December 01, 2005

Notes from a DVD Geek

by Jeremy Lassen

The DVD section of Borderlands Books is now under new management.  My name is Jeremy Lassen, and I am the new DVD buyer.  I'm a longtime employee of Borderlands, in addition to being a book geek and a total film fanatic.  Prior to the invention of DVDs, I searched high and low for my favorite movies in letter-boxed editions. . .I owned a laser disk player, and I have gone on long-winded diatribes concerning the subtle allure of Italian horror movies.

Having so thoroughly established my bonafides as a qualified DVD buyer, I wanted to let you know what my basic DVD buying philosophy is.  My goal is to turn the DVD section of Borderlands into your one-stop-shop for fantasy, science fiction and horror.  Rather then focus on new releases and blockbuster extravaganzas,  I'm going to work hard to bring to everyone's attention the overlooked gems and obscure titles that you may not have heard of, but are sure to enjoy.  I'm going to focus on older titles, but will try and have an extremely large cross section of genre films, old and new.  I'm not going to be all-inclusive, because, quite frankly, there is a lot of crap that I just don't think anybody will be interested in -- but I'm not going to be snobbish; I like both high and low brow movies, and the diversity of the DVD selection will reflect that.  In addition to bulking out the selection of titles in store, I'm going to be writing a column for the store newsletter focusing on the films that I think are particularly noteworthy.

September Bestsellers

1) A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
2) Memories of Ice by Steven Erikson
3) Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
4) Fifty Degrees Below by Kim Stanley Robinson
5) The Algebraist by Iain M. Banks
6) Learning the World by Ken MacLeod
7) At All Costs by David Weber
8) Snake Agent by Liz Williams (Nightshade Books)
9) Complete Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
10) Loop by Koji Suzuki

1) A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
2) Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson
3) The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
4) The Good, the Bad and the Undead by Kim Harrison
5) Forty Signs of Rain by Kim Stanley Robinson
6) Bad Men by John Connolly
7) The World Before by Karen Traviss
8) The Knight by Gene Wolfe
9) Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
10) Swastika by Michael Slade

Trade Paperbacks
1) Complete Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
2) Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan
3) Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
4) Liaden Universe Companion vol. 1 by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
5) Looking for Jake by China Mieville

The 2005 Gift Guide

Since it's That Time of Year Again, here is a quick, opinionated sampling of neat items we at Borderlands think you should give to other people or pick up for yourself.  We have far, far too many interesting choices to list all of them, so stop by, have a complimentary cup of coffee, tea or cocoa and browse at your leisure!  We will also quite cheerfully gift wrap for you free of charge, though we readily admit that some employees are better at it than others.  (Some packages may have a Lovecraftian quality, and be "of no human shape." You have been warned.)

Local First

by Alan Beatts

Normally I try to keep the topics in the column focused on our field or on books and bookselling in general.  More importantly I try to keep away from San Francisco-centric topics.  I know that this newsletter goes out to people all over the country and beyond.  There's no need to fill your valuable reading time (there never is enough of that, at least in my world) with "local news".  That said, Borderlands is a San Francisco business and I feel we have an obligation to our home town.  So, if you don't live in or frequently visit SF and you're short on time, please feel free to skip the following.  However, though what I'm going to talk about is specifically related to SF, the essential idea applies anywhere in the United States.  For that matter, I'd bet that it applies to most of the developed world.

For years booksellers have been talking about the "evil" chain stores who are taking away their customers and forcing them out of business.  When I first got into bookselling I had no idea that such a controversy existed and I really didn't see any difference between buying books at an independent and buying them at a chain.  Once I got into the book business, I quickly found that booksellers in general were pretty rabid on this subject.  The problem was that, at bottom, all the arguments that I heard in favor of independent stores seemed to be based on a vague but very concrete conviction that indies were "better" than chains.  When such an argument comes from the owner of an indie store it lacks a certain credibility.  My attitude, despite owning a bookstore, was, "Let people decide for themselves.  If chain stores do a better job of giving people what they want, good for the chains.  If Borderlands fails I guess I'll go open a woodworking shop."

November 01, 2005

October Bestsellers

1) Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
2) Woken Furies by Richard Morgan
3) Children of the Company by Kage Baker
4) Thud! by Terry Pratchett
5) Snake Agent by Liz Williams (Nightshade Books)
6) Judas Unchained by Peter F. Hamilton (UK Edition)
7) Fledgling by Octavia Butler
8) Knife of Dreams by Robert Jordan
9) Fifty Degrees Below by Kim Stanley Robinson
10) Ghost by John Ringo

1) Going Postal by Terry Pratchett
2) Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman
3) Blood of Angels by Michael Marshall
4) Last Call by Tim Powers
5) Dread Empires Fall: Conventions of War by Walter Jon Williams
6) Midnight Tides by Steven Erikson (UK Edition)
7) Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson
8) Tamsin by Peter S. Beagle
9) The World Before by Karen Traviss
10) Windfall by Rachel Caine

Trade Paperbacks
1) Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan
2) Complete Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
3) Looking for Jake by China Mieville
4) The Dark Tower by Stephen King
5) Storyteller: Writing Lessons & More From 27 Years of the Clarion Writers' Workshop by Kate Wilhelm (Small Beer Press)

October 01, 2005

September Bestsellers

1)  Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins)
2)  Thud! by Terry Pratchett (HarperCollins)
3)  Shaman's Crossing by Robin Hobb (Eos)
4)  Creepers by David Morrell (CDS Books)
5)  Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Scholastic and Bloomsbury)
6)  Conference With the Dead by Terry Lamsley (Nightshade)
7)  Wetwork by Phil Nutman (Overlook Connection Press)
8)  Olympos by Dan Simmons (HarperCollins)
9)  Snake Agent by Liz Williams (Nightshade)
10)  Eldest by Christopher Paolini (Knopf)

1)  Ilium by Dan Simmons (HarperTorch)
2)  Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (Bantam)
3)  Midnight Tides by Steven Erikson (Bantam UK)
4)  Dune: Battle of Corrin by Kevin J. Anderson and Brian Herbert (Tor)
5)  Marque and Reprisal by Elizabeth Moon (Del Rey)
6)  The Knight by Gene Wolfe (Tor)
7)  Every Which Way But Dead by Kim Harrison (Eos)
8)  Going Postal by Terry Pratchett (HarperTorch)
9)  Hex and the City by Simon R. Green (Ace)
10)  Paths Not Taken by Simon R. Green (Ace)

Trade Paperbacks
1)  Looking for Jake by China Mieville (Del Rey)
2)  Market Forces by Richard Morgan (Ballantine)
3)  Strange Itineraries by Tim Powers (Tachyon Publications)
4)  Iron Council by China Mieville (Ballantine)
5)  Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (HarperCollins)

August 01, 2005

World Science Fiction Convention Roundup (plus trivia)

by Alan Beatts

It's nice to have time to write this column again.  The last few months have been even more hectic than usual and getting this newsletter out has been a very late night project.  As kind as all our customers are, I didn't want to inflict the kind of writing that I do at three in the morning on you.  Hence, no column.

But right now it's five in the evening and my desk is completely lacking piles of papers that have to be dealt with RIGHT NOW.  So, I'm going to write a nice column for this issue.  It's a bit of a grab bag of topics that have been on my mind in recent months.

Overheard at the Con

This is a new feature that will appear periodically, as we attend conventions and overhear things.  The tradition of keeping track of anonymous overheard bits and bobs started for us at the 2002 ConJose in San Jose, when a staff member overheard someone she couldn't see scolding, "Shelby, it's not okay to touch your sister's breast with the back of your hand, either!".  Trying (or trying not to) fill in the blanks on other overheard conversations made us laugh so much that we thought we'd share some highlights from this years World Science Fiction Convention:

March 01, 2005

The Code of the Comic (plus some trivia)

by Alan Beatts

There is a change you may notice at the end of the book listings in this issue.  One of the suggestions made in the recent survey was that it would be nice to have a list of upcoming titles so that one could place pre-orders.  At the end of the book listings you'll find a short list of upcoming titles.  For now we've kept to small presses but in the future we may expand it to include more mainstream publishers.  If you have time, let me know what you think of the addition.

Recently I've been thinking about comics, in part because of going to WonderCon for the first time last month and in part due to two comics I've read recently: (GRIMJACK, which is reviewed later in this newsletter, and Y: THE LAST MAN, which I'll review next month).  It's really fascinating how they have changed in my lifetime.  I started reading comics in the 70s and continued, off and on, until the mid 90s.  I still read them occasionally, usually when prompted by my 12-year-old daughter, but it's an infrequent thing.  But, during the time that I was reading them, there were some profound changes in the style, content, and quality.