A Change of Hobbit
|Name:||A Change of Hobbit|
|Type:||brick and mortar bookstore|
|Fandom:||science fiction, fantasy|
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A Change of Hobbit was a bookstore in San Francisco, California from 1972 to 1991. It was one of the first science fiction, fantasy and horror bookstores established, and was a significant part of these fandoms generally, and in Southern California particularly.
There was also a "Change of Hobbit" in Los Angeles. Years of operation is unknown.
I spent most of my childhood hunkered down on a footstool reading SF in A Change of Hobbit since I didn't have any spending money...and I'd just once again ditched my dance class next door. haha. Poor mom. She really wanted me to be graceful.
Instead, I snuck into "the hobbit shop," as I called it, and watched Ray Bradbury sitting at a typewriter in the window. I got handed free xeroxed copies of short stories by famous sci fi authors in draft stages (I still have one by Larry Niven) or zines... I read used books w/o paying a penny, basically using the shop as my personal library, and not a peep out of the staff about kicking me out. I met Harlan Ellison once, and asked him to sign a book to my friend Tana as "frogchild." (that's what we called each other, I tried to explain, totally flustered). "Dear Tana," he inscribed the copy of Deathbird Stories I'd bought her, "This asshole told me to sign this 'to frogchild,' but I told her to go fuck herself. Love, Harlan." I was 11 at the time.
A Change of Hobbit had a lacquered sting ray on the wall that looked like an alien, and in fact, a sign below it said, "From Area 51." It really did look like an alien, but even though I was totally wee when I first saw it, I kind of figured if someone had captured a real alien, it wouldn't be hanging on the wall in a book store.Even such an incredible book store.