August 11, 2014

Dispatches From The Border: August 2014

Events and News From Borderlands Books
Upcoming Events

Katharine Kerr, SORCERER'S FEUD (Osel Books, Trade Paperback, $14.50) Saturday August 23rd at 3:00pm

Kelli Stanley, CITY OF GHOSTS (Minotaur Books, Hardcover, $26.99) Saturday August 23rd at 5:00pm

Brent Weeks, THE BROKEN EYE (Orbit, Hardcover, $28.00) Thursday August 28th at 7:00pm

SF in SF and Borderlands Books present Brian Herbert, THE LITTLE GREEN BOOK OF CHAIRMAN RAHMA (Tor, Hardcover, $25.99) & Patrick Swenson THE ULTRA THIN MAN (Tor, Hardcover, $25.99) Saturday August 30th at 3:00pm

Richard Kadrey THE GETAWAY GOD (Harper Voyager, Hardcover, $24.99) Sunday August 31st at 3:00pm

John Scalzi, LOCK IN (Tor, Hardcover, $24.99) Saturday September 6th at 3:00pm

Dana Fredsti PLAGUE WORLD (Titan, Mass Market, $7.99) & Ray Garton, FRANKENSTORM (Pinnacle, Mass Market, $7.99) Sunday September 7th at 3:00pm

(for more information check the end of this newsletter)

*Overheard in the Store:
"What do we want?" "TIME TRAVEL!" "When do we want it?" "THAT'S IRRELEVANT!"
"I certainly don't have enough shackles; I know that for sure."
"Sex in the spotlight -- That's what I want!"
"Cookie Monster doesn't have the attention span to be a Jedi. He'd end up a Sith."

Great news for fans of Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles series: Universal has acquired the rights to all of the books and plans to reboot the film series!

The World Fantasy Awards ballot was announced and many of the nominees are friends of the store who have visited and/or had events at Borderlands in the past.  Congratulations to all our friends and those who will hopefully visit us in the future!

These photos of the city of Pripyat before Chernobyl is a disturbing look into the city that was just like any other in the U.S.S.R. before a nuclear meltdown made the place famous for all the wrong reasons.  Haunting.

The finalists for the 2014 Parsec Awards, which reward excellence in speculative fiction podcasting, have been announced.  Take a look and make of list of podcast stories both long and short, novellas, audio dramas and anthologies to check out:

The Perseus/Hachette deal first announced over a month ago has fallen through.

Zack Snyder called a local radio station to defend the much maligned Aquaman to two radio DJs who were asking why anyone would choose to put him in a film.  Snyder reveals himself to be a true comic book geek!

The 2014 Seuin Award winners for Speculative Fiction published originally in Japanese and translated into Japanese have been announced.

The long awaited, and long thought abandoned, Terry Gilliam movie "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote" has a new production date and is now taking place in the modern day.  More Gilliam is always a good thing.  We look forward to being shocked and mildly confused by his artistic choices yet again.

The co-hosts for this year's Hugo Awards in London at the 72nd Annual World Science Fiction Convention have been announced: Geoff Ryman & Justina Robson!

The winners of the 2013 Shirley Jackson Award have been revealed.

If you enjoyed "Guardians of the Galaxy" or are planning to see it soon: check out the character that didn't make it past the conception stage.  As awesome as we've heard the film is, the comic book nerd in us is sad Nova didn't make the cut.

A hilarious/sad example of how, when the internet world doesn't get the joke, the fangs and claws will come out!

The 2014 Eisner Awards were announced and beloved comic series "Saga" took away awards for the book as well as the amazing writer Brian K. Vaughn and incomparable artist Fiona Staples.  See all the winners here:

The Longlist for the prestigious Man Booker prize has been announced and a third of the nominees are speculative in some way!  The shortlist will be announced next month and the winner in October.

Read the amazing interview with Grand Master Ursula K. LeGuin.  She discusses the divide between mainstream and genre literature, how exploring gender in fiction helps people get a clearer view of gender expectations now, and other dynamic opinions. has compiled a list of the weirdest stories where God is an actual character rather than some abstraction.  I want to argue for Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy, but can it be called an appearance if you're just a whirlwind of dust?

Deadspin has worked out the statistical guide to deaths in "Game of Thrones" and then graphed it according to variables such as gender, age, affiliation, and more!

The Horror Writers of America have made the decision to accept self-published writers into its ranks.  Check out the details here:

The European Science Fiction Society Hall of Fame Awards and Spirit of Dedication Awards nominees have been released. It's an interesting look at the all the speculative fiction that doesn't get translated and so is unavailable to English readers.

The winner of the 2014 Manly Wade Wellman Award has been revealed: podcaster and author Mur Lafferty for the first novel in her series "The Shambling Guide to New York City."  Congratulations!

Kotaku reveals compelling evidence that the survey that Ubisoft did last year about Assassin's Creed was actually about planning the next iteration of the popular series to appeal more deeply to its fans.

We are sad to announce to passing of the talented fantasy, mystery, and comic writer CJ Henderson last month.

Reportedly Warner Bros. is going to develop Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern series into a film franchise.  Let's hope it gets made and that it's well done because this could be fantastic!

From The Office

[Editor's Note: August's From the Office piece was penned by guest contributor Mark W. Tiedemann.  Mark W. Tiedemann is an accomplished science fiction writer; the author of ten novels as well as numerous short stories and novellas.  Mark's newest collection, GRAVITY BOX AND OTHER SPACES, was just released from Walrus Publishing.  Looking for the common theme within the stories in this speculative fiction collection, Mark was pleasantly surprised to learn that the connecting thread was families.  Learn more about the new book here:  Mr. Tiedemann is also a skilled photographer who has spent four decades working with a camera.  You can read more about Mark and see some of his incredible work here:  As always, the opinions of guest contributors are their own, and do not necessarily represent those of the owner, staff, or store.  But frankly, we usually agree with them. - Jude Feldman]

Paradigms Dying: An Observation On Diversity and Science Fiction
by Mark W. Tiedemann

Some things seem so obvious, so self-evident that for anyone to react to them as if they were unexpected and, worse, unwelcome is puzzling.  Take for instance the idea of diversity -- in science fiction.

One would be forgiven for assuming this would be one of the Automatic Givens in a field that has made its bed in the Valley of Strange since it began, what with everything from Arrisians to Martians to Vulcans to Cyborgs.  How could such a literature not be thrilled at the idea of inclusion?  Of variation?  We should, all of us, have long ago gotten over the sense of revulsion at the presence of all the manifold Others that must surely make up the universe, genocidal alien invaders notwithstanding.

But I suppose, being humans, we compartmentalize even in this, our chosen precinct of the imagination.  All well and good for the page to be open and welcoming, but when it comes to who is writing the new stories and getting nominated for awards and, gasp, changing the nature of the field, tolerance can be just as scarce as among any other segment of so-called mundane society.

I remember the first Worldcon I went to, L.A. Con II, in Anaheim.  This was 1984 and I was starting on my journey to try to be one of these wonderful beings known as science fiction writers.  I’d had a good experience with the few local conventions I’d attended.  What impressed me most was the nearly immediate sense of welcome I received and the feeling of finding a place where the petty exclusions of "normal" life did not pertain.  Here were people who seemed to live up to the imaginations they valued.

Most of the Worldcon was wonderful and I met many writers and fans and generally had a great time.  There were two instances of discord, inharmonious exchanges that didn’t fit, which I quickly dismissed as aberrations.  One was a conversation with a group that included a couple of writers.  They shall remain nameless, particularly the one who was holding forth about the "weak stew" coming from the new women writers.  I asked what he meant and for the next several minutes got a dissertation on the lack of hard SF, the inclusions of "mainstream" literary "nonsense" and the basic mushy emotionalism of the work.  There were exceptions, of course, but in the main women just didn’t "get it."

I mentioned C.J. Cherryh as a counterexample and received a blank look.  One of the others in the group laughed.  "You thought C.J. was a man, didn’t you?" he asked the pedagogue.  By the expression on the pedagogue’s face, this appeared to be true.

Nevertheless, I wondered aloud what was wrong with all those factors of which he’d been complaining.  Why didn’t they deserve as much attention as anything else in SF?  "You just answered your own question," I was told. "This is science fiction.  You want all that stuff, read something else."  We were drinking, of course, so I put it down -- somewhat -- to that.

The other incident involved an overhead conversation among some fans returning from a foray to Disneyland, which was right down the road from the convention center. They were laughing and joking about how they’d got one over on all the "mundanes" in the park.  It had that exclusionary tone I’d heard since grade school, the one that says distinctly "You aren’t one of us, and that makes us superior."

I didn’t think much of these two incidents for many years, not until recently when I started seeing and hearing a lot of verbiage about the “problem” of diversity in science fiction.  It makes me sad.  Some of my favorite books have been written by people who fall into one or another category of the Other -- women, African Americans, gays, immigrants (for instance, Joanna Russ, Steven Barnes, Samuel R. Delany, Algis Budrys) -- and I thought, all along, isn’t it great we can not only write about these things but we have people with some experience of being on the outside (in different ways than the traditional SF social isolate) now writing about aliens and such from a more authentic perspective.

But change, it seems, can be as unwelcome to former "visionaries" as anyone else.

In recent months, there have been a disturbing number of "incidents" within the science fiction fold exemplary of a kind of insensitivity and close-mindedness one might be forgiven for believing simply could not happen among such agile minds and progressive attitudes.  Alas, as Samuel R. Delany has said, science fiction is not about the future -- it is about the present, distorted through the lens of an assumed future.  Apparently, also distorted through the remnants of the past as well.

Firstly, there has been an ongoing issue with sexual harassment policies at several science fiction conventions, one resulting in the resignation of an entire con committee due to apparent disingenuousness (i.e. instituting a policy and then pretending it didn’t mean anything).  Women have been airing concerns over their treatment both as convention-goers and as potential reporters of harassment, an all-too-familiar problem that goes to credibility.  Convention by convention, this is being addressed, but inevitably there is backlash -- from people who don’t seem to want what they regarded as their Boy’s Club weekends ruined by women who they then characterize in the most ungracious terms.  Secondly, there was the matter of problematic material published in the house organ of the professional organization, SFWA.  Protests of sexism, instead of being met with the kind of professionalism and sensitivity one might expect from people who embrace dreams of the future, were countered by some with accusations of censorship and insults about oversensitive types.  To compound the problem, actions were taken which seemed worse than the initial problem, reaction rather than calculated response.

Along with all this, name-calling came to the fore of the kind that lumped anyone not in an evidently preferred group into one category of denigrated Other.  This was done by one individual who was, for professional infractions, ousted from SFWA, but some thought it necessary to defend him at least in principle, adding to the toxic atmosphere.

An almost comic capstone was a panel at the recent Nebula Awards intended to discuss "diversity" in science fiction -- both the literature and the community -- which was comprised of a full compliment of white writers.  In my opinion, this was not the result of any conscious intent to offend, but rather the product of carelessness, as if the subject were sufficient to legitimize the panel and required no effort to have actual representative voices -- of which many were present.

The irony, of course, is that this year all the top Nebula Awards went to women.  Even the dramatic award was given to a film that starred and was about a woman.

Clearly, this is an ongoing process, a work in progress.  Some of us thought, surely, here, in this field, these matters should not be controversial.

Science fiction has always evolved, mutated, adapted, and embraced the Next Thing.  New standards have always swept aside givens of the past and the results have formed the basis of a new set of givens, which in their turn fragment in the face of the new.   Most of this has been somewhat more than superficial, dealing with science and tech and the introduction in a serious way of new sciences, and then in matters of style and form.  What seemed cutting edge when new turned out to be provincialism for a later generation, and paradigms shifted and fell in response.  As it should be.  And of course there has been resistance to these changes from people who had cause to question facile differences that seemed to unfairly displace the work they had done (and continued to do, with perhaps less and less success).  As it should be.  It’s a dialogue, after all.

That initial welcome I felt upon walking into my first convention, that open, familial warmth should be the standard, and for most of us I believe it is.  But as SF even within its bounds is tied to the world in which is exists, what happens in that world affects us, and today we seem to be enduring a resurgence of the kind of small-minded intolerances that made the entire Civil Rights movement necessary in the first place.  We’re arguing about who belongs and who doesn’t, and it’s an ugly, irrational argument.  People are taking sides over issues many others had thought long settled and inevitably this seeps in to our community.  On us it wears particularly poorly.

Arguments over style and direction and interpretation have always raged within science fiction and for the most part it has resulted in better stories, more variety, new ways of looking at old problems.  Paradigms rise and fall, schools of thought appear and vanish, movements flow and sometimes change the entire field.  To argue over the relative merits of New Wave versus Golden Age or Cyberpunk versus Space Opera is normal and productive.  But to attack or demean the one dreaming the new dream for producing work that doesn’t fit expectations. . . criticizing the imagination and legitimacy of someone who is Other than some measure of acceptable or expected, who is Not Us. . . this is exactly contrary to the dream that has carried through science fiction from its pulp beginnings to now.  This is unworthy. This is small-minded in the exact way we, writing in this field, have always railed against in our stories and, one would hope, in our lives.

Diversity is the source code of our visions and dreams.  To recoil at it when faced with it in the person of a dreamer suggests that we’ve been hiding behind our fictions rather than actually believing in them.

I don’t think that’s true.  Not for me.  Not, I believe, for most of us.  In fact, all the shouting, in my opinion, is little more than the death rattle of a dying paradigm.

I can’t wait to see what the new one looks like.

Best Sellers
Borderlands Best-Selling Titles for July, 2014

1. HALF A KING by Joe Abercrombie
2. THE RHESUS CHART by Charles Stross
3. THE BEAST WITHIN by Serena Valentino
4. THE BOOK OF LIFE by Deborah Harkness
5. CIBOLA BURN by James SA Corey
6. ROGUES edited by George R. R. Martin & Gardner Dozois
7. HURRICANE FEVER by Tobias Buckell
8. CAUSAL ANGEL by Hannu Rajaniemi
9. SKIN GAME by Jim Butcher

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. A VISION IN VELVET by Juliet Blackwell
4. NEPTUNE'S BROOD by Charles Stross
5. WISE MAN'S FEAR by Patrick Rothfuss
6. DANCE WITH DRAGONS by George R.R. Martin
7. BLUE REMEMBERED EARTH by Alastair Reynolds
8. HEXES AND HEMLINES by Juliet Blackwell
9. APOCALYPSE CODEX by Charles Stross
10. SECONDHAND SPIRITS by Juliet Blackwell

Trade Paperbacks
2. YEAR'S BEST SF - 31ST ANNUAL COLLECTION edited by Gardner Dozois
3. AUTHORITY by Jeff Vandermeer
5. HOMELAND by Cory Doctorow

Book Club Information

The QSF&F Book Club will meet on Sunday, August 10th, at 5 pm to discuss TRANSITION by Iain M. Banks. Please contact the group leader, Christopher Rodriguez, at, for more information.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club will meet on Sunday, August 17th, at 6 pm to discuss BLUE REMEMBERED EARTH by Alastair Reynolds. Please contact for more information.

Upcoming Event Details

Katharine Kerr, SORCERER'S FEUD (Osel Books, Trade Paperback, $14.50) Saturday August 23rd at 3:00 pm -
We're happy to welcome Katharine Kerr back to Borderlands!  Her newest novel, SORCERER'S FEUD is the follow-up to SORCERER'S LUCK.  From the book description: "Art student Maya Cayescu has always had secrets to keep -- her mysterious disease that has turned her into something like a vampire, her father's obsession with ritual magic, her own talents for the occult.  Now, however, she has a secret far more dangerous than those: in self-defense, she killed a man with magic.  Can her lover, the wealthy, powerful runemaster Tor Thorlaksson, protect her from the consequences?  He has dangers of his own to face, because his family's evil past haunts him.  Worst of all, a powerful spirit from the mists of time is hunting Tor down, in hopes of taking him away from Maya and making him her own -- forever."  Don't miss this thrilling new title and the chance to meet Kit Kerr!

Kelli Stanley, CITY OF GHOSTS (Minotaur Books, Hardcover, $26.99) Saturday August 23rd at 5:00pm -
The third novel following Stanley's stunning CITY OF DRAGONS and CITY OF SECRETS takes us back to Miranda Corbie's ultra-noir San Francisco of 1940.  From the book description: "For the United States, war is on the horizon.  For Miranda Corbie, private investigator and erstwhile escort, there are debts to be paid and memories -- long-suppressed and willfully forgotten -- to be resurrected.  Enter the U.S. State Department and the man who helped Miranda get her PI license.  A man she owes.  A man who asks her to track a chemistry professor here in San Francisco whom he suspects is a spy for the Nazis. Playing along may get Miranda a ticket to Blitz-bombed England and answers about her past. . . if she survives.  Through sordid back alleys and art gallery halls, from drag dress nightclubs to a Nazi costume ball, Miranda's journey into fear takes her on the famed City of San Francisco streamliner and to Reno, Nevada, the Biggest Little City in the World. . . where she finds herself framed for a murder she never anticipated.  Forced to go underground, Miranda soldiers on alone, determined to find the truth about a murder, a Nazi spy, and her own troubling past."

Brent Weeks, THE BROKEN EYE (Orbit, Hardcover, $28.00) Thursday August 28th at 7:00pm -
We are thrilled to welcome Brent Weeks back to Borderlands!  THE BROKEN EYE continues Brent's Lightbringer Series, but it's very difficult to summarize the new book without spoilers.  So let's just say that you must come and meet Brent Weeks, one of the most successful and popular new fantasy writers.  He's also charming, did we mention that?  So don't miss this exciting opportunity to meet Brent and continue to explore the Lightbringer world!

SF in SF and Borderlands Books present Brian Herbert, THE LITTLE GREEN BOOK OF CHAIRMAN RAHMA (Tor, Hardcover, $25.99) & Patrick Swenson THE ULTRA THIN MAN (Tor, Hardcover, $25.99) Saturday August 30th at 3:00pm -
Borderlands, in partnership with SF in SF, is happy to have returning New York Times bestselling author Brian Herbert and debut novelist Patrick Swenson to read and answer questions about their novels THE LITTLE GREEN BOOK OF CHAIRMAN RAHMA and THE ULTRA THIN MAN, respectively. THE LITTLE GREEN BOOK OF CHAIRMAN RAHMA gives an interesting look at an environmentally-conscious, censoring, totalitarian government and the rebel corporations who want to bring it down.  Publishers Weekly says, "Herbert skimps on dystopian motifs, creating a fresh and forbidding near-future world".  In THE ULTRA THIN MAN,  a science-fiction detective novel set in a far future, Dave Crowell and Alan Brindos are contracted to the Network Intelligence Organization to find out who exactly crashed the moon Coral into the planet Ribon, forcing a mass evacuation.  From planetary destruction, to tracking down alien leaders of terrorist organizations,  to a conspiracy that hits way too close to home, this novel's scope is both wide and narrow in all the best ways.  Come hear two great authors in tandem.

Richard Kadrey THE GETAWAY GOD (Harper Voyager, Hardcover, $24.99) Sunday August 31st at 3:00pm -
Sandman Slim is back!  Join author Richard Kadrey as we celebrate the sixth book in his Sandman Slim series, THE GETAWAY GOD.  From the publisher: "Being a half-human, half-angel nephilim with a bad rep and a worse attitude --not to mention temporarily playing Lucifer -- James Stark, aka Sandman Slim, has made a few enemies.  None, though, are as fearsome as the vindictive Angra Om Ya -- the old gods. But their imminent invasion is only one of Stark’s problems right now.  LA is descending into chaos, and a new evil -- the Wildfire Ripper -- is stalking the city.  No ordinary killer, The Ripper takes Stark deep into a conspiracy that stretches from Earth to Heaven and Hell.  He’s also the only person alive who may know how to keep the world from going extinct.  The trouble is, he’s also Stark’s worst enemy . . . the only man in existence Stark would enjoy killing twice."  Don't miss out on the rip-roaring fun of this series, a great time to pick up the entire run and get them signed!

John Scalzi, LOCK IN (Tor, Hardcover, $24.99) Saturday September 6th at 3:00pm -
The newest novel from Hugo Award winner John Scalzi, LOCK IN focuses on the aftermath of a massive epidemic that killed many and left 1% of the survivors locked in their own bodies, conscious but unable to move or react.  The world (and the virtual world) has adapted to those who have locked in syndrome, but when an "integrator" (one of those who make their bodies available for use to those who are locked in,) is murdered, the answers are far from simple.  The clues lead Detectives Shane and Vann all over a society that in many ways is just emerging and finding itself, and what they discover is that there is much more at stake than just one murder.  This is sure to be a popular event as John Scalzi reads and discusses this new, fascinating work!

Dana Fredsti PLAGUE WORLD (Titan Books, Mass Market, $7.99) & Ray Garton, FRANKENSTORM (Pinnacle, Mass Market, $7.99) on Sunday September 7th at 3:00pm -
Two fantastic horror novelists come together for a zombie-virus-tastic afternoon of terror! (We're calling it "Franken-Plague"!)  The third and final novel in Dana Fredsti's Ashley Parker series PLAGUE WORLD builds towards a stunning conclusion. As Ashley and her organization travel through a plague-ridden California pursuing their enemies, other problems loom on the horizon.  From groups trying to develop a weaponized version of the virus to the virus mutating into being airborne, this may just be the end of humanity -- but that doesn't mean Ashley Parker won't go down fighting.
In Ray Gartons's FRANKENSTORM, the combination of a hurricane hitting Eureka, California, a murderous law enforcement officer, an illegal experiment on unwilling homeless people that's turned them into virus-carrying, mindless killers, and the good natured man who's determined to free them.  All of these collide in a climax that isn't pretty but is definitely heart-pounding, bloody, and edge-of-your-seat.  Come join us for perfect storm of thrills, viruses and California taking the brunt of it all!

Borderlands event policy - all events are free of charge.  You are welcome to bring copies of an author's books purchased elsewhere to be autographed (but we do appreciate it if you purchase something while at the event).  For most events you are welcome to bring as many books as you wish for autographs.  If you are unable to attend the event we will be happy to have a copy of any of the author's available books signed or inscribed for you.  We can then either hold the book(s) until you can come in to pick them up or we can ship to you.  Just give us a call or drop us an email.  If you live out of town, you can also ship us books from your collection to be signed for a nominal fee.  Call or email for details.

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