August 17, 2015

Upcoming Events

John Scalzi, THE END OF ALL THINGS (Tor Books, Hardcover, $24.99) Monday, August 24th at 12:00 pm

Seanan McGuire, A RED-ROSE CHAIN (DAW, Mass Market, $7.99) Saturday, September 5th at 5:00 pm

Mark Coggins, NO HARD FEELINGS (Down & Out Books, Hardcover, $30.00) Sunday, September 13th at 3:00 pm

Tacos and Tecate with Seanan McGuire, THE DOLL COLLECTION (Tor Books, Hardcover, $27.99), Greg van Eekout, DRAGON COAST (Tor Books, Hardcover, $24.99) and Fran Wilde, UPDRAFT (Tor Books, Hardcover, $25.99) Tuesday, September 15 at 6:00 pm

Russian Avant Garde Art Event with artist Evgeny Avilov and art critic Lissa Tyler Renaud, Ph. D., Saturday, September 19th at 6:30 pm

Ian McDonald, LUNA: NEW MOON (Tor Books, Hardcover, $27.99) Saturday, September 26th at 3:00 pm

Brandon Sanderson, SHADOWS OF SELF (Tor Books, Hardcover, $27.99) Friday, October 9th at 12:00 pm

And coming up in the Fall, we'll host Greg Bear and Ann Leckie (yes, together!), the fabulous Litquake LitCrawl,  Mira Grant, and many, many others!

John Scalzi, THE END OF ALL THINGS (Tor Books, Hardcover, $24.99) Monday, August 24th at 12:00 pm - Spend your Monday lunch break with JOHN SCALZI!  We're always ecstatic to welcome John and revel in his wit, intelligence, charm, and good humor.  In THE END OF ALL THINGS, John returns to the OLD MAN'S WAR universe in a direct sequel to THE HUMAN DIVISION.  John will read a bit, answer as many of your questions as he can, and sign books.  We think you should take a long lunch, skip school, or just "call in Scalzi," but don't miss this one!  More info about the book, including an excerpt, can be found here: http://us.macmillan.com/books/9780765376077

Seanan McGuire, A RED-ROSE CHAIN (DAW, Mass Market, $7.99) Saturday, September 5th at 5:00 pm - Join us to celebrate the newest Toby Daye book with Seanan McGuire and the whole crazy caboodle!  In RED-ROSE CHAIN, October Daye finds herself in the unlikely position of diplomat, trying to avert a war and save herself and her friends in a hostile kingdom where nothing is what it seems.  If you've attended one of Seanan's events before, you know that they are a high-energy, music-filled delight.  If you've never attended one before, now is the perfect time to start!  There will be reading, raffle prizes, and silliness guaranteed.  Get your questions answered, bring your books to be signed, and prepare to sing along!  In addition to her many, many books, we'll also have some of Seanan's super-cool t-shirts available for sale at this event.

Mark Coggins, NO HARD FEELINGS (Down & Out Books, Hardcover, $30.00) Sunday, September 13th at 3:00 pm - Mark Coggins continues the cult classic August Riordin series with this latest thrilling installment!  From the publisher:"Winnie doesn’t remember the last time she felt anything below her neck.  Her spine is severed at the seventh vertebrae, but thanks to implants from a sabotaged biomedical start-up, she has regained mobility.  She is a prototype: a living, breathing -- walking -- demonstration of revolutionary technology that never made it to market.  Her disability has become her armor.  Because she doesn’t register fatigue, she has trained relentlessly.  Her hand, arm, and leg strength are off the scales. . . and she has honed self-defense techniques to channel that strength. . . . When the sociopath who torpedoed the start-up sends killers to harvest the implants from her body, Winnie must team up with broken-down private investigator August Riordan to save both their lives -- and derail sinister plans for perverse military applications of the technology."  We hope you'll come by to meet Mark and check out his awesome new novel.

Tacos and Tecate with Seanan McGuire, THE DOLL COLLECTION (Tor Books, Hardcover, $27.99), Greg van Eekout, DRAGON COAST (Tor Books, Hardcover, $24.99) and Fran Wilde, UPDRAFT (Tor, Hardcover, $25.99) Tuesday, September 15 at 6:00 pm - A special treat from Tor Books: a tremendous Tuesday of tacos, Tecate, and three terrific tellers of tales!  We do hope you'll come to check out Seanan's creepy story in the Ellen Datlow-edited anthology THE DOLL COLLECTION, Greg's newest release in the California Bones series, and Fran's exciting debut novel, UPDRAFT.  The authors will discuss and sign their works, hopefully not while holding tacos.  More details to come soon!

Russian Avant Garde Art Event with artist Evgeny Avilov and art critic Lissa Tyler Renaud, Ph. D., Saturday, September 19th at 6:30 pm - We hope you can join us for an unusual Modern Russian Avant-Garde event at Borderlands Cafe: "The Arts Resistance is proud to present the watercolor and oil paintings by Evgeny Avilov, the Russian artist behind the infamous "Exorcism at the Mausoleum" and other extreme activism actions of the art collective "Blue Rider."  Based in Moscow, Avilov represents the open opposition, a small number of artists and activists still protesting the authoritarian power at risk of their freedom and life.  Avilov will talk about the lack of freedom of expression, human rights, and rising militarism in Russia.  The Arts Resistance will give a brief presentation on the arts protest movement, reviewing art collectives Pussy Riot, Voina and Blue Rider.  San Francisco-based writers will read their work exploring the theme "Home, Patriotism, and War," and Lissa Tyler Renaud, Ph.D., an internationally acclaimed art critic, will make a presentation on Kandinsky, his "Blue Rider" art group and European avant-garde before World War I."  Mr. Avilov's work will be on display in the Cafe until September 30th.  If you are of the Facebook persuasion, RSVP here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1056292531062782/

Ian McDonald, LUNA: NEW MOON (Tor, Hardcover, $27.99) Saturday, September 26th at 3:00 pm - We're delighted to welcome Ian McDonald to Borderlands!  Mr. McDonald is best known for his extremely successful, cerebral science fiction, but he also writes smart, incredibly entertaining space adventure.  Here's the publisher's info for his newest novel: "The Moon wants to kill you.  Whether it’s being unable to pay your per diem for your allotted food, water, and air, or you just get caught up in a fight between the Moon’s ruling corporations, the Five Dragons.  You must fight for every inch you want to gain in the Moon’s near feudal society.  And that is just what Adriana Corta did.  As the leader of the Moon’s newest 'dragon,' Adriana has wrested control of the Moon’s Helium­3 industry from the Mackenzie Metal corporation and fought to earn her family’s new status.  Now, at the twilight of her life, Adriana finds her corporation, Corta Helio, surrounded by the many enemies she made during her meteoric rise.  If the Corta family is to survive, Adriana’s five children must defend their mother’s empire from her many enemies. . . and each other."

Brandon Sanderson, SHADOWS OF SELF (Tor Books, Hardcover, $27.99) Friday, October 9th at 12:00 pm - We're always happy to see the charming Brandon Sanderson back at Borderlands! (Do you know we hosted a signing for his very first novel, ELANTRIS, when it first came out?  I think there were only about a dozen people in the audience!)  This time Brandon will be showing off the new novel in the Mistborn world, SHADOWS OF SELF.  This one's a sequel to ALLOY OF LAW, and takes place about 300 years after the conclusion of the original trilogy.  The author will read, answer questions, and sign, so take a long lunch and come hang out with us and Brandon!  Excerpts from the new novel can be found here: http://brandonsanderson.com/shadows-of-self-previews-updates/

Urban Conservation

by Alan Beatts

1.  "Bright Light, Big City"

I love New Orleans.  It is one of my favorite cities in the world and the only one, other than San Francisco, in which I feel at home.  I had a chance recently to spend a week there and it was just as lovely as always.  But, while I was there, I was struck by how that city is facing some of the same problems that we have in San Francisco, despite it being almost, but not completely, unlike San Francisco.

That led to ruminating on a change that I've noticed over the past thirty years or so.  It used to be that big cities were not the preferred choice of residence for most of the population of the US.  The growth of the suburbs, starting in the 1950s and driven by the post-war boom, ubiquitous automobiles, and the expansion of freeways, began the process of moving people out of cities.  Following that, rising crime levels in cities prompted more people to move out, which drained revenue from cities, which further aggravated crime and a general decay of basic infrastructure.

Between 1970 and 1980 the population of New York dropped by more than 10%.  In fact, eight of the ten cites in the US that were the largest in 1950 showed huge drops in population between 1970 and 1980 (the two exceptions were Los Angeles, which has had a constantly growing population throughout, and Boston, which had a population drop of 19% the decade previous).  The population decrease in those cites through that decade ranges mostly between 10 and 20% despite the US population as a whole increasing by 10% in the same decade.

So, between 1970 and 1980 people were leaving major cities in the US in droves.  Even a decade later, 1990, most of those cities were below the population level of 1970.  In a number of cases, the drop was continuing through the '90s and even into the new century.

July Bestsellers

Hardcovers
1. SEVENEVES by Neal Stephenson  
2. THE ANNIHILATION SCORE by Charles Stross  
3. AURORA by Kim Stanley Robinson
4. TIME SALVAGER by Wesley Chu
5. THE WATER KNIFE by Paolo Bacigalupi
6. TRIGGER WARNING by Neil Gaiman
7. LAST FIRST SNOW by Max Gladstone
8. THE UNNOTICEABLES by Robert Brockway
9. UPROOTED by Naomi Novik
10. TO HOLD THE BRIDGE by Garth Nix

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. DRAGONS OF HEAVEN by Alyc Helms
2. THE RHESUS CHART by Charles Stross
3. THE THOUSAND NAMES by Django Wexler
4. SPELLCASTING IN SILK by Juliet Blackwell
5. NEXUS by Ramez Naam
6. REPUBLIC OF THIEVES by Scott Lynch
7. REBIRTHS OF TAO by Wesley Chu
8. AMERICAN GODS by Neil Gaiman
9. THE WAKING ENGINE by David Edison
10. ARTEMIS AWAKENING by Jane Lindskold

Trade Paperbacks
1. THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir
2. THE DANGEROUS TYPE by Loren Rhoads
3. THE GOLEM AND THE JINNI by Helene Wecker
4. ANCILLARY JUSTICE by Ann Leckie
5. ANNIHILATION by Jeff VanderMeer

August News Roundup

* Overheard in the store:
"Your capacity for academia and smut exceeds my own."
"Did you ever get in a Facebook war with Anne Rice?"

*New writer's group starts at Borderlands Cafe.  From the orginizers, "The San Francisco Writers Coffeehouse is a bunch of writers sitting around talking about writing . . . with coffee. No agenda. Just chat about the latest trends in the industry, about the craft of writing, about markets, about pitching and selling, about conquering frustration and defeating writers block, and about all of the good things that come from the community of writers. No previous publishing experience necessary. The Writers Coffeehouse invites everyone from absolute beginner to award-winners and bestsellers. We're all writers.  We'll be meeting the 4th Sunday of every month from 5pm-8pm at Borderlands Cafe, 870 Valencia Street, in San Francisco. Our first meeting will be Sunday, August 23."  You can find more info at their facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/groups/385645044974572

* We're very sorry to hear that wonderful author (and dear man) Tom Piccirilli has passed away.  A winner of multiple Stoker Awards and finalist for both the Edgar Award & The World Fantasy Award, he was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2012.  http://www.locusmag.com/News/2015/07/tom-piccirilli-1965-2015/

* Michael Moorcock gives a hilarious and illuminating interview in The Guardian.  http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/jun/12/michael-moorcock-my-family-values

* After decades of rumors and attempted adaptations, Philip K. Dick's alternate history novel THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE is finally getting a visual treatment, with the series set to premiere this fall.  Check out the trailer here: http://www.tor.com/2015/07/13/the-man-in-the-high-castle-first-trailer-sdcc-2015/

* John Kenn Mortensen draws Lovecraftian horrors by way of Edward Gorey -- most of his prints are now sold out but you can check out his gallery here: http://johnkenn.blogspot.com/

* Ursula LeGuin opens an informal writing Q&A over at Book View Cafe.  The submission form for questions has since been taken down, but she intends to post an answer to the questions already received every other week until she's gotten through them all, and once she's gotten through them, they will be open for more questions.  Keep an eye out for her wonderful replies and for the opportunity to submit your own question.  http://bookviewcafe.com/blog/tag/navigation/

* Spielberg's adaptation of READY PLAYER ONE now has a release date of December 15, 2017.  Not quite time to start popping the popcorn, but at least you can put it on your calendars.

* Speaking of adaptations and release dates, Stephen King's THE DARK TOWER, which has bounced from studio to studio and director to director, finally has a release date as well: January 13, 2017.  They are ambitiously talking about a movie franchise and a TV series and although they have a writer & director set up -- Nikolaj Arcel -- there is still no cast at all, so keep your fingers crossed this actually happens.

* The 2015 Mythopoeic Awards were announced at MythCon 46; congratulations to the winners!  http://www.mythsoc.org/news/mythopoeic-awards-2015-winners-announced/

* The Science Fiction Poetry Association has named two new Grand Masters: Marge Simon and Steve Sneyd. For more information and list of other SFPA Grand Masters check here: http://sfpoetry.com/grandmasters.html

* The British Fantasy Award Nominees have been announced and the full list is available here: http://www.britishfantasysociety.org/british-fantasy-awards/british-fantasy-awards-2015-the-nominees/

* The 2015 Manly Wade Wellman Award for a Science Fiction or Fantasy writer living in North Carolina has been given to Mur Lafferty for her novel GHOST TRAIN TO NEW ORLEANS.  http://ncsff.org/

* Though a lot of us have lost faith in J.J. Abrams' directing ability since "Star Trek: Into Darkness", he at least has one thing right in the new "Star Wars" film: there will be no midichlorians at all!  http://sciencefiction.com/2015/08/05/mediating-midi-chlorians-abrams-says-the-force-awakens-will-avoid-controversial-canon/

* The Sidewise Awards for Alternate History have announced their shortlist for this month's awards.  Some of the short-form nominees are available online; check them all out here: http://www.uchronia.net/sidewise/

* The Second Annual Baen Fantasy Adventure Award has announced their list of finalists.  The winner will be published on the Baen Books website along with receiving an engraved award and $500 worth of Baen Books.  Check out the list of finalists and rules here: http://www.baen.com/baenfantasyaward.asp

* The 2015 Will Eisner Awards were announced, and many of the winners and nominees had sf/f elements.  Winners include the titles "Saga," "Lumberjanes," "Through The Woods," and more.  The full list of winners and nominees is here: http://www.comic-con.org/awards/eisner-awards-current-info

* Remember when TV shows had crossover events all the time?  It has gone out of fashion in the last few years, but some unlikely shows are looking to bring it back.  The procedural "Bones" and the pre-apocalyptic genre show "Sleepy Hollow" are planning a number of crossover episodes this coming season.  http://tvline.com/2015/08/06/bones-sleepy-hollow-crossover-storyline-spoilers-plot/

* The full Red Band trailer for The Deadpool movie has finally been released and it looks amazing.  Ryan Reynolds wanted to make up for the awful portrayal of Deadpool in that Wolverine film and he is definitely doing it.  (Although it has been controversial that they've decided to delete his schizophrenia from the film, many advocates are pointing to him as a high profile character who is canonically schizophrenic.)  http://sciencefiction.com/2015/08/04/see-the-merc-with-a-mouth-in-full-hd-glory-in-first-red-band-trailer-for-deadpool/

* The 2014 Shirley Jackson Awards have been announced, and winners include Jeff VanderMeer, Daryl Gregory, Ellen Datlow and Allison Littlewood.  For the full list go here: http://www.shirleyjacksonawards.org/nominees/

* The knives have been out for the Fantastic Four remake almost since its announcement,  and everything from the plot to the casting to the effects has been dragged through the mud on the internet.  Director John Trank has basically disowned it, saying it was not the version he wanted to show and now his former collaborator for the film Chronicle is defending his friend on twitter.  http://sciencefiction.com/2015/08/08/chronicle-screenwriter-defends-josh-tranks-fantastic-four/

* Friend of the store and wonderful author, N.K. Jemisin, (whose new book THE FIFTH SEASON is out now,) was interviewed/profiled in The Guardian.  Read her thoughts about fantasy, race, society, gender, and writing, and the ways they all inform each other here: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/jul/27/nk-jemisin-interview-fantasy-science-fiction-writing-racism-sexism

July 13, 2015

Upcoming Events

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

Hugh Howey, WOOL (Simon & Schuster, Trade Paperback, $15.99) Monday, July 27th at 7:00 pm

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

Katie Gilmartin, BLACKMAIL, MY LOVE (Cleis Press, Trade Paperback, $16.95) Sunday, August 2nd at 3:00 pm

Tiptree Award Celebration with Jo Walton, Ellen Klages, and other Tiptree luminaries! Sunday, August 9th at 3:00 pm

Bucky Sinister, BLACK HOLE (Soft Skull Press, Trade Paperback, $15.95) Saturday, August 15th at 3:00 pm

Taiyo Fujii, GENE MAPPER (Haikasoru, Trade Paperback, $14.99) and Michael J. Martinez, THE VENUSIAN GAMBIT (Nightshade Books, Trade Paperback, $15.99) Sunday, August 16th at 3:00 pm

John Scalzi, THE END OF ALL THINGS (Tor Books, Hardcover, $24.99) Monday, August 24th at 12:00 pm

June Bestsellers

Hardcovers
1. TRIGGER WARNING by Neil Gaiman
2. SEVENEVES by Neal Stephenson
3. THE GRAVEYARD BOOK by Neil Gaiman
4. THE WATER KNIFE by Paolo Bacigalupi
5. NEMESIS GAMES by James S.A. Corey
6. THE FOLD by Peter Clines
7. COLLECTED FICTION by Hannu Rajaniemi
8. UPROOTED by Naomi Novik
9. A CROWN FOR COLD SILVER by Alex Marshall
10. LONG BLACK CURL by Alex Bledsoe

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. ON THE STEEL BREEZE by Alastair Reynolds
2. THE WAKING ENGINE by David Edison
3. THE THOUSAND NAMES by Django Wexler
4. THE RHESUS CHART by Charles Stross
5. THE THREE by Sarah Lotz
6. WORDS OF RADIANCE by Brandon Sanderson
7. THE WINTER LONG by Seanan McGuire
8. FOXGLOVE SUMMER by Ben Aaronovitch
9. THE FIFTH ELEPHANT by Terry Pratchett
10. FLEX by Ferrett Steinmetz

Trade Paperbacks
1. THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE by Neil Gaiman
2. THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir
3. ANCILLARY JUSTICE by Ann Leckie
4. THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS by M.R. Carey
5. CIBOLA BURN by James S.A. Corey

July News Roundup

* Overheard in the store:
"For me, 'all dolled up' means lipstick and the good black jeans."
"When 'Get Stoned' is an item on your To-Do List, you know you must be a grown up."

* We're very sorry to hear and report this, but what an incredible life!  Sir Christopher Lee, best known for his horror & fantasy acting roles, has died at age 93: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/celebritynews/11666316/christopher-lee-dies-live.html

* The 2015 World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Awards have been announced, and the winners are Ramsey Campbell and Sheri S. Tepper.  To find out more about the authors' lives and careers, check out the write-ups at the World Fantasy website: http://www.wfc2015.org/wf-lifetimeawards01.html

* Russia is building a new spaceport (or Cosmodrome) and the images are pretty epic: http://gizmodo.com/check-out-russias-new-spaceport-being-built-1715445543. . . As are the hunger strikes now being carried out there because of all the broken promises: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/11555574/Russian-space-centre-workers-launch-hunger-strike-after-Vladimir-Putin-promises-fail.html

* Well, it looks like there might ONE reason to see the new "Ant-Man" film, and he is called The Falcon!  http://io9.com/in-a-new-international-ant-man-spot-redacted-shows-u-1715797466

* Speaking of Marvel news, Peggy will be hitting Hollywood for the second season of Agent Carter. We can hope that with this scenery change, we'll get more diversity in this otherwise great show. http://www.ew.com/article/2015/07/01/agent-carter-hollywood-season-2-comic-con-poster

* Congratulations to Claire North and Cory Doctorow, winners of the John W. Campbell and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Awards respectively: http://www.sfcenter.ku.edu/news.htm

* The Science Fiction Poetry Association (SFPA) has announced the Rhysling Award winners for this year: http://sfpoetry.com/ra/pages/15rhysling.html

* The New Horizons spacecraft on its way to Pluto experienced some trouble, and although everything seems to be cleared up, we still don't know what happened.  Mika McKinnon over at i09.com breaks it down: http://space.io9.com/the-pluto-probe-went-into-safe-mode-and-we-dont-know-w-1715824423

* The Locus Award winners for 2015 were announced, and the winners included Ann Leckie for Science Fiction Novel, Joe Abercrombie for Young Adult Book & Novelette, Amal El-Mohtar for Short Story, Tor for Publisher and more!  Check out the full list of winners here: http://www.locusmag.com/News/2015/06/2015-locus-awards-winners/

* "Sharktopus Vs. Whalewolf" is an actual movie, with an actual trailer, and we find ourselves intrigued despite our common sense: http://io9.com/sharktopus-vs-whalewolf-is-a-thing-and-it-has-a-trail-1715751744

* We've still got a while to wait until the newest "Star Wars" film hits theaters in December, but a few months before the film we'll get to see how we got from Episode 6 to Episode 7 in the new "Star Wars" comic Shattered Empire this September. http://www.previewsworld.com/Home/1/1/71/977?articleID=165600

* Check out the first images of Bruce Campbell as he returns to play the iconic character Ash in the new Starz series "Ash vs. Evil Dead"!  http://www.ew.com/article/2015/06/26/ash-vs-evil-dead-exclusive-first-image-bruce-campbell-back-ash

* And speaking of triumphant returns:  by now most people are aware that "X-Files" will be returning to our television screens.  While some of us might have hoped to have some of the old convoluted conspiracies cleared up, they've taken what is probably the smarter tack and will just give us all new stories.  http://www.cinemablend.com/television/X-Files-Going-Reboot-Favorite-Plots-All-72766.html

* And in more awards news, the 2015 Nebula winners were announced.  Winners included Jeff VanderMeer for Novel, Nancy Kress for Novella, and Alaya Dawn Johnson for Novelette, along with the Norton and Ursula Vernon for Short Story.  Check out the full list of winners here: http://www.sfwa.org/nebula-awards/

* And speaking of the Nebulas, SFWA has released all new book medal designs to celebrate the Awards' 50th anniversary: https://www.sfwa.org/2015/06/sfwa-introduces-new-book-medal-designs/

* We've gotten our first look at the concept art for the upcoming Legends of Tomorrow show and it looks pretty awesome.  Set in the same world as "The Arrow" and "The Flash", it looks like DC is building a shared world on television and doing pretty well! http://www.ew.com/article/2015/07/03/legends-of-tomorrow-first-look-phil-klemmer-concept-art

* A new meme is sweeping the internet.  Prepare yourself for Cage of THRONES! http://imgur.com/a/tum01

* Check out this lovely essay in the Herald where Usman T. Malik talks about Pakistan's history and future, speculative fiction and imagination, "Rockets, Robots and Reckless Imagination": http://herald.dawn.com/news/1153167/rockets-robots-and-reckless-imagination

* Jo Walton's RUSA acceptance speech for MY REAL CHILDREN raises interesting points about genre and women's fiction: http://papersky.livejournal.com/659500.html

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

Hardcovers
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
5. REPUBLIC OF THIEVES by Scott Lynch
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
1. THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS by M.R. Carey
2. A NATURAL HISTORY OF DRAGONS by Marie Brennan
3. APEX by Razem Naam
4. SILVERWOOD by Betsy Streeter
5. ANCILLARY JUSTICE by Ann Leckie