November 16, 2020

From the Office

by Alan Beatts

Despite the strangeness and historic elements of 2020, it's actually been pretty boring in a day-to-day way.  I don't know if that matches your experience but, around Borderlands, it's mostly been The Usual.  Or, perhaps I should say, the "new" usual.  Sales are slow-ish but we're managing and otherwise we're just plugging along.  Don't get me wrong, "plugging along" is just great, given how things might be, but it means I don't have a whole lot of news for you all.  One or two things, sure, but there really hasn't been much excitement around the shop.

Which is just _fine_ with me.  Absolutely.  In 2020 excitement has rarely, if ever, been a good thing.

Before I get to the store news, such as it is, I'm going to make a (thankfully rare) public service announcement.  I had been on the fence about mentioning this but today a friend who's a doctor with the SF Department of Public Health stopped by the shop.  She was a valuable resource for us in March and April while we were figuring out how to manage the pandemic and, as you'd expect, we started chatting about the current state of affairs.  That conversation made up my mind.  So, here goes -

September News

* Overheard in the store:
"We're really happy because, Space Vampires."
"Now everyone's wearing masks -- no more facial recognition software for you, Surveillance State!"
"'Sexy Sorting Hat' was a Halloween costume that just didn't fly."
[Customer holding a copy of DUNE]: "Do you have a less-thick version of this?"

* We're sorry to report the death of incredibly popular fantasy author Terry Goodkind, who passed away in September at the age of 72: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/02/books/terry-goodkind-dead.html

* RIP Richard A. Lupoff; writer, fan, Edgar Rice Burroughs expert, dear heart and old friend. https://locusmag.com/2020/10/richard-a-lupoff-1935-2020/

* With regret we report the death of amazing author and lovely person Rachel Caine at age 58. https://preview.mailerlite.com/x6r7e1

* A bit belated, but still stunning -- watch nearly 11,000 lightning strikes spark the awful mid-August Bay Area fires via a compilation of more than 400 satellite images: https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/08/20/watch-heres-what-10800-bay-area-lightning-strikes-sparking-367-wildfires-looked-like-from-space/amp/

* 15 recent sci-fi books that have shaped the genre: https://www.polygon.com/21516173/best-new-science-fiction-books-scifi-last-15-years

October Bestsellers

 Hardcovers
1. A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik
2. The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson
3. Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
4. Over the Woodward Wall by A. Deborah Baker
5. Battle Ground by Jim Butcher
6. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
7. Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh
8. The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin
9. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
10. The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix

Trade Paperbacks
1. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
2. The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix Harrow
3. A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine
4. The Emperor's Wolves by Michelle Sagara
5. Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
6. The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin
7. The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, trans. by Ken Liu
8. The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
9. A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher
10. The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins
 
 Mass Market Paperbacks
1. Dune by Frank Herbert
2. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
3. Children of Dune by Frank Herbert
4. Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert
5. Unkindest Tide by Seanan McGuire
6. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
7. Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
8. Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
9.  Foundation by Isaac Asimov
10. Neuromancer by William Gibson

October 15, 2020

October News

* Disappointingly, the release of the anxiously-awaited new "Dune" film has been delayed until October 1, 2021, but the trailer is definitely something to see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9xhJrPXop4 There's also this absorbing shot-by-shot comparison of the images from 1984 and 2020: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcZPZGq3Zy8

* Fascinating stories of the recent (non-fictional) hard-boiled private eyes of San Francisco: https://altaonline.com/private-investigators-san-francisco-phil-bronstein/

* Wow -- check out this amazing animated short film based on Peter Watts' novel BLINDSIGHT! https://blindsight.space/

* These new climate change projection maps show a radically transformed US: https://projects.propublica.org/climate-migration/

* The pros and cons of Netflix's plan to adapt the THREE-BODY PROBLEM series, according to The Ringer:  https://www.theringer.com/tv/2020/9/1/21417294/three-body-problem-netflix-benioff-weiss

September Bestsellers

 Borderlands Best-Selling Titles for September, 2020

Hardcovers
1. A Killing Frost by Seanan McGuire
2. Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
3. Battle Ground by Jim Butcher
4. The Trouble With Peace by Joe Abercrombie
5. A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik
6. The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin
7. The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson
8. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
9. House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
10. Empire of Gold by S.A. Chakraborty

Trade Paperbacks
1. The Trials of Koli by M.R. Carey
2. Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
3. Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
4. The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix Harrow
5. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
6. The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin
7. All Systems Red by Martha Wells
8. This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
9. The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, trans. by Ken Liu
10. A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine
 
 Mass Market Paperbacks
1. Dune by Frank Herbert
2. Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert
3. Children of Dune by Frank Herbert
4. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
5. Unkindest Tide by Seanan McGuire
6. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
7. Hyperion by Dan Simmons
8. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
9.  Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
10. The Shining by Stephen King

What's Goin' On?

by Alan Beatts 

Firstly (and maybe a bit redundantly) -- Wow, 2020 has been a terrible year in almost every detail.  From the most global standpoint all the way down to the most personal, it's just been awful for almost everyone I know.

I had a conversation recently with a friend that put some perspective on it.  They're at the age when low iron levels and / or thyroid issues start to crop up with the common symptom of general fatigue.  They'd been feeling like they just couldn't get enough sleep so, like you do, they got in touch with their doctor about maybe getting some blood tests.  The doctor's (quite lengthy) response was, in essence; "I'll order the tests for you but I suggest you skip them for now.  Almost every single one of my patients has mentioned the same symptom and, in virtually all of those cases, the cause is stress because of what this year has been like.  So, stay home, take care of yourself, and let me know if the feeling gets worse."

Imagine.  This year has been so bad, universally, that it's causing a common medical complaint all the way across the patient list of a busy doctor practicing in a major and diverse city.

That is, as they say, a Thing.

On one hand, that's pretty distressing.  But, on the other hand, it actually made me feel better.  Goodness knows, I've had some trouble focusing and getting work (or anything else) done over the past few months.  And there've been a fair number of days when a nap seemed like just about the best thing in the world.  Knowing that it's not just _me_, knowing that everyone has been having problems functioning this year . . . it makes it a little easier.

I mention this because, if you've been having a bit of trouble with the old "get up and go"; it ain't just you.  So, do like a bookseller - just hang on, read (if and when you can), and wait this out.  It's _got_ to end sometime.

September 08, 2020

A Message from the Editor

 Since business has been a bit slow due to the pandemic, we took the chance to make some changes to how the books are shelved at the shop. It seems to us that it would be easier for everyone if our used books and new books were shelved together.  In fact, there was a time when we did exactly that, but then we ran out of space and had to split them up.  We have enough space now due to a bunch of shelf re-arranging, and so we've merged the new and used hardcover and trade paperback sections together in all three genre areas (science fiction & fantasy, horror, and mystery).  Likewise the used and new paperback horror and mystery sections have been combined as well.  Sadly, there is no way that we could fit the science fiction & fantasy paperbacks in one section so they are still in two spots.

We hope that it will make shopping easier for you all in addition to making shelving easier for us.  Please feel free to let us know what you think.

Do bear in mind - if you see two or more copies of the same book; one or more of them may be used and, therefore, much less expensive.

Since we made these changes, we've created more room on the shelves as well.  So, we're looking for more used books.  If you've got some books that you like to sell to the shop for store credit or even cash, we're going to be buying books all through the month of September.  So, sort through that pile of books by your bed and bring us the ones you don't want to keep.  

August Bestsellers

 Hardcovers
1. Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
2. The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin
3. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
4. House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
5. Quantum Shadows by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
6.  Network Effect by Martha Wells
7. Angel of the Crows by Katharine Addison
8. Axiom's End by Lindsay Ellis
9. The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water by Zen Cho
10. Empire of Gold by S.A. Chakraborty

Trade Paperbacks
1. This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
2. The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix Harrow
3. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
4. Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
5. The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin
6. A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine
7. Drowned Country by Emily Tesh
8. Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
9. Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, trans. by Ken Liu
10. The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
2. Children of Dune by Frank Herbert
3. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
4. Arcanum Unbounded by Brandon Sanderson
5. Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch
6. Foundation by Isaac Asimov
7. Dune by Frank Herbert
8. Unkindest Tide by Seanan McGuire
9. Octavia Gone by Jack McDevitt
10. Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert

September News

* Mapping Earth's eighth continent, which is almost entirely under New Zealand: https://www.livescience.com/lost-continent-zealandia-new-tectonic-map.html

* An AI wrote this opinion piece on why we shouldn't be afraid of AI: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/sep/08/robot-wrote-this-article-gpt-3

* National Geographic discusses "declinism" (decline bias), news and social media consumption, and why 2020 isn't _actually_ the Worst Year Ever: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2020/09/why-2020-feels-like-the-worst-year-ever/

* Author Judith Tarr on horses, metaphors, and accurate worldbuilding: https://www.tor.com/2020/09/08/writing-horses-those-handy-equestrian-metaphors/

* Brandon Sanderson will be offering a free YouTube lecture series on writing science fiction and fantasy: https://www.deseret.com/entertainment/2020/9/2/21417196/brandon-sanderson-free-creative-writing-class-youtube-science-fiction-fantasy

* This was fascinating; mystery writer Gabriel Cohen moved into a New York apartment that seemed too good to be true, and ended up both captivated and haunted by the real-life murder he found out had taken place there: https://narratively.com/a-splash-of-red/

* For fans of Seanan McGuire's "Wayward Children" books, a side-quest novella with Lundy from IN AN ABSENT DREAM: https://www.tor.com/2020/07/13/juice-like-wounds-seanan-mcguire/

July 05, 2020

Upcoming Events

Virtual event with Katherine Addison, THE ANGEL OF THE CROWS (Tor, Hardcover, $27.99) Wednesday, July 8th at 6:00 pm PST

Virtual event with Jo Walton, OR WHAT YOU WILL (Tor, Hardcover, $26.99) Thursday, July 9th at 5:00 pm PST

In the Middle: a virtual event with Mike Chen (A BEGINNING AT THE END, Mira, Hardcover, $26.99) and Kelly McWilliams (AGNES AT THE END OF THE WORLD, Little, Brown, Hardcover, $17.99) Wednesday, July 15th at 5:00 pm PST

Virtual event with L.E. Modesitt, Jr. QUANTUM SHADOWS (Tor, Hardcover, $27.99) Tuesday, July 21st at 7:00 pm PST

Relentless and Unconquerable: a virtual event with Kate Elliott (UNCONQUERABLE SUN, Tor, Hardcover, $27.99) and Mary Robinette Kowal (THE RELENTLESS MOON, Tor, Hardcover $30.99 and Trade Paperback $17.99) Thursday, July 23rd at 7:00 pm PST

Virtual event with Ferrett Steinmetz, AUTOMATIC RELOAD (Tor, Trade Paperback, $17.99) Friday, July 31st at 5:00 pm PST