October 14, 2016

Upcoming Events

Litquake LitCrawl, Phase 2 with Alex Dolan, Janet Dawson, Daryl Gregory and Eliot Fintushel on Saturday, October 15th at 7:15pm

Litquake LitCrawl, Phase 3 with Skye Allen, Chaz Brenchley, and Becky Chambers on Saturday, October 15th at 8:30pm

Kristen Cast and P.C. Cast, THE SCENT OF SALT AND SAND (Diversion Publishing, Trade Paperback, $9.99) on Sunday, October 16th at 3:00pm

SF in SF with authors Garth Nix and Helene Wecker (at the American Bookbinders Museum, 355 Clementina, San Francisco) on Sunday, October 16th at 6:30pm

Drop-by signing with Jeff Johnson, EVERYTHING UNDER THE MOON (Soft Skull Press, Trade Paperback, $15.95) on Wednesday, October 19th at 6:00pm

Borderlands Sponsors' Open Mic on Friday, October 21st at 7:00pm

Brent Weeks, THE BLOOD MIRROR (Orbit, Hardcover, $28.00) on Tuesday, October 25th at 6:00pm

Jewelle Gomez, THE GILDA STORIES 25th ANNIVERSARY EDITION (City Lights Publisher, Trade Paperback, $16.95) on Sunday, October 30th at 3:00pm

Maria Alexander, SNOWED (Raw Dog Screaming Press, Trade Paperback, $14.95) on Sunday, November 6th at 3:00pm

Chris Roberson, FIREWALK (Night Shade Books, Hardcover, $24.99) on Saturday, November 12th at 2:00pm

Megan E. O'Keefe, BREAK THE CHAINS (Angry Robot, Mass Market, $7.99) on Sunday, November 13th at 1:00pm

Mary Robinette Kowal, GHOST TALKERS (Tor, Hardcover, $24.99) on Sunday, November 13th at 3:00pm

SF in SF with authors Nick Mamatas and Rick Wilber (at the American Bookbinders Museum, 355 Clementina, San Francisco) on Sunday, November 13th at 6:30pm

CYBER WORLD (Hex Publishers, Trade Paperback, $14.99) event with Richard Kadrey, Aaron Lovett, Josh Viola, Isabel Yap, and Alvaro Zinos-Amaro on Saturday, November 19th at 2:00pm

Dan Wells, EXTREME MAKEOVER: APOCALYPSE EDITION (Tor Books, Hardcover, $27.99 and Trade Paperback $17.99) on Saturday, November 19th at 5:00pm

Richard Lupoff, WHERE MEMORY HIDES: A WRITER'S LIFE (Bold Venture Press, Trade Paperback (Black & White Edition), $22.95, and Trade Paperback (Collector's Color Edition), $49.95) on Sunday, November 20th at 3:00pm

And stay tuned for more amazing authors including Brandon Sanderson in November before we take our holiday event hiatus!

From The Office

by Alan Beatts

It's been a while since I wrote something for this newsletter (just been too damn busy of late -- mostly in a good way) and I hope that the following won't be a disappointment to you.  Because it's got nothing to do with our field, or books at all.  In fact, it treads very close to my self-imposed restriction about not talking about politics.

But, all that aside, I've got some information that it is important to me to get spread around and, for reasons that you'll hear about in a moment, it's been surprisingly hard to get people to listen.  Curious?  Then please read on.

I've never served in the armed forces, either in the US or elsewhere, but I've worked with and for a lot of veterans.  On top of that, I've numbered many of them among my friends.  Something that has been a huge source of frustration and disgust for me over the years is how damn hard it can be for veterans to get access to the benefits that they deserve, especially health care.  When I was in my teens and 20s I used to go with my friend Maureen to wait at the VA in Palo Alto for her doctors appointments.  She had been discharged from the Marine Corps (she was one of the very first women to work in Marine Intelligence, which we always joked was one of the biggest oxymorons in history) after a catastrophic car accident while on-duty.  The resulting injuries left her with chronic pain and memory problems for the rest of her life.  One of the reasons that I'd go with her was that when the pain was especially bad she couldn't drive.  We used to wait for hours and hours at a stretch to see a doctor.  On top of that there were constant problems with her eligibility for health care.  To be fair, the doctors and other staff did their best but the whole system was inefficient and over-loaded.  It is, to this day, one of the worst health-care systems I've seen in the US.

I've heard about that sort of experience from many other vets that I've known.  But, if the process of getting care was difficult, then the process of signing up in the first place was unbelievable.  As of a few years ago, that signup process involved a very long paper form that had to be filled out completely and accurately.  Then that form was sent off to a single office, in Atlanta, where an understaffed office manually reviewed the forms, manually checked them against an ancient database and then, if everything was correct and worked properly, then manually entered information into yet another, ancient database.

In short, it was exactly the sort of Kafka-esque process that arises when the paper-pushing side of the US Military and the paper-pushing side of the Federal government spend one drunken night together and then have a really ugly baby.  Delays of over a year were not uncommon and, if the forms weren't filled out properly, it could be over a year before the applicant ever heard about it.

However, that whole process has changed recently due to a project that my friend John worked on.  John is one of our sponsors and he's working with the United States Digital Service <https://www.usds.gov>.  Until John mentioned it, I'd never heard of the USDS but it's pretty neat.  Basically it is an organization put together by the current administration designed to attract top level technical experts from the private sector, pair them with government administrators and then ask them to sort out some of the technical and IT problems that interfere with the government providing services to the public.  They've done some great work since 2014 when they started and it makes me feel pretty proud that at least four of our sponsors are working with them right now.

September Bestsellers

1. NINTH CITY BURNING by J. Patrick Black
2. THE LAST DAYS OF NEW PARIS by China Mieville
3. DEATH’S END by Cixin Liu
4. WAYPOINT KANGAROO by Curtis C. Chen
5. EVERFAIR by Nisi Shawl
6. EVERY HEART A DOORWAY by Seanan McGuire
8. HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD PARTS 1 & 2 by Jack Thorne, J.K. Rowling, and John Tiffany
10. INFOMOCRACY by Malka Older

Trade Paperbacks
2. WHEN THE BLUE SHIFT COMES by Robert Silverberg and Alvaro Zinos-Amaro
3. THE OBELISK GATE by N.K. Jemisin
5. THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY by Genevieve Cogman
8. THE DARK FOREST by Cixin Liu
9. HEROINE COMPLEX by Sarah Kuhn
10. THE BALLAD OF BLACK TOM by Victor Lavelle tie with PEOPLE OF COLO(U)R DESTROY SCIENCE FICTION edited by Nalo Hopkinson and Kristine Ong Muslim

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. ONCE BROKEN FAITH by Seanan McGuire
2. FIX by Ferrett Steinmetz
3. AURORA by Kim Stanley Robinson
4. FLEX by Ferrett Steinmetz
5. ZEROES by Chuck Wendig
6. AMERICAN GODS by Neil Gaiman
7. THE NAME OF THE WIND by Patrick Rothfuss
8. POSEIDON’S WAKE by Alastair Reynolds
10. ROSEMARY AND RUE by Seanan McGuire

October News

* Overheard in the store (and elsewhere):
"What surprises you the most about the way the future has turned out?"
Robert Silverberg: "That I am still here!"

"Twitter: it helps us badger people into hiring our friends."

* You'll probably be hearing a lot more about an ill-conceived, poorly-written, and thoroughly over-reaching California law, AB 1570 (signed in early September and supposed to go into effect in January of 2017) that would require dealers to provide insanely detailed "Certificates of Authenticity" for ANY autographed item over $5 that they sell.  The item doesn't even have to be autographed by a celebrity or person of note, just "autographed".  So that means this would apply not only to any $7.99 mass market paperback signed by Seanan McGuire, Neil Gaiman, or Brent Weeks that we sell when the authors are not on the premises, for example, but the law is so poorly written that it would also apply to Green Apple Books selling textbooks with the student's signature in them, or a grandmother's collection of hand-written recipes, if she happened to sign them.  The bookseller would need to provide a customized Certificate of Authenticity for these items, or expose themselves to the possibility of extremely expensive litigation.

Obviously independent booksellers are watching this carefully.  Eureka Books posted a long and passionate statement detailing  just some of the myriad potential problems with the law: http://eurekabooksellers.com/california-just-made-it-harder-to-sell-your-signed-books-and-art/  We urge you to contact your local California representative (you can find them here: http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/) and ask them to demand the rewriting, or better, the repeal of this law, which DOES NOT APPLY to the very worst offenders of the type of fraud it seeks to combat (Ebay and Amazon, among others), and could have a severe impact on independent bookstores, including Borderlands.