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

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

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

Escape Through the Audio Hatch - Libro.fm Recommendations

By Melinda Rose

As I was compiling the list of my favorite listens of the past month, I realized these are all pure escapism. Light enough that you can do other things while listening, but meaty enough to hold your attention and distract. Turns out that's something I'm really needing right now, and maybe you are too. If so, I invite you to snuggle up with any of the following selections.

Going Postal by Terry Pratchett, performed by Stephen Briggs.
It's been a while since I've gone to the DiscWorld, and I'd almost forgotten how much it's like listening to a Monty Python sketch. Moist Von Lipwig is a con artist about to hang for his crimes when he's given a second chance at life. All he has to do is get the post office up and running again. Not a simple task. The mail's been piling up for decades and the postal workers are a skittish bunch of misfits. Despite his best efforts to remain cynical and aloof, Moist discovers his skill set is perfectly suited for government work, and that he really _wants_ to bring the postal service back to its glory days.

Have Space Suit, Will Travel by Robert A. Heinlein, performed by Mark Teretsky.
This classic has long been on my to-read list, and I'm glad I finally got around to it.  It's hard science fiction from 1958, yet somehow it holds up. There were times it reminded me of listening to The Martian by Andy Weir, because our hero is constantly science-ing himself out of or into difficult situations. I particularly loved Kip's pragmatic, supportive father. You want to go to the moon? Sure thing kid, guess you better figure out how you're getting there.There are so many great characters and plot twists I simply couldn't put my earbuds down.

Lucky Supreme by Jeff Johnson, performed by Keith Szarabajka
I loved "Everything Under the Moon", so when I was craving something gritty I decided to explore more of Johnson's catalogue. The voice actor brings the perfect gravelly tones and pacing to this modern noir tale. The story centers around Darby Holland who runs a tattoo parlor in Old Town Portland. He's content with a simple life and an inner circle of employees and the other neighborhood proprietors. His life gets a lot more complicated when there's a sighting of a former employee in California. In order to save face Darby has to go down there, confront him, and attempt to recover the art he stole while skipping town. That endeavor escalates into a confrontation with a seedy Bay Area crime syndicate. Now Darby has to gather up all his resources to save his shop from those nefarious forces as well as a landlord ready to give into the pressures of gentrification.

The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher, performed by Hilary Huber
"And I twisted myself about like twisted ones."  Fair warning - you're not going to be able to stop repeating the litany of the twisted ones for weeks after listening to this book. Mouse's grandmother was not a pleasant person. And, as Mouse discovers when she agrees to clean out the house after grandma dies, she was one hell of a hoarder. Among all the useless junk Mouse finds her step-grandfather's journal, and discovers there is definitely something eerie going on in the woods. The crazy ramblings of the journal start to manifest in the world around her and things get seriously spooky. There's an excellent unraveling of a mystery here, mixed in with so much laugh-out-loud humor I had to be careful about listening to this story in public.

[Editor's Note:
Libro.fm is an audiobook purchase platform specifically designed to support independent bookstores. Unlike all of the e-book sites that have offered us partnerships, and in direct contrast to Amazon's audiobook platform, Audible, Libro.fm makes it practical and seamless to support Borderlands (or another indie of your choice) with your online audiobook purchases.  It's easy to sign up and easy to use, moreso, we've been blown away by their extraordinary customer service and dedication to helping bookstores. Just go to https://libro.fm/story to learn more about them and create your free account. As part of the account set-up process, you designate an independent bookstore that you want your purchases to support. (You can use this link if you want to choose Borderlands to support right out of the gate: https://libro.fm/?bookstore=borderlands .)  After that, browse more than 150,000 audiobooks and either set up a monthly membership, or buy audiobooks a la carte. ]

A Special Offer

About a month ago (or was it two years? -- so hard to tell nowadays) a nice guy named Payam Salehi who runs Anam Cara (https://writewithfriends.com) emailed us.  Anam Cara is part writing workshop, part social-network type of thing, and part writing/accountability group.  He got in touch with us to see if we'd be willing to help promote the next session (which starts on July 14th, and is led by author, professor and speaker Faith Adiele <https://www.adiele.com>).

Off the bat we were _very_ skeptical.  There are an awful lot of on-line "writing classes" and they are usually, to some degree, a scam.  They over-promise, the "experts" actually aren't, they charge too much, and so on.  But Alan gave him a call anyway and he seemed like a nice, sincere guy.  After that, Alan did some digging and talked to both some prior participants and some other folks who are promoting it.  In the end, we decided that it was legit.

Though it has the usual elements that you'd expect from an on-line writing class, the thing that stands out to us is the peer-support element.  At the outset, participants are added to a group and, further, assigned a writing partner.  The expectation is that, in addition to the class element, the group and especially your writing partner will be helpful and supportive of your work.  Based on the people Alan talked to, that idea actually functions as intended.

That seems to us to be a big plus over the typical writing group where the level of engagement within the group often leaves a bit to be desired, especially within groups that consist of mostly less-experienced writers.

Bottom line, if you're interested in trying it out, Payam is offering Borderlands folks a discount on the program.  The base cost is $390 ($290 each if you sign up with a friend) for the five-week course, but, if you use promo code "borderlands", you'll get $20 off of either price. Further, he's agreed to extend the refund period through the entire class so it is essentially a no-risk deal.  If you don't feel like it was worthwhile, you'll get a refund.

Full disclosure: Anam Cara's side of the promotional deal is that Borderlands will get 15% of any signups that come in through our promotion code.  We're not really focused on the income but, if the program is good and legit, it might be a nice little bit of extra cash for the shop.  The most important thing to us, however, is that it is, in fact, good and legit.  So, if you do decide to try it out, please let us know what you thought.

July News

* As above, so below. . . a photographer captures the Milky Way and bioluminescent waters together: https://mymodernmet.com/bioluminescence-milky-way/

* Author L.L. McKinney discuses the role publishers play in commodifying black pain, and how the focus of the industry must move beyond just "Issue" books: https://www.tor.com/2020/06/17/the-role-publishing-plays-in-the-commodification-of-black-pain/

* Customer Adam M. pointed out Bright 21st, a sci-fi short-story contest for "inspiring futures and positive alternate realities".  They have posted the winners of the most recent contest, and they're all free to read on the site (with free registration) and will be turned into audio plays this fall: https://www.bright21st.com/

* Kate Warne, Pinkerton agent and America's first female private detective, was a pioneer in her field who also helped protect Abraham Lincoln: https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/606901/kate-warne-first-female-detective

* Wow.  An "Untethered Miniature Origami Robot that is able to self-assemble, walk on various surfaces, swim in shallow water, carry small items, and climb up different grades" - https://laughingsquid.com/dissolvable-miniature-origami-robot/

* This hotel room has a secret library door that opens when you pull out a specific book in the room!  https://mymodernmet.com/bella-vista-bb-hidden-room/

* Shut down during the pandemic, these museums are competing online for the creepiest object in their collection: https://www.boredpanda.com/creepiest-objects-curator-battle-yorkshire-museum/

* One point scored against dystopia! A machine that sucks up smog and turns it into diamonds: https://ideas.ted.com/this-tower-sucks-up-smog-and-turns-it-into-diamonds/

* Night of the Living Dead. . . Crickets? https://www.popsci.com/living-dead-excerpt/

* A bit of cryptographic history is up for auction: an Enigma encryption machine -- https://www.theartnewspaper.com/news/second-world-war-enigma-coding-machine-on-offer-at-vienna-s-dorotheum

* Two terrifying trailers for the new "Candyman" movie, directed by Nia DaCosta and written by DaCosta, Jordan Peele, and Win Rosenfeld -- the theatrical trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlwzuZ9kOQU and DaCosta's haunting puppet trailer, that shows the Candyman's tragic origin story, here: https://variety.com/2020/film/news/candyman-short-puppet-origin-story-1234640739/

* Scientists say conspiracy theorists have a fundamental cognitive problem: https://www.inverse.com/article/37463-conspiracy-beliefs-illusory-pattern-perception

* Probably in my list of Top Ten Best Headlines Ever -- "The monstrous blobs near Earth's core may be even bigger than we thought": https://www.livescience.com/core-mantle-ulvz-blobs-enormous.html

* What do you call the world's only pink manta ray?  Inspector Clouseau, of course. . . . https://mymodernmet.com/pink-manta-ray-kristian-laine/