Two new science fiction/fantasy novels have made the hardcover best-seller list. 'To Green Angel Tower,' by Tad Williams, and 'Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Devil's Heart,' by Carmen Carter, occupy the number 14 and 15 positions on the list.
FICTION'S A' POPPIN'
The two new fiction hardcovers--To Green Angel Tower from DAW and Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Devil's Heart from Pocket--are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of fiction sales activity. The competition for a spot on the list is fierce; a number of titles that have recently fallen off the chart are still garnering enough reports to have made it in a quieter time. Also, there are three new novels that came very close this week.
The two newcomers to this week's list seem to be winning with science fiction and fantasy fans. Carmen Carter is the author of the Star Trek title, and it is her first hardcover effort (she has co-written three paperback Trek novels). The last seven Next Generation titles all made it onto PW's charts. There are 80,000 copies in print for the DAW Tad Williams title; it's the final book in his Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy. It probably qualifies for biggest novel on the list--the $25 hardcover has 1083 pages.
The three novels that have yet to debut on our list are moving enough copies--especially at the independent bookstores-- to hit a list that went to 20. Philip Roth's Operation Shylock: A Confession from Simon & Schuster is the first in this group. It's the author's 20th book and has 125,000 copies in print. Roth, who traditionally shuns publicity, has done some interviews, mostly print and a little radio--he turned 60 this month so it's a special year for him. Roth is giving readings in different parts of the country and is headed to Boston, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis and Rochester (he's done the Coast).
The next contender is The Fourteen Sisters of Emilio Montez O'Brien by Pulitzer Prize winner Oscar Hijuelos. He is in the midst of a 17-city tour that runs through mid-April. Farfar, Straus & Giroux has gone back for a 15,000-copy second printing, for a total of 90,000.
Published last October, Laura Esquivel's debut novel, Like Water For Chocolate, continues to sell. Doubleday has already shipped some 47,000 copies, and the book has a total of 57,500 copies in print after six trips to press. Since the February release of the Miramax film based on the book (it opened in New York City and L.A. and will have national distribution by end of June), Doubleday claims to be shipping about 500 copies each day. The book has been nominated by booksellers for an ABBY. N.Y.C.'s Boom restaurant and its sister restaurant, Bang in Miami (this is for real!), are running a special movie/book promotion; they've re-created all of the recipes described in the book and are giving away a free copy of the novel to the first 50 people who bring in a movie ticket stub from Like Water.
SMILEY'S FIRST NOVEL MAKES THE LIST
Jane Smiley's prize-winning A Thousand Acres is her sixth and most successful book. It's a virtual fixture on the trade paperback list, and even after a 29-week run, it still captures one of the top spots (it's #3 this week). After 19 printings, there are 550,000 copies of the Fawcett Columbine paperback. With interest in the author so strong, it seemed only a matter of time before the publisher issued her first novel, Barn Blind, in paperback. First published in hardcover back in 1980 (when the author was 30), it had been out of print for many years. It was a good move--the book makes it onto the list at #15; it has 90,000 copies in print after two trips to press.