Michael Chabon—the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Wonder Boys, and The Yiddish Policeman’s Union—spent his Covid quarantine taking a trip…through time!
Well, not literally, but in an emotional and curatorial sense, the speculative fiction maestro can now be considered a time traveller.
Yes, as reported by Boing Boing earlier this week, Chabon “spent his Covid quarantine lovingly and meticulously creating a digital tribute to / replica of the Science Fiction and Fantasy section in the bookstore of his youth.”
On Sunday, Chabon posted the image of his digital bookshelf on Threads and wrote:
This started (and was mostly finished) as a COVID project.
One endless quarantine afternoon, I was in my Berkeley studio, staring at my old #DAW_SF and #BallantineAdultFantasy paperbacks, and contemplating, in my imagination, the “Science Fiction and Fantasy” section at the loooong-defunct Page One bookstore, back in #ColumbiaMD, where I grew up.
People, I tell you, I fuckin HAUNTED that section! For YEARS! And now as I sat around communing with my tattered old friends, I discovered that I retained a sharp recollection—title, author, cover design—of what felt like every single book that had ever appeared on those tall shelves along the left wall of Page One, toward the back, between 1972 and 1980.
This—which I finally finished, last night—was the result. Think of it—I did—as a kind of time telescope, a look back at the visuals that embodied and accompanied my early aspirations as a writer, and at the mass-market splendor of paperback sf and fantasy in those days.
For the pulpy SFF enthusiast, there’s an embarrassment of riches to be salivated over here: Star Wars and Star Trek novelizations, gorgeous Ray Bradbury editions, Gino D’Achille’s John Carter covers, Hugo Award collections edited by Isaac Asimov, and much, much more.