April 08, 2014

How Can You Not Have Read Blah? - A Meditation on the Many Roads To Becoming a Fan

Editor's note: since Alan continues with construction -- thankfully most of the loud parts are over --  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.  But meanwhile, enjoy this guest piece from Na'amen Tilahun.  Na'amen is a writer & reviewer and has been a bookseller at Borderlands for four years.  You can check out his blog at http://naamenblog.wordpress.com/.  (Please note that while Borderlands is probably the only bookstore in the world with its own SWAT team, and that Alan and I will personally back any of our employees in a street fight, their opinions are their own and don't necessarily represent the store. - Jude Feldman)

by Na'amen Gobert Tilahun

Since I've worked at Borderlands, I have had a lot of random, short conversations about SF/F (science-fiction/fantasy) and its creators almost every day at work.  In the course of recommending titles or discussing authors it's inevitable that someone I've not read will come up.  Most people breeze right by it, but there's always someone who will widen their eyes, look at me bewildered, and ask, "How can you work here/like SF/F and not have read **fill in the blank**?"

I'll usually smile, shrug, and say, "Well I was reading other things."  About 25% of the time this leads to the customer asking me what I was reading and me turning them on to an author they don't know about.

The rest of the time, it becomes something different.

March Bestsellers

1. Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
2. Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
3. Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett
4. Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan
5. Letters to the Pumpkin King by Seanan McGuire
6. The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
7. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
8. Elantris by Brandon Sanderson tied with Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
9. What the Doctor Ordered by Michael Blumlein
10. Night Broken by Patricia Briggs

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. Half-Off Ragnarok by Seanan McGuire
2. Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
3. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
4. The Human Division by John Scalzi
5. London Falling by Paul Cornell
6. Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovich
7. Impulse by Steven Gould
8. Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
9. Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
10. Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch

Trade Paperbacks
1. Indexing by Seanan McGuire
2. Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson
3. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
4. Questionable Practices by Eileen Gunn
5. Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

March News Roundup

* Overheard in the Cafe:
"I guess you could say my happy place is filled with big red Beelzebub bunnies."
"Okay, great, now you have me wondering what a puffin would taste like."

* Nominees for the 2013 Nebula Awards have been announced.  In the Best Novel category, the nominees are:
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler (Marian Wood)
The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman (Morrow; Headline Review)
Fire with Fire, Charles E. Gannon (Baen)
Hild, Nicola Griffith (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
The Red: First Light, Linda Nagata (Mythic Island)
A Stranger in Olondria, Sofia Samatar (Small Beer)
The Golem and the Jinni, Helene Wecker (Harper)

The awards will be be presented the weekend of May 17th -18th in San Jose, and Borderlands will be on hand that weekend selling books.  See the complete list of nominees here: http://www.sfwa.org/2014/02/2013-nebula-nominees-announced/

* In the "fashion that just might drive you mad and consume your soul" department, Cthulhu leggings!: http://blackmilkclothing.com/collections/leggings/products/cthulhu-leggings

* Well, why NOT build a kangaroo robot? http://io9.com/somebody-built-a-kangaroo-robot-because-why-the-hell-no-1559391177

* Amazing graphic chronology of science fiction from Ward Shelley: http://www.wardshelley.com/  (Click on "History of Science Fiction" link, left.)

* We were shocked and sorry to hear of the death of author Michael Shea.  He was a brilliant writer and a gentleman in the old-fashioned sense.  Locus magazine's print edition published some lovely and moving remembrances from his friends, including this one from Laird Barron: http://lairdbarron.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/a-light-goes-out/ .  I strongly recommend you pick up the issue to read the others as well.

* We sincerely regret to report the death of the larger-than-life storyteller Lucius Shepard.  Lucius was an exceptionally talented author and a true character, and we will miss him.  Remembrance by Michael Swanwick: http://floggingbabel.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/lucius.html and also Jeremy Lassen: http://viewfromcorona.blogspot.com/2014/03/lucius-story-teller.html .

April Upcoming Events

Eileen Gunn, QUESTIONABLE PRACTICES, (Small Beer Press, Trade Paperback, $16.00) Saturday, April 12th at 3:00 pm

SF in SF (at The Emerald Tablet, (80 Fresno St. San Francisco CA 94133 (near the intersection of Columbus and Broadway)) with authors Daniel Suarez and Andy Weir, Saturday, April 12th at 7:00 pm

Emily Jiang and April Chu, SUMMONING THE PHOENIX, (Lee and Low, Other Hardcover, $18.95) Sunday, April 13th from 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

"Flytrap" Magazine Re-Debut Event with editors Tim Pratt & Heather Shaw and contributors Megan
Arkenberg, Aislinn Quicksilver Harvey, Jessica May Lin, Nick Mamatas, Dominica Phetteplace, and Sarah Smith, Saturday, April 26th at 3:00 pm

Daryl Gregory, AFTERPARTY, (Tor, Hardcover, $26.99) Saturday, May 3rd at 3:00 pm

Seanan McGuire, SPARROW HILL ROAD (DAW, Trade Paperback, $16.00) Saturday, May 10th at 5:00 pm

Marie Brennan, TROPIC OF SERPENTS (Tor, Hardcover, $25.99) and Mary Robinette Kowal, VALOUR AND VANITY (Tor, Hardcover, $25.99) Sunday, May 11th at 3:00 pm

(for more information check the end of this newsletter)

Coming up this summer, we''re delighted to host Sarah Lotz, Jane Lindskold, Greg van Eekhout, Jo Walton, and many others, so stay tuned!

Details after the break.

April 04, 2014

Raising Sharp Unwritten Provident Martians

What the staff is currently reading:

Alan: "Reading BALEFIRES by David Drake.  Re-reading, actually.  Damn but there's some great stories in that collection.  Especially Hunting Ground (which I just finished)."

Cary: "RAISING STEAM by Terry Pratchett, THE MARTIAN by Andrew Weir, and
some of the Jeeves book by P.G. Wodehouse."

Claud:"PAYOFF and SHARP, by Alex Hughes; THE UNWRITTEN (up through Volume 8), by Mike Carey and Peter Gross; MISS Z, THE DARK YOUNG LADY, by Angela Carter; THE EGYPTOLOGIST, by Arthur Phillips; QUANTUM MOON, by Denise Vitola (reread); HALF A KING, by Joe Abercrombie; CITY BOY: My Life In New York In The 1960s And 70s, by Edmund White; THE KING IN YELLOW AND OTHER HORROR STORIES, by Robert W. Chambers (reread, because of TRUE DETECTIVE); HOLDING ON UPSIDE DOWN: The Life And Work Of Marianne Moore, by Linda Leavell (very good); and IMAGES OF MAN AND DEATH, by Philippe Ari├Ęs."

Jeremy:"CHANCE by Kem Nunn and ACT OF PROVIDENCE by Joseph Payne Brennan."

Jude: "DANGEROUS WOMEN edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois (picked it up for the fun Joe Abercrombie and then got hooked -- wow,  Megan Abbott's My Heart is Either Broken is a brilliant gut punch of a story!); P IS FOR PERIL; Q IS FOR QUARRY; R IS FOR RICOCHET; and S IS FOR SILENCE by Sue Grafton, PALISADES PARK by Alan Brennert; GHOST HUNTING IN MONTANA by Barnaby Conrad III; JULIE AND JULIA by Julie Powell; and HIGH PROFILE by Robert B. Parker (I don't like the Jesse Stone novels nearly as much as the Spenser novels)."