February 20, 2014

Savage Cool Infected Real Life Freaks with Gifts

What the staff has been reading recently. . . .

Alan:"Reading the NIGHT'S DAWN trilogy by Peter F. Hamilton and wondering how I missed it for all these years.  I was surprised to note that, despite being clearly SF, it's structured exactly like a big fantasy trilogy.  Perhaps the only SF trilogy that I can think of with that sort of structure."

Cary: "AMERICAN SAVAGE by Dan Savage, MY MAN JEEVES by P.G. Wodehouse, MY REAL CHILDREN by Jo Walton, LIFE AFTER LIFE by Kate Atkinson (a good pairing with the Walton!) and MAISIE DOBBS by Jacqueline Winspear."

Claud: "COOL GRAY CITY OF LOVE: 49 Views Of San Francisco, by Gary Kamiya; INSIDE THE DREAM PALACE: The Life And Times Of New York's Legendary Chelsea Hotel, by Sherill Tippins; AFTER DEAD, by Charlaine Harris; THE PROUD TOWER: A Portrait Of The World Before The War 1890-1914, by Barbara W. Tuchman; HILD, by Nicola Griffith (excellent!); CRITICAL MASS, by Sara Paretsky; LIVING DOWNTOWN: The History Of Residential Hotels In The United States, by Paul Groth (fascinating); AMERICAN NATIONS: A History Of The Eleven Rival Regional Cultures Of North America, by Colin Woodard (really interesting); THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS, by M.R. Carey (really good); MY REAL CHILDREN, by Jo Walton (tremendously engaging); DEATH ON THE NILE, by Agatha Christie (reread); HUBERT'S FREAKS: The Rare-Book Dealer, The Times Square Talker, And The Lost Photos Of Diane Arbus, by Gregory Gibson (amazing); THE GENTRIFICATION OF THE MIND: Witness To A Lost Imagination, by Sarah Schulman; and CLEAN, by Alex Hughes (reread)."

Dev: "THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS by M.R. Carey (advance copy), CHASING THE MOON by A. Lee Martinez, INFECTED by Scott Sigler."

Jude: HUBERT'S FREAKS: The Rare-Book Dealer, The Times Square Talker, And The Lost Photos Of Diane Arbus, by Gregory Gibson (I loved it, too); HOTEL by Arthur Hailey (trashy 60's fun); AFTERPARTY by Daryl Gregory (advance copy; LOVED IT - a book about drugs and crime and religion and more drugs!), MY REAL CHILDREN by Jo Walton (advance copy), and SPARROW HILL ROAD by Seanan McGuire (advance copy).

February 11, 2014

Just Be Glad It’s Not a Woman’s Bare Shoulder With a Tattoo, and Her Head Cut Off! (or, Code and Coding In Genre Publishing)

by Jeremy Lassen

Editor's Note: Since Alan's waist-deep in construction, and has been doing things like working 22 hours straight and then disappearing to sleep for 10 hours and then returning to work another 20 hours,  I've asked some other staffers to contribute From the Office pieces for the next few months.  Don't worry; all the rest of us are just as opinionated as Alan, and he'll be back with his own special brand of analysis in a few months.  He's even mentioned possibly doing a Screed!  (We're both kind of pissed off at Apple right now.)  But meanwhile, enjoy a guest piece from Jeremy Lassen, Borderlands' first (and longest continuous) employee.  (Please note that while Borderlands is probably the only bookstore in the world with its own SWAT team, and that I and Alan will personally back any of our employees in a street fight, their opinions are their own and don't necessarily represent those of the store.)

I had an interesting conversation on Twitter last month.  No, seriously, I did.  Someone Tweeted a jape about a book that was being described as “ENDER'S GAME meets THE HUNGER GAMES.”  The person was really unimpressed with the “jam two best-sellers together” marketing pitch.  I had read that particular book in galley a few months earlier, and absolutely loved it.  And while, plot-wise, the comparison was apt, it wasn’t perfect.

The elevator pitch for RED RISING, as embodied by the blurb on the cover, failed to convey a larger sense of history and dialogue with SF literature.  The book was smart, and savvy in a way that the facile best-seller mash  description just didn’t get across.  There was a detailed colony-society on Mars . . . there was a caste system, and a revolutionary movement to overthrow the established hierarchy.  And there was a hero whose tragic history gave him the passion to do terrible things, and at the same time filled him with a sense of doubt and inadequacy.

From my perspective as a cranky old SF reader, this book had a bunch of Zelazny, a bit of Philip Jose Farmer, and maybe some MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS, and some Vatta, (and maybe even some early, early Piers Anthony  -- CTHON or the Phaze Adept stuff -- but trying to reference the GOOD Piers Anthony versus the BAD Piers Anthony may be trying to slice the cheese a bit too thin, so I’ll stick with Zelazny and Farmer for now.)

January Bestsellers


1) Pandemic by Scott Sigler
2) Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
3) The Princess and Mr. Whiffle vol. 1 by Patrick Rothfuss
4) Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
5) The Princess and Mr. Whiffle vol. 2 by Patrick Rothfuss
6) Dead Set by Richard Kadrey
7) The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
8) Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
9) Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
10) The Abominable by Dan Simmons


1) Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
2) Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
3) The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
4) Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin
5) Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
6) Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
7) 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson
8) Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
9) Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
10) Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

Trade Paperbacks

1) The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
2) Shadowplay by Laura Lam
3) Pantomime by Laura Lam
4) The Big Aha! by Rudy Rucker
5) NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

January News Roundup

* If you missed Rudy Rucker's talk, Q&A, and "art tour" in January, you can listen to it here! http://www.rudyrucker.com/blog/mp3/rucker_borderlands_big_aha_show_jan_17_2014.mp3 . Rudy's paintings will be on display in the Cafe until March 15th.

* The Locus Poll and Survey Ballot is now online.  The deadline for voting is April 15th, 2014: http://www.locusmag.com/Magazine/2014/PollAndSurvey.html

* "Boom: A Journal of California" interviews Kim Stanley Robinson, and the interview is fascinating: http://www.boomcalifornia.com/2014/01/kim-stanley-robinson/

* i09.com asked top authors and editors what books they'd recommend for converting friends who don't read within the genre into genre readers.  The resulting suggestions are very interesting: http://io9.com/the-best-entry-level-science-fiction-books-to-convert-1510802842

February Upcoming Events

David Edison, THE WAKING ENGINE (Tor, Hardcover, $25.99) Saturday, February 15th at 3:00 pm

Finish That Book! Passion and Productivity for Writers with authors Juliet Blackwell and Sophie Littlefield, Saturday, March 1st from 12:30 pm - 2:30 pm

Michael Blumlein, WHAT THE DOCTOR ORDERED (Centipede Press, Hardcover, $50.00) Sunday, March 2nd at 3:00 pm

Brandon Sanderson, WORDS OF RADIANCE (Tor, Hardcover, $27.99) Thursday, March 6th at 6:00 pm

Seanan McGuire, HALF OFF RAGNAROK (DAW, Mass Market, $7.99) Saturday, March 15th at 6:00 pm

Edith Maxwell, A TINE TO LIVE, A TINE TO DIE (Kensington, Hardcover, $24.00 and Mass Market, $7.99) Sunday, March 16th at 1:00 pm

Bruce DeSilva, PROVIDENCE RAG (Forge, Hardcover, $25.99) Sunday, March 16th at 3:00 pm

Nick Mamatas, Jim Nisbet, Sin Soracco, and Ken Wishnia: PM Press Crime Writers' Short-Fire Reading and Signing, Wednesday, March 19th at 7:00 pm

Dan Wells, RUINS (Balzer + Bray, Hardcover, $17.99) and Robison Wells, BLACKOUT (HarperTeen, Hardcover, $17.99), Friday, March 21st at 7:00 pm

Details after the break