I was shopping in the rock-bottom bargain bin at a used bookstore, and I bought a few books on the “What are you risking?” plan. Five, maybe ten bucks worth, and ten bucks on used books can go a long way. I wasn’t expecting anything in particular. It was a grab bag, maybe a little influenced by the theme of the week, but that’s the truth. At that price, you get your money’s worth, if you like any one of the books.
It wasn’t until I got home that I found that one of the books was signed. In pencil, way in the back, where the bookseller hadn’t noticed it. Maybe if he had, he wouldn’t have sold it to me at “What are you risking?” prices.
And who would have looked for a signature in the back pages of a book?
You’d have to know the writer pretty well to get his pen-name out of this real-life name signature. John Wallace Pritchard wrote as Ian Wallace.
And he didn’t happen to write this book. It’s a copy of Quantum Mechanics and Experience by David Z Albert.
There’s something about the thing that resonates with me. Something about that interaction… it speaks to me. The idea of some nameless fan–he didn’t even write his own name in the book, when he owned it–rushing over to an author he recognized, and getting an autograph. Here, sign my… uhm… well… my book. My menu. My boarding pass. Whatever. Sign my anything. My random non-fiction thingy that you did not write, and might not have read, because it’s here.