is stippled with curio shops and thrift stores. Despite more than a handful, not every secondhand store in Louisville is full of old Derby Day merchandise. Nonetheless, even those ones probably have something hidden in the back, behind all the horse shit.
Thrift stores sell all kinds of useless stuff: knick-knacks, collectibles, ceramics, however, you can also find pipes, old vinyl records, trunks and furniture, ancient typewriters and Polaroid cameras. It’s a hipster’s dream! Not to mention, most of the items are inexpensive, especially when compared to online or retail prices.
My fiance and I have turned thrift shopping into a cheap hobby. When we have the time and money, we like to go around, hunting down weird, and interesting things. (After lurking on r/flipping for a while now, we’re still playing with that idea.)
The Louisville Thrift Store tends to have the coolest junk. I recently came across an older man selling an entire bookshelf, but when I went back to find him, it had already been sold. That same day, I found this trippy, sci-fi Book from the ’70’s.
I admit it was an impulse buy, based on the artwork – what did they used to say about a book and it’s cover? Anyway, for only a dollar, it seemed a neat find.
After reading some of its short stories, I had to research this book. At the time, I knew nothing about it.
According to Wikipedia, The 1974 Annual World’s Best SF is an anthology of short science fiction stories and the third volume in a series of nineteen. For anyone interested in reading the stories in The 1974 Annual World’s Best SF, I have linked which few can be read online, below:
– “Parthen” by R. A. Lafferty
– “The Deathbird” by Harlan Ellison
– “Death and Designation Among the Asadi” by Michael Bishop
– “Construction Shack” by Clifford D. Simak
I didn’t read them in any order, so one of the last stories I remember reading is “Death and Designation Among the Asadi.” It was originally a novella, nominated for both the Hugo and Nebula awards in 1974, and was first published in the magazine Worlds of If January-February 1973.
The story, itself, is both chilling and thought-provoking and told from through the personal journal of xenologist, Egan Chaney, who has volunteered to live amongst the Asadi: almost humanoid creatures of the planet, BoskVeld. He observes them for a period of time, while occasionally interacting, but, gradually, the Asadi exhibit stranger behavior until…I won’t ruin the ending for you.
Most, if not all of the stories in The 1974 Annual World’s Best SF are rather weird enthralling. I wouldn’t have stumbled upon this gem, however, if not for whoever left it at the Louisville Thrift Store. It just goes to show, you never really know what you might find.
Until I find another, obscure book to share…
(Photos from stuff I find in thrift stores and usually post to Reddit.)