January 10, 2016

Another Year

A bit less than one year ago Borderlands was getting ready to close.  San Francisco voters had passed an increase in the minimum wage that was going to end the financial viability of the store, probably by the middle of July last year.  If not July of last year, then the second increase scheduled for July of 2016 was certainly going to do the job.

Though I and the rest of the staff strongly support minimum wage laws in general and we suspected that San Francisco's local increase would be generally positive for the city as a whole, we were trapped by the idiosyncrasy of the book business.  Unlike most products, books have a price printed on them.  That makes the usual business solution of increasing prices to cover higher expenses impossible for us.

Rather than ride the business down into the grave, I and the rest of the staff decided it was better to close quickly, at the time of our choosing and at the top of our game.

Our customers were very much opposed to this and, out of their comments & suggestions and in consultation with the staff, we decided to try an experiment.  We would ask that a minimum of 300 people sponsor the store for $100 each.  If that many people were willing, it would offset the added expense of the wage increases that were scheduled to raise the wage to $15 per hour by the middle of 2017.  Since that increased expense would be on-going, a basic assumption was that the sponsorship would need to recur each year.

Upcoming Events

An Evening with Patrick Rothfuss Friday, January 15th at 7:00pm

Black Comix Arts Festival at the San Francisco Public Library (Latino/Hispanic Rms A & B, Koret Auditorium, Main Library, 100 Larkin Street) with authors Dawud Anyabwile, Ayize Jama Everett, Jewelle Gomez, Nalo Hopkinson, John Jennings, Brian McGee, and Nnedi Okorafor, Sunday, January 17th from 1:00pm - 4:00pm

SF in SF with authors Cecelia Holland and Kim Stanley Robinson at the American Bookbinders Museum, (355 Clementina between 4th and 5th Streets), Sunday, January 17th at 5:30pm

Lisa Goldstein, WEIGHING SHADOWS (Night Shade Books, Trade Paperback, $15.99) Saturday, January 23rd at 3:00pm

Charlie Jane Anders, ALL THE BIRDS IN THE SKY Launch Party (Tor Books, Hardcover, $25.99) Saturday, January 30th at 3:00pm

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, HAUNTING INVESTIGATION (Smoke and Shadow Books, Hardcover, $27.99) Saturday, February 13th at 3:00pm

December Bestsellers

1. CHIMERA by Mira Grant
2. ELANTRIS by Brandon Sanderson
3. WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor
4. MANNERS AND MUTINY by Gail Carriger
5. THE WATER KNIFE by Paolo Bacigalupi
6. AURORA by Kim Stanley Robinson
7. SHADOWS OF SELF by  Brandon Sanderson
8. THE END OF ALL THINGS by John Scalzi
9. THE CINDER SPIRES by Jim Butcher
10. CARTER AND LOVECRAFT by Jonathan L. Howard

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir
2. THE FLUX by Ferrett Steinmetz
3. GIVE UP THE GHOST by Juliet Blackwell
4. A RED-ROSE CHAIN by Seanan McGuire
5. CRUCIBLE by Mercedes Lackey
6. ALIEN-IN-CHIEF by Gini Koch
7. THE BURIED LIFE by Carrie Patel
8. THE SHADOW THRONE by Django Wexler
9. THE GREAT ZOO OF CHINA by Matthew Reilly
10. JOE STEELE by Harry Turtledove

Trade Paperbacks
2. ANCILLARY MERCY by Ann Leckie
3. A CROWN FOR COLD SILVER by Alex Marshall
4. THE FIFTH HEART by Dan Simmons

January News Roundup

* Overheard in the store:
"Wait a minute - you talk about me to your hairdresser?!"

* Of all the things to do with delicious gingerbread?!  Both amazing and horrifying - http://thebiglead.com/2015/12/24/the-shining-gingerbread-house-overlook-hotel/

* For the first time we have actual photos of the sand dunes on Mars!  Check out the gorgeous images captured by the rover Curiosity: http://www.mentalfloss.com/article/72439/curiosity-rover-studies-mars-sand-dunes-close-first-time\

* Did you know that creators can submit ideas for new Lego sets, and those that get 10,000 supporters will be reviewed by Lego for possible production?  Everyone should go support this amazing black and white Lovelace & Babbage Analytical Engine Lego set; a stunning creation: https://ideas.lego.com/projects/102740 . More photos here: http://io9.gizmodo.com/bring-back-victorian-science-with-this-lego-lovelace-b-1747433388

* George Clayton Johnson, who co-wrote LOGAN'S RUN along with episodes of both "The Twilight Zone" and "Star Trek",  has passed away.  He had been fighting cancer for some time. Check out his many accomplishments in this New York Times Piece: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/28/arts/television/george-clayton-johnson-science-fiction-writer-known-for-logans-run-dies-at-86.html

* In further sad news, author Peter Dickinson, winner of two Carnegie medals, also passed away recently.  He was a talented and beloved author of a number of genres.  Head over to The Independent to read his entire impressive bio: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/peter-dickinson-award-winning-crime-and-children-s-writer-whose-work-was-extraordinary-in-its-range-a6779366.html

* Tor.com, which has been publishing fascinating and experimental science fiction novellas in paper as well as on their website, will cease accepting unsolicited submissions this month.  It’s a shame, since we think some of their most innovative stories have come from unknowns. http://www.tor.com/2015/12/21/tor-com-is-closed-to-short-fiction-submissions/

* In better news for un-agented authors, UK speculative publishing powerhouse Gollancz will be accepting unsolicited and un-agented novel manuscripts during the month of January, 2016. Check out their criteria here: http://www.gollancz.co.uk/2015/10/gollancz-direct-submissions-january-2016/  (And get those novels done!)

* The Quartz has an interesting article on how books and newspapers will successfully survive the next few years, but magazines will not fare as well. http://qz.com/584744/books-and-newspapers-will-do-just-fine-in-2016-magazines-not-so-much/

* Peter S. Beagle has sued his longtime manager, alleging elder abuse and fraud among other charges.  More details are here: http://www.comicsbeat.com/noted-fantasy-author-peter-s-beagle-sues-his-business-manager-for-elder-abuse/

* An interesting meditation on whether GRRM should actually be blamed for the delay of THE WINDS OF WINTER and the curse of success: https://www.inverse.com/article/9809-should-george-r-r-martin-be-blamed-for-delay-of-the-winds-of-winter

* "Invisible Universe: A History of Blackness in Speculative Fiction", the documentary that has been in production for a number of years, appears to be reaching the final stretch of fundraising, and the filmmakers have released a seven-minute demo film. http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/watch-upcoming-documentary-explores-history-of-blackness-in-speculative-fiction-fundraising-demo-20160104

* "The Expanse" for Syfy, based on the bestselling series by James S.A. Corey, has already been renewed for a second season.  http://www.scifinow.co.uk/news/the-expanse-season-2-confirmed-by-syfy/

* io9.com brings us this beautifully animated film, “Waltz with Four Hands” http://io9.gizmodo.com/a-pair-of-conjoined-porcelain-dolls-make-a-connection-t-1750893457

* Also from io9, here’s a great list of the oddest ways that major characters were written out of sequels and franchises: http://io9.gizmodo.com/29-most-random-ways-that-major-characters-got-written-o-1750129488

* This very interesting piece by television producer John Yorke argues that the structure of successful Western storytelling might possibly have roots in a universal archetype: http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2016/01/into-the-woods-excerpt/421566/

* Wired took some of the biggest science fiction movies of 2015 and posited what would happen if their science was a bit more realistic.  The results are . . . not pretty. http://www.wired.com/2016/01/sci-fi-endings-with-less-fiction-and-more-science/

* Saucony has made a mini-documentary about Matthew Inman, creator of the comic "The Oatmeal":  http://theoatmeal.com/blog/saucony

* "The Guardian" has an article discussing the highly anticipated, diverse SF/F books coming out in the new year.

* And of course since it’s a new year, it is time for everyone’s lists of SF/F for the preceding year!  Check out the following: io9 gives us not only the 10 best but also the 10 worst science fiction & fantasy films of the past year:
Outer Places instead just focused on the worst science fiction movies, and there’s surprisingly not as much overlap with i09 as you would think: http://www.outerplaces.com/science-fiction/item/10636-the-worst-sci-fi-movies-of-2015
SciFiNow (http://www.scifinow.co.uk/news/top-10-most-exciting-new-tv-shows-of-2016/) and Popular Mechanics (http://www.popularmechanics.com/culture/g2395/16-things-in-science-fiction-to-look-forward-to-in-2016/) decided to list the things they are excited to see in 2016; only time will tell how many of those end up on the best/worst lists NEXT year!

Award News

* Joe R. Lansdale will receive the Raymond Chandler Award at the Italian Courmayeur Noir: http://variety.com/2015/film/news/joe-r-lansdale-to-be-feted-by-italys-courmayeur-noir-in-festival-1201638242/

* The Masters Review -- a platform for emerging writers -- has announced their Fall Fiction Winners.  Check them out: https://mastersreview.com/fall-fiction-winners/

* The winners of the Jane Yolen Mid-List Author Award have been announced -- congratulations to Karen Coombs and Sallie Wolf!  The grant of $3000 is to honor the contribution of mid-list authors and bring attention to their current works in progress: http://www.scbwi.org/congrats-to-the-2015-jane-yolen-mid-list-author-award-winners/

December 07, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide

Happy holidays, everyone!  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, shoggoth, and wizard on your list.  (And the plain-old human readers on that list will probably be happy, too.)

Let's start with some signed books.  We have signed copies of SHADOWS OF SELF and ELANTRIS, THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY EDITION by Brandon Sanderson, CHIMERA by Mira Grant, pretty much everything including the VELVETEEN books by Seanan McGuire, THE END OF ALL THINGS by John Scalzi, MANNERS & MUTINY by Gail Carriger, most of the Sandman Slim books by Richard Kadrey, BLACK WOLVES (first of a new series) by Kate Elliott, SILVER ON THE ROAD by Laura Anne Gilman, THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE by Neil Gaiman, and lots more!

If your gift-ee just has to have the newest and the latest, check out the anthology THE GODS OF H.P. LOVECRAFT edited by Aaron J. French, WARHEART by Terry Goodkind, THE BAZAAR OF BAD DREAMS by Stephen King, FUTURISTIC VIOLENCE & FANCY SUITS by David Wong, WORD PUPPETS by Mary Robinette Kowal, DREAMSEEKER by C.S. Friedman,  THE PROMISE OF THE CHILD by Tom Toner, or LATE IN THE DAY (a new collection of poems) by Ursula K. LeGuin.

Some other excellent new books we're recommending are CARTER & LOVECRAFT by Jonathan L. Howard, THE FIFTH HOUSE OF THE HEART by Ben Tripp (my favorite new novel of this week), FLUX (sequel to FLEX) by Ferrett Steinmetz, AURORA by Kim Stanley Robinson, THE WATCHMAKER OF FILIGREE STREET by Natasha Pulley, THE WATER KNIFE by Paolo Bacigalupi, AFTERPARTY by Daryl Gregory, and my favorite fantasy of the year, A CROWN FOR COLD SILVER by Alex Marshall.

For the George R.R. Martin fan in your life, we've got a gorgeous SONG OF ICE AND FIRE COLORING BOOK, A KNIGHT OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS (which collects the Dunk and Egg stories that have been so hard to find for years), and the GOT parody (but actual, real-life cookbook) A GAME OF SCONES: ALL MEN MUST DINE by Jammy Lannister.

For the kids in your life, may we suggest the empowering princess coloring/storybook HER HIGHNESS BUILDS ROBOTS by Laura Winters and Beth Winters?  (Sample pages: "Getting married was the happiest day of Princess Priya's life. . . Second only to getting her Ph.D. in chemical engineering!".)

We have 2016 calendars galore, with something for everyone, including Hyperbole and a Half, Views From the Hubble Telescope, Fractals, Dr. Suess,  Art of Luis Royo, and dozens of others!

As usual, we wish you a Gorey Christmas with a plethora of Edward Gorey-themed items.  From the classic Gashlycrumb Tinies to the Bibliophile With Cats Puzzle, to the massive collection AMPHIGOREY, we have a little bit of Gorey to suit anyone.  My personal favorite is the "Fruitcake" holiday card that shows the solemn ritual of everyone gathering after dark to throw their fruitcakes into a hole in the ice!

Classics that never go out of style are hardcovers of DUNE, GOOD OMENS, THE PRINCESS BRIDE, and THE HOBBIT.  Less traditional, but just as classic -- SLEIGHT OF HAND (short stories from Peter S. Beagle), MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN by Ransom Riggs, THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS by M.R. Carey, and LEVIATHAN WAKES by James S.A. Corey, (which has just been made into a tv series).

Two local artists have graced us with one-of-a-kind gifts: we've got lovely steampunk-influenced jewelry from Oakland's Fire Selkie creations, and gift boxes, hair clips, pins, and hand-made cards from San Francisco's Fly By Night Gifts!

As always, we're happy to make personalized recommendations and practice our Psychic Bookseller Skills when you're stumped.  If you just can't decide, we also offer gift certificates in any amount.

Happy holidays to all!  We wish you a safe, peaceful, and bright 2016.

- Jude Feldman

Upcoming Events

Megan E. O'Keefe, STEAL THE SKY (Angry Robot, Mass Market, $7.99) Saturday, January 9th, 2016 at 3:00pm

An Evening with Patrick Rothfuss, Friday, January 15th at 7:00 pm

Coming up in 2016, we're delighted to announce we'll be welcoming Lisa Goldstein, Charlie Jane Anders, V.E. Schwab, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, and many other fantastic authors!

Megan E. O'Keefe, STEAL THE SKY (Angry Robot, Mass Market, $7.99) Saturday, January 9th at 3:00pm - We're delighted to welcome local author and Borderlands sponsor Megan E. O'Keefe to the store!  Her upcoming novel sounds hugely exciting; here's the description: "Detan Honding, a wanted conman of noble birth and ignoble tongue, has found himself in the oasis city of Aransa. He and his trusted companion Tibs may have pulled off one too many cons against the city’s elite and need to make a quick escape. They set their sights on their biggest heist yet  --  the gorgeous airship of the exiled commodore Thratia.  But in the middle of his scheme, a face changer known as a doppel starts murdering key members of Aransa’s government.  The sudden paranoia makes Detan’s plans of stealing Thratia’s ship that much harder.  And with this sudden power vacuum, Thratia can solidify her power and wreak havoc against the Empire.  But the doppel isn’t working for Thratia and has her own intentions.  Did Detan accidentally walk into a revolution and a crusade?  He has to be careful  -- there’s a reason most people think he’s dead.  And if his dangerous secret gets revealed, he has a lot more to worry about than a stolen airship."  We've even got samplers in the store so you can check out an excerpt from the book in advance!

An Evening with Patrick Rothfuss, Friday, January 15th at 7:00 pm - We are thrilled as always to host the delightful and hilarious Patrick Rothfuss! Many fans know Rothfuss as the fantastically best-selling author of THE NAME OF THE WIND, THE WISE MANS FEAR, and THE SLOW REGARD OF SILENT THINGS, but those of you who have seen him at Borderlands also know him as the first person to effectively explain why guinea pigs are actually fish.  Pat is also the founder of the phenomenally successful charity World Builders, which "use[s] the collective power of readers, fellow authors and book lovers to make the world a better place".  Join us for an evening of talk, questions and answers, and signing with this personable, intelligent, philanthropic, and incredibly charming author!

November Bestsellers

1. WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor
2. MYSTIC by Jason Denzel
3. WHEEL OF TIME COMPANION by Robert Jordan, Heather McDougal, Alan Romanczuk & Maria Simons
4. SHADOWS OF SELF by  Brandon Sanderson
5. CARTER AND LOVECRAFT by Jonathan L. Howard
6. MANNERS AND MUTINY by Gail Carriger
7. AURORA by Kim Stanley Robinson
8. THE END OF ALL THINGS by John Scalzi
9. SLADE HOUSE by David Mitchell
10. AFTER ALICE by Gregory Maguire

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir
2. AMERICAN GODS by Neil Gaiman
3. INFLUX by Daniel Suarez
5. A RED-ROSE CHAIN by Seanan McGuire
6. CLOSER TO HOME by Mercedes Lackey
7. THE FLUX by Ferrett Steinmetz
8. THE RHESUS CHART by Charles Stross
9. POSI+IVE by David Wellington
10. GOING DARK by Linda Nagata

Trade Paperbacks
1. BLACK WOLVES by Kate Elliott
3. GYPSY, PLUS. . .  by Carter Scholz
4. ANCILLARY MERCY by Ann Leckie
5. CIBOLA BURN by James S.A. Corey

December News Roundup

* Overheard in the store:

"If being a woman means getting lipstick on everything, I'm going back to being non-binary."

"No, I won't be fine. . . I'm going to die."
 "Ok, good."
"Yeah, great.  I love the afterlife."

"Thanks so much, you're an angel!  Well, the kind that kills people with a fiery gaze and sword."

[singing, to the tune of the song from "Annie"]:"The sun will go out/ to-mor-row/ eight minutes later/ we'll all diiiiiiieee/."

"By that logic, dear, groundhogs are a vegetable."

"I don't know if it's maturity or surrender."

* Over at Atlas Obscura, Jess Zimmerman dissects C.S. Lewis’ sneakiest trick; convincing American kids that Turkish Delight is amazing: http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/cs-lewis-greatest-fiction-convincing-american-kids-that-they-would-like-turkish-delight .  (We actually like Turkish Delight, but your mileage may vary -- one of our customers commented, "I sure didn't think it would taste like roses!".)

November 10, 2015

Upcoming Events

Carter Scholz, GYPSY (PM Press, Trade Paperback, $13.00) Saturday, November 14th at 6:00pm -  with special guest Kim Stanley Robinson!

Small Business Saturday with guest bookseller Richard Kadrey, Saturday, November 28th from 1:00 - 3:00 pm

Mira Grant, CHIMERA (Orbit, Hardcover, $27.00) Saturday, December 5th at 3:00pm

Sisters in Crime / Mystery Writers of America Northern California Holiday Party, Saturday, December 12th from 2:00 - 4:00 pm

A Great Idea

by Jude Feldman

Customers frequently ask us how they can buy e-books, and still support Borderlands.  Now there's a way.  It's not precisely the way we would choose -- we'd rather you could purchase e-books directly from us -- but it's the best solution we've found so far, and it's really pretty smart.  There's an additional benefit, too: you can also get free or inexpensive digital versions of the paper books you already own!  BitLit <www.bitlit.com> is the company working on making this possible. 

Brandon Sanderson (many of whose books are available through the BitLit app) was the one who told us about this.  The basic idea is that you get the app, which is free for iOS and Android.  You snap a well-lighted picture of your bookshelf (cleverly called -- what else? -- a "Shelfie",) and the app will let you know which of your books are available for free (or pretty cheap) download.  Select the book(s) you want.  Sign & photograph the copyright page(s) (or take a pic of your bookplate) to easily prove it's actually your book.  Send BitLit the photos, and they'll email you the e-book, which you can read on your existing e-Reader: Kobo, Nook, Kindle, or just in .pdf on your computer or phone.  It doesn't matter where your purchased your books, how long you've owned them.