June 09, 2015

Upcoming Events

Rudy Rucker, JOURNALS 1990-2014 (Transreal Books, Trade Paperback, $24.95) Saturday, June 13th at 3:00 pm

Alex Bledsoe, LONG BLACK CURL (Tor, Hardcover, $25.99) Sunday, June 14th at 3:00 pm

Alyc Helms, THE DRAGONS OF HEAVEN (Angry Robot, Mass Market, $7.99) Saturday, July 11th at 3:00 pm

Wesley Chu, TIME SALVAGER (Tor, Hardcover, $25.99) and Helene Wecker THE GOLEM AND THE JINNI (Harper, Trade Paperback, $15.99) Saturday, July 18th at 3:00 pm

Robert Brockway, THE UNNOTICEABLES (Tor, Hardcover, $24.99, and Loren Rhoads, THE DANGEROUS TYPE (Nightshade Books, Trade Paperback, $15.99) Sunday, July 19th at 3:00 pm

Richard Kadrey, KILLING PRETTY (Harper Voyager, Hardcover, $25.99) Saturday, August 1st at 3:00 pm

Suspending Disbelief in Video Games

by Alan Beatts

I'm not, by any stretch of the imagination, an avid player of video games.  However, I do enjoy some of them quite a lot.  They serve the dual purpose of entertaining me while also engaging me enough that I forget about the external world for a bit.  About five years ago, a friend gave me a game console for Christmas and, since then, I've played several quite good games from beginning to end.  I've also tried out a number that I started, got a bit of the way in, and then put aside because they didn't suit me.  That's a process that I do with novels as well. However, it's interesting that in video games the split between "this is fun, I'm going to finish it" and "nope, this isn't for me" is close to 50/50, whereas novels run closer to 85/15.

Perhaps part of the reason for that difference is that I have pretty specific tastes in video games.  Playing virtual football or golf has even less appeal to me than playing the actual sports (for which the appeal to me is already close enough to zero that you'll need several decimal places to make the distinction).  Likewise virtual dating games or other games that simulate social interactions don't interest me.  And, while games that simulate pseudo-natural processes in accelerated time (for example Civilization or SimCity) interest me in an ant-farm sort of way, I don't really like playing god.

Consequently, what appeals to me are role-playing games, shooting games and, most of all, the child of the two, generally called open-world games (for example Skyrim and Mass Effect). Since reading serves the same purpose for me as video games (entertainment and an escape from the outside world - although video games have an advantage in exercising my twitch reflex), in the last few years, I've started thinking about the similarities and differences between the two art forms.  The idea that both genre novels and the sort of video games I enjoy are both art forms is not something that I think needs much defense or explanation but, just in case, please consider that: they both require creating a structured narrative with plot, settings, and characters that will engage the reader / player for a prolonged period of time. Even games outside of my particular interest qualify as art forms, albeit for a different set of reasons.

When I consider the current state of the art in video games as part of the spectrum of story-telling entertainment, including prose fiction, illustrated narratives (i.e. comic books), film, epic poetry, and so forth, it strikes me that it is far from the eventual potential of the medium. Which is not to say that the medium doesn't have considerable merits now, but only to say that, even within the limitations of current technology, the medium is perhaps at a spot in its evolution equivalent to comic books in the 1970s.  And, like comics in the 1970s, video games are great fun and the product of some very talented people who are doing excellent work.

May Bestsellers

1. SEVENEVES by Neal Stephenson  
2. VOYAGE OF THE BASILISK by Marie Brennan
3. OF NOBLE FAMILY by Mary Robinette Kowal
4. THE WATER KNIFE by Paolo Bacigalupi
5. UPROOTED by Naomi Novik
6. A CROWN FOR COLD SILVER by Alex Marshall
7. HALF THE WORLD by Joe Abercrombie
8. THE GIRL IN THE ROAD by Monica Byrne
9. PRUDENCE by Gail Carriger
10. WHAT IF? by Randall Monroe

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. NEXUS by Ramez Naam
2. CRUX by Razem Naam
3. THE GOBLIN EMPEROR by Katherine Addison
4. THE HERCULES TEXT by Jack McDevitt
6. THE THREE by Sarah Lotz
7. POCKET APOCALYPSE by Seanan McGuire
8. MORT by Terry Pratchett
9. SKIN GAME by Jim Butcher
10. DARK HEIR by Faith Hunter

Trade Paperbacks
3. APEX by Razem Naam
4. SILVERWOOD by Betsy Streeter

June News Roundup

* Overheard in the store:
"Luckily, you're not going to be killing zombies with bowling balls."

* The location for World Fantasy Convention 2016 has been announced as Columbus, Ohio. http://www.worldfantasy.org/

* Classic kaiju creation Godzilla has finally not only been recognized as an official special resident of the city of Tokyo, but also as a Tourism Ambassador.  This apparently coincides with the filming of a new Godzilla movie this year: http://naplesherald.com/2015/04/09/godzilla-appointed-tokyo-resident-and-tourism-ambassador/

* The Mythopoeic Society has announced their finalists for the Mythopoeic Awards for 2015: http://www.mythsoc.org/news/2015mythopoeic-awards-finalists-announced/

* One of the most critically-acclaimed comics of recent years, "The Wicked + The Divine", has been optioned by Universal TV.  It is the story of twelve gods reincarnated every ninety years, only to die within two years.  http://sciencefiction.com/2015/06/01/the-wicked-the-divine-optioned-development-universal-tv/

* The Lambda Awards announced the winners for their 2015 literary awards, and we'd like to extend our congratulations to store friend (and sponsor!) Chaz Brenchley, whose short story collection BITTER WATERS won in the LGBT S/F/Horror category.  Check out the complete list of winners here: http://www.lambdaliterary.org/features/news/06/02/27th-annual-lambda-literary-award-winners/

* io9 brings us two great blendings of fan art.  One commenter takes tv and movie posters and redraws them to look like classic vinyl album covers: http://io9.com/preview/classic-movie-posters-redrawn-as-vintage-album-covers-1709277184  And Artist Ryan May imagines the Adventure Time characters in "Mad Max: Fury Road".  Princess Bubblegum as Furiosa is everything!: http://io9.com/the-ice-king-is-a-perfect-immortan-joe-in-adventure-tim-1709400094

* Classic fantasist Tanith Lee, winner of numerous awards and accolades including being the first woman to win the British Fantasy Award, has passed away after a long illness: http://heavy.com/entertainment/2015/05/tanith-lee-dead-dies-cause-of-death-funeral-esther-garber-husband-john-kaiine/

* Sci-Fest LA, the Los Angeles SF Play Festival, has unveiled two new awards, The Tomorrow Prize and The Roswell Award, both with cash prizes.  Check out the inaugural winners here: http://www.sci-fest.com/

* The Spectrum Awards have been announced.  See the gorgeous Gold and Silver Award winners here: http://fleskpublications.com/blog/2015/05/23/spectrum-22-awards-winners-announced/

* Voting has opened on the shortlists for the David Gemmell Awards: http://www.gemmellawards.com/

* The SFWA elections have occurred and new officers include Cat Rambo as the new president and M.C.A. Hogarth as vice-president.  Check out the full list of new officials here: http://www.sfwa.org/2015/05/2015-sfwa-election-results/

* Leonard Nimoy's son Adam Nimoy has started a Kickstarter campaign with the goal of funding a documentary called "For The Love of Spock", which will trace the history of the iconic character.  Zachary Quinto has agreed to narrate the film.  http://www.blastr.com/2015-6-3/leonard-nimoys-son-wants-you-help-fund-his-spock-documentary

* In sadder Star Trek news, Nichelle Nichols, who played the transcendent  Lt. Uhura in the original series, along with many other film and television roles, has been hospitalized following a stroke.  There hasn't been any official news on her condition yet: http://sciencefiction.com/2015/06/04/star-trek-star-nichelle-nichols-hospitalized-stroke/

* Josh Trank, the director of the new "Fantastic Four" film, talks about the anger from fans for casting African-American actor Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm:  http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/herocomplex/la-et-hc-josh-trank-simon-kinberg-fantastic-four-casting-controversy-story.html

May 11, 2015

Upcoming Events

Marie Brennan, VOYAGE OF THE BASILISK (Tor, Hardcover, $25.99), and Mary Robinette Kowal, OF NOBLE FAMILY (Tor, Hardcover, $26.99) Thursday, May 21st at 7:00 pm

Peter Orullian, TRIAL OF INTENTIONS (Tor, Hardcover, $27.99) Saturday, May 30th at 3:00 pm

Peter Clines, THE FOLD (Crown, Hardcover, $25.00) Thursday, June 4th at 7:00 pm

RESCHEDULED TO JULY 11th - Alyc Helms, THE DRAGONS OF HEAVEN (Angry Robot, Mass Market, $7.99) Saturday, June 6th at 3:00 pm

Paolo Bacigalupi, THE WATER KNIFE (Knopf, Hardcover, $25.95) Sunday, June 7th at 3:00 pm

Rudy Rucker, JOURNALS 1990 - 2014 (Transreal Publications, Trade Paperback, $24.95) Saturday, June 13th at 3:00 pm

Alex Bledsoe, LONG BLACK CURL (Tor, Hardcover, $25.99) Sunday, June 14th at 3:00 pm

In the summer we'll be hosting Wesley Chu, Jo Walton, Helene Wecker, and many, many more great authors, so stay tuned!

April Bestsellers


1. A CROWN FOR COLD SILVER by Alex Marshall
3. VOYAGE OF THE BASILISK by Marie Brennan
4. ROLLING IN THE DEEP by Mira Grant
5. THE SKULL THRONE by Peter V. Brett
6. THE THREE-BODY PROBLEM by Cixin Liu translated by Ken Liu
7. THE BURIED GIANT by Kazuo Ishiguro
8. HALF THE WORLD by Joe Abercrombie
9. PRUDENCE by Gail Carriger
10. TRIGGER WARNING by Neil Gaiman

Mass Market Paperbacks

1. FLEX by Ferrett Steinmetz
2. THE GOBLIN EMPEROR by Katherine Addison
3. WORDS OF RADIANCE by Brandon Sanderson
4. DARK LIGHTNING by John Varley
5. POCKET APOCALYPSE by Seanan McGuire
6. THE LIVES OF TAO by Wesley Chu
8. THE LONG EARTH by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
9. SKIN GAME by Jim Butcher
10. THE WISE MAN'S FEAR by Patrick Rothfuss

Trade Paperbacks

3. THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir

From The Office

by Alan Beatts

This month marks the first time since January that I feel like the basic operations of the business are back to normal.  Or at least our idea of normal, which I suspect is pretty strange by objective standards.  The store inventory is back up to snuff with the exception of our used paperback section.  With the addition of our newest hire in the cafe, who starts this week, staffing is up to a proper level (i.e. you shouldn't see me doing dishes at closing time).  I feel like the sponsor program is off to a good start and Scott Cox is working with me on that, allowing me to turn my attention to some other things.  Overall, I'm feeling very good about the position that Borderlands is in for 2015 -- almost entirely thanks to our sponsors.

Speaking of which, I'm delighted to announce that as of this week we've hit 800 sponsors for 2015, a full 500 over the number that we needed to remain open.  This is huge, heartwarming and amazing for a variety of reasons, which are all self-evident.

What is not so evident is the major change in my attitude and my plans for the store that have been caused by the unexpected and unbelievable amount of support we've received from our customers and our industry.

May News Roundup

* The Locus Awards have announced their nominees for 2015!  http://www.locusmag.com/News/2015/05/2015-locus-awards-finalists/

* Controversial Nobel Prize-winning German author Gunter Glass, who often made use of the fantastic in his works, has passed away.  http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/04/13/399303570/gunter-grass-nobel-winning-author-of-the-tin-drum-dies-at-87

* DC continues to expand its television universe.  It will be introducing new heroes (including Hawkgirl!) in the Flash finale before Legends of Tomorrow premieres this fall.  http://www.comicbookresources.com/article/hawkgirl-other-legends-stars-to-appear-in-the-flash-season-finale

* The Romantic Times Book Reviews Awards have been announced, many of which have speculative elements.  Check out all the subcategories of winners here: http://www.rtbookreviews.com/blog/82892/announcing-2014-rt-reviewers-choice-and-career-achievement-awards-winners

* The fanzine Black Gate, and authors Markos Kloos, Annie Bellet, and Edmund R. Schubert have declined their Hugo nominations for various reasons.  See their separate statements here:

* The rogue Russian spacecraft that has been hurtling toward Earth for a while has disintegrated safely.  http://gizmodo.com/the-rogue-russian-spacecraft-disintegrated-safely-1703029437/

* The Aurealis Awards which celebrate Australian SF/F/H have announced their winners.  See them here: http://aurealisawards.org/2015/04/12/and-the-winners-are/

* Peggy Carter fans all over the world have a reason to celebrate as "Agent Carter" the TV series has been renewed for a second series.  http://www.cinemablend.com/television/Agent-Carter-Definitely-Coming-Back-Season-2-71760.html

* The identity of K.J. Parker has long been a mystery in the publishing world.  Well, it has finally been revealed that the master of emotionally dark realistic fantasy is also the successful humorous fantasy writer Tom Holt.  Listen to the whole interview reveal here: http://jonathanstrahan.podbean.com/e/episode-230-k-j-parker-and-the-history-of-a-writer/

* In an exciting bit of news, Nick Offerman of "Parks and Rec" fame will be Toastmaster of the Nebulas this year.  http://www.sfwa.org/nebula-awards/nebula-weekend/about-the-toastmaster-nick-offerman/

* io9 gathers a group of diverse opinions on what are some utterly brilliant novels with one fatal flaw.  Check out a wide breadth of answers here: http://io9.com/10-brilliant-novels-that-have-one-fatal-flaw-1702859884

* 10 science fiction authors including Robert Charles Wilson, Genevieve Valentine, Ken Liu and more predict how our world will change in the next ten years.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/06/sci-fi-predictions_n_7102742.html

* "The Tall Grass" novella written by father/son team Stephen King and Joe Hill about a brother and pregnant sister fighting for their lives in a field will be getting a big-screen adaptation.  http://sciencefiction.com/2015/05/07/in-the-tall-grass-stephen-king-son-get-big-screen-treatment/

* Speaking of Stephen King, the 2015 Edgar Awards have been announced, and they include King's novel MR. MERCEDES and the delightful Gillian Flynn short story "What Do You Do", (which is collected in the GRRM and Gardner Dozois edited anthology ROGUES).  See the full list of winners here: http://www.theedgars.com/nominees.html

* Fans of Cassandra Clare have reason to celebrate since her Shadowhunters series, which failed as a movie, has found second life as an ABC Family TV series, and they have found their Clary.  Do you like who they've chosen?  http://www.mtv.com/news/2153680/shadowhunters-clary-fray-katherine-mcnamara/

* It is a sad day, because after twenty years Ellen Klages has retired as the Tiptree Auction emcee.  Those of us who've seen her know it will be a great loss.  Read her goodbye and reminisce on the good times.  http://blog.wiscon.info/2015/04/ellen-klages-and-the-tiptree-auction/

* Emily St. John Mandel has won the Arthur C. Clarke Award for her novel STATION ELEVEN.  Check out the judges' comments, the shortlist, and more over at the Clarke Award website.  http://www.clarkeaward.com/

* Have six minutes? Then watch the short film "The Red Witch", done by Aron Bothman (with screenplay by Samara Weiss) as a fourth year film project.  A woman tries to learn Mars' story as it's being terraformed and becomes one herself.  http://www.kuriositas.com/2015/05/the-red-witch.html

* The Shirley Jackson Award nominees have been announced.  http://www.shirleyjacksonawards.org/nominees/

* Over at io9.com,  K. Tempest Bradford gathers the best short stories from the past week in her regular io9 Newsstand feature:  http://io9.com/io9-newsstand-the-best-stories-from-the-week-of-may-3-1703080879

* Our friends at Comix Experience < http://www.comixexperience.com > are running into some of the same challenges regarding the San Francisco Minimum Wage that we faced (i.e. the prices for their goods are set by the publisher and they will have a hard time meeting the minimum wage as it goes up).  However, they aren't planning on closing.  Instead they're offering a graphic novel subscription service that, with sufficient support, will allow them to continue operations and meet the increasing minimum wage.  You can find all the information about it here < http://www.graphicnovelclub.com > but the thumbnail sketch is that, for a flat monthly fee of $25, you will receive a copy of the graphic novel of the month.

April 10, 2015

April Featured Title

by Jude Feldman

A CROWN FOR COLD SILVER by Alex Marshall (Orbit, Hardcover, $26.00) comes out April 14th.  This is my favorite new fantasy - a throughly enjoyable, entertainingly complex story that falls somewhere in between Patrick Rothfuss and Joe Abercrombie.  Fabulous characters, ethical ambiguity, and an author who trusts in his readers' ability to "get it" without being smacked over the head.

This book is noteworthy for several reasons, but two aspects I especially appreciated were the kick-ass middle-aged female protagonist and the casual lack of heteronormativity, both extremely unusual in fantasy novels.  The pacing, dry humor, and logical but unexpected plot twists are also reasons to love it.

This is going to be my next go-to novel for fans of George R.R. Martin, Scott Lynch, and of course Abercrombie and Rothfuss.  Alan and everyone else here who has read it recommend it, too.

Upcoming Events

Rick Wilbur (editor) and Jacob Weisman and Kim Stanley Robinson (contributors), FIELD OF FANTASIES (Night Shade Books, Trade Paperback, $15.99) Saturday, April 18th at 3:00 pm

Mission Local Neighborhood Discussion, Tuesday, April 21st at 7:00 pm

SF in SF and the Locus Science Fiction Foundation present authors Peter Straub and Michael Marshall Smith at the Book Club of California, 312 Sutter Street, 5th Floor, Friday, May 1st.  Doors at 5:30 pm, event starts at 6:30 pm. Tickets are $20.

Betsy Streeter, SILVERWOOD (Light Messages, Trade Paperback, $18.95) Sunday, May 3rd at 3:00 pm

Marie Brennan, VOYAGE OF THE BASILISK (Tor, Hardcover, $25.99), and Mary Robinette Kowal, OF NOBLE FAMILY (Tor, Hardcover, $26.99) Thursday, May 21st at 7:00 pm

Peter Orullian, TRIAL OF INTENTIONS (Tor, Hardcover, $27.99) Saturday, May 30th at 3:00 pm

Coming up later in the year, look for events with Paolo Bacigalupi, Peter Clines, Alec Helms, a Tiptree Winners' Celebration with Jo Walton, and much, much more!