December 29, 2012

Quantum Clouds of Inexplicable, Magical Red Atheist Serial Killers.

What the staff is reading this week:

Alan: "THE QUANTUM THIEF by Hannu Rajaniemi."

Cary: "PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Jane Austen."

Claud: "CLOUDS OF WITNESS, by Dorothy Sayers (reread); THE SECRET HISTORY OF MOSCOW, by Ekaterina Sedia; I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER and MR. MONSTER, by Dan Wells; and A NEW KIND OF COUNTRY, by Dorothy Gilman."


 Heather: "RED COUNTRY by Joe Abercrombie, woohoo!    Reading less, though, since I haven't been stuck on Muni much lately."

Jude: "LONDON UNDER by Peter Ackroyd (brilliant non-fiction companion to MIDNIGHT RIOT by Ben Aaronovitch) and THE INEXPLICABLES by Cherie Priest, which I am enjoying more than any other book in the Clockwork Century series so far."

December 20, 2012

Mocking Mrs. Pollifax's Midnight Blue Thirst for Hydrogen

We've been so busy with the holidays that I've forgotten to post what the staff is reading for a few weeks!  Here's our current reading:

Alan: "MOCKINGBIRD by Chuck Wendig."

Claud: "MRS. POLLIFAX PURSUED, MRS. POLLIFAX, INNOCENT TOURIST, MRS. POLLIFAX AND THE LION KILLER, and MRS. POLLIFAX UNVEILED, by Dorothy Gilman (rereads); WOLF HALL and BRING UP THE BODIES, by Hilary Mantel (awesome historical fiction); THE HYDROGEN SONATA, by Iain M. Banks (best Culture novel in years); THE RESCUE ARTIST: A True Story Of Art, Thieves, And The Hunt For A Missing Masterpiece, by Edward Dolnick; RED COUNTRY,  by Joe Abercrombie; A MURDER IS ANNOUNCED, by Agatha Christie; FAIREST: Wide Awake, by Bill Willingham; THE CHOSEN FEW: How Education Shaped Jewish History, 70-1492, by Maristella Botticini and Zvi Eckstein (amazing economic history of Judaism); THE PLAYER OF GAMES, by Iain M. Banks (reread); THE ALIENIST and THE ANGEL OF DARKNESS, by Caleb Carr (rereads); GEORGETTE HEYER: A Critical Retrospective, by Mary Fahnestock-Thomas; and WHOSE BODY?, by Dorothy L. Sayers (reread)."

Cole: "I've been re-reading THE PRINCESS BRIDE as well as THE SCIENCE FICTION HALL OF FAME VOL. 1."

Jude: "I finished the advance copy of MIDNIGHT BLUE LIGHT SPECIAL by Seanan McGuire, which was even better than the first book in the series, and I'm currently reading SIN IN THE SECOND CITY: Madams, Ministers, Playboys, and the Battle for America's Soul by Karen Abbott."

Naamen: "Currently reading an advanced copy of MIDNIGHT BLUE LIGHT SPECIAL by Seanan McGuire. It has everything that made me like the first book (DISCOUNT ARMAGEDDON) and seems to be building into a massive good versus evil showdown which I always love.   Also just started EARTH THIRST by Mark Teppo; not that deep into it yet but vampires who want to save the environment/earth from wasteful humans and rampaging multinational corporations? I'll bite. "

December 11, 2012

Science Fiction Class at Borderlands

Borderlands is partnering with the University of the Commons - - to present a six week class on the Science Fiction Short Story.  It will be taught by Phil Gochenour and will meet once a week for six weeks.  The meetings will be on Mondays in the cafe from 6:30 to 8:00 pm.  It's free of charge and you can sign up at

More info about the class after the break.

December 10, 2012

Holiday Gift Guide

by Jude Feldman

Happy holidays, everyone!  I'd like to start the annual Gift Guide with a big ol' THANK YOU to all of you who have kept us going 15 years and beyond.  We are grateful for your support, and humbled to be part of such a vibrant, cheerful, and important community.  So, thanks.

The gift-giving season is quickly swooping down upon us with its great shadowy black wings, and Borderlands is here to help you find the perfect gift for every elf, fairy, shoggoth, and wizard on your list.  (And the plain-old human readers on that list will probably be very happy, too.)

Let me first mention that we have a whole bunch of amazing local authors who are happy to personalize their books for your gift-giving pleasure. Terry Bisson, Chaz Brenchley, S.G. Browne, Gail Carriger, Richard Kadrey, Seanan McGuire, Rudy Rucker, and Scott Sigler have all volunteered to inscribe books.  You can purchase and pick up personalized books here,  or if the recipients are far away, we're happy to do mail orders, so consider which of the fans in your life would be most tickled by having their name actually written in a book by the author! The deadline to order inscribed books to be shipped in time for Christmas is December 14th; the deadline to request inscribed books for in-store pickup is December 19th.

November Bestsellers

1. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
2. Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
3. I Saw Zombies Eating Santa Claus by S.G. Browne
4. The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks
5. Captain Vorpatril's Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold
6. The Rapture of the Nerds by Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross
7. Red Country by Joe Abercrombie
8. Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone
9. Cold Days by Jim Butcher tied with Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow
10. Velveteen vs. the Junior Super Patriots by Seanan McGuire

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
2. Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
3. Pandaemonium by Ben Macallan
4. Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
5. Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
6. Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
7. Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan
8. Stone Spring by Stephen Baxter
9. Seeds of Earth by Michael Cobley
10. Feed by Mira Grant

Trade Paperbacks
1. The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle by Patrick Rothfuss
2. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
3. The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson
4. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
5. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

November News Roundup

* 100 Things You Didn't Know About the "Lord of the Rings" Movies:

* Does someone you know need a map of John Carter's Mars?  Thanks to Amanda for the link!

* This isn't science fiction now, but it was just a short time ago.  Mind-controlled artificial limbs coming soon:

* Congrats to Borderlands Cafe employee Cole Kelly, who placed third in the recent local Star Trek Convention's costume contest!  Cole was dressed as the 10th Doctor from "Dr. Who".

* I wish we'd thought of this first!  The Monkey's Paw, a used bookstore in Toronto, has created an incredibly cool random book-vending machine:

* Read Local asked 10 local booksellers (including us!) for a holiday recommendation for their gift guide:

December Upcoming Events

Cassie Alexander, MOONSHIFTED, (St. Martin's, Mass Market, $7.99) Saturday, January 5th at 3:00 pm

Rudy Rucker, TURING AND BURROUGHS: A BEATNIK SF NOVEL (Transreal Books, Trade Paperback, $16.00) Saturday, January 12th at 3:00 pm

SF in SF with authors Steven Gould and Laura Mixon, at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building (582 Market St.) Saturday, January 19th at 7:00 pm

We take an event hiatus between Thanksgiving and New Year's, but stay tuned for the awesome authors above and many, many more in 2013, including Peter Brett, Cory Doctorow, and Brandon Sanderson!

More information after the break

November 23, 2012

A Humming, Shivering Little Caravan of Abercrombie

What the staff is reading this week:

Alan: "RED COUNTRY by Joe Abercrombie."

Cary: "RED COUNTRY by Joe Abercrombie."

Claud: "CARAVAN, by Dorothy Gilman (reread); THE MAN WHO FELL IN LOVE WITH THE MOON, by Tom Spanbauer (reread); BLACK SHEEP and BEHOLD, HERE'S POISON, by Georgette Heyer (rereads); CLOSE TO THE MACHINE: TECHNOPHILIA AND ITS DISCONTENTS, by Ellen Ullman (reread); THE EXECUTOR'S GUIDE: Settling A Loved One's Estate Or Trust, by Mary Randolph; LITTLE BROTHER, by Cory Doctorow (reread); and HOMELAND, by Cory Doctorow."

Heather: "Still reading BEST SERVED COLD by Joe Abercrombie.  Haven't had to take MUNI as much lately so haven't had as much reading time."

 Jude: "Just finished RED COUNTRY by Joe Abercrombie. (See a theme among the staff this week?) I enjoyed it SO much; just loved it!  I haven't been so enthused about a novel in ages."

Naamen: "Just started THE HUM AND THE SHIVER by Alex Bledsoe. It's about a group of people called the Tufa who wield music and magic in the Appalachian mountains and who've been there as long as they remember. Bronwyn Hyatt is just returning from a tour in Iraq, injured and being hailed an international hero for an act she can't remember, to a city she couldn't wait to leave. Meanwhile tragic portents haunt her people and n apparition has appeared to her family for the past week waiting to speak with Bronwyn. Really interesting set-up that plays on my literary kink for different humanities and cultures existing alongside our own, and the POV voices are great so far."

November 08, 2012

Rescuing the Last Wicked Cold Silent Film Nuns

What the staff is reading this week:


Cary: "BORN WICKED by Jessica Spotswood."


Heather: "BEST SERVED COLD by Joe Abercrombie.  Strange how something can be so violent and yet so damn funny."

Jude: "I'm alternating between THE HYDROGEN SONATA by Iain M. Banks and THE LAST OUTLAWS by Thom Hatch, which is about Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."

November 07, 2012

Thanks for the Past Fifteen

by Alan Beatts

A few days ago we celebrated the 15 year anniversary of Borderlands Books and, at the same time, the three year anniversary of the Cafe.  We had a big sale and a party afterwards.  It was all really lovely and a good time was had by all.

Leading into the party I went looking for some amusing trivia to thow into my "thanks for coming, now go have a drink" speech.  Here's a tid-bit that I especially enjoyed -- if you took all the books that we've sold in the last 15 years and placed them, spine up, on the sidewalk along Market St. in San Francisco they would reach from the base of Market St. at the Ferry Building all the way to the intersection of Market and Castro Streets at the base of Twin Peaks.

If you don't live in San Francisco, let me give you two other comparisons - The same line of books would reach from Lakeshore Drive in Chicago all the way up Michgan Ave. to the Art Insitute . . . and all the way back again.  And, for those who prefer New York, the line of books would go from Washington Square Park up 5th Ave. all the way to E. 77th St!

Any way you measure it, that's an awful lot of books.

A milestone like a 15 year anniversary is an obvious time to reflect on the past, which is what I found myself doing.  The end product of all the reflection was positive but the process wasn't really very pleasant.  As many of my long-term customers and readers know, I have quite a checkered past -- firearms instructor, labor dispute security officer, bodyguard, night club promoter, motorcycle shop manager and, for the past 15 years, bookseller.  As I was thinking about how I got here, as a store owner and 15 year bookseller, I realized on a visceral level just how messed up I was as a person through my teens and 20s.

Not that this was something I wasn't aware of at the time or later.  I knew that I was angry and violent.  I knew that I had a hard time functioning in a "normal" sort of way.  But time has given me more perspective and I see more clearly the problems that I had.  And the magnitude of them.

Opening the bookstore was probably the first thing that really started me on the way to coming to a relatively comfortable accommodation with the things that were getting in the way of me having a happier and more healthy life.  Now I have a much better perspective on myself, my failings, and the things that shaped me as I am.  I'm not sure I would have gotten where I am now were it not for Borderlands.

I know that running Borderlands has given me the chance to meet some of the best people I've ever known.  In addition I've gotten a job that I love and a way to make a living that is a million miles from what I had thought was my profession.

For that I am immeasurably grateful.

The gratitude that I feel extends to everyone who has helped Borderlands survive and succeed.  The people who've worked for me, the countless authors, editors, publishers, artists and fellow booksellers who've supported me, and, most of all, the customers who've kept me in business for these 15 years.  Words cannot express how thankful I am to each and every one of you.

It's been a great 15 years.  I'm pretty sure that I'm up for another 15, assuming that you're all willing to come along for the ride.

October Bestsellers

1. Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow
2. Bowl of Heaven by Gregory Benford and Larry Niven
3.The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks
4. Rapture of the Nerds by Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross
5. The Dirty Streets of Heaven by Tad Williams
6. Dodger by Terry Pratchett
7. The Twelve by Justin Cronin
8. Forge of Darkness by Steven Erikson
9. Devil Said Bang by Richard Kadrey
10. Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
2. A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
3. Zero History by William Gibson
4. Ashes of Honor by Seanan McGuire
5. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
6. Seeds of Earth by Michael Cobley
7. Count to a Trillion by John C. Wright
8. Micro by Michael Crichton
9. Changes by Mercedes Lackey
10. Feed by Mira Grant

Trade Paperbacks
1. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
2. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
3. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
4. The Cold Commands by Richard Morgan
5. The Wonderful Future That Never Was by the Editors of Popular Mechanics and Gregory Benford

October News Roundup

* For all of you Cthuluhu fans, something I never expected to see on NPR: "'Softball-Sized Eyeball' Washes Up In Florida; Can You I.D. It?"
And then the mystery was solved:

* A bit of post-Halloween creepiness for you: skeletal remains found in 100-year-old tree uprooted by Sandy:

* Robert J. Sawyer shares the five biggest misconceptions about science fiction writers:

* Thanks to Chats for the link to this New Yorker article on how bookstores select their stock & why even esoteric human selections trump suggestion engines:

* The restored desk where Bram Stoker wrote DRACULA is up for auction, if you happen to have an extra $60,000 - $80,000 lying around.

* Overheard in the store: "There ought to be a word for wanting to hug someone and strangle them at the same time.  There probably is, in German."

* Thanks to Amanda for this link to the Dead Author Podcast:

* Holiday Hours:
Borderlands Books will be closed on Thanksgiving (November 22nd), Christmas Day (December 25th) and New Year's Day (January 1st, 2013).  We will  close early, at 6 pm, on Christmas Eve (December 24th) and New Year's Eve (December 31st).  We will be open late, until 10 pm, the week before Christmas (December 17th - 23rd).

Borderlands Cafe will be open from 8 am to 6 pm on Thanksgiving Day.  On Christmas and New Years Eve we'll be open from 8 am to 5 pm and on Christmas and New Years day we'll be open from 10 am to 5 pm.

November Upcoming Events

S.G. Browne, I SAW ZOMBIES EATING SANTA CLAUS: A BREATHERS CHRISTMAS CAROL (Gallery Books, Hardcover, $14.99) Saturday, November 10th at 3:00 pm

SF in SF at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building (582 Market Street) with authors Cecelia Holland and Kim Stanley Robinson, Saturday, November 10th at 7:00 pm

Max Gladstone, THREE PARTS DEAD (Tor, Hardcover, $24.99) and Ben Macallan, PANDAEMONIUM (Solaris, Mass Market, $8.99), Saturday, November 17th at 3:00 pm

An Evening with Patrick Rothfuss: A Reading, Q&A and Signing, Monday, November 19th at 7:00 pm

Drop-By Signing with Nalo Hopkinson, Saturday, December 8th at 3:00 pm

Details after the break

October 29, 2012

Cowboy vs. Dracula in Hong Kong & London

What the staff is reading this week:

Alan: "Back to NOS4A2 by Joe Hill after being distracted by non-fiction quack medicine."


Claud: "DRACULA CHA CHA CHA, by Kim Newman (reread); MRS. POLLIFAX ON THE CHINA STATION and MRS. POLLIFAX AND THE HONG KONG BUDDHA, by Dorothy Gilman (rereads)."

Heather: "BEST SERVED COLD by Joe Abercrombie."

Jude: "I'm trying to decide between LONDON FALLING by Paul Cornell and AMERICAN ELSEWHERE by Robert Jackson Bennett.  I think the UK is going to triumph for now."

October 26, 2012

Spellcrossed, Fairy-Tale Cold Hydrogen Safari

What the staff is reading this week:

Alan:"CHARLATAN: AMERICA'S MOST DANGEROUS HUCKSTER, THE MAN WHO PURSUED HIM, AND THE AGE OF FLIMFLAM by Pope Brock.  Non-fiction about the scariest quack doctor of the 20th century. Compelling and absolutely horrible."

Cary: "SPELLCROSSED by Barbara Ashford."

Claud:"SOME KIND OF FAIRY TALE, by Graham Joyce; A PALM FOR MRS. POLLIFAX and MRS. POLLIFAX ON SAFARI, by Dorothy Gilman (re-reads); and SMILLA'S SENSE OF SNOW, by Peter Hoeg (another re-read)."

Heather: "Starting BEST SERVED COLD by Joe Abercrombie. :)"

Jude: "I've come back to HYDROGEN SONATA by Iain M. Banks after having been distracted for a while."

October 18, 2012

Duplicate Elusive Spellcast Farm Cat Comedy

What the staff is reading this week:

Alan: "About to start NOS4A2 by Joe Hill.  Very much looking forward to it."

Cary:"SPELLCAST by Barbara Ashford."


Heather: "I bought HOW TO TELL IF YOUR CAT IS PLOTTING TO KILL YOU by The Oatmeal which I read today. Took about 15 minutes. :) "

Jude: "I just finished COMEDY AT THE EDGE: HOW STAND-UP IN THE 1970's CHANGED AMERICA by Richard Zoglin and last night started CAPOTE: A BIOGRAPHY by Gerald Clarke.  I've also got THE FARM by Emily McKay staring at me balefully from my desk, waiting to be read."

October 10, 2012

September Bestsellers

1. The Blinding Knife by Brent Weeks
2. Forge of Darkness by Steven Erikson
3. Devil Said Bang by Richard Kadrey
4. The Rapture of the Nerds by Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross
5. Slow Apocalypse by John Varley
6. Adaptation by Malinda Lo
7. Midst Toil and Tribulation by David Weber
8. Zero Point by Neal Asher
9. Dragon Ship by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
10. Dirty Streets of Heaven by Tad Williams

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. Ashes of Honor by Seanan McGuire
2. Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
3. Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
4. Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson
5. Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
6. Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
7. Feed by Mira Grant
8. Children of the Sky by Vernor Vinge
9. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
10. Tears of the Sun by S.M. Stirling

Trade Paperbacks
1. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
2. Aloha From Hell by Richard Kadrey
3. For the Win by Cory Doctorow
4. The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks
5. Distrust That Particular Flavor by William Gibson

September News Roundup

* Borderlands Cafe (the Cafe, NOT the bookstore) is hiring, and we'd love to hire a customer.  Please email for details if you're interested before sending a resume.

*The Rebound Bookstore sent us the following, which may be of interest to budding writers: "North Bay Workshop for serious Sci-fi and fantasy writers (short story, novel or film treatment,) with an interest in publication.  Small group will meet once a month on a weekday evening, read about 5-8 minutes of a piece.  Group will fill out professional editors’ style crit. sheet and then discuss the piece. Writer will then revise piece based on critiques that she/he accepts and read it for the group again.  General discussion will follow including talking about getting an agent, getting publication, self publishing, etc.  7:00 -9:30 one week night a month.  Contact Rebound Bookstore at or call 415-482-0550 for questions or sign ups. As soon as we have 5-6 committed members we will begin."

* Michael Swanwick is serializing a story, one sentence at a time, until Halloween at his blog:

* Author Junot Diaz talks about why genre fiction gets so little respect:

* We're very sorry to report the death of author Adam Niswander on August 12th.  Gary A. Braunbeck wrote this moving tribute for Locus Magazine:

October Upcoming Events

SF in SF LitQuake event at The Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building (582 Market St.): Epic! Legends of Fantasy with Ken Scholes, Andrew Mayer and Tad Williams, Friday, October 12th at 7:00 pm

LitQuake Litcrawl at Borderlands Books and Borderlands Cafe, Saturday, October 13th at 7:15 pm, with authors Cassie Alexander, S.G. Browne, Seth Harwood, and Seanan McGuire in the bookstore, and Saturday, October 13th at 8:30 pm authors Terry Bisson, Claire Light, Madeleine Robins, and Naamen Tilahun in the Cafe

Gregory Benford and Larry Niven, BOWL OF HEAVEN (Tor, Hardcover, $25.99) Monday, October 22nd at 7:00 pm

Borderlands' Fifteenth Anniversary Party and Sale, Saturday, November 3rd from noon to 7:00 pm.

S.G. Browne, I SAW ZOMBIES EATING SANTA CLAUS: A BREATHERS CHRISTMAS CAROL (Gallery Books, Hardcover, $14.99) Saturday, November 10th at 3:00 pm

SF in SF at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building (582 Market Street) with authors Cecelia Holland and Kim Stanley Robinson, Saturday, November 10th at 7:00 pm

Max Gladstone, THREE PARTS DEAD (Tor, Hardcover, $24.99) and Ben Macallan, PANDAEMONIUM (Solaris, Mass Market, $8.99), Saturday, November 17th at 3:00 pm

An Evening with Patrick Rothfuss: A Reading, Q&A and Signing, Monday, November 19th at 7:00 pm

Details after the break

October 08, 2012

Thousands of Golden Kingdoms, Zero Homelands for Infidels

What the staff is reading this week:

Alan: "Deeply engrossed in ZERO POINT, Neal Asher's sequel to THE DEPARTURE.  I'm liking it, especially the characterization of the villain.  She's a very nasty piece of work but there are real, believable motivations and reasons for her actions."

Cary: "An advance copy of HOMELAND by Cory Doctorow."


Jude: "I just blew through an uncorrected manuscript copy of Joe Hill's next book NOS4A2.  This is a brilliant book about a very bad man and his very bad car, and one very unconventional & persistent heroine."

Naamen: "Just finished a reread of THE GOLDEN COMPASS by Phillip Pullman. I really love the world he builds in this book and Lyra is probably one of my favorite YA heroines. Currently almost finished with MIDNIGHT RIOT by Ben Aaronovitch: a really interesting and fun Urban Fantasy. I love it even though I get the feeling that at least half of the hilarity of the book is going over my head because of a lack of familiarity with British culture. Can't wait to read the sequels. About to start a reread of the first two books in Kameron Hurley's the Bel Dame Apocrypha series - GOD'S WAR & INFIDEL- since the third one, RAPTURE, is about to come out."

September 30, 2012

Drowning Fuzzy Sonatas in Mists and Blood

What the staff is reading this week:

Alan: "About half-way through THE HYDROGEN SONATA, Iain M. Banks' new Culture novel.  And LOVING it!  I think he's really stepped up his game in the last three books."

Cary: "MR. PENUMBRA'S 24-HOUR BOOKSTORE by Robin Sloan."

Claud: "ANNO DRACULA and THE BLOODY RED BARON, by Kim Newman (new editions); CATWINGS, by Ursula K. Le Guin; DEATH IN THE STOCKS, by Georgette Heyer (reread); and BY BLOOD, by Ellen Ullman."

Heather: "Finished MISTS OF AVALON Monday, finished FUZZY NATION by John Scalzi Thursday. Waiting patiently until Monday when I get get a new book."

Jude: "I am racing through LEE MILLER'S WAR by Anthony Penrose following a visit to San Francisco's Legion of Honor to see the Man Ray & Lee Miller exhibition.  Absolutely fascinating."

Naamen: "Just plowed through the entirety of the Prospero's Daughter trilogy by L. Jagi Lamplighter and absolutely loved it. A perfect blend of Shakespeare and Urban Fantasy. Still trying to figure out why none of my friends recommended these to me and getting ready to re-read the whole thing.

Also just started THE DROWNING CITY by Amanda Downum. Spies, magic and fomenting revolution. Who could ask for anything more?"

September 21, 2012

Leftover Whispered Melodies

What the staff is reading this week:

Alan: "Just finished WHISPERS UNDERGROUND by Ben Aaronovitch, which was just as good as the other two books in the series (MIDNIGHT RIOT and MOON OVER SOHO).  I'm just about to dive into Iain M. Banks' new Culture novel, THE HYDROGEN SONATA (which isn't out quite yet - I got an advance copy but it'll be on sale next month)."

Cary: "SPIRITS THAT WALK IN SHADOW by Nina Kiriki Hoffman."

Claud: "THE LEFTOVERS, by Tom Perrotta; KING LEOPOLD'S GHOST: A STORY OF GREED, TERROR AND HEROISM IN COLONIAL AFRICA, by Adam Hochschild; GOD'S WAR, by Kameron Hurley; MYRA BRECKINRIDGE, by Gore Vidal -- a reread; INFIDEL, by Kameron Hurley; and THE SEVEN WONDERS, by Steven Saylor."

Jude: "Just finished I STILL DREAM ABOUT YOU by Fannie Flagg, and now reading A SIMPLE HABANA MELODY by Oscar Hijuelos."

We're Hiring

We're looking for someone to work at Borderlands Cafe.  Please note - this job is at the Cafe, not the bookstore (however, there is a possibility of cross-training in the future).  We'd really prefer to hire one of our customers, hence this post.  If you're interested, please drop Jude Feldman a line at and she'll give you more information.

September 14, 2012

Dark Blue Martian Girls with Fairyland Swords

What the staff is reading this week:

Alan: "Just about finish FORGE OF DARKNESS by Steven Erikson.  It's a dense book (no surprise there) and I've not had enough reading time in the past week to make me happy.  Next up is going to be Neal Asher's second Owner novel, ZERO POINT."

Cary: "DREAMS AND SHADOWS by C. Robert Cargill."

Claud:"BLUE MARS and THE MARTINS, by Kim Stanley Robinson -- *amazing* series; and IN THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD, by Tom Holland -- a fascinating look at the birth of Islam in the context of late antiquity."

Jude: "I just finished WHERE IS JOE MERCHANT?, a Carl Hiassen-esque novel by Jimmy Buffet, and now I'm reading THE GIRL WHO FELL BENEATH FAIRYLAND AND LED THE REVELS THERE by Cat Valente."

September 07, 2012

August Bestsellers

1. Forge of Darkness by Steven Erikson
2. Zero Point by Neal Asher
3. Kill Decision by Daniel Suarez
4. Sorry Please Thank You by Charles Yu
5. Eternal Flame by Greg Egan
6. Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce
7. Seawitch by Kat Richardson
8. Osiris by E.J. Swift
9. Redshirts by John Scalzi
10. Long Earth by Stephen Baxter and Terry Pratchett

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
2. Ghost Story by Jim Butcher
3. Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
4. Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
5. Greywalker by Kat Richardson
6. Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
7. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
8. Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
9. Nightshifted by Cassie Alexander
10.  Children of the Sky by Vernor Vinge

Trade Paperbacks
1. Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
2. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
3. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
4. Makers by Cory Doctorow
5. Empty Space by M. John Harrison

August News Roundup

* Borderlands is featured in this article from "The Bold Italic" along with lots of other great independent San Francisco bookstores:

* The 2012 World Fantasy Award Nominees have been announced!  Congratulations and good luck to all the nominees.

* Random House has confirmed that both the trade paperbacks & mass markets of George R.R. Martin's A DANCE WITH DRAGONS come out 3/26/13, rather than 8/28/12 as announced.  The reason for the delay is unknown.

* We extend congratulations to all of the 2012 Hugo Award winners, many of whom we consider our friends, but most notably to our long-time friend and constant supporter of the store, John Picacio, who won the Hugo for Best Professional Artist.  Alan met John at the World Fantasy Convention in 1999 when he was just getting started and it is with great pleasure that we congratulate him on this most recent milestone in his career.
The Awards were presented at ChiCon September 2nd, 2012. For a complete list of the winners, click here:

* There's a site where you can see a 360 degree panorama from Mars rover Curiosity!

* Library Journal is hosting a webcast panel on forthcoming science fiction titles on Tuesday, September 18, 2012, from 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM Pacific Time, featuring Norman L. Rubenstein, Managing Editor, JournalStone Publishing; Jeremy Lassen, Editor in Chief, Night Shade Books; Elizabeth Fabian, Associate director, Random House and Kelly Coyle Crivelli, Library Marketing Manager, Random House. The panel will be moderated by Library Journal's Fiction Editor Wilda Williams.  You can sign up here:

* We're very sorry to report the death of astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, at the age of 82:

September Upcoming Events

Richard Kadrey, DEVIL SAID BANG (Harper Voyager, Hardcover, $24.99) Saturday, September 8th at 3:00 pm

Seanan McGuire, ASHES OF HONOR (DAW, Mass Market, $7.99) Saturday, September 8th at 6:00 pm

Brent Weeks, THE BLINDING KNIFE (Orbit, Hardcover, $25.99) Thursday, September 13th at 7:00 pm

SF in SF at The Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building (582 Market St.) with authors Roz Kaveney, Malinda Lo, and Cindy Pons, Saturday, September 15th at 7:00 pm

Steven Erikson, FORGE OF DARKNESS (Tor, Hardcover, $27.99) Saturday, September 22nd at 3:00 pm

Cory Doctorow, PIRATE CINEMA (Tor, Hardcover, $19.99) Thursday, October 4th at 7:00 pm

SF in SF LitQuake event at The Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building (582 Market St.): Epic! Legends of Fantasy with Ken Scholes, Andrew Mayer and Tad Williams, Friday, October 12th at 7:00 pm

LitQuake Litcrawl at Borderlands Books and Borderlands Cafe, Saturday, October 13th at 7:15 pm, with authors Cassie Alexander, S.G. Browne, Seth Harwood, and Seanan McGuire in the bookstore and authors Terry Bisson, Claire Light, Madeleine Robins, and Naamen Tilahun in the Cafe.

Gregory Benford and Larry Niven, BOWL OF HEAVEN (Tor, Hardcover, $25.99) Monday, October 22nd at 7:00 pm

More information after the break.

September 06, 2012

Debt, Mist, Darkness, Speculums and Flimflam

What the staff is reading this week:

Alan:"I'm burning through FORGE OF DARKNESS by Steven Erikson.  It's the first novel in his new trilogy set in the ancient past of the world of the Malazan Empire.  And it is just fabulous.  The setting and cast of characters are smaller than his previous work (the ten volume Malazan Book of the Fallen) but still as complex and rich and I've come to expect from him.  And, for a reader of his other work, the backstory elements that fill in the history of major characters are just so very cool.  Fer example, I now know how Anomander Rake and Caladan Brood met and I even know what Brood _is_.  On top of all that coolness, I can't wait for Steve's event later this month."

Cary: "Just finished THE CAVENDISH HOME FOR BOYS AND GIRLS by Claire Legrand, a creepy young adult novel.  Currently reading an advance copy of DREAMS AND SHADOWS by C. Robert Cargill."

Claud: "GEMINI, by Dorothy Dunnett; and DEBT: THE FIRST 5,000 YEARS, by David Graeber -- an anthropology of money, and one of the best damn books I've read in years."

Heather: "Just started on the third part of MISTS OF AVALON.  I think Gwenhwyfar needs a swift kick to the ovaries.  Pious twit that she is.  Grr."

Jude: "I just finished CHARLATAN: AMERICA'S MOST DANGEROUS HUCKSTER, THE MAN WHO PURSUED HIM, AND THE AGE OF FLIMFLAM by Pope Brock, a nonfiction which was terrifying in addition to being darkly funny (did people _really_ jump on the goat-gland-to-human transplant wagon?!), and now I'm reading an advance copy of MR. PENUMBRA'S 24-HOUR BOOKSTORE by Robin Sloane, which is great so far."

Naamen: "Just finished Alison Bechdel's amazing graphic memoir ARE YOU MY MOTHER? about her relationship guessed it, her mother. It also involves the life and study of the psychoanalyst Winnicott and the life and work of author Virginia Woolf with minor cameos from Adrienne Rich and Sylvia Plath. A complex read, a lot of psychology of mother/child subject/object variety, but well worth it. Already started on my re-read of it.  And started Luce Irigaray's SPECULUM OF THE OTHER WOMAN, a really crunchy book about the creation of woman as a psychological, as a subject, as a sexual being by men - especially in the West - but elsewhere too as "disadvantaged men", the idea that women are men with some sort of lack. She's ripping some Freud papers and other theories to well-deserved shreds. Pretty awesome if dense with psychoanalyst language at times, plus I have to wonder if something gets lost in its translation from French to English."

August 27, 2012

The Better Part of a Partial Necromancer Breakdown

What the staff is reading this week:

Cary: "PARTIAL ECLIPSE by Graham Joyce and JOHANNES CABAL THE NECROMANCER by Jonathan L. Howard."

Claud: "GREEN MARS, Kim Stanley Robinson; BREAKDOWN, Sara Paretsky; CAPRICE AND RONDO, Dorothy Dunnett; and DRIFT: THE UNMOORING OF AMERICAN MILITARY POWER, Rachel Maddow."

Heather: "Still reading THE MISTS OF AVALON by Marion Zimmer Bradley."

Jude: "Last week I read Ron Jeremy's autobiography THE HARDEST (WORKING) MAN IN SHOWBIZ by Ron Jeremy with Eric Spitznagel.  I'm currently reading A FANTASY MEDLEY 2 edited by Yanni Kuznia, THE RESCUE ARTIST by Edward Dolnick, and still slogging through THE ANNALS OF SAN FRANCISCO by John H. Gihon, M.D., Frank Soule and James Nisbet."

Naamen: "THE BETTER PART OF VALOR by Tanya Huff - Second in the Valor series. Wasn't sure how I felt about the main character, Staff Sergeant Kerr, until the end of the first book but now I'm really liking her. Still reading all the MilSF I can find with women marines and this is a really good series so far. THREE PARTS DEAD by Max Gladstone, only a few pages in but this books seems like a real genre busting interesting read so far, which involves an exiled, newly-employed necromancer named Tara Abernathy, a chain-smoking priest enduring a crisis of faith, and a potential case of deicide."

August 16, 2012

Silent Red Hydrogen Shadows: A Confederation of Fairies and Lions

What the staff is reading this week:

Alan: "I'm continuing my semi-abusive relationship with David Weber by reading STORM FROM THE SHADOWS.  His stuff really is sort of addictive for me -- which is what allows the relationship to be abusive, after all."

Cary: "THE SILENT LAND by Graham Joyce and THE GOOD FAIRIES OF NEW YORK by Martin Millar."

Claud: "TO LIE WITH LIONS, Dorothy Dunnett; and RED MARS, Kim Stanley Robinson."

Heather: "THE MISTS OF AVALON by Marion Zimmer Bradley."

Jude: "I just finished a re-read of NIGHTSHIFTED by Cassie Alexander (one of my favorite new paranormal series. . .syphilitic were-dragon FTW!) and now I'm reading THE ANNALS OF SAN FRANCISCO by Frank Soulé, John H. Gihon, M.D., and James Nisbet and very slowly starting an advance copy of THE HYDROGEN SONATA by Iain M. Banks, because I don't want it to be over too soon."

Naamen: "I just finished Jean Johnson's AN OFFICER'S DUTY (which I enjoyed very much) and now I'm reading A CONFEDERATION OF VALOR by Tanya Huff.  I'm just in the mood for female Marines.  Wow, that sounded terrible."

August 09, 2012

Overheard in the Store

This is a feature that appears periodically, usually as we attend conventions and overhear things.  However, sometimes we overhear amusing tidbits even when we're not attending a convention:

"Sometimes I think I _might_ miss other people, if they'd only stay away longer."

"When you date artists, it's sometimes hard to tell the difference between 'crazy-crazy' and 'artist-crazy'."

"It's okay, run-on sentences are kind of my thing.  I write that way, too."

 "I'm quite choosey -- I just like everything!"

July Bestsellers

1) The Apocalypse Codex by Charles Stross
2) Redshirts by John Scalzi
3) The Long Earth by Stephen Baxter and Terry Pratchett
4) Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce
5) The Hollow City by Dan Wells
6) Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
7) Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin
8) Existence by David Brin
9) Prepare to Die by Paul Tobin
10) Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness tie with Railsea by China Mieville

1) A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
2) A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
3) A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
4) Rule 34 by Charles Stross
5) A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
6) Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
7) Blackout by Mira Grant
8) The Ministry of Peculiar Occurances: The Janus Affair by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris
9) The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin
10) Feed by Mira Grant

Trade Paperbacks
1) Year’s Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Ninth Annual Collection edited by Gardner Dozois
2) Makers by Cory Doctorow
3) Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
4) Report From Planet Midnight Plus. . . by Nalo Hopkinson
5) Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

July News Roundup

* The SF Bay Guardian's readers voted that Borderlands had the Best Staff in the entire retail category in their Best of the Bay 2012 poll!  We're extremely flattered and proud -- thanks to all of you who voted!

* The She-Wolf Reads Blog posted an interview with Alan Beatts, Borderlands' owner:

* Congrats to our friends at Other Change of Hobbit, who were part of this list of "10 Truly Unique Bookstores in America":

* You'll have to see this Goyte video: to understand and appreciate this "Star Wars That I Used to Know" parody:

* The delightful Charles Yu was kind enough to drop by and sign copies of his new collection SORRY PLEASE THANK YOU for us.  If you'd like a signed copy, contact us quickly because they're going fast! Here's an interview with Charles to get you started:

* NPR talks to John Scalzi about REDSHIRTS:

* We're sorry to report the passing of Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, at age 61.

August Upcoming Events

Walkers, Watchers, Witches, Immortals and More: Four Authors in Conversation” with Stacey Jay, Carolyn Jewel, Kat Richardson, &Veronica Wolff - Sunday, August 19th at 3:00 pm

Daniel Suarez, KILL DECISION (Dutton, Hardcover, $26.95) - Saturday, August 25th at 3:00 pm

Shaenon K. Garrity, SKIN HORSE, VOL. 3 Release Party - Saturday, August 25th at 5:00 pm

Richard Kadrey, DEVIL SAID BANG (HarperVoyager, Hardcover, $24.99) - Saturday, September 8th at 3:00 pm

Seanan McGuire, ASHES OF HONOR (DAW, Mass Market, $7.99) - Saturday, September 8th at 5:00 pm

Brent Weeks, THE BLINDING KNIFE (Orbit, Hardcover, $25.99) - Thursday, September 13th at 7:00 pm

SF in SF at the Variety Preview Room (582 Market St.) with authors Malinda Lo, Roz Kaveney, and Cindy Pons - Saturday, September 15th at 7:00 pm

Steven Erikson, FORGE OF DARKNESS (Tor, Hardcover, $27.99) - Saturday, September 22nd at 3:00 pm

Full event details after the break

Zazen Saloon Slaves of the Notorious Mists and Ashes Circus

What the staff is reading this week, a bit belated:

Alan: "Reading CROWN OF SLAVES by David Weber and Eric Flint.  Nothing like a bit of light space-opera to clear the palette before diving into Steven Erikson's new Malazan novel."

Cary: "Reading THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern."

Claud: "VENETIA, by Georgette Heyer -- a reread; ZAZEN, by Vanessa Veselka; THE UNKNOWN AJAX, by Georgette Heyer -- another reread; and ONE THOUSAND WHITE WOMEN: THE JOURNALS OF MAY DODD, by Jim Fergus."

Heather: "THE MISTS OF AVALON by Marion Zimmer Bradley."

Jude: "Just finished ASHES OF HONOR by Seanan McGuire (the best Toby Daye book yet, I think), TALES FROM MARGARITAVILLE by Jimmy Buffet, and a totally charming volume from 1982 called SALOONS OF SAN FRANCISCO: THE GREAT AND NOTORIOUS by Jane Chamberlin and Hank Armstrong."

Naamen: "Just finished THE IRON WYRM AFFAIR by Lilith Saintcrow and now I'm reading AN OFFICER'S DUTY by Jean Johnson."

July 30, 2012

Wishfully Hunting Indigo Unicorns in Red Shirts

What the staff is reading this week:

Cary: "THE FACTS OF LIFE and INDIGO by Graham Joyce."

Claud: "GHETTO AT THE CENTER OF THE WORLD, by Gordon Mathews; and THE UNICORN HUNT, by Dorothy Dunnett."

Heather: "REDSHIRTS by John Scalzi."

Jude: "Just finished WISHFUL DRINKING by Carrie Fisher (a little horrifying, mostly hilarious) and I just picked up an advance copy of Seanan McGuire's ASHES OF HONOR."

July 23, 2012

Moonshifted Revisionist Fairy Blackbirds of Ohio

What the staff is reading this week:

Alan: "Just finished BLACKBIRDS by Chuck Wendig.  Very dark story with a compelling, if not likable, narrator."

Cary: "SOME KIND OF FAIRY TALE by Graham Joyce".

Claud: "GEORGETTE HEYER'S REGENCY WORLD, by Jennifer Kloester; DEAR DAWN: AILEEN WUORNOS IN HER OWN WORDS, by Aileen Wuornos; and THE REVISIONISTS, by Thomas Mullen -- an *excellent* time-police-in-War-on-Terror-Washington-DC novel."

Jude: "I just finished THE PRIZE WINNER OF DEFIANCE, OHIO by Terry Ryan, which was totally heartwarming."

Naamen:"Just finished an advanced copy of Cassie Alexander's next Edie Spence novel MOONSHIFTED and it was just as good if not better than the recently released first in the series, NIGHTSHIFTED. I take off my hat to any urban fantasy novel that can work what's basically a cyborg in believably with our current level of tech. MOONSHIFTED is out in December.  Just started an advanced copy of ASHES OF HONOR, the sixth Toby Daye novel by Seanan McGuire. This is one of my favorite ongoing Urban Fantasy series so I can't wait to really get into it."

Fair Kindergarten Rules for the DOJ

by Alan Beatts
The Department of Justice has released its response to comments requested on its suit against Apple and five of the six major U.S. publishers.  Arstechnica has published a detailed discussion as well.  In it Jacqui Cheng distills the DOJ's position thus --

"But the DoJ says two wrongs don't make a right, even if Amazon did have a real monopoly. 'There is no mistaking the fear that many of the commenters have of the prospect of competing with Amazon on price. No doubt Amazon is a vigorous e-book competitor,' The DoJ wrote in its response. "The future is unclear and the path for many industry members may be fraught with uncertainty and risk. But certainly there is no shortage of competitive assets and capabilities being brought to bear in the e-books industry. A purpose of the proposed Final Judgment is to prevent entrenched industry members from arresting via collusion the potentially huge benefits of intense competition in an evolving market."

I agree completely that engaging in an illegal action in reply to an illegal situation is no defense and shouldn't be excused from prosecution.  However, the DOJ's case still doesn't seem to clearly prove that the publishers conspired as to pricing.  It still seems rather that, by supporting the agency model, they conspired about a business and sales model that would allow them to raise (or lower, for that matter) prices.  The two things are not the same and it takes a fair amount of stretching to fit the actual case into the legal definition of price-fixing.

But, even if the publishers and Apple are guilty, it seems that even the DOJ is starting to agree that prior to 2010, Amazon did have a monopolistic control of the ebook market.  If so, then it seems the effect of the settlements and the outcome of the case should take that control into account and not set the stage for a return to it, regardless of the guilt or innocence of Apple and the publishers.

You can find the whole 64 page response as a PDF here.

July 22, 2012

U.S. Senator Opposes DOJ Suit Against Apple

by Alan Beatts

Charles E. Schumer, a Democratic senator from New York, wrote an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal opposing the Department of Justice suite against Apple and several publishers.  Of note in the article is a figure that I'd missed when I wrote about the same topic.

Despite higher prices for some ebooks after Apple supported the agency model, the average price for e-books dropped from $9 to $7 during the two year period prior to the suit (the source for this figure is court document associated with the suit).

Mr. Schumer goes on to say,

"The Justice Department has ignored this overall trend and instead focused on the fact that the prices for some new releases have gone up. This misses the forest for the trees. While consumers may have a short-term interest in today's new release e-book prices, they have a more pressing long-term interest in the survival of the publishing industry.

If publishers, authors and consumers are at the mercy of a single retailer that controls 90% of the market and can set rock-bottom prices, we will all suffer. Choice is critical in any market, but that is particularly true in cultural markets like books. The prospect that a single firm would control access to books should give any reader pause"

And he closes with this observation,

"The administration needs to reassess its prosecution priorities. Justice Department officials currently have comprehensive guidelines in place to determine when they should challenge mergers, but they have no such guidelines for non-merger investigations. It's time to come up with some. These new guidelines should take a broad, pragmatic view of the market as a whole. As the e-books case shows, this kind of perspective is sorely missing today."

Good points all, I'd say.

July 16, 2012

Hulluva Bronze Space Age Fairy Tale Feast

What the staff is reading this week:

Alan:"Still attracted to some of the old stuff. Right now it's Doc Savage #1 - THE MAN OF BRONZE by Kenneth Robeson -- which is absolutly terrible and charming by turns. It always fascinates me to read some of the original material that common tropes in our field came from. For example, Doc Savage had a "fortress of solitude" in 1933, 16 years before Superman got one."

Cary:"I'm reading the uber-gothy HELLUVA LUXE by Natalie Essary."

Jude:"I just picked up SOME KIND OF FAIRY TALE by Graham Joyce. I've pretty much loved everything he's ever written."

Heather:"Still A FEAST FOR CROWS."


July 14, 2012

Ravioli vs. Spaceship

What follows has been floating around the internet for years (oldest reference I found to it is from 1998).  Someone just sent it to me (thanks, Chats) and I thought it would be entertaining for our readers.  Not being a physicist, I can't speak to the accuracy of the science.  However, there's nothing here that seems flatly wrong to me.
And yes, this is geeky as hell. - AB

"There was still one aspect of the whole concept of a ravioli-loaded
railgun type weapon which we, lolling about late on a weeknight, with
only a few neurons randomly firing, could not resolve. Would a chunk
of metal (can of ravioli) impacting another, larger, rest mass
structure (star destroyer) produce an "explosion" effect, or simply
punch an appropriately shaped hole as it passed through? Bill?"

What am I, the neighborhood blast physicist??? Well, maybe... :-)

It all depends on speed of impact versus the speed of sound in the target (what is called the Mach number, where Mach 1 means the speed of sound, Mach 2 is twice the speed of sound, etc), and the speed of the ravioli versus the speed of light in the target (which I'll call the Cerenkov number, where Cerenkov 1 is the speed of light in anything; Cerenkov 1.3 is the speed of high-energy protons in a water-cooled reactor (that's why you get that nifty blue glow), and you can get up to Cerenkov 2.4 using diamonds and nuclear accelerators. In the late 40's people used to talk about Cerenkov numbers, but they don't anymore. Pity.). Lastly, there's the ravioli velocity expressed as a fraction of the speed of light in a vacuum (that is, as a fraction of "c"). "C" velocities are always between 0 and 1.

At low speeds (REAL low) the ravioli will simply flow over the surface, yielding a space-cruiser with a distinctly Italian paint job.

Faster (still well below speed-of-sound in the target) the metal of the space-cruiser's skin will distort downward, making what we Boston drivers call a "small dent".

July 09, 2012

Fairy Crows and Devil Blackbirds of the Apocalypse

What the staff is reading this week:

Alan: "Reading the fourth Laundry novel, THE APOCALYPSE CODEX, by Charles Stross.  British secret agent / IT specialist Bob Howard versus nameless horrors from out of time and space.  Just loving it!  And, BTW, I found that there are two short stories set in the same world that are up online at -- just in case anyone wants to give them a try.  Down on the Farm and Overtime.

Cary: "The Magicians by Lev Grossman."

Claud: "THE SPRING OF THE RAM, A RACE OF SCORPIONS, and SCALES OF GOLD, by Dorothy Dunnett -- engrossing historical fiction chronicle"

Heather: "Same for me, still: FEAST FOR CROWS."

Jeremy:"[I] recently read and liked: BLACKBIRDS by Chuck Wendig and SOME KIND OF FAIRY TALE by Graham Joyce."

Jude: "Richard Kadrey was kind enough to hand me an advance reading copy of DEVIL SAID BANG, the fourth Sandman Slim novel."

July 08, 2012

June Bestsellers

1) Redshirts by John Scalzi
2) Existence by David Brin
3) Glamour in Glass by Mary Robinette Kowal
4) Railsea by China Mieville
5) 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson
6) Lucky Bastard by S.G. Browne
7) Blue Remembered Earth by Alastair Reynolds
8) The Long Earth by Stephen Baxter and Terry Pratchett
9) Triggers by Robert J. Sawyer
10) Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

1) Blackout by Mira Grant
2) Nightshifted by Cassie Alexander
3) Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
4) Feed by Mira Grant
5) Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
6) Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
7) Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
8) Deadline by Mira Grant
9) Year's Best SF vol. 17 edited by David B. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer
10) Out of the Waters by David Drake

Trade Paperbacks
1) The Magicians by Lev Grossman
2) The Magician King by Lev Grossman
3) Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
4) Reamde by Neal Stephenson
5) The Black Opera by Mary Gentle

June News Roundup

* Because of the way copy deadlines fell last month, we missed reporting on the death of science fiction legend Ray Bradbury at the age of 91.  There are endless obituaries available, but instead we'd like to call your attention to this sweet little article on the origin of an inspiration, published by Bradbury just a few days before his death.

* We're sorry to report the death of author James (Jim) Young in mid-June.  One of the founders of MiniCon, career diplomat, actor, friend, all-around wonderful guy.  Too soon, Jim.

* Our friends at virtual Handee Books now have a blog!  Check them out here: 

* Surreal, beautiful and fantastic "Wonderland" photo series created by photographer Kirsty Mitchell in her mother's memory:

* Loren Rhoads (local author, and editor of the legendary "Morbid Curiosity Magazine" and the book MORBID CURIOSITY CURES THE BLUES,) will be teaching a class at the Writing Salon on Saturday, July 14th from 10 am  - 4 pm.  The topic is "Reading, Performing or Presenting in Public: Let Your Voice be Heard", and the workshop will focus on preparation for reading or presentations, and reducing anxiety.  The cost is $110, and you can sign up here:

* As part of our long-term plan to increase the range of titles we carry (without diluting our focus), Borderlands will begin carrying the top 3 - 5 titles in selected categories from the New York Times Bestseller List in July.  So, FIFTY SHADES OF GREY coming soon!  (Alan is holding his head in his hands at this moment and weeping softly.)  But seriously, we'll be carrying some titles solely due to their position on the NYT list, regardless of our opinions of them.  As always, we do not believe that it is our right as booksellers to act as censors, and in fact it is our duty not to.

July Upcoming Events

Dan Wells, THE HOLLOW CITY (Tor, Hardcover, $25.99) Saturday, July 21st at 3:00 pm

Clarion West Fundraiser Reading with authors Cassie Alexander, An Owomoyela, Tim Pratt, Rudy Rucker, Rachel Swirsky, and Ysabeau S. Wilce, Saturday, July 21st at 5:00 pm

"The Coming Century of War Against Your Computer" featuring Cory Doctorow at The Novellus Theatre @ the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Tuesday, July 31st at 7:30 pm

And stay tuned, because coming up we'll have Daniel Suarez,  Kat Richardson, Steven Erikson, Brent Weeks, and many, many others!

Full details after the break

Terry Goodkind, Publisher

by Alan Beatts

Terry Goodkind announced last month that his next novel would be self-published as an ebook.  I was surprised to hear this since, with the exception of one novel, all of his books have been published by Tor Books.  Since 1994 his relationship with Tor has steadily built his popularity to its current height where his books consistently appear in the top 10 spots on the New York Times bestseller list.  Curious, I did some looking around to try to find why he is moving to self-publishing.

July 05, 2012

Expanded Tree Farm of Cubed Gunfight Velocities

What the staff is reading this week:

Alan: "I've been re-reading EXPANDED UNIVERSE by Robert Heinlein.  It's been very interesting to revisit stories that I last read when I was in my 20s.  Many of them seem very different, both in the context of the world as it is now and my life as it is now."

Cary: "I finished GOD SAVE THE QUEEN by Kate Locke, read THE FARM by Emily McKay, and I'm currently reading ELSEWHENS by Melanie Rawn."

Claud: "THE GRAND SOPHY by Georgette Heyer -- re-reading an old favorite; ROMAN HOMOSEXUALITY by Craig Arthur Williams -- amazing look at an utterly different way of organizing sexual attraction & identity; A TREE OF BONES by Gemma Files -- wonderful conclusion to the best Weird Western in years; LIGHTBREAKER by Mark Teppo; SEASONAL VELOCITIES by Ryka Aoki; NICCOLO RISING by Dorothy Dunnett ; IN THE CUBE by David Alexander Smith -- another re-read.

Jude: "I finished THE GHOST MAP by Steven Johnson and a cute 1914 book called BOHEMIAN SAN FRANCISCO by Clarence E. Edwords (it's a love letter to lost San Francisco restaurants), and now I'm reading THE LAST GUNFIGHT by Jeff Guinn, about the shootout at the O.K. Corral.  As a companion to THE LAST GUNFIGHT, I think I'll re-read TERRITORY by Emma Bull, which is the magical secret history behind the "regular" history."

June 19, 2012

A Feast of Altered Pirate Etiquette Turned Upside Down

What the staff is reading this week,

Alan:  "Right now I'm reading THE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN, edited by David Drake, Jim Baen, and Eric Flint.  It's a very idiosyncratic collection of early science fiction stories chosen on the basis of what, for the editors, changed how they looked at SF and the world in general.  It's completely filled with gems, many of which haven't been reprinted since they first appeared in magazines in the 50s and 60s."

Cary:  "Was reading, but gave up on MABINGONIAN TETRALOGY by Evangeline Walton.  Am reading ETIQUETTE & ESPIONAGE by Gail Carriger, and (on & off) GOD SAVE THE QUEEN by Kate Locke."

Claud:  "ALTERED CARBON, Richard Morgan, and SORCERY AND CECILIA, Patricia Wrede."

Heather:  "Finally started A FEAST FOR CROWS."

Jude:  "I'm reading an advance copy of PIRATE CINEMA by Cory Doctorow, which so far seems like an older, grittier version of LITTLE BROTHER. I'm also reading MY HORIZONTAL LIFE: A COLLECTION OF ONE-NIGHT STANDS by Chelsea Handler, which is hilarious."

June 15, 2012

May Bestsellers

1. The Gift of Fire / On the Head of a Pin by Walter Mosley
2.  Railsea by China Mieville
3. The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi
4. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
5. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
6. Any Day Now by Terry Bisson
7. Invincible: The Lost Fleet - Beyond the Frontier by Jack Campbell
8. Flora's Fury by Ysabeau Wilce
9. The Wind Through the Keyhole by Stephen King
10. Stonemouth by Iain Banks

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. Blackout by Mira Grant
2. Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
3. Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
4. Feed by Mira Grant
5. Children of the Sky by Vernor Vinge
6. Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
7. Naamah's Blessing by Jacqueline Carey
8. Kingdom of the Gods by N.K. Jemisin
9. Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig
10. Crippled God by Steven Erikson tie with
       Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregillis

Trade Paperbacks
1. Departure by Neal Asher
2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
3. Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin
4. Reamde by Neal Stephenson
5. The Silent Land by Graham Joyce

May News Roundup

* Would you like to be an artist?  Precita Eyes <> is hosting a Community Mural Painting Intensive Workshop this July; they'll be painting a brand new mural in the Mission Playground on the side of Borderlands' building in August!  If you want to participate, the workshop is a bit pricey - $450 - but you'll have the opportunity to learn the principals of a community-based mural process from an experienced muralist, and have your work immortalized in the park!  (And maybe even put Ripley back in the mural.) The workshop is open to all skill levels.  Call (415) 285-2287 for more information.

* Fascinating three-part piece on Philip K. Dick and philosophy from the New York Times:

* Our friends at Other Change of Hobbit were featured in this Oakland Local article!

* absolutely raves about Kim Stanley Robinson's new novel 2312: . Also, you can build an asteroid terrarium in honor of the book!

* UK newspaper The Independent mentioned Borderlands Books as one of the "select" things to do in 48 hours in San Francisco!

* If you can't make the SF in SF event on June 16th, you'll have a second chance to see Lev Grossman at the Commonwealth Club on Monday, June 18th.   That event takes place at the Cubberley Theatre in Palo Alto, and costs $20 for non-members.  For tickets call 1-800-847-7730 or register online at

* Congratulations to this year's Nebula Award Winners, including Best Novel winner Jo Walton (AMONG OTHERS)!

* For all you Lovecraft fans, a bizarre and creepy deep-sea creature caught by a robotic camera:

* Everyone likes cake -- like this extraordinary Tim Burton zoetrope cake!  And these J.K. Potter-esque nightmare cakes might be an exception to the "everyone likes cake" rule.  Thanks, I'll never look at dessert exactly the same way:

* Although they are the government agency that I trust the most, it may indeed be time to worry when the CDC begins officially denying rumors of a zombie apocalypse: .  In related news, we have signed copies of all three of Mira Grant's "Newsflesh" trilogy available.  Annnnnd, now ammunition makers are manufacturing zombie-specific bullets. And it's being reported by CNBC.

* Forget zombies, says ROBOPOCALYPSE author Daniel H. Wilson: beware the robot uprising. Survival tips here:

* Taking a cue from the founders of the James Tiptree, Jr. Memorial Award, NASA held a bake sale June 8th. .  As author Pat Murphy says, "If you can't change the world with chocolate chip cookies, how can you change the world?"

* Huge thanks (and a bit of awe) to local artist (and customer) Kiri Moth, who created this gorgeous Ripley poster: . For more of her amazing work, see .

* We were saddened to hear of the death of glorious curmudgeon Maurice Sendak, who passed away in May at age 83.

* We're very sorry to report the death of versatile and brilliant artist Leo Dillon.

Overheard at the Store in May

This is a feature that appears periodically, usually as we attend conventions and overhear things.  However, sometimes we overhear amusing tidbits even when we're not attending a convention:

"He's like Vanilla Ice, but not even that cool!"

"You know it's a bad idea to get drunk with people you don't trust. It can lead to terrible things, like pregnancy, or karaoke."

"'I read FIFTY SHADES. . .Now what?' and 'Where can I get more mommy porn?'"

"Do you think our staff can take [---] Books' staff?"
"I dunno, I've never seen them. But I do fight dirty."

"How are you today?"
"Well, my bank gave me a hot dog."

"The wind is awful. I feel like I'm going to end up in Oz whenever I walk to the BART station."

"Oh, yeah. . . last time with the unipod was bad."

"I am an elephant of chaos!"
"Don't you mean _element_?"
"No, I like 'elephant' better."

"I'd rather watch an X-rated version of 'Harold and Maude' than watch Hayden Christensen in that movie!"

"Everything in life is about sex and death.  And THAT'S why we always end up at 'Harold and Maude'!"

June Upcoming Events

SF in SF presents authors S.G. Browne and Lev Grossman (at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building, 582 Market Street) Saturday, June 16th at 7:00 pm

SF in SF presents authors Robert J. Sawyer and Rachel Swirsky (at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building, 582 Market Street) Thursday, June 21st at 7:00 pm

David Brin, EXISTENCE (Tor, Hardcover, $27.99) Saturday, June 23rd at 1:00 pm

A.M. Dellamonica, BLUE MAGIC (Tor, Trade Paperback, $14.99) and J.A. Pitts, FORGED IN FIRE (Tor, Hardcover, $26.99) Saturday, June 23rd at 3:00 pm

SF in SF presents authors Richard Kadrey and John Shirley (at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building, 582 Market Street) Saturday, July 7th at 7:00 pm

Full details after the break

Print On Demand Might Come to a Store Near You

by Alan Beatts

A few weeks ago I posted something about in-store print-on-demand machines that got a fair amount of attention and interest (Print-On-Demand Not Coming to a Store Near You).  The problem was that the only hard figures I could find for that post were based on two rather old articles.  In the interest of accuracy, I contacted On Demand Books, the manufacturer of the Espresso Book Machine, to get up-to-date information.  The result was a long and very pleasant phone chat with Jason Beatty, the company's Sales VP,  that clarified a number of things.

First off, I was wrong.  There does seem to be a financially viable way for large and mid-sized stores to have an Espresso Book Machine on site.  However, it is not based on the business model that I expected.

A Tribute to Ripley from artist Kiri Moth

©2012 Kiri Moth, All Rights Reserved
Kiri Moth is a talented San Francisco artist (and customer!) inspired by Alphonse Mucha, Michael Whelan, John Jude Palencar, Thomas Canty, and Michael Parkes, among others.  She has dabbled in just about every method and medium, but currently works almost exclusively in ink with digital color.

For the few who don't know, Ripley was Borderlands' beloved original hairless bookstore cat, who died in May of 2010, just shy of her 8th birthday.

We are thankful to Kiri, who created this gorgeous Ripley poster in 2010 and just finished the color.

You can see more of Kiri's amazing work at her website .

June 11, 2012

The Hot Tinderbox's Storm of 1493 Etiquette

What the staff is reading this week, (and caution about Heather's post to those who are hyper-spoiler-sensitive, although it's hardly a spoiler. . .):

Alan: "Just finished burning through John Ringo's sequels to LIVE FREE OR DIE -- CITADEL and THE HOT GATE.  Space battles!  Wealthy industrialists!  Young men and women growing up and defending their species!  Hey, did Robert Heinlein write that novel?  Anyway, good escapist fun and now I'm not sure what I'm reading next.  Any suggestions?"

Cary: "An advance copy of THE LONG EARTH by Stephen Baxter and Terry Pratchett."

Claud: "RAILSEA by China Mieville -- great book, though I'm still not convinced that the world needed MOBY DICK as a weird fiction YA
1493: UNCOVERING THE NEW WORLD COLUMBUS CREATED by Charles C. Mann -- wonderful, espc. the samurai in Conquistador-era Mexico
TINDERBOX: HOW THE WEST SPARKED THE AIDS EPIDEMIC AND HOW THE WORLD CAN FINALLY OVERCOME IT, Craig Timberg and David Halperin -- good, espc. the forensic history at the beginning."

Heather: "Almost at the end of STORM OF SWORDS.  You know, the part right after George R. R. Martin #*%$^&! KILLS EVERYBODY."

Jude: "I'm almost finished with an advance copy of ETIQUETTE & ESPIONAGE by Gail Carriger.  This is the start of her young adult series that takes place about 20 years (?) before the events of SOULLESS."

June 04, 2012

The Long Rapture of Pirates, Angels and Dolls

This week's reading list from the staff:

Alan: "Reading an advance copy of the novel-length version of THE RAPTURE OF THE NERDS by Charlies Stross and Cory Doctorow.  It reminds me of Rudy Rucker's 'WARE books, which is both a good and bad thing."

Cary: "An advance copy of PIRATE CINEMA by Cory Doctorow.  It's due out October, 2012."


Jude: "I just picked up an advance copy of THE LONG EARTH by Stephen Baxter and Terry Pratchett, and ANY DAY NOW by Terry Bisson."

May 28, 2012

The Eminent Coroner Prepares to Save America

This week's reading list from the staff:

Alan: "Finished BLACKOUT by Mira Grant, a very worthy conclusion to her Newsflesh series.  Also read COUNTDOWN, which is a prequel novella in the same world.  Burned through THE CORONER'S LUNCH by Colin Cotterill yesterday - It's a mystery with very mild supernatural elements set in Laos right after the end of the Vietnam war.  Just wonderful writing, good characters and mystery.  Love it and now I'm going to find the others and read them.  Right now I'm just starting on a re-read of PREPARE TO DIE by Paul Tobin.  I read it before it came out and I like it so much I'm going to re-read it now.  Hands down one of the best treatments of Superheros for an adult audience ever, as good or better than WATCHMEN or SOON I WILL BE INVINCIBLE."

Cary: ANGEL'S INK by Jocelyn Drake and re-reading TERRITORY by Emma Bull.

MOTHER LONDON by Michael Moorcock [never really went anywhere, but did it so well you didn't mind]
SEASON OF THE WITCH: ENCHANTMENT, TERROR AND DELIVERANCE IN THE CITY OF LOVE by David Talbot [didn't quite pull off Teh Theme that the author was aiming for, but on a chapter-by-chapter basis, *awesome* stories of San Francisco history in 60s and 70s]
A ROPE OF THORNS by Gemma Files [reread, getting ready for A TREE OF BONES]
"The Hedge Knight", "The Sworn Sword" and "The Mystery Knight" by George R.R. Martin

Jude: "Just finished an advance copy of WHEN WILL YOU RISE: STORIES TO END THE WORLD by Mira Grant, and I am starting BLACKBIRDS by Chuck Wendig."

May 21, 2012

God Save the Perfumed Blackout

This week's reading list from the staff:

Alan: "I'm reading an advance copy of BLACKOUT, the third book in Mira Grant's Newsflesh trilogy.  I really enjoyed the first two, FEED and DEADLINE.  They're two of the three best zombie novels out there, along with WORLD WAR Z.  Really, those three books (plus, I'm sure, BLACKOUT) are completely in a class by themselves.  No one else take a science-fictional approach to zombies (i.e. one in which things actually have to make logical sense, rather than just sounding good)."

Claud: "PERFUME: THE STORY OF A MURDERER by Patrick Süskind
, A BOOK OF TONGUES by Gemma Files [re-read, getting ready for A TREE OF BONES]
, and ELEANOR OF AQUITAINE: A LIFE by Alison Weir"

Heather: "Still reading A STORM OF SWORDS by George R.R. Martin."

Jude: "Since I couldn't wrestle BLACKOUT from Alan, I'll be starting to read that at 12:01 a.m. tonight (Tuesday).  I've also picked up an advance copy of THE RAPTURE OF THE NERDS by Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross and an advance copy of GOD SAVE THE QUEEN by Kate Locke (see Naamen's comments)."

Naamen: "Just finished GOD SAVE THE QUEEN by Kate Locke, first book in The Immortal Empire where it's 2012 and a vampire Queen Victoria still reigns and all of the aristocracy are vampires or werewolves. A fun, fast-paced romp through a really great present-day urban steampunk. Not usually a big fan of steampunk but this one won me over almost right away.
CREWEL by Gennifer Albin - A fresh and interesting take on YA Science Fiction about women called Spinsters, who can weave time and matter and therefore control every aspect of people's lives. I always enjoy a confident young female protagonist determined to make her own way and this book has that in spades."

Cary: "Reading an advance copy of WHAT IN GOD'S NAME by Simon Rich (comes out this August).  God wants to end the earth and to prevent it, two angels make a bet with God -- they'll get two socially clueless strangers to go on a date.  With in a month.  Or it's all over.  Reminds me of Christopher Moore."

May 20, 2012

Print-On-Demand Not Coming to a Store Near You

A recent article by Andrew Fox about the possible future of publishing and bookselling made me start thinking about some of the Print-On-Demand printing machines that are available for bookstores.  One of Andrew's contentions was that in the future bookstores would commonly have equipment of that sort in their shops.  It was one of the only things he said that I didn't agree with, primarily because of the price of such machines (a common one, the Espresso Book Machine, costs around $100,000).  Yesterday I realized that my opinion about that, since the last time I'd seriously considered it was 2008 or so, might have been based on old information and an old thought process.  For a small business in a changing field, sticking to conclusions that you made four years ago is a terrible habit so I did a big of digging around the web to check my assumptions.

I wish what I had found would have made me wrong and Andrew right, but not so.  For a smaller store, the technology just isn't there yet.  And, I'm very doubtful that it ever will get there.  You'll find my reasoning after the break.

May 19, 2012

Science Fiction Bookstores in the News

A Q&A with our friends Dave Nee and Jan Murphy from Other Change of Hobbit were featured in Oakland Local.  Congrats, you guys -- we're thrilled to see you still hanging tough!

And, we were gratified and a little surprised to find Borderlands mentioned in an article about what to do during a 48 hour visit to San Francisco from the UK's "Independent" newspaper.  Of all the amazing things to do in the City, I think it's delightful they'd choose us as one of the few to cram into 2 days in San Francisco.

And thinking about that, what would your ideal and/or recommended 48 hours in San Francisco look like?  I've been working on it, but I can't get it down to less than about a week.

May 17, 2012

Not Even a Little Bit Cute

by Jude Feldman

I'm a news junkie.  And when the news gets to be too much (as it can when you're contemplating the possible imminent fall of the Euro,) I frequently turn to cute pictures of cats to make things temporarily better. (Cute cat pictures being one of the two major things for which the Internet was invented.)

However, in one of my recent searches for cute cat videos, I came across a video of a Not Even a Little Bit Cute Super-Creepy Deep Sea Creature that had been caught on film by a remotely operated video camera.  Do keep watching, as the critter leaves the camera's field of view for a while, but then comes back with a vengeance:

Steven Haddock PhD., a research scientist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium who specializes in bioluminescence and zooplankton, claims this thing is a Deepstaria enigmatica as explained here.

But those of us at Borderlands know the truth -- that this is actually one of the Old Ones --  and are brushing up on our pronunciation of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn".  Sweet dreams to all of you!

Fearless Mocking of Jay Dante's Storm of Big Sex

This weeks reading list from the staff.

Alan: "I'm working through Suzanne Collins' series.  Finished HUNGER GAMES, which was excellent and added more dimension to the story compared to the film (no surprise there).  Now I'm into CATCHING FIRE.  It's darker than the first book but very good.  After that I'm going to finish off with MOCKINGJAY.  After that my list is open.  Any suggestions?"

Jude: "I'm reading THE DANTE CLUB by Matthew Pearl, a literary mystery set in Cambridge, 1865.  A serial killer is apparently offing his victims according to Dante's punishments, and the only people who can solve the mystery belong to a club of poets and academics who are translating Dante from Italian to English, including Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., and James Russell Lowell. I'm more than halfway through and still don't know how I feel about it.  Quite vivid characters, but it . . .plods a bit. To stick with the 19th century theme, I'm also reading CHINATOWN'S ANGRY ANGEL: THE STORY OF DONALDINA CAMERON by Mildred Crowl Martin, an utterly fascinating nonfiction look at the missionary who rescued thousands of Chinese (and other) girls from lives of prostitution and slavery in San Francisco's Chinatown in the late 1800's - early 1900's. (Incidentally, the book, which was published in 1977, hasn't said a word about what happened to these girls if they refused to convert to Christianity.  I sincerely hope, and it seems from the text, that they were not denied sanctuary.) Regardless, there is no denying that this woman's achievements were extraordinary and the story is captivating."

Claud: "BIG SEX LITTLE DEATH: A MEMOIR, by Susie Bright"

Heather: "Just started STORM OF SWORDS by George R.R. Martin."

Cary: "Still reading SAN FRANCISCO NOIR edited by Peter Maravelis and re-reading GOING POSTAL by Terry Pratchett."

Naamen: "FEARLESS by Jack Campbell
MilitarySF  - Moved on to the 2nd in the series, still a good bit of fast-paced action with surprising depth of character and interesting personal and global politics.

FLORA SEGUNDA by Ysabeau S. Wilce
YA Alternate World - Only a few pages in but WOW, great world-building, interesting set-up and I love the protagonist already.  Really shows me what some of the younger aimed speculative fiction I've read lately need to be doing."

May 16, 2012

Constructing a Literary Ecosystem with Andrew Fox

Our friend (and talented author), Andrew Fox, posted an interesting piece on his blog about where the book business is going.  It's worth reading just for his commentary, ninety percent of which he and I agree on (though I don't think that the economics of in-store print of demand "book machines" will ever work out for smaller stores).

But even more interesting is the end of the post where he talks about what he'd like to see happen, and what people can do to make it happen.  Constructive discussions like this are too rare in our field and I appreciate how Andrew is approaching it.

What do you think about his ideas?

May 09, 2012

Stars Wars, Machete-Style

Turn the geek dial up to eleven!  I just read an old-ish post about the best order in which to watch all six Star Wars movies, the "Machete Order".  The author, Rod Hilton, deserves huge geek credit for the amount of thought he put into it but he deserves even more credit for being so right.

So very right.  He explains it better than I could so I urge you to check out the entire post but the key point is -- don't watch episode one at all.  And the absolute best part about that in my book is, by doing so, you can almost completely avoid the horrid, horrid, offensive and hateful . . . Jar Jar Binks.  I don't think that there is a fictional character that I loath more than that lame-ass, floppy eared, poor excuse for a sophant.

Plus you also avoid the interminable land-speeder race and any significant reference to midichlorians (critters which, in one short scene, demoted the Force from the mystical, barely understood foundation of the universe to something a bit like a yeast infection).

I am full of awe and now I want to go home and watch the whole thing (minus episode 1, of course).

May 07, 2012

Playing Solitaire and Hunger Games amidst a Mirage of Infernal Shards

People are always curious about what we on the staff are reading.  As of today, here's what's next to our beds and in our bags.

Claud Reich, Clerk --

The Forge of Christendom: The End of Days and the Epic Rise of the West by Tom Holland
Infernal Devices by K.W. Jeter
Siesta and the Midnight Sun: How Our Bodies Experience Time by Jessa Gamble
The Mirage by Matt Ruff

Jude Feldman, General Manager --

"Jude just finished re-reading the incredibly entertaining THE CROWN JEWELS and HOUSE OF SHARDS by Walter John Williams.  Unfortunately they're out of print, but very worth tracking down if you like lovable rogues, or appreciated THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA."

Na'amen Tilahun, Clerk --

"I'm in the midst of four books right now, because I'm a jumper

- Matt Ruff - Mirage
Alternate world. Set in the United Arab States. This world's version
of Wikipedia is my favorite thing about the book so far.

- Jack Campbell - The Lost Fleet: Dauntless
Military-SF. A tired man trying to live up to a legend he wants
nothing to do with - less about stunning battle wins and glory, more
about survival and doing what's necessary.

- Chris Colfer - The Land of Stories
Middle-Grade Fantasy. Interesting elements of fairytale revision, with
Snow White confronting her "evil" stepmother regarding her motives,
if not completely original in its protagonists or set-up.

- Kelley Eskridge - Solitaire
Social SF. The tech is less important than the people involved. A look
at truth, expectations and psychological trauma."

Alan Beatts, Owner --

"Finally getting to THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins (booksellers are almost always behind the times or ahead of them).  I like it and it looks like the film did a good and faithful job of adapting the book.  But, like any book-to-movie situation, the book is richer in almost every respect.

Also, I just finished NOCTURNAL by Scott Sigler and I thought it was outstanding.  His best work yet.  I'm a sucker for San Francisco as a location and monsters as a topic, but beyond that, the plot is pretty complex and it took me quite awhile to figure out what was going on -- which I _love_."

Heather Cornish, Mail Order Manager --

Just finishing up A CLASH OF KINGS and about to start A STORM OF SWORDS, both by George R.R. Martin.

Cary Heater, Clerk --

Rereading THE NIGHT WATCH by Terry Pratchett as well as working on San Francisco Noir edited by Peter Maravelis.

May 06, 2012

May Upcoming Events

Walter Mosley, THE GIFT OF FIRE / ON THE HEAD OF A PIN (Tor, Hardcover, $24.99) - Thursday, May 10th at 7:00 pm

Borderlands Books and Cafe Rummage Sale - Saturday, May 12th and Sunday, May 13th from Noon to 8:00 pm.

Andrew Dugas, Steven Meloan, Ransom Stephens - Techno-Spirituality Triple Author Event - May 19th at 3:00 pm

SF in SF at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Buildng, 582 Market Strret, with authors Marie Brennan, Erin Hoffman and Ysabeau Wilce - Saturday, May 19th at 7:00 pm

Mary Robinette Kowal, GLAMOUR IN GLASS (Tor, Hardcover, $24.99) - Saturday, June 2nd at 3:00 pm

Cassie Alexander, NIGHTSHIFTED (St. Martin's, Mass Market, $7.99) - Saturday, June 9th at 3:00 pm

Details after the break

April Bestsellers

1. Nocturnal by Scott Sigler
2. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
3. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
4. Sacre Bleu by Christopher Moore
5. Hide Me Among the Graves by Tim Powers
6. The Road to Danger by David Drake
7. Angels of Vengeance by John Birmingham
8. The Croning by Laird Barron
9. The Mirage by Matt Ruff
10.  Fair Game by Patricia Briggs

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
2. Timeless by Gail Carriger
3. Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire
4. Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
5. Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi
6. Plague Town by Dana Fredsti
7. Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
8. Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
9. WWW: Wonder by Roget J. Sawyer
10. Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris

Trade Paperbacks
1. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
2. Black Opera by Mary Gentle
3. Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders by Samuel Delany
4. Faith by John Love tie with Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
5. Zombies vs. Unicorns edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier

Three Observations Concerning the DOJ Suit Against Apple

by Alan Beatts

At the beginning of last month the United States Department of Justice announced that it was bringing suit against five of the six major U.S. publishers as well as Apple for violating anti-trust regulations, specifically prohibitions on collusion and price-fixing as described in Section 1 of the Sherman Act.  The complaint brought by the DOJ in essence says that Apple and five publishers (Macmillan, Penguin, Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster) conspired to force adoption of the agency model for sales of ebooks on the retail industry with the aim and effect of raising prices for consumers and reducing competition.  Under the agency model, which was adopted by all five of these publishers over a period of six weeks in early 2010, the publishers set prices and the retailers (Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, et al) cannot offer the book at a lower price.

I've been following the discussion about the suit since the news broke and it is interesting that the general tenor of the response has not been particularly in favor of the suit.  Specifically, there are a few things that seem to be generally acknowledged by most of the commentators, regardless of industry affiliation or political stripe.

May News Roundup

* Tor / Forge e-book titles will go DRM-free in July, 2012.  Which means that you can make as many copies as you like and read the books on any device:

* As a science fiction and fantasy fan and bookseller, I am the first to admit that I am enormous geek, and I love geeks, and am delighted to be surrounded by them all the time.  But this level of geekery makes me simply gasp in awe:

* Borderlands has some signed copies of Paolo Bacigalupi's new novel THE DROWNED CITIES available.  Reserve one now, they're going fast!

* The Locus Awards are being held June 15th - 16th, 2012 in Seattle.  "Tickets for the SF Awards Weekend are $40 and include all Locus events -- including readings, a kickoff meet-and-greet, panels with leading authors, an autograph session, the lunch banquet, and the annual Hawai'ian shirt contest judged by the fabulous Connie Willis, who will MC the ceremony and present the Locus Awards -- all followed by the Clarion West Party on Saturday night honoring Clarion West supporters, awards weekend ticket holders, and special guests. The events are held across the street from the Seattle Center, home to the SF Hall of Fame and the Experience Music Project, with excellent access to the light rail and trolley systems.  In addition, non-profit literary organization NW Media Arts is sponsoring special Awards Weekend writers workshops with James Patrick Kelly and Connie Willis at the nearby Richard Hugo House. Additional fees apply."  Find detailed information here:

* Oh, wow.  Microsoft is teaming up with Barnes and Noble to compete with Amazon and Apple in the ebook market wars.  Things are bound to get even more interesting:

* Baen Books is looking for beta testers.  From editor Jim Minz: "Beta testers for what, you may ask? For PLANET BAEN, of course. This is a web-based, Facebook-integrated game that not only is a fun way to waste time, but actually earns you FREE EBOOKS simply by playing. (Note: you do NOT have to be signed up on Facebook to play, but if you are, it's easier for folks to give you gifts, etc). It's actually pretty simple, sort of like a very basic cross between Farmville and Civilization (but waaaay more basic), where you create a colony and then guide that colony to grow and succeed. The better the colony does, the more free ebooks you'll earn.  We're giving away a free ebook to anyone who just signs up to beta test, and the more you help with testing, the more ebooks you'll earn.  <>  or <>
(this second link will change to <> once we launch on June 15)."

* We're sorry to report the death of actor Johnathan Frid, who played Barnabas Collins on the original "Dark Shadows".  I wonder if he got to see an advance of the new movie, and, if so, what he thought? <,0,5560319.story>

* We're quite saddened to hear about the untimely death of author and editor K.D. Wentworth. <>