October 14, 2016

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.

* The highly-anticipated Netflix superhero series Luke Cage premiered and the incredible response caused a Netflix outage for several hours, but that still doesn’t mean we’ll see him on the big screen.  http://sciencefiction.com/2016/10/03/mike-colter-doubts-luke-cage-fellow-defenders-will-show-marvels-movies/

* On the importance of Indigenous science fiction: author Drew Hayden Taylor on why he writes the novels he does.  Listen to the interview here: http://www.cbc.ca/radio/q/schedule-for-thursday-october-6-2016-1.3793660/drew-hayden-taylor-writes-indigenous-sci-fi-he-craved-as-a-kid-1.3793678

* Producer Allen Bain talks about optioning Allen Steele’s Coyote series and the need for optimistic science fiction.  (And we know this is not the point of the article, but the fact that his company has also optioned Octavia Butler's DAWN made us very excited!)  http://www.theverge.com/2016/9/26/13064692/allen-bain-steele-interview-coyote-optimistic-sci-fi-tv

* The Museum of Science Fiction is kickstarting an amazing-sounding anthology called CATALYSTS, EXPLORERS & SECRET KEEPERS: WOMEN OF SCIENCE FICTION.  Check out more information on how you can donate or contribute here: http://io9.gizmodo.com/be-a-part-of-the-museum-of-science-fictions-awesome-fir-1787464196

* Thirteen very different science fiction authors including Madeline Ashby and David Brin talk about how "Star Trek" influenced their lives and their work.  http://www.theverge.com/2016/9/10/12847342/science-fiction-authors-star-trek-influenced

* It may not be a universal translator yet, but it's a start -- if it works.  http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2016/09/28/wearable-translation-device-promises-science-fiction-future-almost.html

* Have the burning desire to know how exactly the gory chestburster scene from "Alien" came to be?  Who doesn't?  Check out the video here!  http://mashable.com/2016/10/07/art-of-the-scene-alien-chestburster/#0qj6HiVdoOqs

* An excellent essay on the history of women and computers, and a fascinating analysis of how AIs are gendered.  http://www.themarysue.com/women-are-computers/

* It's the current list of reasons why humanity has not made contact with aliens yet.  It always lists the same reasons, but we can never stop ourselves from looking.  http://sciencefiction.com/2016/09/30/top-10-reasons-havent-met-aliens/

* An extensive analysis of women in science fiction that goes beyond the Hugos to tie in science fiction's historical "women's problem" -- a great read.  http://theconversation.com/friday-essay-science-fictions-women-problem-58626

* The podcast Uncertainty Principle has done a two-parter focusing on Where Science Fiction meets Science Fact: http://futurism.com/science-fiction-exploring-the-future-through-art/ and How Science Fiction has Changed Through the Decades: http://futurism.com/how-has-science-fiction-changed-over-the-decades/

* One of the earliest science fiction works was written in the 1600s by a duchess.  We'd never heard of this book before and now we want to read it so badly!  http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/one-of-the-earliest-science-fiction-books-was-written-in-the-1600s-by-a-duchess

* This webcomic Barrier by Saga author Brian K. Vaughan sounds half "horrifying alien monsters" and half "horrible human monsters". Here's a thorough review from io9.  http://io9.gizmodo.com/barrier-is-a-science-fiction-comic-that-america-needs-r-1786541394

* A post-apocalyptic movie called "Riot Girls"? You honestly didn’t need to tell us any more, but the details sound amazing and we want it now.   http://variety.com/2016/film/festivals/jovanka-vuckovic-directing-riot-girls-1201853543/

Award News

* The fifth annual Copper Cylinder Awards, for Canadian literature of the fantastic, has announced its two winners - Silvia Moreno-Garcia's SIGNAL TO NOISE and Leah Bobet's AN INHERITANCE OF ASHES.  More information here: http://coppercylinderaward.ca/2016-winners

* The Hugos at World Con 75 in Helsinki will be a trial for a new category, Best Series.  Details here: http://www.locusmag.com/News/2016/09/hugo-awards-trials-best-series/

* The David Gemmell Awards announced their winners for 2016: http://www.gemmellawards.com/

* The British Fantasy Awards have also announced their 2016 winners: http://www.britishfantasysociety.org/british-fantasy-awards/winners-of-the-british-fantasy-awards-2016/

* Catherynne M. Valente wins the very first Eugie Award for short fiction, named in remembrance of author Eugie Foster.  http://www.eugiefoster.com/eugieaward


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    1. Dear Nathaniel,

      Thank you very much for your comment. I would disagree with you on two points. First, I did read the law in question. Second, though there might be an argument about whether most booksellers qualify under that statuary definition as "principally" selling collectables, Borderlands certainly does. We have an extensive stock of signed editions and have always had a reputation as dealers in limited editions. Furthermore, I personally, match the second definition in section 1739.7. (a)(4)(A)' "a person who by his or her occupation holds himself or herself out as having knowledge or skill peculiar to collectibles" since I have, among other things, appraised collections for insurance purposes, spoken at professional gatherings about rare books, and enjoy a reputation as an informed professional in the field.

      As for the larger population of booksellers, since the law specifies penalties to be awarded in the case of a civil suit and the burden of proof in a civil suit is only a preponderance of evidence (commonly explained as "is it more likely than not that the defendant was at fault"), I think that the general concern within my field is justified. As we all know, it is awfully easy to sue someone, especially in California and, even if one prevails in a lawsuit it can be very expensive and exhausting to defend against one. And, finally, most business insurance liability insurance will not cover a situation in which the insured committed a crime. So, a bookseller who loses such a suit could be on the hook for the full amount of the judgement.

      I understand that you might not feel that the degree of concern on the part of professionals in my field is justified but, on the other hand, there are an awful lot of knowledgeable people out there who disagree with you including but not limited to authors, attorneys, and the directors of both the local booksellers association (the NCIBA) and the national association (the ABA).