December 01, 2007

Notes from a DVD Geek

by Jeremy Lassen

It's the Yule season, and frenzied purchasing sprees are in the air.   DVD's make great stocking stuffers, or gifts, or whatever.   For those of you find the holiday to be a torturous mess filled with awkward family gatherings and not much fun, I've got some suggestions for you.

First up is the original torture-porn extravaganza . . .  "The Girl Next Door".  Anybody who has read Jack Ketchum's landmark horror novel knows what a grueling, psychological roller coaster it is.  I have to be honest -- I haven't seen the movie yet.  It's directed by no one you've ever heard of, starring nobody you've ever heard of.  But it's going to the top of my To Watch pile, simply because the source material is so magnificent.  I have modest hopes for the movie, but . . .  they are still hopes.

"Hostel Part 2" is out on DVD.   The most original and creative of the torture-porn releases has a mediocre follow-up that delivers what you would expect from a franchise of this type.  If you have the holiday season blues, this will be sure to make you realize that someone, somewhere, is having a worse day.

November Bestsellers

1. Postsingular by Rudy Rucker
2. Mister B. Gone by Clive Barker
3. War of Gifts by Orson Scott Card
4. Ice, Iron and Gold by S.M. Stirling
5. Pirate Freedom by Gene Wolfe
6. Hilldiggers by Neal Asher
7. Gentlemen of the Road by Michael Chabon
8. Imago Sequence & Other Stories by Laird Barron
9. Reserved for the Cat by Mercedes Lackey
10. Spook Country by William Gibson

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. Dog Days by John Levitt
2. The Android's Dream by John Scalzi
3. The City, Not Long After by Pat Murphy
4. Sixty Days and Counting by Kim Stanley Robinson
5. Glasshouse by Charles Stross
6. Old Man's War by John Scalzi
7. Endgame by Kristine Smith
8. Odyssey by Jack McDevitt
9. Light by M. John Harrison
10. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Trade Paperbacks
1. World War Z by Max Barry
2. Butcher Bird by Richard Kadrey
3. Speculative Japan edited by Grania Davis and Gene van Troyer
4. 9Tail Fox by Jon Courtenay Grimwood tied with Rewired: The Post Cyberpunk Anthology edited by James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel
5. The Secret Files of the Diogenes Club by Kim Newman

The 2007 Gift Guide

It is that time of year again . . . warm feelings in the heart, a chill in the air, and my neighbors with their terrifying holiday decorations.  (Light-up, three-foot-tall Wise Men in the trees - now that is scary!) But I digress.  This is a cozy time of year, when many of you more-domestic-than-me types bake cookies and gather the loved ones close by the fire . . . or maybe your whole Wiccan circle goes camping in the mountains with organic goodies . . . or perhaps you play World of Warcraft with your buddies, a huge bag of Doritos, and a gallon-size Mountain Dew . . . or maybe you get Chinese food and watch zombie movies with the cats . . . or curl up by yourself with a good book or seven! However and with whomever you choose to spend your holidays, we wish you joy and fun.

To make the present-giving parts of the season easier, here is the officially-official Borderlands Guide to Holiday Gifts, with a little something for everyone -- even you!


Y'know when you want to give something nice to someone you don't know very well? Skip the snowman sweaters - these are never-fail choices.

*The Princess Bride 25th Anniversary Edition by William Goldman (Ballantine, Hardcover, $24.95, or Mass Market, $7.99) - I have never met *anyone* who dislikes this book, which is close to a miracle.  The perfect blend of humor, action, adventure, romance, and Rodents of Unusual Size.

*Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (Morrow, Hardcover, $29.95, Harper, Trade Paperback, $14.95, and HarperTorch Mass Market, $7.99) - The funniest book about Armageddon you'll ever read.

*We have a large selection of blank books, including Moleskine journals, Sandman and fairy journals, Tim Burton's Tragic Thoughts Journal (which lights up!) and handmade journals from the Pettingill Book Bindery in Berkeley.  Prices range from $7.99 to $18.99.

*Wooden boxes in a variety of sizes and designs will suit anyone.  Prices range from $5.00 - $36.00.


*The Android's Dream by John Scalzi (Tor, Hardcover, $24.95 and Mass Market, $6.99) - An intersteller incident inspired by flatulence and sheep. How does it get better?

*The ACME Catalog by Charles Carey (Chronicle, Trade Paperback, $14.95) - An entire catalog of (mostly) fictional products for Looney Tunes characters to purchase at their own risk!

*Great Lies to Tell Small Kids by Andy Riley (Plume, Small Softcover, $11.00) - I pick a new favorite every day, but today's is "It is unlucky NOT to name every ant you see. For your whole life."

*The Wit and Wisdom of Discworld by Terry Pratchett, complied by Stephen Briggs (Harper, Hardcover, $22.95) - Various bits and pieces, witty commentary and sagacious observations culled from all the Discworld novels.

Lamb, or The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore (Morrow, special gift edition with Bible-like cover & sewn-in bookmark, $19.95, and Perennial, Trade Paperback, $13.95) - A funny, respectful and oddly touching re-telling.

The Stupidest Angel (a Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror) by Christopher Moore (Morrow, small Hardcover, $15.95) Christmas.  With zombies.  It's a theme, you know.


*20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill (Morrow, Hardcover, $24.95) We have just a few signed copies of this brilliant debut short story collection remaining.

*The Dark Descent edited by David Hartwell (Tor, Trade Paperback, $29.95) - The classic, indispensible collection with a little bit of everything for the horror fan.

*Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin (Bantam, Trade Paperback, $16.00) - Glorious, unsentimental Mississippi riverboat vampire novel.

*The Devil You Know by Mike Carey (Warner, Hardcover, $24.99) - We still have a few signed copies of this awesome first novel about freelance exorcist Felix Castor.

*World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Barry (Three Rivers, Trade Paperback, $14.95) - George Romero meets Studs Terkel.   Unforgettable and strangely moving.

*I Am Legend by Richard Matheson (Orb, Trade Paperback, $14.95) - Read (or give) the novel before the movie comes out.


*Four Novels of the 1960 s: The Man in the High Castle, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Ubik by Philip K. Dick (Library of America, Hardcover, $35.00) - This lovely and literary volume collects these four novels.

*Bad Monkeys by Matt Ruff (Harper, Oversized Softcover, $20.00) - Conspiracy upon conspiracy, plus a "Natural Causes" Gun that shoots heart attacks!

*How to Survive a Robot Uprising: Tips on Defending Yourself Against the Coming Rebellion by Daniel H.  Wilson (Bloomsbury, small Softcover, $12.95) - Certainly the title speaks for itself.

*The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection From the Living Dead by Max Barry (Three Rivers, Trade Paperback, $13.95) - Remember, "organize before they rise!"


*Dune by Frank Herbert (Ace, Hardcover, $29.95)

*Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (Tor, Hardcover, $25.95)

*The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley (Del Rey, Hardcover, $30.00)

*The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein (Houghton Mifflin, Collector's Edition bound in green leather with matching slipcase, $35.00; Houghton Mifflin, Hardcover illustrated by Tolkien, $16.00; Houghton Mifflin Hardcover illustrated by Alan Lee, $35.00; Houghton Mifflin Hardcover illustrated by Peter Sis, $18.00)

*The Neverending Story by Michael Ende (Dutton, Hardcover, $22.99)

*The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (Wings, Hardcover, $14.99) - Includes all five novels - The Hitchhiker s Guide to the Galaxy; The Restaurant at the End of the Universe; Life, the Universe and Everything; So Long and Thanks for All the Fish; and Mostly Harmless.


*Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis (Morrow, Hardcover, $21.95) - If Hunter S. Thompson, Dashiell Hammett and Christopher Moore had written a novel together, this would be it.

*The Best of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet edited by Gavin Grant and Kelly Link (Del Rey, Trade Paperback, $14.95) - Some of the best from the hugely popular 'zine.  Genre-bending and expectation-defying.

*Good Fairies of New York by Martin Millar (Soft Skull, Trade Paperback, $13.95) - Quirky and sweet novel with several sincerely unconventional protagonists including a handful of drunken Scottish fairies.

*Butcher Bird by Richard Kadrey (Night Shade Books, Trade Paperback, $14.95) - Awesome novel set in San Francisco and Hell with an unlikely tattoo-artist hero.

*Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death by Corrine May Botz (Monacelli Press, Oversized Hardcover, $35.00) - This gorgeous photo book showcases the mind-boggling work of Frances Glessner Lee, who created incredibly realistic doll-house death scenes to assist in training forensic and police investigators.  Perfect for the CSI fan in your life.

*Gun With Occasional Music by Jonathan Lethem (Harcourt, Trade Paperback, $14.00) - Surreal noir detective novel, one of my favorites.  The threatening kangaroo is just the beginning.

*A Box of Bunny Suicides by Andy Riley (Plume, two small softcovers in a cardboard slipcase, $20.00) - Box includes THE BOOK OF BUNNY SUICIDES and RETURN OF THE BUNNY SUICIDES.  Cartoons featuring little fluffy rabbits who just don't want to live any more.


*The Golden Compass is the big, beautiful, uproar-inciting movie of the Winter.  We have several different formats of all of the books in the His Dark Materials series (The Golden Compass,The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman) for your controversial reading-or-presenting pleasure: Mass Markets from Laurel-Leaf, $7.50 each, Trade Paperbacks from Knopf, $11.95 each, and two different kinds of Hardcover from Knopf, the regular ($20.00 each) and the Special editions ($22.99 each).  We also have all three books in one omnibus trade paperback volume from Knopf, at $21.99.

*Territory by Emma Bull (Tor, Hardcover, $24.95) - A magical re-telling of the events leading up to the gunfight at the O.K.  Coral.

*River of Gods by Ian McDonald (Pyr, Hardcover, $25.00, and Trade Paperback, $15.00) - India in 2047 is a very odd place.  An excellent novel full of fascinating ideas.   *Firebirds edited by Sharyn November (Viking, Hardcover, $19.99 and Trade Paperback $8.99) - One of my favorite anthologies -- this one has some brilliant stories in it.

*Portable Childhoods by Ellen Klages (Tachyon, Trade Paperback, $14.95) - Feral librarians, time-traveling lesbians, and the origin of beetles.  Short story collection that will make you laugh and sigh.

*Cover Story: The Art of John Picacio by John Picacio (Monkeybrain Books, Oversized Hardcover, $39.95) - We still have some signed copies of this stunning art book.

*Wild Girls by Pat Murphy (Viking, Hardcover, $16.99) - One of the best novels ever about self-discovery through writing and rebelliousness.

*Blindsight by Peter Watts (Tor, Hardcover, $25.95) - Grim, fascinating hard SF novel.  One of the most thought-provoking of the year.

If nothing in this lengthy list sounds just right, please ask us --- we'll be happy to recommend something!

November 01, 2007

Notes from a DVD Geek

by Jeremy Lassen

Hey everyone . . . I’m going to focus on “Special Edition” re-releases galore this month.  That’s right . . . re-releases of your favorite films and TV shows.  Is it really worth paying for twice?  Or should you hang onto your previous edition, and not bother with the upgrades?  These are tough questions that every cinemaphile faces, and I’m here to help.  

First up is "The Return of the Living Dead".  I know I promised to not talk about horror films, but this is "The Return of the Living Dead" --  you know, the Greatest. Zombie. Movie. Ever!  Now it's available as a two-disk special edition: everyone’s favorite punk rock zombie movie gets a slightly better treatment then it had previously.  There is a new commentary track featuring cast members that is excellent, although occasionally silly, and there is a really good feature-ette covering the making of this film.  There’s also a generic and not terribly exciting mini-documentary on 80’s horror, which is mostly forgettable.  The picture quality is the same as the previous version, and there is no new cut, or version of the film.  It’s the same one from the first DVD, and it features some of the same minor problems regarding dialogue replacement and some song synching issues that were different in the VHS/laser disk edition.  Not perfect, but slightly better.  If you don’t own the earlier DVD version, well, you’re a bad person, but you can make up for it by buying the special edition DVD right now.   If you do own it, you're probably a total fan of this movie, and it's worth getting, even if it doesn’t include some of the “holy grail” work print material, or some of the “fixes” that zombie fan purists demand.  “Send more DVDs!”

October Bestsellers

1) Halting State by Charles Stross
2) 2012 by Whitley Strieber
3) Bloodline by F. Paul Wilson
4) Making Money by Terry Pratchett
5) Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman
6) Fatal Revenant by Stephen Donaldson
7) Spook Country by William Gibson
tie with A Lick of Frost by Laurell Hamilton
8) Ice, Iron and Gold by S.M. Stirling
9) The Merchant's War by Charles Stross
10) The Wild Girls by Pat Murphy tie with Postsingular by Rudy Rucker

Mass Market Paperbacks
1) Blood Engines by T.A. Pratt
2) Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett
3) The City, Not Long After by Pat Murphy
4) Midnight Alley by Rachel Caine
5) Empire of Ivory by Naomi Novik
6) Grave Surprise by Charlaine Harris
7) Harbingers by F. Paul Wilson
8) Spirit Gate by Kate Elliot
9) Spellbinder by Melanie Rawn
10) Sky People by S.M. Stirling

Trade Paperbacks
1) End of the World Blues by Jon Courtenay Grimwood
2) Butcher Bird by Richard Kadrey
3) Rewired: The Post Cyberpunk Anthology edited by James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel
4) Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman
5) Grey by Jon Armstrong

Origin of the Bookstore, Part the Thirteenth

For the last year, we've been doing a special feature each month about what Borderlands is and how it got that way.  This is the last of the special features, showcasing stories from customers about how they discovered the store.


I moved to San Francisco on November 10th, 1997 -- 3 days before my 22nd birthday, and apparently, just after Borderlands opened. I don't remember how I learned about the store, but it must have been a only few days after I arrived. I had an apartment, a small amount of money, no job, and a lot of time to wander around this new city I was already falling in love with. Somehow I found the store, and it's charming owner, and it's wonderful (if smallish, then) selection. It already felt like a great place, and I was impressed with the combination of polish and homeyness -- as much as I appreciate the "scary cave" school of used bookstores, my eyes and sinuses prefer the Borderlands approach. Alan told me to come back for the 'official' grand opening. I did. Books started their inevitable flow from Hayes Valley to the pile next to my bed (and, occasionally, the other way).

Borderlands became a regular haunt, and I proudly introduced others to it when I could -- new friends, old friends, my family when they visited, a charming & lovely woman from the east coast when she did.

October 01, 2007

Notes from a DVD Geek

by Jeremy Lassen

Welcome to the October edition of my DVD column.  This month, there will be a ton of really bad horror movies released on DVD.  I mean . . . just a lot of bad movies.  Because . . . well, it’s October.  And sadly, it's not a terribly good year for horror releases.  I’m going to skip most of the trash, but one piece of trash is notable, because it is the first Dark Castle production to go straight to home video (which is a bad thing) and it features Jeffrey Combs (which is a good thing).  "Return to the House on Haunted Hill".  This movie has none of the cast of the “original remake.” It’s a different director.  And as I said, it is direct-to-video.  But it has Jeffrey Combs eating the scenery, so if you’re a Jeffery Combs fan, pick it up.  Otherwise . . . well, let's move on.

"Twilight Zone, the Movie" is finally being released on DVD.  This was actually a pretty decent anthology film from 1983, wherein some of the best episodes from the original series were re-written.  You could watch this, or you could watch the original episodes.  It's your call, but I’ve got a soft spot for this movie.  I saw it in the theater, and it scared the crap out of me when I was a wee lad.

September Bestsellers

1. Making Money by Terry Pratchett
2. Hilldiggers by Neal Asher
3. Promises to Keep by Charles de Lint
4. Little (Grrrl) Lost by Charles de Lint
5. The Coyote Road: Trickster Tales edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
6. World War Z by Max Brooks
7. 1634: The Bavarian Crisis by Eric Flint and Virginia DeMarce
8. Many Bloody Returns: Tales of Birthdays with Bite edited by Charlaine Harris
9.  The Nail and the Oracle by Theodore Sturgeon
10. Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis tie with
      Spook Country by William Gibson

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. The City, Not Long After by Pat Murphy
2. Princes of the Golden Cage by Nathalie Mallet
3. The Clan Corporate by Charles Stross
4. A Meeting at Corvalis by S.M. Stirling
5. Empire of Ivory by Naomi Novik
6. Undertow by Elizabeth Bear
7. The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman
8. Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman tie with
   A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
9. Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan
10. Hounding the Moon by P.R. Frost

Trade Paperbacks
1. Butcher Bird by Richard Kadrey
2. Grey by Jon Armstrong
3. Reaper's Gale by Steven Erikson
4. The Dog Said Bow-Wow by Michael Swanwick tie with
    River of Gods by Ian McDonald
5.  Nova Swing by M. John Harrison

Origin of the Bookstore, Part the Twelfth - The Real Story

For the last eleven months, we've been doing a special feature each month about what Borderlands is and how it got that way.  This is the last of the regular features, but we'll be doing a special, final "Origin" next month highlighting customers' stories.

by Alan Beatts

For reasons only dimly understood even now and too complex to get into here, I decided at 17 that I was best suited to some type of work that involved carrying a gun and dealing with violence.  Many people might have been worried about such a choice for reasons of their safety or health but at the time I was pretty firmly convinced that I wouldn't live to see 30.  I considered the military (too structured and they would make me cut my hair, which has been long for most of my life), the intelligence field (they wanted too much college and I was really sick of going to school), and several other, less respectable, options.  In the end I decided to go to college and study what was called either Administration of Justice (community college) or Criminology (UC and Cal State).  Through a bunch of twists and turns, I ended up doing what I planned and working all over while doing all kind of jobs -- jobs that ranged from interesting to deadly boring, safe to madly dangerous, useful to utterly pointless.  I learned a great deal, met some wonderful people, and I don't regret it for an instant.

And then I hit a wall.

As I was getting better and better at what I did and taking on more and more responsibilities, an essential conflict between my job and my personality become worse and worse.  I've always been a bit unconventional and politically liberal -- though my "liberalism" was only on about half the issues, on the other half I've always been "conservative" (i.e. if they want, I'd like my friends to be able to take their concealed handgun to their same-sex wedding) -- but I was in a field that is conservative to an astonishing degree.  The two things didn't mix well.  A case in point - I went to ridiculous lengths to conceal my real name from my drug-running, motorcycle riding, club-hopping lover of the time because I was (rightly) worried that it could make problems with my security clearance if anyone found out (by the way, my nickname from back then still sticks, to the confusion of many).  Living a double life like that is a strain, even for someone who had done their share of undercover work.

And then there was the job stress.  I was carrying two pagers, from two different companies, because it was so critical that I be reachable 24 hours a day.  At one point, I worked for over a month without a day off.  I've always been able to work pretty hard but that was too much.  I was falling apart physically and emotionally.

So I quit.  Completely.  And radically simplified my life.

A few months later the sum total of my possessions (that weren't in long term storage) fit into one mid-sized duffle bag and two motorcycle saddle bags.  I was sleeping in a different place pretty much every night and I never slept the same place three nights in a row.  I didn't have a job, a mailing address, or a home.  Hell, my life was so simple that I only had _one_ key.  I spent most of my time in San Francisco.  During the days I'd read in cafes, hang out wherever I'd spent the last night, or, if I was tired, I'd go to Golden Gate Park and take a nap.  At night, I'd be at some nightclub either dancing or seeing a band.  I picked up odd jobs, mostly as a roustabout in clubs.  After a while I started working as a DJ and later did some nightclub promoting.  Back then I drank a _lot_ and there were plenty of mornings when I'd wake up not knowing exactly where I was or how I got there.  That I didn't die in a motorcycle crash can only be marked up to a long run of very good luck (near the end I did crash, but I got away easy with just a few torn muscles in my back, a DUI charge, and a busted-up motorcycle).

At the time, I knew exactly what was wrong with me -- I didn't have any idea what I was going to do with the rest of my life; there was nothing that I was striving for or even trying to accomplish (other than getting enough money to keep me in food, booze and smokes).

In retrospect I've come to believe that along with that, I also was experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  It seems very strange and self-indulgent to be saying that.  After  all, I wasn't in a war and, though there was plenty of stress in my previous career, nothing happened to me that was a fraction as bad as what is happening daily in Iraq.  But, in a large part as a result of talking with a friend who was in Vietnam and who suffered a pretty severe case of PTSD, over the past two years I've started to think that, despite there being (as it seems to me) no good reason for it, that was part of what I was experiencing back then.  (As a side note, it is interesting that my friend will tell anyone who asks that _nothing_ terribly bad happened to him either.)  Whether it is reasonable or justified, I see now that I had all the symptoms associated with PTSD.

Regardless of the details, my state of mind and lifestyle was not one that would have been survivable in the long term.  Thankfully I got tired of the nightclub business about the same time that an old employee of mine got in touch because he was opening a motorcycle repair shop.  He was a good mechanic but he knew that he wasn't well suited to run the office and customer service side of a business.  So he asked me to take over that part.  As he put it, "I saw how you used to deal with people when you carried a gun.  If you could put up with them, you'll be able to put up with customers.  And the best part is . . . no one dies if you make a mistake."  For two years I managed the shop and discovered that I really loved running a small business and helping customers.  But, I also discovered that I worked harder than the owner and started to resent it.  Also, all the same problems were still bugging me.  I didn't feel like I was doing anything with my life and I was very depressed most of the time.  In fact, the depression was getting progressively worse as relations between me and the owner of the shop were going downhill.

Finally I decided that, if I was going to keep on walking around, I had to do something that I cared about.  Opening my own business seemed one of the best choices -- though heading out to Prague and DJ-ing was also a strong contender.  At the very least, if I owned my own business I'd have somewhere to sleep every night (after three years, homelessness was wearing on me and it didn't help with the depression).  So I thought about it for a long time and decided that there was room in SF for a used bookstore that specialized in science fiction, fantasy and horror.  I figured that I could run it by myself, stock it initially with my own books, and make ends meet (significantly aided by my rent-free, motorcycle-riding, Top Ramen-eating lifestyle).

Well, it didn't quite work out that way but it came close.  The space was bigger than I had planned (with equally higher rent), I didn't have enough books to fill it so I bought quite a few from another bookseller who had too many, and it was very quickly obvious that I wouldn't be able to make it work with only used books so I added selected new books as well.  But over all it worked out well.  The space was great.  My landlord never asked if I was living there and I didn't tell him.

For those of you who remember the old store at 534 Laguna Street, it was a warren of small rooms -- three total.  But what most people never saw were the other three rooms.  One was my office by day and at night the couch folded out, the back room concealed a relatively complete kitchen, and there was a full bath in the final room (I still miss the tub there -- it was a huge claw foot and had probably been installed when the building was built in the 19th century).  I had blinds in the front windows and at the end of the day I'd close them.  Well-meaning customers would always point out that I should leave them open so people could see the window displays when the shop was closed.  I just used to smile and think how window shoppers would react to see me wandering around the shop in my bathrobe!

Everything went well for three years.  Business grew steadily and after a year or so I was able to hire Jeremy Lassen to help out around the shop.  That was a huge relief.  From the day that I opened until I hired Jeremy I had worked six days a week, every week except for a few extra days off around Christmas (but it evened out -- the month before Christmas I stayed open seven days a week.  I'd been working 28 days straight by the time the holiday rolled around).

Then three things happened all at the same time - my lease ran out, the dot-com boom got going, and I found out what a bastard my landlord was.  See, I had a second option on my lease for another three years at the same rent.  In December I told my landlord that I wanted to take the option.  He said fine and I forgot about it.  Then the lease ran out in April and he raised the rent.  I mentioned the option and he pointed out that the lease said that I had to ask for it in writing and I had to do so before the first lease ran out.  I told him that I'd talked to him about it in December.  He shrugged.

I wanted to kill him.  Instead I panicked and told all my friends that I was looking for a new space.  And shortly thereafter my mom, bless her, found an ad for the business that was selling-out in our current location at 866 Valencia.

The saga of moving the store has been discussed elsewhere and I'll not repeat it here.  One epilogue that bears mentioning though -- my old landlord did very well during the dot-com boom.  At his height he owned over 20 buildings in San Francisco.  But . . . so far as I've been able to find out, when the crash hit he lost everything.

I should feel bad for him but I don't.

One catch about the new location was that it really wasn't very well set up as a place to live.  But I'm nothing if not flexible and (on good days) imaginative.  Nowadays people sometimes comment on what a nice stock room we have.  It used to be a bit more than that.  In the back room at Borderlands is a closet. If you move the brooms and ladder you might notice the shower head, the fiberglass walls and the drain in the floor  . . . the loft where we now store boxes of used books is almost the exact dimensions of a queen size bed . . . and a bookstore doesn't really need a two-compartment sink in the back room . . . I think you get the picture.  It's been a long time since I've lived at the shop but if, years ago, you ever saw a grey shape flitting around in the back of the store late at night -- it wasn't a ghost.

I had never figured out a good way to install a toilet in the back room.

It's about time to end this tell-all account.  It's ten years later and I'm not the person who opened Borderlands.  I'm hardly ever depressed now and when I am, there's a reason and it passes very quickly.  I don't have nightmares anymore and my drinking is very reasonable (hell, I don't have _time_ for hangovers).  I wouldn't say that book-selling and Borderlands saved my life -- how could I know that?  But I know that I'm happier than I've ever been in my life and I'm very, very proud of what I've been able to build with the kindness and support of my friends (Jet, Bill, Valorie, Jhene, Rain, Hannah, AC, Molly, Tia, Jeremy, Liza, Jason, Loren, Claud, Mikael, Scott, Amanda, Thorn, Cary, Lisa, Heather, Francis, Maddy, Scott, and Ben), my family (Joe, Alexandra, Darran, Steven, Jim, James, Devany and most of all, Valerie and Jude, the two pillars that hold up my world), and you -- my customers.  Thank you all.

September 01, 2007

Notes from a DVD Geek

by Jeremy Lassen

Hello everyone. I recently got back from the San Diego Comicon, where I saw all kinds of crazy stuff, including amputee booth models, and way too much CosPlay to contemplate.  Because of this recent over-exposure to all things anime, I feel compelled to tell you about some anime that has made its way to the Borderlands DVD shelves.

First up is "Burst Angel".  This just-released genre-bender mixes sci-fi, action, comedy, and a touch of spaghetti Western into an over-the-top girls-with-guns confection.  The first two volumes/8 episodes of this one are on DVD now.

Another strange anime series that has been getting talked up is the noir/sf series “The Big O”;  (no, the title is not referring to what you think its referring to).  It’s about a futuristic city with 40’s retro styling, whose entire population has lost their memories.  The city is ruled by the police force, and there are giant robots that kind of sit around and don’t really do much.  The title refers to said giant robots.  Think of this as a weird mix of "Dark City" and "Batman The Animated Series," without Batman.  It’s interesting stuff that was apparently shown on the Cartoon Network.  But who has time for cable?  There are now two giant 4-dvd sets available, each containing a 13-episode season.  This is exactly the kind of weird mix of styles and genres that anime does really well.

August Bestsellers

1. Spook Country by William Gibson
2. Sandworms of Dune by Kevin J. Anderson and Brian Herbert
3. Hilldiggers by Neal Asher
4. Thirteen by Richard Morgan
5. Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman
6. Coyote Road: Trickster Tales edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
7. Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis
8. Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
9. The Devil You Know by Mike Carey
10. Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. Plague Year by Jeff Carlson
2. Privilege of the Sword by Ellen Kushner
3. Undertow by Elizabeth Bear
4. Sea of Suns by Karl Schroeder
5. Thin Air by Rachel Caine
6. Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
7. Pushing Ice by Alastair Reynolds
8. In Fury Born by David Weber
9. Polity Agent by Neal Asher
10. The Machine's Child by Kage Baker tie with
Clan Corporate by Charles Stross

Trade Paperbacks
1. Butcher Bird by Richard Kadrey
2. The Very Bloody Marys by M. Christian
3. Grey by Jon Armstrong
4. Poltergeist by Kat Richardson
5. The Algebraist by Iain M. Banks tie with
Reaper's Gale by Steven Erikson

Origin of the Bookstore, Part the Eleventh - Moving Books

For the next two months we'll be doing a special feature each month in honor of Borderlands' upcoming 10th Anniversary (November 3rd, 2007).  We'll share some stories about what Borderlands is and how it got that way.

by Alan Beatts

Anyone who collects books or who is an avid reader knows what a pain moving books can be.  But to really appreciate how bad it can get you have to work at a bookstore (or, gods help you, own one).  As I write this, Borderlands has a total of 18,937 books in the store.  When we moved here from our old location, we only had about half that number.  All of which had to be boxed up in alphabetical order and moved over to the current location.  We were clever (at least a little bit) and found boxes that were exactly the right size to fit three long rows of mass-market paperbacks (those are the small paperbacks) stacked one deep.  At least that meant that the books would stay in order as they were moved.  Then it was just a matter of packing them up.  And packing them up.  And packing them up.

I was busy working on getting the new location into shape and most of the rest of the staff were either working their other jobs or helping me at the new location, so Claud Reich packed almost all the paperbacks by himself.  When I left the bookstore that morning, there was a pile of broken down boxes in the middle of the store about five feet high.  By the time I got back there in the evening, there were three or four piles of boxes in stacks higher than Claud's head (and he's not a short guy -- taller than my six feet, in fact).  When you think of regular moving boxes, that doesn't seem very high, but remember, these boxes were only 4" high.  That is a lot of boxes.  And then there were all the boxes of hardcovers and trade paperbacks.

Recent Reading

by Alan Beatts

It has been a good summer for my reading, so this month I thought I'd talk a little about books that I've read recently that really impressed me.  It's a truism that booksellers are either reading something old or something that hasn't come out yet.  I think it's because we're either working on our stacks (and we all have piles of books to read) of brand news stuff or we're "finally getting to that", fill in the blank, "that I've been meaning to read for months".  Whatever the reason, booksellers are almost always either behind our customers' reading or ahead of them.

Having said that, the first book I'm going to mention is an exception to that rule.  HILLDIGGERS by Neal Asher arrived at the store very recently and I grabbed it.  I've been a fan of Asher's since 1998 or so when I read THE ENGINEER, his first collection of short work that was published by Tanjen (a now sadly defunct UK small press).  I was crazy about that book and bought up the entire supply of copies available in the US.  And I promptly sold every single one at the then-cover price of around $15.  Now I wish I'd saved some copies since they're hard as hell to find and go for at least $100 now.

Fast-forward to 2007 when Asher has more than a half-dozen novels out, is a pretty big deal in the UK and working towards that in the US.  His Polity universe, in which most (if not all, the jury is still out on whether COWL is a Polity novel or not) of his novels and many of his short stories are set, is perhaps the must interesting and fully-imagined future history since Niven's Known Space and Banks' Culture.  HILLDIGGERS is his most recent work and in some ways I liked it better than the last two (POLITY AGENT and THE VOYAGE OF THE SABLE KEECH).  Not that the last two were poor examples of his work but they both are followups to other novels (BRASS MAN and THE SKINNER, respectively).  HILLDIGGERS, however, introduces a completely new cast of characters and is set on the outskirts of the Polity (the Line, as it's called).  It's a solid piece of writing that demonstrates Asher's increasing skill at starting the reader at the beginning of the action and then filling in the back-story bit by bit throughout the course of the novel.  If you haven't tried Asher yet, HILLDIGGERS is a good place to start (though I still think that THE SKINNER is his best work to date).

Next I'm going to jump way forward and tease you a little.  John Meaney may be familiar to some of you from his Nulapeiron Sequence (PARADOX, CONTEXT, and RESOLUTION).  His newest novel, BONE SONG, is a departure from his other work and I think it's his best yet.  It's a noir-ish detective novel set in a world very different from ours where something like magic (or more accurately, Necromancy) takes the place of much of our technology.  Neither science fiction nor fantasy, BONE SONG is the book that I've been waiting years to find.  Combining the aesthetic of Hammett or Robert Parker with a setting reminiscent of China Mieville's New Crobuzon, it's a remarkable entry into the canon of supernatural investigation.  Here's the catch: although the UK edition is out already I strongly suggest that you wait to read the US edition.  There were a few editorial and textural changes to the US edition that make it a stronger novel.  The bad news -- the US edition won't be out 'til February of next year.  So, you'll just have to wait.  Don't worry though, we'll mention it in this newsletter when we get copies.

Finally, I'll jump back in time and mention that I finally got around to reading Glasshouse by Charles Stross.  I know, I know it's been out forever but the paperback just caught my eye.  If there's anyone out there who hasn't gotten to it yet either -- buy it.  I heard mixed reviews right when it came out (which was part of the reason I waited on it) but I thought it was great.  Some of the riffs he's playing have been around for a while (interstellar teleportation, artificial societies, and human/meta-human/trans-human relations) but he does his usual (and remarkable) job of extrapolating and integrating ideas so that they are a seemingly rock-solid basis for the story, instead of being the centerpiece.  And the story is a lovely paranoid thriller where the no-one-is-what-they-seem element is enhanced by technology that allows effectively instant body switching and even multiple instances of the same personality in duplicate bodies.  The damn thing hooked me completely and cost me sleep, not to mention several hours at work!

That's about all for this month.  Have a lovely fall.

August 01, 2007

Notes from a DVD Geek

by Jeremy Lassen

This month I’m psyched.  There’s a truly awesome movie arriving on DVD and chances are most of you were unable to catch it in the theaters.  Now’s your chance to rectify this horrible mistake: run out and watch "The Host".  For those of you who came out to the Variety Screening Room this spring to watch "The Host," you know it’s a truly fabulous giant monster movie that transcends the genre. Great effects, gripping characterizations, and superb performances by the entire cast.  This Korean-made extravaganza comes to the US with a 2 disk special edition that should not be missed.

Speaking of splendidly over the top films we’ve shown at the Variety Screening Room, I’ll bet some of you remember our screening of the long-out-of-print "Flash Gordon" movie, featuring music by Queen, and the greatest performance of Max Von Sydow’s career, as Ming the Merciless.  The new “Savior of the Universe” DVD release features a restored anamorphic disk (for those non-techno-dorks, this means it looks better on your widescreen TV, if you’ve got one of those) and 5.1 surround sound, so as to better hear Brian May’s guitar and Freddy Mercury’s vocals.  Get it!

July Bestsellers

1) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
2) Sons of Heaven by Kage Baker
3) Territory by Emma Bull
4) Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman
5) Thirteen by Richard Morgan
6) The Gospel of the Knife by Will Shetterly
7) Kushiel's Justice by Jacqueline Carey
8) The Devil You Know by Mike Carey
9) Fortress in Shadow: A Chronicle of the Dread Empire by Glen Cook
10) Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis

1) Glasshouse by Charles Stross
2) Kushiel's Scion by Jacqueline Carey
3) The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
4) Pushing Ice by Alastair Reynolds
5) The Privilege of the Sword by Ellen Kushner
6) Year's Best SF 12  edited by David Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer
7) Fugitives of Chaos by John C. Wright
8) Blue Moon by Scott Westerfeld
9) Plague Year by Jeff Carlson
10) Book of the Dead by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Trade Paperbacks
1) Reaper's Gale by Steven Erikson
2) Butcher Bird by Richard Kadrey
3) The Year's Best Science Fcition vol. 24 edited by Gardner Dozois
4) Whisky and Water by Elizabeth Bear
5) Snake Agent by Liz Williams

Origin of the Bookstore, Part the Tenth - Second-Hand Things

For the next three months we'll be doing a special feature each month in honor of Borderlands' upcoming 10th Anniversary (November 3rd, 2007).  We'll share some stories about what Borderlands is and how it got that way.

by Alan Beatts

Much of the furniture and equipment at Borderlands has a curious and checkered past.  Almost everything in the store that wasn't purpose-built by me (often with the very patient help of staff and friends) was either A) bought used, B) a hand-me-down, C) a gift or D) scrounged in some other fashion.  Here's a little list of some of the notable and interesting items -

The glass cases behind the counter were bought from the science department at the College of San Mateo where they were used as microscope cases 'till I got a hold of them.  The cabinets on the back counter came from the same place where they were used for chemical storage (and my, weren't they fun to clean!).  The display case at the front counter displayed cigars and fine liquor in a shop in Noe Valley.  The laser printer at the counter came from the motorcycle shop I used to manage -- applause to Hewlett Packard since it's eleven years old and still going strong.

The two (large, stuffed) cockroach puppets that decorate the cash register came from Community Thrift courtesy of long-time store volunteer Mikael.   They are Saints Gulik, messengers of the Discordian goddess Eris, of whom several prominent store employees are adherents.  If that last sentence looked like gibberish to you, read THE PRINCIPIA DISCORDIA, conveniently for sale at Borderlands, or click here: <>

The light colored bookshelves near the front door were hand-me-downs from my brother when he and his family moved to Japan.  The tall one came from his office and the two shorter ones were my niece and nephew's first real bookshelves.  I bought the display case in front of the office window from my friend Kelleigh, who was the owner of the Ebb-Tide cafe.  She bought it used herself but it never worked in her shop (it was meant to be a pastry case).

Most of the rugs throughout the store have been in my family for generations (my parents and my maternal grandparents were all very fond of Oriental rugs).  I remember crawling around on them as a child and tracing the patterns with my finger.  The blue rug in the office was a gift from a longtime customer, Guy Johnson.  The couch at the rear of the shop (and its larger mate in the back room) were bought via a classified ad in the SF Weekly three days before the store opened in Hayes Valley.  I was in a panic because I concluded that there weren't enough places to sit, so I rushed out and bought those couches.  I think I spent $75 on the both of them.  I still remember the expression on my mother's face when I brought them to the store, where she was helping shelve books.  I said, "Look!  I got 'em for 75 bucks."

And she said, "Really . . . ." while her expression said, "Holy Christ!  What the hell were you thinking?"

I have to admit that they are the least attractive pieces of furniture in the shop but they've grown on me over the past ten years.  The cats, like several generations of unknown cats before them, occasionally use them as scratching posts.  The chairs at the back of the shop, as well as the sideboard (and the oak file cabinets in the office) all came from Cottrell's Moving and Storage.  Now closed, Cottrell's was on Valencia near Duboce and it was _the_ place to get decent furniture for cheap.  If people didn't pay their storage bill for too long, their furniture ended up for sale.  Based on the age of some of the furniture, Cottrell's had been in the storage business for a long, long time.

In the office, my desk is an old WWII vintage receptionist's desk that my mother bought used and then gave to me when I was in high school.  Jude's desk was the one good desk that was left here by the owner of Captain Jacks when I bought him out, prior to moving to the current location.

All the computers and associated bits were either hand-me-downs from my brother, Joe (it's nice to have a computer programer in the family) or were bought used from various sources, notably the nice folks at PowerMax <> or my friend and computer consultant par excellence, Bill Melcher.

Reuse and use used

by Alan Beatts

Writing my piece about the store history this issue made me start thinking about recycling and "green-thinking" in general.  Despite my Bay Area upbringing, I've never been much of a "tree hugger" (as we used to call environmentally-minded people when I was in High School).  In fact, when I was younger, I pretty much didn't give a damn about environmental issues.  But as I got older, I got smarter (at least _I_ think so) and I started to think about those issues.

Now my attitude is much more thoughtful, if not 100% hippy-certified, organically grown, and environmentally conscious (I mean really . . . I do drive a damn big, gas-guzzling truck . . . when I'm not walking or riding a motorcycle).  It's based on two key things --

A) I really, REALLY hate waste.  Perhaps it comes from being dirt poor and living hand-to-mouth for a while (not to mention being homeless, but that's another story) or maybe it's my father's Scottish frugality coming to the fore late in life but whatever the reason I don't like to see something that could be valuable to someone (other than its owner) getting thrown away.  It strikes me as both foolish and inconsiderate.  Foolish since one is wasting something that has value and inconsiderate because one is denying someone else something that might be quite valuable to them.  I think it's simple self-centeredness that makes a person conclude that something is valueless in an absolute sense and therefore trash simply because that object no longer has (subjective) value to that person.  By definition, that's inconsiderate.

B)  I love efficiency and good design.  It just makes me happy on a very basic level.  Up to a point, reusing objects is efficient in that it makes the best use of the raw materials, the energy and the labor that went into creating the object in the first place.  Good design is (in many cases if not always) based on creating something that achieves its purpose effectively with the minimum amount of effort or energy.

July 01, 2007

Notes from a DVD Geek

by Jeremy Lassen

As an independent bookstore, Borderlands definitely likes to support independent home video distributors, who bring us some of the weirder and more obscure films that would otherwise never find their way to home video.

I’ve talked in the past about the DVDs from Lurker Home Video, but I wanted to focus on them again, as they’ve recently released volume 4 of their consistently good H. P. Lovecraft Collection DVD series.  The mad man behind Lurker home video is Andrew Migliore, who is also one of the authors of the recent Lovecraft film encyclopedia, THE LURKER IN THE LOBBY.  He also, in copious spare time, has been running the annual H. P. Lovecraft International Film Festival for 11 years.  If there is anybody who knows obscure and quality filmic adaptations of H. P. Lovecraft, it’s Andrew.

June Bestsellers

1. Kushiel's Justice by Jacqueline Carey
2. Thirteen by Richard Morgan
3. Precious Dragon by Liz Williams
4. The Spirit Stone by Katharine Kerr
5. The Execution Channel by Ken MacLeod
6. The Harlequin by Laurel K. Hamilton
    Children of Hurin by J.R.R. Tolkien
7. Reaper's Gale by Steven Erikson
    The Last Colony by John Scalzi
8. Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman
9. Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon
10. World War Z by Max Brooks

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. Kushiel's Scion by Jacqueline Carey
2. The City, Not Long After by Pat Murphy
3. The Bonehunters by Steven Erikson
4. Pushing Ice by Alastair Reynolds
5. Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson
6. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
7. Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
8. Accelerando by Charles Stross
9. Tithe by Holly Black
10. Kushiel's Avatar by Jacqueline Carey

Trade Paperbacks
1. Reaper's Gale by Steven Erikson
2. Twilight Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko
3. Snake Agent by Liz Williams
4. The Demon and the City by Liz Williams
5. Grey by Jon Armstrong
    9 Tail Fox by John Courtenay Grimwood

Origin of the Bookstore, Part the Ninth - Sidelines

For the next four months we'll be doing a special feature each month in honor of Borderlands' upcoming 10th Anniversary (November 3rd, 2007). We'll share some stories about what Borderlands is and how it got that way.

by Jude Feldman

"How hard can it be to find a stupid bike messenger bag?!"  I threw up my hands in frustration.  I'd been looking for days; sending out email queries, flipping through catalogs, staring at low-resolution pictures on-line until my eyes stung and my contact lenses felt glued in place.  I felt like the Goldilocks of bike-messenger-bag seekers, except that there was no sign of the "Just Right" one yet, and there seemed to be about 48,000 bears' beds to choose from.  This bag was too large, and that one too small.  This one was made of cheap nylon and looked flimsy, that one appeared to be made of Kevlar and, if the cost was any indication, it darn well better have stopped bullets, too.  That type would be great, except it only came in an eye-offending orange or Army green, and all 53 of those looked too much like computer bags.  And I still had to find pens, and pint glasses, and coffee mugs and stickers.

Welcome to the wonderful world of sidelines.  What's a sideline, anyway?  Other than someplace in sports where you sit when you're not in the game?  A sideline, in retail-speak, is a line of products that you sell in your store that is outside your main purview.  So Borderlands carries a handful of sidelines; essentially everything in the store that isn't a book.

So that covers greeting cards and Ripley postcards, our cool wooden boxes, all the dragon and skull tchotchke, blank books, jewelry, art prints, sculptures and our Borderlands branded gak.  Before starting my career in retail lo these many years ago, it never occurred to me to wonder where stores bought their stuff.   I never would have suspected that there were such things as "Gift Fairs," or that they could possibly fill the whole of Moscone Center.  (Google "San Francisco International Gift Fair" if you're interested.)  I just knew that Alan wanted the sideline items that Borderlands carries to fit with the feel and personality of the store.  Some of those items were no-brainers.  Cary and I both have a weakness for beautiful boxes, so those were easy, and we ended up with Ripley postcards by customer request.  Most of the other stuff we'd seen and admired elsewhere, and it fit right in to the store.

June 01, 2007

Notes from a DVD Geek

by Jeremy Lassen

Having just returned from the Feminist Science Fiction Convention in Madison Wisconsin, where they presented the James Tiptree, Jr. Award, I figured it was appropriate to lead off this column with a Tiptree-related item:  The Masters of Horror Season Two episode from Joe Dante is called "The Screwfly Solution," and is based on her short story of the same name.  For those of you who haven’t read it, it is included in the Tachyon collection HER SMOKE ROSE UP FOREVER, or you can check it out at’s “classics” archive:  <>.  There’s also a very useful bio and bibliography there.

Having just read the story, now you are ready to see the cinematic adaptation of this film, which is out on DVD this month.  It’s directed by Joe Dante, and stars Jason Priestly and Elliot Gould.  This one is pretty good.

Two years ago, in the first Masters of Horror Season, Joe Dante stirred conservative feathers with his zombie political allegory,  "Homecoming," which was also very good.  And just recently, a classic from his filmography was re-released: 1980's film of teen/monster mayhem, "Gremlins".  This one is in fact as good as you remember it being.

May Bestsellers

1. Brave New Words: The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction edited by Jeff Prucher
    Last Colony by John Scalzi
2. Ironside by Holly Black
3. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
4. Reaper's Gale by Steven Erikson
5. Brasyl by Ian McDonald
6. Mathematicians in Love by Rudy Rucker
7. World War Z by Max Brooks
    Nobody's Princess by Esther Friesner
8. Wizards edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois
9. Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon
10. Rude Mechanicals by Kage Baker

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi
2. The City, Not Long After by Pat Murphy
3. Old Man's War by John Scalzi
4. Tithe by Holly Black
5. Bonehunters by Steven Erikson
6. Light by M. John Harrison
7. Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan
8. Pushing Ice by Alastair Reynolds
9. Helix by Eric Brown
    Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner
    Red Lightning by John Varley
10. Beguilment by Lois McMaster Bujold
    Undead and Unpopular by Mary Janice Davidson

Trade Paperbacks
1. Reaper's Gale by Steven Erikson
2. Overclocked by Cory Doctorow
3. James Tiptree Memorial Award Anthology vol. 3 edited by Karen Joy Fowler, Pat Murphy, Debbie Notkin and Jeffrey D. Smith
    Snake Agent by Liz Williams
4. Portable Childhoods by Ellen Klages
5. Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow

Origin of the Bookstore, Part the Eighth - Inventory

For the next five months we'll be doing a special feature each month in honor of Borderlands' upcoming 10th Anniversary (November 3rd, 2007). We'll share some stories about what Borderlands is and how it got that way.

by Alan Beatts

Being obsessive-compulsive and reasonably technically apt has its upsides and its downsides.  Both sides were demonstrated during the first inventory at Borderlands.

When I decided to open the shop, one important part of my business plan was to sell books online.  Today, that's a pretty simple matter but at that time it was not.  In November of 1997, I had no idea how I was going to sell books online but I did know one thing -- if I was going to, I'd need an accurate database of all the books in the store.

So, in what was going to become my typical dammit-I'll-just-learn-it-myself business model, I decided to brush up on a program called FileMaker (which I had used years previously for databases in, it makes me blush to admit, . . . role-playing games) and set up an inventory myself.  It was easy to do, after all, what do you need to keep track of with books?  Title, author's name, cover price, selling price, cost, and that should do it.  Right?  Oh yeah, I figured that I'd better add the date it was published and if it's a first printing, since I guessed that there were some people who cared about that.  And, there was this ten digit number on a lot of these books, so I added that too.  But beyond that, what else should I need?

(Ten years later:  No, that's not quite enough.  At this point there are over 50 separate pieces of data we keep about used books.  And more than that for new books.)

May 01, 2007

Notes from a DVD Geek

by Jeremy Lassen

Hello movie fans.  This month I wanted to touch on a range of things.

First up is the latest K-Horror epic, "Arang," which hit Korean theaters last year.  This better-than-average Asian horror film mixes elements of detective drama, ghost story, and Korean folk tale, with some very stylish setups and direction by first-time feature film director Ahn Sang-hoon.  This one is just what the doctor ordered if you need some creepy ghosts, serial killers and desperate detectives on said killer’s trail.

Moving over to Japan, cult classic, and Tarantino inspiration “Female Prisoner #701” hits DVD in a collection gathering all three influential 70’s Japanese cult exploitation films.  These films feature the wrongly-convicted-but-out-for-vengeance Lady Snowbird.  With names like "Scorpion," "Beast Stable," and "Grudge Song," how could you not want to own these films on DVD?

April Bestsellers

1.The Last Colony by John Scalzi
2. The Lees of Laughter's End by Steven Erikson
3. The Children of Hurin by J.R.R. Tolkien
4. Softspoken by Lucius Shepard
5. Sixty Days and Counting by Kim Stanley Robinson
6. You're Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Latop to a Coffee Shop: Scalzi on Writing by John Scalzi
7 The Android's Dream by John Scalzi
8. Into a Dark Realm by Raymond Feist
9. 1634: The Baltic War by David Weber and Eric Flint
10. You Suck! A Love Story by Christopher Moore

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. Rainbow's End by Vernor Vinge
2. Old Man's War by John Scalzi
3. Judas Unchained by Peter F. Hamilton
4. Armies of Memory by John Barnes
5. Accidents Waiting to Happen by Simon Wood
6. Flight of the Nighthawks by Raymond Feist
7. Night Life by Ray Garton
8. Ally by Karen Traviss
9. Beguilement: The Sharing Knife by Lois McMaster Bujold
10. Light by M. John Harrison

Trade Paperbacks
1. Ancestor by Scott Silger
2. Portable Childhoods by Ellen Klages
3. September Snow by Robert Balmanno
4. Hardwired by Walter John Williams
5. A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore

Origin of the Bookstore, Part the Seventh - 10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Borderlands Books

For the next six months we'll be doing a special feature each month in honor of Borderlands' upcoming 10th Anniversary (November 3rd, 2007). We'll share some stories about what Borderlands is and how it got that way.

by Jude Feldman

The origin of the store piece this month is shorter than usual, because I've been so terribly busy building ornate little castles with my writer's blocks!

10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Borderlands Books:

1. Borderlands has a dress code, and it consists of a single rule.  You can email if you want to know what the rule is.

2. The combined age of all six Borderlands employees is 226, and between us we have approximately 43 years of book selling experience, 21 piercings and 14 tattoos.

3. The Borderlands staff includes people who have been: a nightclub DJ, a go-go dancer, a bike messenger, a high school teacher, an accountant, a beef-jerky salesperson, a microelectronics assembly engineer, an Emergency Medical Technician, a Dead-Head, a floppy-disk assembly line operator, an Information Technology professional, a stage manager, voice-over/television/movie actors (2), and hotel maids (2).

4. There are currently 1,177 books in the store that cost $1.75 or less.

5. Ripley has been filmed for 2 documentaries, 1 independent film and a cable-access show.

6. The store backs up to the Mission Playground, and an average of once a day someone on the staff has to toss a soccer ball back over the 18 foot high fence.

7. More than half the staff have been homeless at some point in their lives, and more than half the staff have worked at higher-education institutions.

8. In three years, Borderlands has donated over 4000 books to the guests at Martin de Poores House of Hospitality, a free restaurant that serves meals to those in need.  You can find out more about the good work that Martin's is doing here: <>.

9. Borderlands does an average of 50 in-store author events a year.

10. We have had author and/or artist guests in the store who: accidentally broke chairs, smoked marijuana before their readings, left what they were going to read at home and had to improvise, praised the store for "not having s**t all over it," incorporated employees into their novels or artwork, drew Ripley with Ren and Stimpy, and had such a good time they promised they'd be back "until forcibly prevented".

What I'm Reading

by Alan Beatts

Happy May everyone!  Weather's getting lovely and this is my favorite time of the year so I'm just in a hell of a good mood.  And you wanna' know something else that's making me so happy?  Two great books.  Just finished one and I'm halfway through the other.

Thirteen by Richard K. Morgan - I got an advance copy of this and pretty much jumped right into it.  I've really enjoyed Richard's other novels (Altered Carbon, Broken Angels, Market Forces, and Woken Furies) and, after an unexpected meeting at the shop that turned into a two-hour chat followed by dinner and several other too-short meetings, I consider him a friend.  Though many of his other readers prefer the Takeshi Kovacs novels, Market Forces is my personal favorite.  Richard once commented that people tell him that they don't like Market Forces because it's so grim.  He went on to say with a wry smile, "Did they really read Altered Carbon?"

It's true, Richard's novels are grim . . . but they have to be.  It's just my opinion but, of all the writers currently working in the SF field, I think that Richard's work is the best example of SF at its finest.  One of the pinnacles of SF achievement (please note that I say, "one" not "the only") is to write a compelling, readable and entertaining story that causes readers to ask themselves where our current path, be it social, technological, or scientific, is taking us and whether we're going to like the final destination.  This is one of the most notable of Richard's achievements and in it he's the best in the business.  And these days that makes for a grim story.

I think that's why I like Market Forces so much.  Unlike the Kovacs books, it lacks much of the Science Fiction set dressing that allows readers to put a comfortable distance between themselves and the ugly situations and choices that our future could bring.  That's the same thing that makes lots of other readers think that Market Forces is grimmer and darker than the Kovacs books -- it's not darker, it's just closer.

And then there was Thirteen, or Black Man (to give its original title, which Richard's British publisher wasn't afraid to keep).  Though Market Forces takes on the ethics and economics of world wide finance and investment banking in a hell-bent, kill-the-competition-before-they-get-to-the-meeting, nightmare style there is a certain genteel British reserve to it (bloody baseball bats aside).  But Thirteen . . . Thirteen is ready to _really_ get in your face.  Especially if you live in the good ole' U.S. of A.

Carl Marsalis is a product of genetic engineering called a "variant thirteen".  He was bred to be a throw-back to the pre-civilized human that existed before cooperation was a pro-survival trait.  Thirteens in general are violent, borderline sociopathic, and were almost all killed, deported, or interred years ago.  In the early years of the 22nd century Carl has managed to carve out a niche for himself as a bounty hunter specializing in tracking and apprehending other Thirteens who have escaped the interment camps.  Until one evening, while staying overnight in the Southern Republic of a balkanized United States, a small act of kindness lands him in prison.  Held without charges and facing the possibility of spending the rest of his life as a convict in this poor, backward, Christian-dominated fragment of a nation, he's offered release in exchange for helping representatives of the most powerful corporation in the world catch a serial murderer who is also a Thirteen.

The plot sounds like a great action-adventure thriller with elements of a police procedural.  And it is.  But it's also a very complex investigation of bigotry, fundamentalist religious intolerance (both Christian and Muslim), the power of corporations, and the price of violence.  It's not often that I read a novel that both makes me think about where the world and my country are going and at the same time engages and entertains me completely.  Thus far this year, it's only happened once.  And this was the book that did it.

Thirteen will be published in July of this year and I highly recommend that you get a copy.

Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman - I'm only half-way though this one and so it might not live up to its promise, but in that case I'll be damn surprised.  First off, despite the title, this is not a funny book.  Granted, there are some bits that are amusing and even worth a laugh but it's not a funny book.  In both meanings of the term.

You see, it's about super-heroes and super-villains.

When I was a kid I loved comics.  Not to the obsessive, completist degree that many of my friends did, but I liked them.  And then they got a bit too simple for me and I stopped reading them.  Later I discovered a series of shared-world anthologies edited by George R. R. Martin (of A Game of Thrones fame) called Wild Cards.  They were about super-heroes but with a large dose of the real world thrown in.  The characters had ended up in real-world situations and had to deal with real-world problems.  It was good.  Not great but really very good.  Later I would run across a comic called The Watchmen written by Alan Moore.  It also took on the gritty reality of what it might be like for super-heroes.  It was also good.  Very good.  It seems that, over the years, the image of costumed heroes with super-powers has steadily grown richer and more complex -- keeping step with the aging of the generations who were strongly affected by them.

Perhaps it's a function not only of aging of the original readers but some alchemy rising from maturity -- not of the people who were first touched by Superman but the children of those people.  Children who were never told that comic books were crap and not to be read by any serious adult but children who were instead _given_ comics by serious adults (their parents) and told, "This is great.  You'll love it.  I know I did."

But, whatever the reason, comics have grown up a very great deal but that maturity has only rarely made it outside of comics or "illustrated narratives" and into prose fiction.  In Soon I Will Be Invincible it has done so and in spades.  It's a very mature novel with profoundly complex and motivated characters that retains the awe and wonder of comic books.  From the very first two chapters I was hooked and, at the half-way mark, I'm still hooked.  The writing is stylish without being self-conscious and very tight.  As I mentioned, the characters are believable and complex with motivations that you can not only believe but feel.  It's great.  Not good but great.

And you don't have to wait 'till July to get it.  It's be out in June!  And it's looking like we'll be able to host the author for a signing sometime in July.

I hope you enjoyed these two sneak peeks at books that are on their way.  I'm sorry that we don't have them for you yet but now you've seen one of the great truisms about booksellers -- we're usually either reading something that isn't out yet or we're reading something that's been out for a while.  Late or early but never on time, it's story of my life.

Have a great spring!

April 01, 2007

Notes from a DVD Geek

by Jeremy Lassen

I've got something for everyone this month.  Science fiction, horror, zombies . . . A-list Oscar-winning films . . .Direct-to-video . . .Austrian cult films . . . Giant monsters . . . You name it, I'm covering it.

The big title of the month is the Academy-Award winning science fiction dystopia, "Children of Men".  This one was simply awesome.  I was impressed by the remarkable performances, gritty near-future world view, and the wry and insightfully "science fictional" look at government oppression and revolutionary movements -- all carefully shepherded by the sure hand of its director, Alfonso Cuaron.  Cuaron previously brought us "Y Tu Mama Tambien," and the third Harry Potter movie, but this film catapults him into the realm of the most exciting young directors around.  If you haven't seen this one yet, you are in for a treat.

Speaking of exciting young filmmakers on the fringe of science fiction, Darron Arronofski's time traveling science fiction mess/masterpiece "The Fountain" won't be out on DVD until May, but as a warm-up, his first two films, "Pi" and "Requiem for a Dream" are getting a double feature DVD release this month, so if you haven't added them to your collection yet, now is your chance.

March Bestsellers

1. YOU SUCK! - A LOVE STORY by Christopher Moore
2. FOR A FEW DEMONS MORE by Kim Harrison
3. SHADOWPLAY by Tad Williams
5. COMMAND DECISION by Elizabeth Moon
6. UN LUN DUN by China Mieville
7. THE TERROR by Dan Simmons
9. SIXTY DAYS AND COUNTING by Kim Stanley Robinson

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. THE SCENT OF SHADOWS by Vicki Pettersson
2. ALTERED CARBON by Richard Morgan
3. PATTERN RECOGNITION by William Gibson tied with THE SCAR by China Mieville
5. ACCELERANDO by Charles Stross
6. WAR OF THE FLOWERS by Tad Williams
7. OLYMPOS by Dan Simmons
8. SWORDSPOINT by Ellen Kushner
9.  LEGENDS 2: DRAGON, SWORD AND KING edited by Robert Silverberg
10. OLD MAN'S WAR by John Scalzi

Trade Paperbacks
1. SNAKE AGENT by Liz Williams
2. BEST SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY OF THE YEAR edited by Johnathan Strahan (Night Shade Books) tied with X-RATED BLOODSUCKERS by Mario Acevedo
3. NIGHTWATCH by Sergei Lukyanenko
4. OVERCLOCKED by Cory Doctorow
5. A DIRTY JOB by Christopher Moore tied with HARDWIRED by Walter John Williams

Origin of the Bookstore, Part the Sixth - Off-Site Bookselling, or "Are You a Band?"

For the next seven months we'll be doing a special feature each month in honor of Borderlands' upcoming 10th Anniversary (November 3rd, 2007). We'll share some stories about what Borderlands is and how it got that way.

by Jude Feldman

Borderlands has done (and continues to do) many off-site events, including our well-loved Movie Nights at the Variety Preview Room, the Sonoma County Book Fair in Santa Rosa, and the World Science Fiction Convention in Glasgow two years ago, just to name a few.  This installment of "Origin" focuses on a few aspects of what it is like to create a miniature version of the store, someplace else entirely.

When the staff travels to a convention or other off-site event that involves airplane transport, we frequently pack the books that we will be selling in large gray trunks.  Think of a heavy-duty plastic version of a surplus Army trunk and you've got the idea.  Years and years ago, Alan painstakingly modified these trunks with foam and cardboard padding, to make anything packed inside one neigh on indestructible, even in the hands of baggage handlers.  An amusing side effect of traveling with these "road cases" is that the traveling staff is continually and repeatedly mistaken for a band.  In airports from Seattle to Wisconsin to Kansas City, perfect strangers have approached us and asked "What band are you in?!"  Several of these people flatly refused to believe that we were booksellers, and what a surreal situation that was: Them: "C'mon, just tell me!" Us: "We're actually booksellers.  There are books in these trunks." Them: "No, seriously -- I won't tell anyone if you want it kept secret!  What is the name of the band?"  Us: "No, really, we run a bookstore!  None of us plays an instrument at all."  Them: "Aw, I wouldn'ta told anyone.  You SUCK!"  Us: <helpless shrugs>.

Borders and B&N Followup

by Alan Beatts

Two months ago I made some comments in this column about holiday sales at Borders Books and Barnes & Noble.  Two readers wrote very thoughtful emails to me regarding what I'd said.  I've been meaning to address their thoughts here for the past two months but for one reason and another I haven't had the chance.

However, first a brief recap is probably in order -- I noted in the January issue that sales at both Borders and B&N were down compared to last year and I went on to note that our sales were up.  I was obviously pleased by this news because both companies engage in business practices that I think are distasteful (though to be fair, B&N is a worse offender than Borders).  Another reason for my pleasure was the way that those two companies have provided the economic pressure that has driven may non-chain stores out of business.  In retrospect I can see that my tone was a bit gloating, despite my attempt to make it otherwise.

In response one reader, who had been a partner at a bookshop that had to close, wrote -

". . . I sadly went to work as a manager at Barnes & Noble.  It's true B&N is like the evil empire, they are the Starbucks of Bookstores.  But still it is a living, and albeit sometimes a stressful and scablike one . . . it is a living.

March 01, 2007

Origin of the Bookstore, Part the Fifth - The Decor, or "Is this a library or do you sell books?"

For the next eight months we'll be doing a special feature each month in honor of Borderlands' upcoming 10th Anniversary (November 3rd, 2007). We'll share some stories about what Borderlands is and how it got that way.

by Alan Beatts

People frequently comment on how nice Borderlands looks.  Sometimes they seem a little surprised that the shop looks so good and their surprise often seems to be strangely amplified when they consider our specialty.  It was probably best put by Terry Pratchett the first time he visited.  He walked in, looked around and declared, "This can't be a Science Fiction shop, it hasn't sh*t all over the floor!"

Though I don't agree with Mr. Pratchett's assessment of Science Fiction shops in general, I do think Borderlands looks good.  I'll even go so far as to say it looks better to me than most bookstores.  But however nice it looks, the paint scheme, wooden fixtures and floors, oriental carpets, and "old fashioned" touches (like the lock on the bathroom door -- which I think is doing very well for its age, despite the occasional customer who worries about getting trapped in there.  What's so complicated about "wiggle the key in, turn counter clockwise to unlock, now turn knob clockwise to open"?  I should be so lucky as to be doing that well when I'm 100 years old!)  Ummm, what was I saying?  Right . . . .

Zombie Film

by Jeremy Lassen

In celebration of the release of "The Night of the Comet," March is All Zombie Month.  I know next month would be a better fit, with the Easter Holiday, but I'm trying to avoid the ire of the Catholic-Anti-Defamation league.

"Night of the Comet" is a much-talked-about silly 80's comedy zombie film that has never been on DVD.  It is a total artifact of its era, but is definitely worth seeing if you've never had the pleasure of watching it.

Forgive me for repeating myself, but in an all- zombie newsletter there's bound to be some repetition.  "Return of the Living Dead" is the greatest comedic zombie film of all time, so you might consider watching "Return. . ." with "Night of the Comet".  Another repeat recommendation is "Cemetery Man," which was finally released in the States on DVD last year.  It is also known by its original title, "Dellamorte Dellamore," and is the best existential-zombie love story ever put to film.  Another phenomenally successful comedic zombie film is of course "Shaun of the Dead".  If you're living under a rock, and haven't heard of this one, go watch it. It's great.

February Bestsellers

1. Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay
2. Mathematicians in Love by Rudy Rucker
3. Un Lun Dun by China Mieville
4. You Suck by Christopher Moore
5. The Terror by Dan Simmons
6. Gods and Pawns by Kage Baker
7. Voices From the Street by Philip K. Dick
8. Off Armageddon Reef by David Weber
9. End of the Story: The Collected Fantasies of Clark Ashton Smith by Clark Ashton Smith, edited by Scott Conners and Ron Hilger
10. Lord of the Silent Isles by Glen Cook

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
2. Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan
3. Woken Furies by Richard Morgan (UK edition)
4. The Voyage of the Sable Keech by Neal Asher (UK edition)
5. Fifty Degrees Below by Kim Stanley Robinson
6. Old Man's War by John Scalzi
7. Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher
8. Tyranny of the Night by Glen Cook
9. Old Soldiers by David Weber tied with A Princess of Roumania by Paul Park
10. To Serve and Submit by Susan Wright

Trade Paperbacks
1. Hardwired by Walter John Williams
2. Grey by Jon Armstrong
3. The Armageddon Rag by George R.R. Martin
4. Final Impact (Axis of Time vol. 3) by John Birmingham
5. The James Tiptree Award Anthology vol. 3, edited by Karen Joy Folwer, Pat Murphy, Debbie Notkin and Jeffrey D. Smith

February 01, 2007

Notes from a DVD Geek

by Jeremy Lassen

Hello DVD maniacs.  This month we’ve got  an Italian horror resurrection.  Get ready!

The second season of Masters of Terror is hitting DVD, and Dario Argento’s episode, "Pelts," hits DVD this month.  Some of you may remember his episode, "Jennifer," from the first season.  Both are solid entries to the Argento canon.  For more Argento love, be sure to note that cult film experts Blue Underground are re-releasing his sequel to Suspiria,  Inferno.  Inferno is a often-overlooked classic set in a monstrous old mansion in New York, and features a weird score by ELP.  It further explores the “three sisters” mythology that began in Suspiria.

Next up on the Blue Underground list is  Fulci’s classic of 80’s splatter-gore, zombies, and semi-incoherence, City of the Living Dead.  This looks to be a full-features, anamorphic release, which is critical for enjoying the legendary “death by drill press” scene.  A lesser Fulci effort, Don’t Torture a Duckling, is also being re-released this month by Blue Underground.

January Bestsellers

1. Off Armageddon Reef by David Weber
2. You Suck: A Love Story by Christopher Moore
3. Jennifer Morgue by Charles Stross
4. Polity Agent by Neal Asher
5. Teatro Grottesco by Thomas Ligotti
6. The Android's Dream by John Scalzi
7. Unto the Breach by John Ringo
8. The Ladies of Grace Adieu by Susanna Clarke
9. The Demon and the City by Liz Williams
10. Gods And Pawns by Kage Baker
     Voices From The Street by Philip K. Dick

1. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
2. Old Man's War by John Scalzi
3. Shadowmarch by Tad Williams
4. Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
5. Crown of Stars by Kate Elliott
6. Hell to Pay by Simon R. Green
7. Learning the World by Ken MacLeod
8. Protector's War by S.M. Stirling
9. Olympos by Dan Simmons
10. Accelerando by Charles Stross

Trade Paperbacks
1. Hardwired by Walter John Williams
2. Overclocked by Cory Doctorow
    Fledgling by Octavia Butler
3. Snake Agent by Liz Williams
4. Spin Control by Chris Moriarity
5. Market Forces by Richard Morgan

Origin of the Bookstore, Part the Fourth - The Leak of the Week Pool

For the next nine months we'll be doing a special feature each month in honor of Borderlands' upcoming 10th Anniversary (November 3rd, 2007). We'll share some stories about what Borderlands is and how it got that way.

by Jude Feldman

As many of you know, Borderlands is housed in an old building.  In fact, the building at 866 Valencia turns 100 this year.  We like old buildings; their charms and quirks, their character and temperament.  Something that we don't like quite as much, though, is their tendency to leak.

After fire and censorship, water is the third greatest danger to books.  So when it comes pouring out of the ceiling unexpectedly, you get some pretty frantic booksellers, and for a while we were pretty frantic all the time.  The store leaked when it rained, when the wet leaves on the roof above the skylight became too sodden and heavy, when the plumbing in various parts of the apartments upstairs developed problems, and sometimes for no discernible reason at all.  The following are three selected episodes from the period in which the Borderlands employees enacted what we called "The Leak of the Week Pool," an unofficial betting pool where we wagered on what part of the store would leak next.

January 01, 2007

Notes from a DVD Geek

by Jeremy Lassen

Happy New Year, movie buffs.  I hope you all spent a happy holiday season watching the creepy horror film known as IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE.  Okay, maybe I’m the only one who thinks this “holiday classic” is really creepy.  In any event, I hope you got to spend a lot of time with your family watching your favorite films.  I’ve got some interesting recommendations for you this month.

First up is hands-down the best horror movie of the last year or so – THE DESCENT.  Those of you who saw the Variety/Borderlands screening of this contemporary British masterpiece last April know what I’m talking about.  For those of you who missed it in the theaters, it's now out on DVD.  Even if you’re not normally a fan of horror movies, THIS is one you need to see.

Origin of the Bookstore, Part the Third - Ripley

For the next ten months we'll be doing a special feature each month in honor of Borderlands' upcoming 10th Anniversary (November 3rd, 2007).  We'll share some stories about what Borderlands is and how it got that way.

by Jude Feldman

Possibly San Francisco's most famous cat, Ripley joined the Borderlands family in December of 2002.  She was a gangly six month old Sphynx catling, selected for her winning personality, semi-hypo-allergenic-ness, and complete and utter lack of "show-cat" cred.  Almost everyone knows Ripley, but few know the story of how Alan and I managed to misplace her on her very first night in the bookstore.

Flashback to that misty December eve not so long ago.  Alan and I had driven out to fetch Ripley from the East Bay after spending the afternoon shopping for cat food bowls, litter, litter box, small feathered doo-dads, and all the other assorted stuff that you don't realize you need until you decide to get a cat.

December Bestsellers

1. Polity Agent by Neal Asher
2. Jennifer Morgue by Charles Stross
3. A Cruel Wind by Glen Cook
4.  The Android's Dream by John Scalzi
5. Teatro Grottesco by Thomas Ligotti
6. Soldier of Sidon by Gene Wolfe
7. Fugitives of Chaos by John C. Wright
      tied with
   The Sky People by S.M. Stirling
8. Odyssey by Jack McDevitt
9. 1824: The Arkansas War by Eric Flint
10. Sung in Blood by Glen Cook
        tied with
     Empire by Orson Scott Card

1. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
2. Knife of Dreams by Robert Jordan
3. Carnival by Elizabeth Bear
4. Draco Tavern by Larry Niven
5. Talyn by Holly Lisle
6. Dead Letters by Tom Piccirilli
      tied with
    Cell by Stephen King
7. 1812: The Rivers of War by Eric Flint
8. Orphans of Chaos by John C. Wright
9. Midshipwizard Halcyon Blithe by James M. Ward
10. Tyranny of the Night by Glen Cook

Trade Paperbacks
1. Hardwired by Walter John Williams
2. Voyage of the Sable Keech by Neal Asher
3. Nova Swing by M. John Harrison
4. Benighted by Kit Whitfield
5. Spears of God by Howard V. Hendrix

Happy New Year

by Alan Beatts

Happy New Year, everyone!  I hope that 2007 has been treating you all very well thus far.

First off, I want to thank you, our customers, as well as the authors and publishers who have supported us through 2006.  It was a good year for Borderlands (despite all the cafe delays).  Probably the best proof of that is the following -

According to Shelf Awareness (Friday, Jan. 5th), a bookselling industry newsletter --

"Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million Have a Flat Holiday"

"Sales during the holiday period at both Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million were below expectations.

At B&N, sales during the nine weeks between October 29 and December 30 were $1.1 billion, up 2.6%, but sales at stores open at least a year were down 0.1%, lower than the company's prediction of a "flat to low single digit increase." By contrast, sales at B& during the same period were up 2.7% to $108.5 million.