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!