December 10, 2013

Dark Carnival Bookstore

by Alan Beatts

There are many differences between national retailers and local businesses.  (By the way, don't worry, this isn't going to turn into a call that you should shop locally this holiday season).  One difference is that small businesses tend to see other businesses as allies and as an important part of the fabric of their locality, rather than as competitors.  Booksellers especially see their fellows that way, even if you can make a very good argument that they _are_ competitors.

That's why I'm asking you to take a trip out to Berkeley and visit Dark Carnival <>.

2013 Holiday Gift Guide

Since Hanukkah being incredibly early basically caught me by surprise this year, we made gift recommendations in the store in person, in mid-November, A LOT.  This is helpful currently, as I am putting together the woefully-belated Gift Guide that really should have come out a month ago.  For those of you who give gifts later in the year, hopefully this will be of assistance.  (A note to those of you purchasing presents: we're happy to gift wrap upon request, although our typical caveats apply: first, if we're busy, you may have to wait a bit to have things wrapped, and, second, some staff members are much better than others at it.  It is possible that your package may resemble a brightly wrapped Lovecraft-ian, batrachian, rugose, Thing of No Human Shape.  For some customers, this is not a problem . . ."better than I can do!," they say.  However, if you are concerned about our, ahem, abilities, we're also happy to just hand you the gift wrap, scissors and tape.)

Gift-giving or not, we're always happy to make custom recommendations -- just ask us.

All of us at Borderlands wish you and your loved ones a terrific winter season and hope for a fantastic and peaceful new year!

- Jude Feldman, editor.

November Bestsellers

1) Curtsies and Conspiracies by Gail Carriger
2) S.: Includes Loose Page Inserts Contributing to the Story by Doug Dorst and J.J. Abrams
3) Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch
4) Rags and Bones edited by Melissa Marr and Tim Pratt
5) Parasite by Mira Grant
6) The Circle by Dave Eggers
7) Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
8) The Abominable by Dan Simmons
9) Trade Secret by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
10) Jupiter War by Neal Asher

1) A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin
2) Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
3) Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
4) Blade Runner (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?) by Philip K. Dick
5) Daylight War by Peter Brett
6) Dream London by Tony Ballantyne
7) 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson
8) Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
9) Chimes at Midnight by Seanan McGuire
10) The Cassandra Project by Jack McDevitt and Mike Resnick

Trade Paperbacks
1) Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh
2) Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
3) Murder in the Marais by Cara Black
4) Metatropolis edited by John Scalzi
5) Fiddlehead by Cherie Priest

November News Roundup

* In 1963, 75 famous novelists (including Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury) replied to a 16-year-old's questions about symbolism in their work. The results are fascinating!

* Okay, about to link to some SUPER-CREEPY NIGHTMARE BAIT, so if you're easily freaked out out, give this one a miss.  You have been warned.

* Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellan have been getting a lot of attention for their current production of "Waiting for Godot" in New York.  (A friend saw them and says that the production was amazing and he never wants to see another version, lest it tarnish his perfect vision!)  We know they're both incredible actors, but what did they look like, shirtless, in the 1970's? found out:

* In further Patrick Stewart news, witness the most marvelous, geekiest, seasonally apropos thing I have seen in ages: "Let it Snow" as done by "Star Trek: The Next Generation":

* And, the last "Star Trek" note for this month: watch Nichelle Nichols talk about the amazing Trekkie who convinced her not to leave the show:

* Congratulations to author Samuel Delany, whom the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America have named the recipient of the 2013 Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award for his contributions to the literature of science fiction and fantasy.

* Free Philip K. Dick stories for download (only within the US, unfortunately) at this address: .  (We're pretty sure they come from Project Gutenberg, but aren't positive about their copyright status.  Caveat downloader.)

* Book Donations: A few months ago, Alan asked for suggestions about places to donate books.  He didn't imagine that we would get so many thoughtful and useful replies.  Aside from information about where to donate, he received one suggestion that he should collect the information gathered in this newsletter as a reference for other folks out there who wanted to donate books.  We think that's a fine idea and so below you'll find that list, along with some comments from him.  We hope that it is useful.

Details after the break

December Upcoming Events

Borderlands takes a break from events between Thanksgiving and the beginning of the new year, but we'll be back in January, 2014 with a bunch of great new authors, readings and signings!

Laura Lam, SHADOWPLAY (Strange Chemistry, Trade Paperback, $9.99) Saturday, January 4th at 3:00 pm

Helene Wecker, THE GOLEM AND THE JINNI (Harper, Hardcover, $26.99 and Trade Paperback, $15.99) Monday, January 6th at 7:00 pm

Cassie Alexander, DEADSHIFTED (St. Martin's, Mass Market, $7.99) Saturday, Janauary 11th at 3:00 pm

Richard Kadrey, DEAD SET (HarperVoyager, Hardcover, $22.99) Sunday, January 12th at 3:00 pm

Rudy Rucker Art Show premiere and event for THE BIG AHA! (Transreal Press, Trade Paperback, $16.00) Friday, January 17th

Scott Sigler, PANDEMIC (Crown, Hardcover, $26.00) Saturday, January 18th at 3:00 pm

Details after the break

December 05, 2013

School's Out for the Winter Internet Apocalypse

What the staff is reading and has been reading:

Alan: SCHOOL'S OUT FOREVER by Scott K. Andrews.

Cary: "Was reading an advance copy of NOTES FROM THE INTERNET APOCALYPSE by Max Gladstone (due 5/2014).  Currently reading THE CARDINAL'S HEIR by Jaki Demarest."

Claud: 4 BY PELEVIN, by Victor Pelevin (rearead); MIDNIGHT RIOT, MOON OVER SOHO, and WHISPERS UNDER GROUND, by Ben Aaronovitch; FROM DEMOCRATS TO KINGS: The Brutal Dawn Of A New World From The Downfall Of Athens To The Rise Of Alexander, by Michael C. Scott; THE CRYING OF LOT 49, by Thomas Pynchon (reread); I’M YOUR MAN: The Life Of Leonard Cohen, by Sylvie Simmons (excellent biography); THREE PARTS DEAD and TWO SERPENTS RISE, by Max Gladstone (best fantasy I’ve read in ages); UNDER MY ROOF, by Nick Mamatas; THE SECRET WORLD OF SLEEP: How The Nighttime Brain Creates Consciousness, by Penelope A. Lewis; IN THE CUBE, by David Alexander Smith (reread); CREATING COHOUSING: Building Sustainable Communities, by Kathryn McCamant and Charles Durrett; MISS ANNE IN HARLEM: The White Women Of The Black Renaissance, by Carla Kaplan (really interesting); THE UNWRITTEN, Vol. 6: Tommy Taylor And The War Of Words, by Mike Carey and Peter Gross; TOP 10: The Forty-Niners, by Alan Moore; CLOUD ATLAS, by David Mitchell; LEXICON, by Max Barry; THE TALISMAN RING, Georgette Heyer (reread); STRANGERS: Homosexual Love In The Nineteenth Century, by Graham Robb; THE SHAMAN’S COAT: A Native History Of Siberia, by Anna Reid; FRAGILE THINGS: Short Fictions And Wonders, by Neil Gaiman; LOST FILMS: Important Movies That Disappeared, by Frank T. Thompson; THE TERRORIST’S DILEMMA: Managing Violent Covert Organizations, by Jacob N. Shapiro (fascinating, albeit dry); THE CORONER’S LUNCH, THIRTY-THREE TEETH, DISCO FOR THE DEPARTED, and ANARCHY AND OLD DOGS, by Colin Cotterill; FAIRYLAND: A Memoir Of My Father, by Alysia Abbott; THE VICTORIAN INTERNET: The Remarkable Story Of The Telegraph And The Nineteenth Century’s On-Line Pioneers, by Tom Standage (excellent); LIGHT THICKENS, by Ngaio Marsh (reread); REDSHIRTS, by John Scalzi; THE LIZARD CLUB, by Steve Abbott; ORYX AND CRAKE, THE YEAR OF THE FLOOD, and MADDADAM, by Margaret Atwood; THE PRAISE SINGER, by Mary Renault (reread).

Devany: "EARLY AUTUMN by Robert Parker; LOVE MINUS EIGHTY by Will McIntosh; THE WINTER PEOPLE by Jennifer McMahon. WAKING DEAD by Robin Wasserman, and ABOVE by Isla Morley.  [ABOVE is e]nthralling.  I should hate the main character, but I don't. I was reading this on the way home, continued reading and didn't notice it had gotten dark until it was too dark to continue."

Jude: "THE WOMAN WHO WOULDN'T DIE by Colin Cotterill; AN UNSUITABLE JOB FOR A WOMAN by P.D. James; CRIMSON JOY; PLAYMATES; and STARDUST by Robert Parker.  OLD CREOLE DAYS by George Washington Cable. Now I am loving THE ANXIETY OF KALIX THE WEREWOLF by Martin Millar and I wish I didn't have to work so I could finish it!"

November 17, 2013

Rare and Small Press Titles on Sale

We've given you an idea what is on offer this Monday at Borderlands for the avid readers among you.  But what about the collectors?  Books collectors and people who appreciate a first edition or a fine binding have been an important part of our clientele since the day we opened.  With our sale on Monday, we're not going to leave them out.

Sure, if you just want some reading copies of books, $20 will set you up for several months.  But, if you're a collector, the VIP room is for you.  There are a ton of imports, limited editions, and small press titles waiting for you.  It's a bit more expensive ($100 admission gets you a full bag of books), but look at what you're in line for --

One bag of books - 

Holds all of this -

And, by the way, the copies of Worlds, The Straw Men, The Crook Factory, Clairmont Tales, and The Hemingway Hoax are all signed first editions.  What the hell am I thinking letting them go at this sale?

How Many Books Fit In A Bag?

At the sale on Monday you get to fill a bag with books.  But, in the real world, how many books is that?  Thanks to some late-night work on the part of our professional models, we've got some pictures to show you exactly what a bag of books looks like.

One bag of paperbacks -

Which contained all of this - 

Or perhaps you'd prefer hardcovers -

Anyway you slice it, there are some incredible deals happening at Borderlands on Monday.

Just How Many Books are we selling

Just one day 'till our sweet 16 anniversary sale.  Some of you might be wondering just how many books are we planning on selling at crazy prices.

Well, I've just finished sorting all of them and here's the final count.

61 boxes of mass markets paperbacks (i.e. the small, pocket size ones).
36 boxes of hardcover and trade paperbacks
and 12 boxes of small press, import, and rare hardcovers.

What does that actually look like? --

--And that's just from the angles we could reach.

But, if you're ten feet tall, here's what it might look like . . .

Hope to see you Monday night at the craziest sale we've ever done.

November 14, 2013

Anniversary Sale Extra Information

We've had a number of questions about how our 16th Anniversary Sale this Monday is going to work. Since we've never done an event like this, I didn't consider some of the questions that would come up, but several of them are good ones, hence this secondary note to clarify.

Location and Entry
The sale will be taking place in the Cafe at 870 Valencia St.  It will start at 8:30 pm (or close to then).  Before the sale, the cafe and bookstore will both close and any remaining customers will be asked to leave, even if they are planning on attending the sale.  We need this time to set up without the place full of people.

If you want to arrive early, there will be a space to line up outside the bookstore (please don't line up in front of the cafe).  Bring a jacket 'cause it's likely to be cool that evening.  People will be admitted based on their place in line.  If there are more people in line than can be safely accommodated in the cafe, we may have to stop letting people in until some people leave.

Tickets are not available in advance and payment will be at the door.

Payment and Benefits
Admission to the sale will cost $20 per person (cash only, credit cards and checks will not be accepted).  In exchange for that payment, each person attending will be able to fill, to the top, one of our large shopping bags with books and take them home.  The bags are 17 inches high, 13 inches wide, and 7 inches front to back.  The books cannot extend above the top edge of the bag.  After paying for admission, attendees may purchase additional bags to fill for $10 each. There will be no refunds.

The books on offer will not be the usual stock of the bookstore.  In fact, the bookstore proper will be closed during the sale.  The majority of the books will be used, not new, although there will be a fair number of new hardcovers and large size paperbacks.  Almost all the small size paperbacks will be used.

There will also be a separate VIP area at the sale.  Admission to that area will be $100 in addition to the $20 general admission.  The books in the VIP area will be mostly rarer hardcovers and a number of limited edition small press titles from publishers like Cemetery Dance, Subterranean Press, and PS publishing.  Additional bags may also be purchased in this area, but the cost will be $80 per extra bag.

There will be complimentary snacks, wine and iced tea and the cafe will be serving our usual selection of teas and coffee drinks at our usual prices.  The cafe will not be selling any food during the event.

Our customers are, as a group, a polite, considerate and well-behaved crowd.  However, sales of this sort that have a first-come, first-served element sometimes bring out peoples' less civilized qualities.  So, to be on the safe side, I want to be perfectly clear - no rude, inconsiderate, or uncivilized conduct will be tolerated.  That includes (but is in no way limited to), pushing, running, and shoving.  It also includes shouldering other people out of the way, snatching books from other people's hands, and engaging in tug-o-war over books.  Anyone engaging in rude or uncivilized conduct, as determined by any Borderlands staff member, will be evicted from the event, without a refund.

This event is meant to be a fun and pleasant evening as well as being a present to you, our customers.  I hope that people will be excited and that everyone attending will find a surprise treasure on the tables.  However, I have seen distasteful scenes at library sales in the past and I've heard of even uglier ones.  I intend to make sure that doesn't happen at this sale.  In the hugely unlikely event that Jeremy, Jude and myself cannot maintain an acceptable level of decorum, I will stop the event and clear the building.

The sort version is this -- we've got a bunch of books (literally thousands!) that, for one reason or another, it doesn't make sense to put on the shelves (or back on the shelves).  We've also got a great set of customers and our 16th anniversary.  Rather than sell the books off somewhere else (like Half-Price Books in the East Bay) or donate them, we're having a sale wherein you pay 20 bucks and get to fill a big bag with books to take home.  You're guaranteed to get more than your money's worth and, hopefully you'll have a good time.  But everyone better play nice or Jeremy and Alan will heave them into the street.  We've had some questions about what kinds of books you can expect.  To give you a sample, we've selected some books more or less at random to represent what we'll have on offer.  Here are 10 books that will be available for the taking in the "regular" area:

Daemonomania by John Crowley, 1st US ed. hc
Vellum by Hal Duncan 1st US ed. hc
Glimmering by Elizabeth Hand, remainder US hc 1st Signed by author
Hard Freeze by Dan Simmons 1st ed. hc
Dragon Rider by Jeffrey Carver, used mm
Glorious Treason by C.J. Ryan, used mm
The Wild Blue and the Gray by William Sanders., used mm
Shades of Gray by Lisanne Norman, used mm
Traitor to the Blood by Barb and J.C. Hendee, used mm

And here are 5 titles that will be available in the VIP area:

The Passage by Justin Cronin, 1st US ed. hc singed by author
Byline: Mickey Spillane, ed. by Max Allan Collins and Lynn F. Myers, Jr. numbered ed. signed by the author and editors
Spares Special Edition by Michael Marshall Smith, signed by the author, artist Alan Clark, and Neil Gaiman (who did the introduction)
I Am the Bird by T.M. Wright, signed by Ramsey Campbell and the author
The Monster Maker and Other Stories by W.C. Morrow

We'll look forward to seeing you at the sale.

November 08, 2013

Lots of Neat Books

by Alan Beatts

I'm afraid that I don't have anything for this month's article because I'm too busy cataloging books.  Which is sort of neat in its own right.  Early in October I bought an entire collection (135 boxes worth of one, to be precise).  Suffice to say that is _a lot_ of books.  Right now the back room consists of stacks of boxes as high as my head with aisles so we can get to the back door.

So, I've been spending every minute that I can spare sorting books, checking prices, and getting them onto the shelves.  It's been fun.  I haven't done something like this in years and it's nice to get into the "bookseller groove".  It's also been fun to see how prices have changed.  It's not a surprise to me that a good copy of The Outsider And Others by Lovecraft is still selling for $2000.  After all, it was the first book that Arkham House ever published as well as being the first hardcover collection of Lovecraft's work.

It was, however, surprising that a first edition hardcover of my friend Richard Morgan's first novel, Altered Carbon, is now worth about $300.  It seems like just yesterday that we were selling those British hardcovers for cover price (plus shipping, but there you go).

I also ran across one of the nicest, brightest copies of The House On The Borderlands by William Hope Hodgson that I've seen in a long time.  It's a lovely early Arkham House title with full color cover art by Hieronymus Bosch Hannes Bok.  Sadly the cover is quite sensitive to fading in bright sunlight so most of the copies out there have very faded spines.  This one, however, does not.

There have been lots of other neat things like --

A first edition of The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie (I was doing security work for Tower Records when people were making bomb threats about that one)
A first of Rosemary's Baby
A complete set of Burton's translation of The Arabian Nights (all 17 volumes)
A hardcover set of Ken MacLeod's Fall Revolution novels (which I took for my own collection)
A nearly complete run of all of Subterranean Press' titles, including the three-volume boxed sets of their first two published novellas
Quite a few nice, signed Fritz Leiber novels, including one of my favorites, Night's Black Agents.
A few signed books by Ray Bradbury
First hardcovers of all four of the Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons.

As you may guess, it's a nice collection and I'm quite pleased to have it in the store.  I'll be getting it inventoried and up on the shelves over the next month or so.  If you're looking for some nice books, you might want to stop in once a week or so.  Or, check our inventory online.

Until next month, it's back to the computer.

October Bestsellers

1. The Incrementalists by Steven Brust and Skyler White
2. Parasite by Mira Grant
3. The Circle by Dave Eggers
4. The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two by Cat Valente
5. Jupiter War by Neal Asher
6. Bleeding Edge by Thomas Pynchon
7. Shaman by Kim Stanley Robinson
8. Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman
9. Aurorarama by Jean-Christophe Valtat
10. Dr. Sleep by Stephen King

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
2. A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin
3. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
4. Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
5. 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson
6. Cold City by F. Paul Wilson
7. Chimes at Midnight by Seanan McGuire
8. Redoubt by Mercedes Lackey
9. Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
10. The Shining by Stephen King

Trade Paperbacks
1. Super Stories of Heroes and Villains edited by Claude Lalumiere
2. Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger
3. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
4. The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Cat Valente
5. Dodger by Terry Pratchett

October News Roundup

* My Beautiful Bookshelf thinks we're one of the Top 10 Bookstores in San Francisco!

* 7 x 7 Magazine wants to be friends with Alan Beatts, Borderlands' owner!

* recently offered independent booksellers the opportunity to sell Kindles in-store, (with a whopping 6% discount! Yipee!) and to take a 10% commission on e-book titles sold for those Kindles for the next 2 years.  As you may imagine, independent booksellers were less than overwhelmed with gratitude at this offer.  Here are some of their responses, via Melville House Publishers:

* Congratulations to all of the World Fantasy Award winners, and all of the British Fantasy Award winners!  Both sets of awards were presented at the World Fantasy Convention in Brighton, England.  The full lists are here: and here:

* Overheard in the store:
"Well, it's better then the Nonfiction, which is all Jesus, Jesus, Jesus."
"I've got fifty-five pounds of bacon."
"Excellent life advice is to never drink an alcoholic beverage that comes in a souvenir glass."

November Upcoming Events

Cassie Alexander, Tim Pratt and Malinda Lo in Conversation - Saturday, November 9th at 3:00 pm

Jeffrey Siger, MYKONOS AFTER MIDNIGHT (Poisoned Pen Press, Hardcover, $24.95 and Trade Paperback, $14.95) Sunday, November 10th at 3:00 pm

Gail Carriger, CURTSIES AND CONSPIRACIES (Little, Brown, Hardcover, $18.00) Monday, November 11th at 7:00 pm

Cara Black at the Mission Library, 300 Bartlett Street, San Francisco - Wednesday, November 13th at 7:00 pm

Ellen Kirschman, BURYING BEN (Aakenbaaken & Kent, Trade Paperback, $15.95) Saturday, November 16th at 3:00 pm

Borderlands' Super-Special Sweet Sixteen Anniversary Party and Book Sale ($20 Admission) - Monday, November 18th from 8:30 pm - 10:30 pm (or later) in the Cafe, 870 Valencia Street

Free Presentation on Practical Book Repair with Sophia S.W. Bogle - Friday, November 22nd from 6:00 - 8:00 pm

Book Repair Class with Sophia S.W. Bogle, $30 - Saturday, November 23rd from 3:00 - 6:00 pm

Authors Turn Booksellers with Sofia Samatar, Saturday, November 30th from 1:00 - 4:00 pm

Details after the break.

October 11, 2013

Where Do We Donate Books?

by Alan Beatts

I'm afraid that, with one thing and another (not the least of which has been getting our new newsletter service working right . . . -ish), I don't have much to say this month.  But I do have a favor to ask.

We are looking for places to donate books.  For years we've been donating books to Martin de Poores < >, who give them out to their clients, and to other agencies, but we sometimes find ourselves with too many books for them.  We also find that hardcover books are not as good a donation for them as paperbacks.  So, I'm working on finding other worthy places to donate.  As much as I support the San Francisco Public Library, most of the books donated to them are put up for sale.  I'd prefer to donate the books to places where they'll be used, since that gets the best value out of them (as opposed to selling them quite cheaply, as the library does.)

These are all kinds of books -- damaged books, books that customers have abandoned, books that aren't in our genres, books that authors have sent ten unsolicited copies of to us -- a little bit of everything.   If there are specific criteria for the books donated, I'm happy to sort them to suit.  For example, I donated about ten boxes to a local school that requested that the books be hardcover and suitable for kids under 15 years old.  The main thing is, we'd like the books to go to a good home, so if you've got suggestions (or even better, a contact at the institution that needs or wants a donation), please let us know!

September Bestsellers

1. Shaman by Kim Stanley Robinson
2. The One-Eyed Man by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
3. Bleeding Edge by Thomas Pynchon
4. Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
5. The Quarry by Iain Banks
6. The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
7. Shadows by Robin McKinley
8. Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
9. MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood
10. Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. Chimes at Midnight by Seanan McGuire
2. 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson
3. Cold Days by Jim Butcher
4. Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews
5. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
6. The Twelve by Justin Cronin
7. Lord of Mountains by S.M. Stirling
8. Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
9. Midst Toil and Tribulation by David Weber
10. Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

Trade Paperbacks
1. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
2. Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow
3. The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks
4. Death Rides the Zephyr by Janet Dawson
5. Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce

September News Roundup

* Warner Brothers and J.K. Rowling have reached a deal to make more movies in the Harry Potter world, but without Harry:,0,3404185.story

* Grains of Sand, a 25-year "Sandman" retrospective, is opening Oct. 5th at the Cartoon Art Museum!

* Overheard in the store:
"The man is sick; I like that in a person."
"…and, delivered with a paucity of pomposity!"
"The only problem with Steampunk is when you have to go to the bathroom."
"Totalitarian dictators absolutely love hyper-realistic, heroic art."

* Incredible, bejeweled skeletons of Christian martyrs, "The Catacomb Saints":

* How to get a time traveller to visit you:

* Charles Stross on Feral SpamBooks of the Future:

* We're sorry to report the death of legend Frederik Pohl, who passed away September 2nd, 2013 at the age of 94.

October Upcoming Events

Litquake Opening Night Party with Jean-Christophe Valtat at Z Space Theatre, 450 Florida Street ($15 advance, $20 at the door) - Friday, October 11th at 7:00 pm

Steven Brust and Skyler White, THE INCREMENTALISTS (Tor, Hardcover, $24.99) Saturday, October 12th at 3:00 pm

Litquake Event with Richard Kadrey and Adam Mansbach at Glass Door Gallery, 245 Columbus Avenue - Monday, October 14th at 7:00 pm

SF in SF Litquake event: Caped Crusader Victories with Camille Alexa, Claude Lalumiere and Tim Pratt at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Bldg. 582 Market St. - Friday, October 18th at 7:00 pm

Litquake event with Anne Perry at Glass Door Gallery, 245 Columbus Avenue - Friday, October 18th at 7:00 pm

Litquake Lit Crawl Phase 2 at Borderlands Books with Diana Orgain, Sheldon Siegel, Kelli Stanley, and Simon Wood - Saturday, October 19th from 7:15 pm - 8:15 pm

Litquake Lit Crawl Phase 3 at Borderlands Cafe with Steven Boyett, Ellen Klages, Allison Moon, and Annalee Newitz - Saturday, October 19th from 8:30 - 9:30 pm

Mira Grant, PARASITE (Orbit, Hardcover, $20.00) Tuesday, October 29th at 7:00 pm

S.G. Browne, Fran Friel, Rain Graves and Loren Rhoads, THE HAUNTED MANSION PROJECT: YEAR TWO (Damnation Books, Trade Paperback, $21.99) Sunday, November 3rd at 3:00 pm

Malinda Lo, INHERITANCE (Little, Brown, Hardcover, $18.00) and Tim Pratt (editor) RAGS & BONES (Little, Brown, Hardcover, $18.00) Saturday, November 9th at 3:00 pm

Jeffrey Siger, MYKONOS AFTER MIDNIGHT (Poisoned Pen Press, Trade Paperback, $14.95 and Hardcover, $24.95) Sunday. November 10th at 3:00 pm

Gail Carriger, CURTSIES AND CONSPIRACIES (Little, Brown, Hardcover, $18.00) Monday, November 11th at 7:00 pm

Ellen Kirschman, BURYING BEN (Aakenbaaken & Kent, Trade Paperback, $15.95) Saturday, November 16th at 3:00 pm

Free Presentation on Practical Book Repair with Sophia S.W. Bogle - Friday, November 22nd from 6:00 - 8:00 pm

Book Repair Class with Sophia S.W. Bogle ($30) - Saturday, November 23rd from 3:00 - 6:00 pm

Full details after the break

September 12, 2013

Cracked Labyrinth Veterans on Sesame Street

What the staff is reading this week:

Alan: "VETERAN by Gavin Smith.  It's good but I suspect that the author doesn't have much in the way of an actual military background.  That is not always an obstacle but it does come through in the novel."

Cary: "THE CRACK IN THE LENS by Steve Hockensmith."

Claud: "THE SPY WHO LOVED: The Secrets And Lives Of Christine Granville, by Clare Mulley (amazing story of WW2 spy); THE BIG OVER EASY and THE FOURTH BEAR, by Jasper Fforde (rereads); THE FLANEUR, by Edmund White; SHAMAN, Kim Stanley Robinson; GEORGETTE HEYER, by Jennifer Kloester; GULP: Adventures On The Alimentary Canal, Mary Roach; MOXYLAND, by Lauren Beukes; THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE, by Neil Gaiman (amazing & melancholy); MURDER AT THE VICARAGE, by Agatha Christie (reread); LIARS AND OUTLIERS: Enabling The Trust That Society Needs To Thrive, by Bruce Schneier; THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA and RED SEAS UNDER RED SKIES, by Scott Lynch (rereads); SCATTER, ADAPT, AND REMEMBER: How Humans Will Survive A Mass Extinction, by Annalee Newitz; THE RIDDLE OF THE LABYRINTH: The Quest To Crack An Ancient Code, by Margalit Fox (fascinating tale of the decryption of Linear B); THE REPUBLIC OF THIEVES, by Scott Lynch (worth the wait); READY PLAYER ONE, by Ernest Cline; DANCE FOR THE DEAD and METZGER'S DOG, by Thomas Perry; LATE VICTORIAN HOLOCAUSTS: El Nino Famines And The Making Of The Third World, by Mike Davis (phenomenal); THE CUCKOO'S CALLING, by Robert Galbraith (great, actually); THE SHINING GIRLS, by Lauren Beukes; THE BLOODLINE FEUD, THE TRADERS' WAR, and THE REVOLUTION TRADE, by Charles Stross; and THE DRACO TAVERN, by Larry Niven.

Cole: "THE DOG STARS by Peter Heller.  Fantastic. It reminds me a little of FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON."


September 02, 2013

August Bestsellers

1. Kill City Blues by Richard Kadrey
2. Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
3. Neptune's Brood by Charles Stross
4. Blood of Tyrants by Naomi Novik
5. The Quarry by Iain Banks
6. Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin
7. Sister Mine by Nalo Hopkinson
8. Captain Vorpatril's Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold
9. Omens by Kelly Armstrong
10. Heirs and Graces by Rhys Bowen

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson
2. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
3. Magic Rise by Ilona Andrews
4. Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
5. The Long Earth by Stephen Baxter and Terry Prachett
6. Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin tie with Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
7. Darwin Elevator by Jason Hough
8. Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
9. Hellfire by Jean Johnson
10. Heart of Briar by Laura Anne Gilman

Trade Paperbacks
1. Dark Shadows: Wolf Moon Rising by Lara Parker
2. Dark Shadows: Angelique's Descent by Lara Parker tie with Dark Shadows: The Salem Branch by Lara Parker
3. Year's Best Science Fiction 30th Annual Collection edited by Gardner Dozois
4.  In Broad Daylight by Seth Harwood
5. Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone

August News Roundup

*  Borderlands would like to congratulate our friends, John Picacio, Brandon Sanderson, and John Scalzi, the winners of the 2013 Hugo Award for, respectively, Best Artist, Best Novella, and Best Novel.  Also, a shout out to Mary Robinette Kowal, Seanan McGuire, and Dan Wells, for the well deserved recognition for their work in the field.  For the full list of winners -

*  One of our customers passed along this link to a short film called "Sight" <> .  In these days of Google Glass and direct human-to-human mind control <> we found this film to be creepy as hell.

*  Correction: We apologize for misstating the month of Mick Farren's death in the last newsletter.  Farren passed away on July 27th, 2013.  Farren's work had great impact, sometimes in surprising ways.  Author and customer Cliff Winnig had the following to say in response to the notice of Farren's passing:

"I only met him a couple of times, and then only at his signing events, but my impression of Mick Farren was that he was a really cool and truly sweet individual.  His work, however, looms large in my life.  I discovered his science fiction, starting with NECROM, in the early nineties, when I was coping with a significant loss.  I immediately sought out and devoured every Mick Farren book I could find.  His alchemic blend of post-apocalyptic dystopic nihilism and stubborn outsider protagonists really resonated with me, helping me through that dark time.  I kept my act together as much as I did in no small part because of his fiction.  Now that I think about it, I wish I'd told him that.  His books were such a big deal to me that it didn't occur to me at the time to mention it; it'd be like commenting that the atmosphere contains oxygen."

* We were delighted to host actress and author Lara Parker in August.  She was featured in this SF Weekly blog article: , and one of the attendees at her event had this to share:

* We have ALL the signed books this month!  If you'd like a signed book from Rhys Bowen, Chaz Brenchley, S.G. Browne, Max Gladstone, Seth Harwood, Nalo Hopkinson, Richard Kadrey, Sheldon Siegel or Simon Wood, just give a call or drop a note!

* Overheard: "What did you think of it?" "It was definitely a book. With pages and everything."

* We sincerely regret to report the death of crime writer Elmore Leonard at age 87.

September Upcoming Events

Kim Stanley Robinson, SHAMAN (Orbit, Hardcover, $27.00) Saturday, September 7th at 1:00 pm (Please note this event starts at 1:00 pm, two hours EARLIER than our usual events.)

Douglas Lain, BILLY MOON (Tor, Hardcover, $24.99) with guests Terry Bisson and Daniel Coffeen Saturday, September 7th at 3:00 pm

Seanan McGuire, CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT (Roc, Mass Market, $7.99) Saturday, September 14th from 5:00 - 8:00 pm

SF in SF (at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building, 582 Market Street) with authors Greg Bossert and Nick Mamatas Saturday, September 14th at 7:00 pm

Janet Dawson, DEATH RIDES THE ZEPYHR (Perseverence Press, Trade Paperback, $15.95) Sunday, September 15th at 3:00 pm

One City/One Book Bookclub discussion of LITTLE BROTHER by Cory Doctorow, Sunday September 22nd at 6:00 pm.  (Please note this is just a book club and NOT an author event; Cory Doctorow WILL NOT be attending.)

L.E. Modesitt, Jr., THE ONE-EYED MAN (Tor, Hardcover, $24.99) Monday, September 23rd at 7:00 pm

Presentation on Censorship's Effects on First Amendment Rights with attorney Cyrus Wadia - Wednesday, October 2nd.

Cat Valente, THE GIRL WHO SOARED OVER FAIRYLAND AND CUT THE MOON IN TWO (Feiwel & Friends, Hardcover, $16.99) Friday, October 4th at 7:00 pm

Laura Anne Gilman, SOUL OF FIRE (Luna, Trade Paperback, $14.95) and FIXED (as L.A. Kornetsky) (Gallery Books, Trade Paperback, $15.00) Saturday, October 5th at 3:00 pm

Shaenon K. Garrity, SKIN HORSE (Couscous Collective, Trade Paperback, $14.00) Saturday, October 5th at 5:00 pm

Full event details after the break

August 11, 2013

Stability In Bookselling?

by Alan Beatts

The last few years have seen some pretty big shakeups in the bookselling industry.  Probably the biggest shakeup has been ebooks' rise in adoption, driven by Amazon's commitment to the market and the popularity of tablet computers.  Added to that, the closure of Borders Books, the increased success of self-publishing and the contraction of the whole publishing business in the wake of the Great Recession have made for a bumpy time for everyone in the business of books.

However, I think that we're heading into a much more stable time for the business.  I don't foresee anything on the horizon in the near term that will cause any significant changes.  Of course, it's very difficult to predict innovations and so it's certainly possible that something will appear next week that will knock the whole business on its ear again.  But I'd be happy to bet that we'll have a few years, perhaps as many as five, before something truly notable happens.  Here's why --

July Bestsellers


1) Neptune's Brood by Charles Stross
2) The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
3) Sister Mine by Nalo Hopkinson
4) Quarry by Iain Banks
5) The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
6) Sold for Endless Rue by Madeleine Robins
7) The Long War by Stephen Baxter and Terry Pratchett
8) The Goliath Stone by Larry Niven and Matthew Joseph Harrington
9) Storm Surge by Taylor Anderson
10) Earth Afire by Orson Scott Card


1) A Game of Thrones by George R,R, Martin
2) The Long Earth by Stephen Baxter and Terry Pratchett
3) Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
4) Slow Apocalypse by John Varley
5) Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
6) Dirty Streets of Heaven by Tad Williams
7) Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
8) 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson tie with Apocalypse Codex by Charles Stross
9) Wicked Bronze Ambition by Glen Cook
10) A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin

Trade Paperbacks

1) Tree of Life, Book of Death: The Treasures of Grania Davis by Grania Davis
2) World War Z by Max Brooks
3) The Melancholy of Mechagirl by Catherynne M. Valente
4) Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
5) Deadman's Road by Joe R. Lansdale

July News Roundup

* LITTLE BROTHER by Cory Doctorow is the One City / One Book title for 2013!  In addition to a blur of other wonderful events, there's a LITTLE BROTHER scavenger hunt, starting at the San Francisco Main Library and continuing through Civic Center to the Mission.  It's free to sign up, but you must register your team by September 13th.  More details here: <>

* Charming bit of lit-geek humor.  Thanks, Mikael, for the link: <>

* Overheard in the Cafe:
Q: "Well, what do normal people think about, anyway?"
A: "How the heck should _I_ know?!"

* An asteroid has been renamed in honor of the late Iain M. Banks: <>

* During a recent email exchange, author Richard A. Lupoff and I were discussing his fifteen years as the in-house book reviewer for Algol/Starship Magazine.  I asked if he remembered many of the books he reviewed, and he cracked me up with the following anecdote, which he kindly gave me permission to quote here: 
"As for the reviews in that huge stack of paper, the only one that I remember was a review of Avram Davidson's fur-jockstrap novel, URSUS OF ULTIMA THULE.  I described it as 'a very, very bad book.'  The next time I saw Avram was at a science fiction convention.  Avram drew me aside and in a quiet voice said, 'One "very" would have sufficed.'"

* We're tremendously sorry to report the death of author, musician, activist and counterculture legend Mick Farren.  Farren died after collapsing onstage on Saturday, August 27th. <>

* David Gerrold responds to Orson Scott Card.  Orson Scott Card supplied the quote below to Entertainment Weekly magazine <>, following much media attention focused on an intended boycott of the movie "Ender's Game" because of Scott's well-publicized homophobic views.  Below Scott's quote is author David Gerrold's reply, from Gerrold's Facebook page.  (I have quoted them here so readers don't have to sign in to Facebook to read it.)

August Upcoming Events

Seth Harwood, IN BROAD DAYLIGHT (Thomas & Mercer, Trade Paperback, $14.95) Saturday, August 17th at 3:00 pm

SF in SF (at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building, 582 Market Street) with authors Chaz Brenchley and Laura Anne Gilman - Saturday, August 17th at 7:00 pm

Richard Kadrey, KILL CITY BLUES (Harper Voyager, Hardcover, $24.99) Sunday, August 18th at 3:00 pm

Lara Parker, DARK SHADOWS: WOLF MOON RISING (Tor Books, Trade Paperback, $15.99) Friday, August 23rd at 7:00 pm

Rhys Bowen, HEIRS AND GRACES (Berkley, Hardcover, $24.95) Saturday, August 24th at 3:00 pm

Kim Stanley Robinson, SHAMAN (Orbit, Hardcover, $27.00) Saturday, September 7th at 2:00 pm (Please note this event starts an hour EARLIER than our usual events, at 2:00 pm.)

Seanan McGuire, CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT (Roc, Mass Market, $7.99) Saturday, September 14th from 5:00 - 8:00 pm

Janet Dawson, DEATH RIDES THE ZEPYHR (Perseverence Press, Trade Paperback, $15.95) Sunday, September 15th at 3:00 pm

Coming up in the next few months, we're delighted to host L.E. Modesitt, Jr., Cat Valente, Steven Brust, and many, many more!

Event details after the break

July 29, 2013

Shell Shock & Gaudy Mortal Fear Minus Eighty

What the staff is reading this week. . . .

Alan: "I'm reading the third Spencer novel by Robert Parker, MORTAL STAKES.  Despite the absolutely horrible clothes (ah, the 70s) I think that it is excellent."

Cary: "Just finished an advanced reading copy of THE REPUBLIC OF THIEVES by
Scott Lynch, currently reading ARC of DEAD SET by Richard Kadrey.
(Both are due out in October)."

Claud: "LOST IN A GOOD BOOK, THE WELL OF LOST PLOTS, and SOMETHING ROTTEN, by Jasper Fforde (rereads); DEAD EVER AFTER, by Charlaine Harris; EVELYN BRENT: The Life And Films Of Hollywood's Lady Crook, by Lynn Kear; SHELL SHOCK CINEMA: Weimar Culture And The Wounds Of War, by Anton Kaes; and BIG DATA: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, And Think, by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger."

Cole: "WISE MAN'S FEAR by Patrick Rothfuss."

Devany: "LOVE MINUS EIGHTY  by Will McIntosh."

Jude: "An advance copy of PARASITE by Mira Grant; GAUDY NIGHT by Dorothy L. Sayers; THE GODWULF MANUSCRIPT, GOD SAVE THE CHILD, and MORTAL STAKES by Robert Parker; I IS FOR INNOCENT and J IS FOR JUDGEMENT by Sue Grafton, THE SHAPE OF DREAD by Marcia Muller.  And Cary just handed me the ARC of REPUBLIC OF THIEVES by Scott Lynch, so I know where the next few days are going!"

July 09, 2013

Incremental Persuasion in the Cold, Dark Summer

What the staff has been reading:

Alan: "An advance copy of THE INCREMENTALISTS by Steven Brust and Skyler White.  And he's quite looking forward to Brust coming to the store for a reading."

Cary: "Been re-reading Joe Abercrombie.  The First Law Trilogy and BEST SERVED COLD."

Claud: "IN PERSUASION NATION and TENTH OF DECEMBER, by George Saunders; GODBODY, by Theodore Sturgeon; THE ABSOLUTIST, by John Boyne; MISS BUNCLE'S BOOK, by D.E. Stevenson; THE STEEL SERAGLIO, by Mike, Linda and Louise Carey (excellent); CINDERELLA: From Fabletown With Love and CINDERELLA: Fables Are Forever, by Chris Roberson and Shawn McManus; KIKI DE MONTPARNASSE, by Catel & Bocquet; ZOO CITY, by Lauren Beukes (excellent); THE GIRL, THE GOLD WATCH & EVERYTHING, by John D. MacDonald (reread); BEYOND THIS HORIZON, by Robert A. Heinlein; MAE MURRAY: The Girl With The Bee-Stung Lips, by Michael G. Ankerich; THE MAKING OF BLACK DETROIT IN THE AGE OF HENRY FORD, by Beth Tompkins Bates (wonderful); SAINTS ASTRAY, by Jacqueline Carey; DARK CURRENTS, by Jacqueline Carey; TOP 10: Vol. 2, by Alan Moore and Zander Cannon; THE EYRE AFFAIR, by Jasper Fforde (reread); and NADA, by Carmen Laforet."

Jude: "Okay, here goes: finished the advance copy of THE INCREMENTALISTS by Steven Brust and Skyler White and passed it to Alan.  JUSTICE HALL by Laurie King.  Sue Grafton's C IS FOR CORPSE, D IS FOR DEADBEAT, E IS FOR EVIDENCE, F IS FOR FUGITIVE, G IS FOR GUMSHOE. (What can I say?  Those books are like popcorn!) DOG ON IT by Spencer Quinn, which is very charming, but narrated by a dog, so that has both upsides and downsides.  TO HELL ON A FAST HORSE: Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett and the Epic Chase to Justice in the Old West by Mark Lee Gardner."

Naamen: "I'm reading THE SUMMER PRINCE by Alaya Dawn Johnson right now. Really great world-building, story is set in a post-post-apocalyptic futuristic South American city and only 30 pages in I'm already pleasantly surprised by a lot of the twists that are built into what could be a more traditional YA plot but isn't.  Can't wait to read more."

July 02, 2013

B&N, Marriage, and World War Z

by Alan Beatts

Barnes & Noble's Financial Report

B&N had a very poor year based on their recent financial filings.  Their 2013 fiscal year (which ended on April 27th) showed a total loss of $154.8 million dollars, compared to last year, which showed less than half that loss ($65.6 million in 2012).  Much of that was a result of sales of their e-reader, the Nook, falling off a cliff (sales down 16.8%).  But sales at their retail stores were also poor: same-store sales (the comparison between stores that have been open for at least a year) were down 3.4%.

Most telling to me, however, are the figures for the last quarter of this year.  In the 4th quarter alone, ebook sales (both devices and ebooks) were down 34% and same-store retail sales were down 8.8%.  That looks like an accelerating slide to me.  If you dig through the accountant-speak in the report, some of the retail store sales drop was tied to poor Nook performance, but that could also be wishful thinking.  Likewise, that quarter lacked some big sellers like Fifty Shades of Gray and such but still . . . it's not looking very good.  What will tell us a great deal is what the quarterly reports for the next two look like.  If the drop continues or increases, it'll be a very bad sign for the company's future.

June Bestsellers

1. The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
2. Scatter, Adapt and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction by Annalee Newitz
3. The Fractal Prince by Hannu Rajaniemi
4. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
5. Quarry by Iain Banks
6. The Long War by Stephen Baxter and Terry Pratchett
7. The Human Division by John Scalzi
8. Mending the Moon by Susan Palwick
9. Homeland by Cory Doctorow
10. Inferno by Dan Brown

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
2. Blue Remembered Earth by Alastair Reynolds
3. Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
4. Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
5. Old Man's War by John Scalzi
6. The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi
7. Home From the Sea by Mercedes Lackey
8. 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson
9. Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu
10. Shapeshifted by Cassie Alexander

Trade Paperbacks
1. Cold Steel by Kate Elliott
2. Sorcerer's Luck by Katharine Kerr
3. World War Z by Max Brooks
4. Abbadon's Gate by James S.A. Corey
5. Aether Age: Helios edited by Christopher Fletcher and Brandon H. Bell

June News Roundup

* Those of you going to see "Star Trek: Into Darkness" probably already have, so, hilarious Spoiler FAQ from <>

* And more from The difference between geeks and nerds, settled by an infographic: <>

* We unfortunately lost two of the greats this month: Iain M. Banks at age 59 <> and Richard Matheson at age 87. <>

July Upcoming Events

Simon Wood, NO SHOW (Thomas & Mercer, Trade Paperback, $14.95) Saturday, July 13th at 3:00 pm

SF in SF (at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building, 582 Market Street) with authors Nalo Hopkinson, Madeleine Robins and Deborah J. Ross, Saturday, July 20th at 7:00 pm

Grania Davis, TREE OF LIFE, BOOK OF DEATH - THE TREASURES OF GRANIA DAVIS (Ramble House, Trade Paperback) Sunday, July 21st from 4:00 - 6:00 pm

Max Gladstone, THREE PARTS DEAD (Tor, Hardcover, $24.99 and Trade Paperback, $15.99) Saturday, July 27th at 3:00 pm

Sheldon Siegel, THE TERRORIST NEXT DOOR (Poisoned Pen Press, Trade Paperback $14.95 and Hardcover $24.95) Saturday, August 3rd at 3:00 pm

And coming up later on this year, look for events with Seth Harwood, Richard Kadrey, actress and author Lara Parker, Seanan McGuire, and many, many more!

Details after the break

June 10, 2013

A Fistful of the Last Shining Human Burglars

What the staff has been reading. . .

Alan: "B IS FOR BURGLAR by Sue Grafton."

Cary: "Recently been reading THE LIVES OF TAO by Wesley Chu, and THE LAST
POLICEMAN by Ben H. Winters."

Claud: "A FISTFUL OF COLLARS, by Spencer Quinn; CARTHAGE MUST BE DESTROYED: The Rise And Fall Of An Ancient Civilization, by Richard Miles (wonderful); MR. PENUMBRA'S 24-HOUR BOOKSTORE, by Robin Sloan; LAST CALL: The Rise And Fall Of Prohibition, by Daniel Okrent (reread, amazing); FLATLANDER and TALES OF KNOWN SPACE, by Larry Niven; DEATH OF A RED HEROINE, by Qiu Xiaolong; and THE BRAINDEAD MEGAPHONE, by George Saunders."

Heather: "THE HUMAN DIVISION by John Scalzi."

Jude: "I just finished THE SHINING GIRLS by Lauren Beukes, which was riveting.  Before that I read a really trashy memoir called FULL SERVICE: MY ADVENTURES IN HOLLYWOOD AND THE SECRET SEX LIVES OF THE STARS by Scotty Bowers and Lionel Friedberg."

June 06, 2013

Borderlands' Brush with Censorship

by Alan Beatts

In general the temptation to engage in censorship is not a problem for me.  I truly believe that there are no ideas too dangerous to discuss, no books that are too obscene to sell, no person whose ideas are too repugnant to be expressed.  Moreso, I think that censorship is one of the most slippery ethical and legal slopes that we face, as individuals and as a society.  As a result it's something that I steer clear of almost by reflex.

That's a good thing for a bookseller.  Along with publishers and librarians, we are uniquely equipped to act as censors -- in part because we can be very effective by inaction, unlike most other parties.  All that we need to do is refrain from purchasing a specific work and we've achieved our goal.  And we can always come up with reasons for our decision that are solid, hard to challenge, and lack all but the faintest whiff of censorship.  "The market isn't ready for it", "That sort of book just doesn't sell," "We're working on a limited budget and there are more important works to buy," "Our space is limited," and so on.  The explanations are limitless.

So I'm very happy and comfortable in the knowledge that I would never consider restricting what I allow my customers to buy based on my personal political or social agenda.

At least that's how I thought until about five years ago.

May Bestsellers

1. The Human Division by John Scalzi
2. You by Austin Grossman
3. NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
4. Without a Summer by Mary Robinette Kowal
5.  Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
6.  Make Good Art by Neil Gaiman
7.  The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
8.  Inferno by Dan Brown
9.  Mending the Moon by Susan Palwick
10. River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay tie with Redshirts by John Scalzi

Mass Market Paperbacks
1.  Old Man's War by John Scalzi
2.  Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
3.  Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
4.  Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
5.  Blue Remembered Earth by Alastair Reynolds
6.  Crucible of Gold by Naomi Novik
7.  Lost Fleet: Invincible: Beyond the Frontier by Jack Campbell
8.  Zoe's Tale by John Scalzi
9.  Serene Invasion by Eric Brown
10.  Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Trade Paperbacks
1.  Redshirts by John Scalzi
2.  Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
3.  Your Hate Mail Will be Graded by John Scalzi
4.  In Broad Daylight by Seth Harwood
5.  The Departure by Neal Asher

May News Roundup

* So I've watched this four times, and it's still giving me chills.  Chris Hadfield sings "Space Oddity" in the first music video in space! <>

* Economists recommend SF! <> and <>

* Join Clarion West's tenth annual Write-A-Thon!  They're aiming for 300 participants this year.  It's a fundraiser for Clarion West, but it's all about the writing first.  For more info and to sign up, see <>

* Author Blake Charlton (SPELLWRIGHT and SPELLBOUND) writes about dyslexia in an op-ed piece in the NY Times: <>

* We think you might enjoy reviewer and blogger Steven Klotz <>.  He's not only a sharp reviewer but he's also got the class to link to indi bookstores (instead of Amazon) from his site.

* The amazing 91-year-old Sir Christopher Lee (or, you might know him as Saruman) is releasing a _third_ heavy metal album -- his second about Charlemagne! <>

* Help the EFF save podcasting!  (Some of our best friends are podcasters.) <>

* Check out the 25 coolest science fiction weapons, according to an Australian news site: <>

* In May we hosted a preview of "The Pub From Another World" in the Cafe.  If you'd like to check out the recording, you can find it here: <>. Thanks to Sunil Patel for directing & arranging, and herding cats. . . I mean actors!

* We're extremely sorry to report the death of science fiction legend Jack Vance at the age of 96: <>

June Upcoming Events

Lauren Beukes, THE SHINING GIRLS (Mulholland, Hardcover, $26.00), Friday, June 7th at 7:00 pm

SF in SF Screening of "Safety Not Guaranteed" with guest speaker (and author) Ken Wharton, (at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building, 582 Market Street), Saturday, June 8th at 6:30 pm. Tickets $25.

Hannu Rajaniemi, THE FRACTAL PRINCE (Tor, Hardcover, $25.99), Friday, June 14th at 7:00 pm

SF in SF with authors Cassie Alexander, Heather MacDougal, and Cliff Winnig, (at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building, 582 Market Street), Saturday, June 22nd at 7:00 pm

Kate Elliott, COLD STEEL (Orbit, Trade Paperback, $18.00) and Katharine Kerr, SORCERER'S LUCK (Book View Cafe, Trade Paperback, $14.50), Thursday, June 27th at 7:00 pm

Event details after the break.

May 23, 2013

Far Too Many Options for a Clever Title

It has been a while since I posted this, so you'll find a flood of titles from some of us. What the staff is (and has been) reading:

Alan: "METZGER'S DOG by Thomas Perry.  It's essentially a 'caper' novel incorporating: stupid CIA operatives, smart crooks, dumb drug dealers, a cat named Dr. Henry Metzger, a 20mm aircrafit cannon hidden in the back of a panel van, the biggest junkyard dog in the world, and a safe filled with $1,000,000 of cocaine.  I am loving every bit of it and laughing my ass off at times. Also GANGS OF NEW YORK by Herbert Asbury.  I'm trying to find something that is at all like the film and failing.  And, considering what some of the history was really like, I'm even less impressed with the film than I was before I read the book."

Cary: "THE THIN MAN by Dashiell Hammett, and LOCKED ROOMS by Laurie R. King.  And just finished AN ALPHABETICAL LIFE:  LIVING IT UP IN THE WORLD OF BOOKS by Wendy Werris."

Claud: DEAD UNTIL DARK, LIVING DEAD IN DALLAS, CLUB DEAD, DEAD TO THE WORLD, DEAD AS A DOORNAIL, ALL TOGETHER DEAD, DEFINITELY DEAD, FROM DEAD TO WORSE, A TOUCH OF DEAD, DEAD IN THE FAMILY, DEAD AND GONE, DEAD RECKONING, and DEADLOCKED, by Charlaine Harris (all rereads); PARASITE REX: Inside The Bizarre World Of Nature’s Most Dangerous Creatures, by Carl Zimmer (amazing); HELL’S HALF ACRE, by Will Christopher Baer; THE FALLEN BLADE, THE OUTCAST BLADE, and THE EXILED BLADE, by Jon Courtenay Grimwood; UNDERSTANDING THE MALE HUSTLER, by Samuel M. Stewar; DEAR SAMMY: Letters From Gertrude Stein And Alice B. Toklas, by Gertrude Stein; LAND’S END: A Walk In Provincetown, by Michael Cunningham; FIRE IN THE BELLY: The Life And Times Of David Wojnarowicz, by Cynthia Carr (amazing); ALTERED CARBON, BROKEN ANGELS, and WOKEN FURIES, by Richard K. Morgan; THE VERY PERSISTENT GAPPERS OF FRIP, by George Saunders; THE VANISHED LIBRARY: A Wonder Of The Ancient World, by Luciano Canfora; LONDON FALLING, by Paul Cornell; THE GREAT GATSBY, by F. Scott Fitzgerald; SHADOW CITIES: A Billion Squatters, A New Urban World, by Robert Neuwirth; THE BRIEF AND FRIGHTENING REIGN OF PHIL, by George Saunders; JUMPER, by Steven Gould; STRANGE ANGEL: The Otherworldly Life Of Rocket Scientist John Whiteside Parsons, by George Pendle (amazing); THE SUNDIAL, by Shirley Jackson (reread – amazing); YOU CAN’T WIN, by Jack Black; THE POWER OF HABIT: Why We Do What We Do In Life And Business, by Charles Duhigg (fascinating); THE ALTERATION, by Kingsley Amis; BRIGHT YOUNG PEOPLE: The Lost Generation Of London’s Jazz Age, by D.J. Taylor; ERRANTRY, by Elizabeth Hand; BLOOD ORANGES, by Kathleen Tierney; DOG ON IT, THEREBY HANGS A TAIL, TO FETCH A THIEF, and THE DOG WHO KNEW TOO MUCH, by Spencer Quinn; LOVE SONG: The Lives Of Kurt Weill And Lotte Lenya, by Ethan Mordden; and VANISHING ACT, by Thomas Perry.


Dev: "THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS by Robert A. Heinlein and PARTIALS by Dan Wells."

Heather: "DANCE WITH DRAGONS.  Lugging around this stupid 150 pound hardcover because ONCE AGAIN the paperback release date was put off.  Feh. Good book though."

Jude: "A IS FOR ALIBI and B IS FOR BURGLER by Sue Grafton, THE BARBARY COAST by Herbert Asbury, CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT ARC by Seanan McGuire, GOD OF THE HIVE by Laurie R. King.  Also, last night at a wonderful author event at Books, Inc, I picked up AN ARCHIVE OF HOPE: HARVEY MILK'S SPEECHES AND WRITINGS by Harvey Milk, edited by Jason Edward Black and Charles E. Morris, III. after hearing the editors, Frank Robinson, and Danny Nicoletta speak."

Naamen:"I am leaving for a 51 hour train ride so I'm taking an assortment of books to read on the trip: SHAPESHIFTED ARC by Cassie Alexander, WICKED GENTLEMEN by Ginn Hale, ASH: A SECRET HISTORY by Mary Gentle, A ROPE OF THORNS by Gemma Files, A STRANGER IN OLONDRIA by Sofia Samatar, THE TALENTED MISS HIGHSMITH by Joan Schenkar, JAMES TIPTREE JR: THE DOUBLE LIFE OF ALICE SHELDON by Julie Phillips, FROM HARLEM TO PARIS by Michel Fabre, CITIES OF THE DEAD by Joseph Roach, POINT OF HOPE by Melissa Scott & Lisa A. Barnett and THE DROWNING CITY by Amanda Downum. I'm thinking it might be a personal challenge to see how many I can finish in the space of the trip. Hopefully I come out of this with all my faculties intact, I mean, I didn't include Lovecraft for a reason (well, a few reasons actually). See you on the other side!"

May 09, 2013

Steampunks Without Context

by Alan Beatts

A few of us at the store were chatting about the phenomena of Steampunk recently and the conversation went in some interesting directions.  Before getting into that however, I want to make something abundantly clear.  When I refer to "Steampunk" I'm referring to the lifestyle or the fashion movement rather than to the sub-genre of fiction.  Steampunk as fiction has been around for a much longer time than the current popular culture meme.  We could argue for days about what the first steampunk novel was but both Infernal Devices by K. W. Jeter in 1987 and The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling are sure as hell steampunk novels.  There was a bit of a hiatus in the 90s and early noughties but then the fiction genre came back.  And it came back before the pop culture scene.

It is amusing to read comments from people who are really into the steampunk "scene" who rail against the idea that it is based in genre fiction.  I've even seen some (quite upset) commentators insist that it's not fiction, it's their _lifestyle_.  Which seems to me a bit self-absorbed and . . . well . . . dumb.  It is as if they want to distinguish themselves from the people who dress up as Stormtroopers from Star Wars or characters from Star Trek.

To be fair, the steampunk lifestyle folks are very different from the average costumed science fiction fan.  But not necessarily in a good way.

April Bestsellers

1) Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger
2) Without a Summer by Mary Robinette Kowal
3) Protector by C.J. Cherryh
4) Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks
5) Blood of Dragons by Robin Hobb
6) River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay
7) Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs
8) You by Austin Grossman
9) The Twelve by Justin Cronin
10) Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne M. Valente

Mass Market Paperbacks
1) Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
2) Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
3) Midnight Blue Light Special by Seanan McGuire
4) Plague Nation by Dana Fredsti
5) Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
6) Soulless by Gail Carriger
7) Banner of the Damned by Sherwood Smith
8) Triggers by Robert J. Sawyer
9) Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
10) Plague Town by Dana Fredsti

Trade Paperbacks
1) The Apes of Wrath edited by Richard Klaw
2)  World War Z by Max Brooks
3) Empty Space by M. John Harrison
4) Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal
5) Exiled Blade by John Courtenay Grimwood tie with Queen Victoria's Book of Spells edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling

April News Roundup

* 7x7 Magazine mentions Borderlands in their article "Seven Two-in-One Coffee Shops to Give Your Caffeine Routine a Jolt".  Thanks, guys!  <>

* The winners of the Edgar Awards were just announced on May 2nd.  Congratulations to the winners and to all of the nominees!  <>

* West Virginia is considering a bill to make teaching science fiction in schools compulsory.  Not only is this awesome, but it's NOT an article from "The Onion". <>

* presents: Fun with Radium! <>

* It's time to retire "Boob Plate" Armor, argues Emily Asher-Perrin on  Because it would kill you.

* We're sorry to report the death of special effects pioneer (and wizard) Ray Harryhausen at age 92. <>

* Wow, just . . . wow.  Check out the synopsis for this were-hedgehog paranormal romance.  You read it right, a were-hedgehog. <>

May Upcoming Events

Valencia Corridor Sidewalk Sale Private Preview,  Saturday, May 11th from 9:00 am - 11:30 am

Valencia Corridor Sidewalk Sale, Saturday, May 11th from 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm

SF in SF with authors Austin Grossman and Robin Sloan (in the Variety Preview Room at the Hobart Building, 582 Market Street, San Francisco), Saturday, May 11th at 7:00 pm

The Pub From Another World Preview, Sunday, May 12th at 3:00 pm

John Scalzi, THE HUMAN DIVISION (Tor, Hardcover, $25.99), Wednesday, May 15th at 7:00 pm

SF in SF featuring Connie Willis and Gene Wolfe (in the Market Room at the Hilton San Jose, 300 Almaden Blvd. San Jose, CA 95110), Thursday, May 16th at 7:00 pm

Mass Autographing Session at the Nebula Awards, (in the Winchester Room at the Hilton San Jose, 300 Almaden Blvd. San Jose, CA), Friday, May 17th from 5:30 - 7:30 pm

Mary Robinette Kowal, WITHOUT A SUMMER (Tor, Hardcover, $24.99 ) and Susan Palwick, MENDING THE MOON (Tor, Hardcover, $24.99), Monday, May 20th at 7:00 pm

Annalee Newitz, SCATTER, ADAPT, AND REMEMBER: HOW HUMANS WILL SURVIVE A MASS EXTINCTION (Doubleday, Hardcover, $26.95), Saturday, June 1st at 3:00 pm

Lauren Beukes, THE SHINING GIRLS (Mullholland Books, Hardcover, $26.00), Friday, June 7th at 7:00 pm

Hannu Rajaniemi, THE FRACTAL PRINCE (Tor Books, Hardcover, $25.99), Friday, June 14th at 7:00 pm

Details after the break

April 19, 2013

Clearance Section and Sidewalk Sale

I mentioned previously that we had made part of the space for our mystery section by sorting through our horror and used paperback sections.  As a result, we came across quite a few books that we either had more copies of than we needed or that had been sitting on our shelves for too long.  Right now they are all in a clearance section at the right rear of the store and they're half-price.  That discount will be increasing as we get closer to May 11th, which is the date of the big Valencia St. sidewalk sale.  At noon on that day we're going to be putting all the clearance books out for _crazy_ low prices.  But for now, come on by and take a look at what you can pick-up for a discount.  And, I should point out, these are not "bad" books . . . well, some of them are . . . but many of them are books that, for whatever reason, just didn't sell quickly enough.  There are quite a few titles from small presses like Ash-Tree, Delirium, Cemetery Dance and Subterranean as well as a huge assortment of SF and fantasy paperbacks.

Mysterious Borderlands

by Alan Beatts

Given some of my recent comments here and elsewhere, it will probably come as no surprise that we're opening a mystery section at Borderlands.  What might be a surprise, however, is how fast we're doing it.  As of today, we've got 144 feet of shelves set aside for hardcovers and large format paperbacks as well as 94 feet for small format (i.e. "mass market") paperbacks.  That works out as room for, roughly, 1700 hardcovers and 1500 paperbacks.

Of course, the shelves aren't quite full yet but we've already got almost 1000 individual titles in stock and there are more coming in almost every day.  By the end of the month, I expect to have more than 1500 on hand and the section will continue to grow from there.  My goal is to have as good a selection of mysteries, thrillers, and similar titles as we do of SF and fantasy by the end of the summer.

March Bestsellers

1. Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
2. Fragments by Dan Wells
3. Shadow of Freedom by David Weber
4. Velveteen vs. the Junior Super Patriots by Seanan McGuire
5. Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger
6. Homeland by Cory Doctorow
7. Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs
8. Bloodfire Quest by Terry Brooks
9. Great North Road by Peter F. Hamilton
10. Gun Machine by Warren Ellis

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. Midnight Blue Light Special by Seanan McGuire
2. Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire
3. Existence by David Brin
4. The Golden Age of Death by Amber Benson
5. A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
6. The Wind Through the Keyhole by Stephen King
7. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
8. Secrets of the Fire Sea by Stephen Hunt
9. Feed by Mira Grant tied with Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
10. Slashback by Rob Thurman

Trade Paperbacks
1. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow tied with Partials by Dan Wells
2. Lunatic Fringe by Allison Moon
3. Hungry Ghost by Allison Moon
4. Wool by Hugh Howey
5. Nexus by Ramez Naam

March News Roundup

* We're happy to announce that Borderlands Cafe will be hosting another free class from the University of the Commons.  The topic this time is Zombie Apocalypse and the Utopian Tradition, which sounds completely fascinating.  The class will meet each Thursday from 6:30 p m - 8:00 pm, beginning May 2nd, 2013 and ending June 20th.  For more details, see .

* Thanks to Candi for pointing out this wonderful interview with the always-eloquent Ursula K. Le Guin from Berkeley's "California" Magazine:  And, if you missed Ms. Le Guin's recent talk at the Townsend Center, you can watch it here: .

* GOBLINPROOFING ONE'S CHICKEN COOP wins Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year:

* Want to watch an alien being born?  This giant, nearly-extinct "tree lobster" may be as close as you can get.  (Squick warning for those sensitive to enormous bugs.)

* Wanted: volunteers for a one-way trip to Mars.  Must be dependable, good in groups, uninterested in returning to Earth:

* LOST EVERYTHING by Brian Francis Slattery has won the 2013 Philip K. Dick Award.  Special citation was given to LOVESTAR by Andri Snaer Magnason.  For more details, see

* The cursed Roman ring that may have inspired Tolkien's One Ring is put on display:

* Oooh! has published an exclusive full chapter from the (eagerly awaited) forthcoming REPUBLIC OF THIEVES by Scott Lynch:

* Thanks, Amanda -- "Tiny Octopus-Like Microorganisms Named After Science Fiction Monsters":

* I don't know exactly what to say about this.  It's a recipe for "R’leh Easy Cthulhu Pot Pies":

* Thanks to 7x7 SF for this really nice Borderlands mention in their article "Seven Two-in-One Coffee Shops to Give Your Caffeine Routine a Jolt":

* We regret to report the death of author Basil Copper at the age of 89.

* We are tremendously sorry to re-post this bad news about one of our favorites, author Iain M.Banks:

April Upcoming Events

Dana Fredsti, PLAGUE NATION (Titan Books, Mass Market, $7.99) Saturday, April 20th at 3:00 pm

SF in SF featuring Rick Klaw and Mary Robinette Kowal, at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building, 582 Market Street, Saturday, April 20th at 7:00 pm

Rick Klaw and Pat Murphy, THE APES OF WRATH (Tachyon, Trade Paperback, $15.95) Sunday, April 21st at 3:00 pm

Mark Oshiro, MARK READS HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS (Mark Does Stuff, Trade Paperback, $15.00) Sunday, April 21st at 5:00 pm

Nova Albion Steampunk Convention at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara, Friday April 26th - Sunday April 28th

Ian Tregillis, NECESSARY EVIL (Tor, Hardcover, $25.99) Sunday, May 5th at 3:00 pm

Valencia Corridor Sidewalk Sale - Saturday, May 11th from 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm

The Pub From Another World Preview, Sunday, May 12th at 3:00 pm

John Scalzi, THE HUMAN DIVISION (Tor, Hardcover, $25.99) Wednesday, May 15th at 7:00 pm

SF in SF featuring Connie Willis and Gene Wolfe, at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building, 582 Market Street, Thursday, May 16th at 7:00 pm

Mary Robinette Kowal, WITHOUT A SUMMER (Tor, Hardcover, $24.99 ) and Susan Palwick, MENDING THE MOON (Tor, Hardcover, $24.99) Monday, May 20th at 7:00 pm

Event details after the break

March 28, 2013

Link from a Student

This is a bit unusual!  A student from Ms. Ward's classroom in Indiana is working on a website information-sharing project.  She used some links from Borderlands' site as a resource, so in exchange she gave us this link about Stephen King's work, which she thought might be of interest to our customers:

Thanks to the student and Ms. Ward - we wish you success with your project!

March 20, 2013

Bloody Murder in the Garden with Sisters, Devils, and Shadows of the Sun and Moon

What the staff is reading this week:

Alan: "BLOOD AND BONE by Ian C. Esselmont.  In addition to being a great story, it's also a coda of sorts to Steven Erickson's THE CRIPPLED GOD and is also a great accompaniment to Steve's recent FORGE OF DARKNESS.  I'm still pleased and surprised by the richness of the world that the two of them have created.  Individually their books stand on their own but when you combine them the sum is much greater than the parts."

WOLFE edited by J.E. Mooney and Bill Fawcett."

Claud: "BRAIN THIEF, by Alexander Jablokov; MURDER MUST ADVERTISE, THE NINE TAILORS, GAUDY NIGHT, BUSMAN'S HONEYMOON, LORD PETER, and THE DOCUMENTS IN THE CASE, by Dorothy Sayers; OSCAR MICHEAUX AND HIS CIRCLE: African-American Filmmaking and Race Cinema of the Silent Era, by Pearl Bowser, Jane Marie Gaines and Charles Musser; CENTURY 2009 (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen), by Alan Moore; ON TO GENESIS (Unwritten #5), by Mike Carey; THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America, by Erik Larson; KISS ME, JUDAS and PENNY DREADFUL, by Will Christopher Baer; THE WORLD UNTIL YESTERDAY, Jared Diamond; THE PATRICK MELROSE NOVELS and AT LAST, by Edward St. Aubyn (*phenomenal* contemporary English novelist); CALICO PALACE, by Gwen Bristow; ROLE MODELS, by John Waters; MINDSTAR RISING, A QUANTUM MURDER, and NANO FLOWER, by Peter F. Hamilton; DEATH BY SILVER, by Melissa Scott and Amy Griswold.and WILDE STORIES 2013, Steve Berman, ed."

Cole: "GARDENS OF THE MOON by Steven Erickson."

Heather: "DANCE WITH DRAGONS by George R.R. Martin - finally!"


Naamen: "Reading SISTER MINE by Nalo Hopkinson and it is amazing."

March 12, 2013

February Bestsellers

1. A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
2. Homeland by Cory Doctorow
3. Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
4. Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
5. A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent by Marie Brennan
6. The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett
7. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
8. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
9. Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
10. Gun Machine by Warren Ellis tie with Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
2. Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
3. Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
4. Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
5. The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett
6. Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
7. Fair Game by Patricia Briggs
8. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
9. Moonshifted by Cassie Alexander
10. Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan

Trade Paperbacks
1. The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson
2. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
3. The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination edited by John Joseph Adams
4. Redshirts by John Scalzi
5. For the Win by Cory Doctorow tie with Makers by Cory Doctorow

February News Roundup

* Clarion West presents one-day writing workshops with Daryl Gregory, Mary Rosenblum, and John Crowley!  See the link for details:

* John Scalzi's unconventional (and delightful) response to a persistent troll caught the attention of The Guardian UK:

* Check out this 1968 "it gets better" letter . . . from Mr. Spock

* Spot the Tuckerization in this blog post about Mary Robinette Kowal's new novel -- thanks, Mary!:

* We're trying to help local Precita Eyes raise $3000 to rent the scaffold they need to finish the gorgeous mural they've begun on the side of Borderlands' building (facing into the Mission Playground).  We've got a collection box in the store if you can help out.  And, crazy extra special thanks to Laura, who helped out with the design of the mural and included Ripley in it!  The next time you're by the store, see if you can find the hairless cat in the painting.

* Our friends at The Other Change of Hobbit have moved.  Watch their website for updates on their new address and re-opening.

* Borderlands Cafe will be hosting another free University of the Commons class starting in May.  We're still nailing down the details and dates, but the theme will be "Zombie Apocalypse and the Utopian Tradition".  (How cool is that?!)

* Borderlands will be hosting the Mass Autographing Session at this year's Nebula Awards in San Jose in May.  We're excited to take part and hope you'll be able to attend.  We'll have more details about the Awards and the autograph session coming soon.

* Random House promotes a pretty evil new style of contract for ebooks, gets called out by John Scalzi & The Science Fiction Writers of America and backs down.  Check out these links in order to get the context of the story -

March Upcoming Events

Allison Moon, HUNGRY GHOST (Lunatic Ink, Trade Paperback, $15.00) Friday, March 29th at 7:00 pm

Dana Fredsti, PLAGUE NATION (Titan Books, Mass Market, $7.99) Saturday, April 20th at 3:00 pm

SF in SF featuring Rick Klaw and Mary Robinette Kowal, at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building, 582 Market Street, Saturday, April 20th at 7:00 pm

Karen Joy Fowler, Rick Klaw, and Pat Murphy, THE APES OF WRATH (Tachyon, Trade Paperback, $15.95) Sunday, April 21st at 3:00 pm

Mark Oshiro, MARK READS HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS (Mark Does Stuff, Trade Paperback, $15.00) Sunday, April 21st at 5:00 pm

Nova Albion Steampunk Convention at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara, Friday April 26th - Sunday April 28th

The Pub From Another World Preview, Sunday, May 12, at 3:00 pm

Details after the break

February 21, 2013

Len Riggio, Smarter Than Me

by Alan Beatts

Yesterday I mentioned that Barnes and Noble announced that they were closing about a third of their stores over the next ten years and I speculated that it would neither take that long nor stop at a third.  I also suggested that, if I were the founder of the company, Len Riggio,  I'd spin off the Nook ebook reader section as a separate company and then dump the physical bookstore part of the business.

Well, seems like Mr. Riggio is ahead of me.  I did a little bit of digging and found that the first part already happened.

It seems that, as part of the deal last year in which Microsoft invested a ton of money in the Nook side of B&N's business, a subsidiary of B&N was created which incorporates both the Nook and ebook part of the business as well as all the college bookstores.  It's called Nook Media LLC and it's a subsidiary of B&N -- _not_ a separate company -- for now.  The October press release announcing Nook Media said in part,
"As previously announced, there is no set timetable for Barnes & Noble's review of strategic options for its investment in NOOK Media LLC. There can be no assurance that the review will result in a strategic separation or the creation of a stand-alone public company. Barnes & Noble does not intend to comment further regarding the review unless and until a decision is made."

In other words, "We haven't decided.  We might.  And we're not going to talk about it anymore."

February 20, 2013

The Last Man Standing

by Alan Beatts

Leonard Riggio, the driving force behind Barnes and Noble for the past 40 years, is a very smart businessman.  I think he's smart in a hugely cut-throat sort of way, but smart all the same.  He is certainly seeing the writing on the wall when it comes to sales of physical books.  Barnes and Noble recently announced that they will be closing around a third of their stores in the next decade.  Their stated aim is to drop the number of stores from the current 689 to somewhere around 450-500.

It's possible, I suppose, that it will actually play out that way over the next decade.  But I doubt it.  My suspicion is that, in a little bit, we're going to hear that plan has been "adjusted in the face of changing consumer habits" and is going to go much faster.  A number of sources, including The Atlantic and Knowledge@Wharton have recently run articles detailing some of the problems B&N faces.  Nook sales are down (12.6%), store sales are down (10.9%), and Amazon continues to take business away from them.