December 10, 2013

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.

Lots of Recommendations:

One of my favorite new books is Allie Brosh's HYPERBOLYE AND A HALF: UNFORTUNATE SITUATIONS, FLAWED COPING MECHANISMS, AND OTHER THINGS THAT HAPPENED (Touchstone, Trade Paperback, $17.99).  This is not a genre title at all, and normally we wouldn't carry it, but something funny happened.  I ordered several copies of this book, intending to purchase one for myself and the rest to give as gifts.  I was out of town when they arrived, and they accidentally ended up the shelf, where they sold.  I ordered additional copies, and those sold, too, before I could get my copies.  So we shrugged and decided to bring in more copies.  If you or a loved one are unfamiliar with Allie Brosh's brilliant, hilarious, pathos-filled webcomic, you can remedy that deficiency in your life immediately, and I recommend you do so.

S.: INCLUDES LOOSE PAGE INSERTS CONTRIBUTING TO THE STORY by Doug Dorst and J.J. Abrams (Mulholland, Hardcover, $35.00) continues to fly off the shelves.  This is a mind-bending meta-narrative for fans of HOUSE OF LEAVES.

THE CIRCLE by Dave Eggers (McSweeney's, Hardcover, $27.95) is one of Cary's new favorites.  A scary and believable dystopian novel about a mammoth tech company and the darkest sides of social media and the "transparent society".

DOCTOR SLEEP by Stephen King (Scribner, Hardcover, $30.00) Jeremy says that this sequel to THE SHINING is simply fantastic and contains lots of cameos and Easter eggs for careful King readers.

THE REPUBLIC OF THIEVES by Scott Lynch (Spectra, Hardcover, $27.00) The long-awaited third novel in the Gentlemen Bastards series takes things up several notches.  REPUBLIC is more complex, polished and nuanced that the previous two novels, so now we just have to wait patiently for number 4!

IN THE COMPANY OF THIEVES by Kage Baker (Tachyon, Trade Paperback, $14.95) - RIP Kage Baker, one of my very favorite writers, who passed away in 2010.  This volume collects "the rest of" the short stories about The Company, a nearly-omnipotent 24th century company who have perfected both time travel and an immortality process.  They send operatives back in time to collect children who historically died, and make them into immortal workers for The Company, salvaging treasures "lost" to history, but in fact sold to far-future collectors. This volume includes a previously unpublished story.

Possibly my favorite discovery of 2013 is Colin Cotterill, a mystery writer who lives in Thailand.  I'm late to the party with Cotterill, who currently has two series, one of which is very good, and the other of which I'm absolutely an evangelist for.  The good series begins with KILLED AT THE WHIM OF A HAT (Minotaur, Trade Paperback, $14.99) and follows an ambitious Thai journalist who has just moved to a crumbling seaside resort in the back of nowhere with her crazy family.   Each chapter beings with a cringe-inducing quote from George W. Bush, also the source of the title, from a 2004 speech.  (". . . [F]ree societies will be allies against these hateful few who have no conscience, who kill at the whim of a hat. . . .") The second series, which I've been urging all of my friends to read, starts with THE CORONER'S LUNCH, (Soho Crime, Trade Paperback, $14.00), takes place in 1978 Laos, and concerns the newly-appointed 72-year-old National Coroner Dr. Siri Paiboun.  Siri, a Paris-trained doctor, and for years a dedicated Communist guerrilla, was looking forward to a peaceful retirement.  Instead it's "Congratulations, Comrade!" and a post he's not really qualified for and never wanted.  So, Dr. Siri and his marvelous misfit friends at the morgue solve crimes amid the rampant corruption and ridiculous bureaucracy in these darkly humorous mysteries.  I've been recommending them to everyone.

As it's year-end, we have calendars galore.  There's something for every taste, from zombies to fairies to steampunk to astronomy and back again.  Any of them would make a great gift.

If you're looking for something classic, we have absolutely gorgeous Canterbury Classics leatherbound gift editions of Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Edgar Allen Poe, Lewis Carroll and Sherlock Holmes.  You won't believe they're only $24.95 each.

We also have more modern classics, like DUNE by Frank Herbert (Ace, Hardcover, $29.95), GOOD OMENS by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (Morrow, Hardcover, $29.99), THE ILLUSTRATED PRINCESS BRIDE by William Goldman (Houghton Mifflin, Hardcover, $25.00), almost a dozen different editions of THE HOBBIT by JRR Tolkien, GAME OF THRONES by George RR Martin (Bantam, Hardcover, $35.00), and many, many others in handsome hardcover format.

Speaking of Mr. Martin, if you or someone you care about is suffering from GAME OF THRONES withdrawal while we all wait for the next book, consider trying THE BLADE ITSELF by Joe Abercrombie (Pyr, Trade Paperback, $17.00), GARDENS OF THE MOON by Steven Erikson (Tor, Mass Market, $8.99), THE FALLEN BLADE by Jon Courtenay Grimwood, THE HUNDRED THOUSAND KINGDOMS by N.K. Jemisin, or THE STEEL REMAINS by Richard Morgan (Del Rey, Trade Paperback, $16.00).  They're all excellent and will help to diminish the craving.

Looking for a great science fiction anthology?  THE SCIENCE FICTION HALL OF FAME VOL. 1, edited by Robert Silverberg should be in everyone's library.  I would also suggest  21st CENTURY SCIENCE FICTION edited by David G. Hartwell and Patrick Neilsen Hayden (Tor, Hardcover, 2013), which just came out.

For the space opera fan in your life, try WITH THE LIGHTNINGS by David Drake (Baen, Mass Market, $7.99), (the first book in my favorite series of the genre,) or WORLDS OF WEBER by David Weber (Subterranean Press, Hardcover, $45.00), which is an Honor Harrington short story collection.

What about the horror fans?  Check out NOS4A2 by Joe Hill (William Morrow, Trade Paperback, $17.99), which even has a (terrifying) Christmas theme, SLIGHTS by Kaaron Warren (Angry Robot, Mass Market, $7.99) (sincerely messed up), or THE SHINING GIRLS by Lauren Beukes (Mulholland, Hardcover, $26.00), about a time-travelling serial killer. INFECTED by Scott Sigler (Crown, Hardcover, $24.95 or Trade Paperback, $14.99) is the start of a frightening trilogy that finishes up with PANDEMIC, which is due next month.  Scott will even sign and inscribe the book for you!

How about urban fantasy?  Perhaps DISCOUNT ARMAGEDDON by Seanan McGuire (DAW, Mass Market, $7.99), or SANDMAN SLIM by Richard Kadrey is the way to go?  (Incidentally, you can also get inscribed copies of any of Seanan's or Richard's in-print books from us - just call us for details.)  I'm also nuts about MIDNIGHT RIOT by Ben Aaronovitch (Ballantine, Mass Market, $7.99) and THE DEVIL YOU KNOW by Mike Carey (Grand Central, Mass Market, $7.99).  (Unfortunately, we can't have either of those signed for you, because the authors live in the UK.)

Here's some just plain good stuff in no particular order: THE LAST POLICEMAN by Ben Winters (Quirk, Trade Paperback, $14.95), PANDEMONIUM by Daryl Gregory (Del Rey, Trade Paperback, $14.00),  HOW TO MAKE FRIENDS WITH DEMONS by Graham Joyce (Night Shade Books, Trade Paperback, $14.95), A STRANGER IN OLONDRIA by Sofia Samatar, (Small Beer Press, Trade Paperback, $16.00),  THE BEST OF ALL POSSIBLE WORLDS by Karen Lord (Del Rey, Hardcover, $25.00) and THE HYDROGEN SONATA (Orbit, Trade Paperback, $17.00) by the late, great Iain M. Banks.

I you're having difficulty deciding, ask us for help with recommendations, or you could pick up a gift certificate and let them choose for themselves!

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