December 12, 2018

Holiday Gift Guide

by Jude Feldman

Hello All and Sundry!

This year seems to have flown by.  The explanation I've heard for the seeming acceleration of time I'm experiencing is that as we age, time seems to go by faster, because any given amount of time is a smaller fraction than it used to be of your life overall (i.e. when you're five years old, one year is one-fifth of your life, but when you're thirty-five, one year is a thirty-fifth of your life, so it is comparatively a much shorter time).  Regardless of why it happens, recognizing this disconcerting speeding up is a reminder to me to enjoy all the time we've got as best we can.  I'm working on it, and in that spirit -- I wish you all the very best, and hope that this season and next year both treat you all very well, and that you have much to celebrate both now and in the future!

As we hurtle seemingly increasingly quickly toward this gift-giving season, we here present our usual Opinionated (and Digression-Filled) Gift Guide to help you out.  However, if you don't see something appropriate here, we're always happy to make custom suggestions for you or anyone in your life.  We'll even wrap 'em for you!  (A special note to those of you purchasing presents: we're glad 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.)


Upcoming Events

Adam Plantinga, POLICE CRAFT (Quill Driver Books, Trade Paperback, $16.95) Thursday, January 10th at 6:00 pm

Writers With Drinks (at The Make-Out Room, 3225 22nd Street, San Francisco) with authors John Briscoe, Izzy Oneiric, Simon Sheppard, and Colin Winnette, hosted by Charlie Jane Anders! Saturday, January 12th at 7:30 pm

BCAF (Black and Brown Comix Arts Festival), at the San Francisco Public Library and City View at Metreon, Sunday, January 20th from 1:00 - 5:00 pm, and Monday, January 21st from 11:00 am - 5:00 pm

SF in SF (at The American Bookbinder's Museum, 355 Clementina Street, San Francisco) with authors Howard Hendrix, Cecelia Holland, and Kim Stanley Robinson, hosted by Terry Bisson, Sunday, January 20th at 6:00 pm

Rudy Rucker, RETURN TO THE HOLLOW EARTH (Transreal Books, Trade Paperback, $13.95 and Hardcover, $22.95) and others, and art show premiere! Saturday, January 26th at 3:00 pm

December Building Update

by Alan Beatts

Here we are at the end of another year.  It's been an interesting one for Borderlands, in the good, bad, and ugly(-ish) ways.  Mostly good, however.

Obviously, the biggest thing going on for us is the slow process of moving.  As regular readers know, I had expected the process to move faster, but the logic of doing the work ourselves versus hiring contractors has made the process slower but much, much cheaper.  All in all, it's to our advantage, but it has made for a substantially longer process that I expected going into it.  

Last month was the one year anniversary of starting work and it's kind of fun to look back on all that we've done.  Some of the highlights have been:

Taking a mass of ivy and concrete in the backyard and turning it into a set of lovely planters with actual plants growing in them.

Replacing the falling-down plywood and scrap around the yard with new redwood fences.

Building a shearwall across the back of the building so that it will withstand earthquakes much better than before.

Nailing reinforcing clips on to the ceiling joists to further improve the seismic resistance of the building.  Forty-five joists, four clips per joist, eight nails per clip, for a total of 1440 nails.  That is, in contractor terms, a s**t-ton of nails.

November Bestsellers

1) Red Moon by Kim Stanley Robinson
2) The Consuming Fire by John Scalzi
3) Soulless: Illustrated Edition by Gail Carriger
4) Rejoice, a Knife to the Heart by Steven Erikson
5) Fire & Blood by George R.R. Martin
6) Labyrinth Index by Charles Stross
7) How Long 'Til Black Future Month? by N.K. Jemisin
8) Someone Like Me by M.R. Carey
9) The Monster Baru Comorant by Seth Dickinson
10) Lies Sleeping by Ben Aaronovitch

Trade Paperbacks
1) The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
2) The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, trans by Ken Liu
3) The Omega Objection by Gail Carriger
4) The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
5) All Systems Red by Martha Wells
6) Autonomous by Annalee Newitz
7) Hannah Green and Her Unfeasibly Mundane Existence by Michael Marshall Smith
8) All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
9) Freeze-Frame Revolution by Peter Watts
10) The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin

Mass Market Paperbacks
1) Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
2) Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
3) Old Man's War by John Scalzi
4) The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi
5) Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
6) Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
7) Who Fears Death? by Nnedi Okorafor
8) Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
9) Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
10) The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin

December News

* R.I.P. to Stan Lee, the creator of so many famous superheroes and a man who inspired many people:

* We're sorry to report the death of William Goldman, Oscar-winning screenwriter and more importantly, author of THE PRINCESS BRIDE.

* We're extremely sorry to hear that Endgame in Oakland will be closing at the end of January.  Please drop by and give them some support this month to assist with their closing expenses -- pick up a board or card game or a miniature, and also let them know they'll be sorely missed.

* The classic vampire book THE GILDA STORIES by Jewelle Gomez is being adapted for TV by Cheryl Dunye and we are so excited.  Pick up the collection now while you can.

December 10, 2018

The Tale of The Beam: A Cautionary and Epistolary Discourse for the Burgeoning Contractor

by Alan Beatts

May XXth, 2018

Dear Mr. Welder,

It was a pleasure meeting you today and having the chance to check the rough set-up for the I-beam you are fabricating for me.  I was doubly glad to visit so that I could draw your attention to the following:

The three pairs of tabs for the posts were all something other than the specified 5 1/2" apart.  Since this dimension is critical if the posts are going to fit properly, I appreciate your attention to their correct spacing.  Though I respect the artistic "organic" quality of spacing each pair at a unique distance, I would prefer a more "mechanical" or even "precise" interpretation of the work.

The holes in those tabs were located a very precise inch lower than specified.  Though I'm sure that you, as a welder, and I, as a bookseller, are both correct that it's not an important consideration; Matthew, as a structural engineer, does not seem to agree and so I think we should subjugate our shared opinion to his.

There was also the pesky matter that the tabs for the middle post (along with the associated reinforcements) were located more than the indicated distance from the joint between the two sections of beam.  Though I'm sure that the planned connection of that joint by three 7/8" bolts will perfectly match the strength of the rest of the beam (the full height and 18-lbs-per-foot of hot-rolled steel), it seems that Matthew, spoil sport that he is, thinks that it would be wise for the joint to be supported by a post that is located _close_ to the joint.

I'm very glad that the final welding had not been completed and so it will be "easy", as you assured me, to correct these oversights.  Though you have informed me that there is, currently, in your possession, the full set of engineering drawings that I provided at the beginning of the job, please don't hesitate to ask for another copy if needed.

Alan Beatts