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! <http://io9.com/chris-hadfield-sings-space-oddity-in-the-first-music-503764317>

* Economists recommend SF! <http://noahpinionblog.blogspot.com/2013/05/science-fiction-for-economists.html> and <http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/11/more-science-fiction-for-economists-seriously-time-wasting/>

* 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 <http://www.clarionwest.org/>

* Author Blake Charlton (SPELLWRIGHT and SPELLBOUND) writes about dyslexia in an op-ed piece in the NY Times: <http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/23/opinion/defining-my-own-dyslexia.html?_r=2&>

* We think you might enjoy reviewer and blogger Steven Klotz <http://mentatjack.com/>.  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! <http://www.uproxx.com/music/2013/05/sir-christopher-lee-metal-album-charlemagne-the-omens-of-death/>

* Help the EFF save podcasting!  (Some of our best friends are podcasters.) <https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/05/help-save-podcasting>

* Check out the 25 coolest science fiction weapons, according to an Australian news site: <http://www.news.com.au/technology/sci-tech/ign-the-25-coolest-sci-fi-movie-weapons/story-fn5fsgyc-1226652984957>

* 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: <http://sftheaterpub.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/some-echoes-of-the-pub-from-another-world/>. 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: <http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/05/30/187231982/book-news-sci-fi-author-jack-vance-dead-at-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.