February 12, 2020

Borderlands is Hiring

Dave Fitzgerald, whom many of you know as the "baby" member of our staff  (he's only been a bookseller for a bit over a year -- that's a mere infant in bookseller years), is going to be heading out of SF for Eureka.  We're damn sad to see Dave go; he's a hell of a fine bookseller on top of fitting in well with the rest of the inmates at The Borderlands Home for Those Who Read Too Much.  But, since it's looking like he'll be splitting at the end of February, we need to hire someone to replace him. Further, because of all the extra work that this year is going to hold, we're decided to hire two new staff people.  So . . .

If you've ever thought that it would be fun to work at Borderlands, here's your chance.  But, before you fire off a resume and cover letter, there are a couple  of things you should know -
1)  It's a hard job.  Despite his charming disposition, Alan can be a demanding person to work for and, on top of that, there is a _lot_ of work to do.
2)  The pay is San Francisco minimum wage, currently $15.59 per hour.
3)  Almost all shifts are from noon to 8 pm, weekends included.
4)  After being trained, there would be two to three shifts per week.
And that's all the bad news.  There are a bunch of upsides, but we can talk about them in person.  If you're interested, please do email Alan Beatts (abeatts@borderlands-books.com) a resume-type-object along with a cover letter explaining why you'd like the job.

Upcoming Events

Katharine Kerr, SWORD OF FIRE (DAW, Hardcover, $27.00) Saturday, February 22nd at 5:00 pm

SF in SF (at The American Bookbinders' Museum, 355 Clementina Street, San Francisco) with Mike Chen, Tiffany Trent, and Juliette Wade, moderated by Terry Bisson, Sunday, February 23rd at 6:00 pm

Seanan McGuire, COME TUMBLING DOWN (Tor.com, Hardcover, $19.99) and IMAGINARY NUMBERS, (DAW, Mass Market, $7.99), Saturday, February 29th at 6:00 pm

N.K. Jemisin, THE CITY WE BECAME (Orbit, Hardcover, $28.00) Thursday, April 2nd, time and location TBA

Max Barry, PROVIDENCE (G.P. Putnam's Sons, Hardcover, $27.00) Saturday, April 4th at 3:00 pm

Borderlands 2020 Sponsorships

by Alan Beatts

At the beginning of 2015 Borderlands was getting ready to close.  San Francisco voters had passed an increase in the minimum wage that was going to end the financial viability of the store, probably by the middle of July that year.  If not at that point, then the second increase scheduled for July of this year was certainly going to do the job.  Although I and the rest of the staff strongly support minimum wage laws in general, and we suspected that San Francisco's local increase would be generally positive for the city as a whole, we were trapped by the idiosyncrasy of the book business.  Unlike most products, books have a price printed on them. That makes the usual business solution of increasing prices to cover higher expenses impossible for us.  Rather than ride the business down into the grave, I and the rest of the staff decided it was better to close quickly, at the time of our choosing and at the top of our game.

Our customers were very much opposed to this and, out of their comments & suggestions and in consultation with the staff, we decided to try an experiment.  We would ask that a minimum of 300 people sponsor the store for $100 each.  If that many people were willing, it would offset the added expense of the wage increases that were scheduled to raise the wage to $15 per hour by the middle of the following year.  Since that increased expense would be on-going, a basic assumption was that the sponsorship would need to recur each year.

2020 will be our sixth year operating as a sponsored business.  Thus far, it has been a big success.  Not only have more than the required number of people sponsored us for each year, but with the support of our sponsors, customers, and fellow professionals in our field, we were able to raise the funds to purchase a building on Haight Street to be our permanent location.  2020, our 22nd year in business, is going to be a momentous one marked by our relocation to our new home.  We will no longer be subject to the greatest threat to the survival of any small business -- a massive and unmanageable increase in rent.

From the Office

Two Cool Things:

I don't get much time to write about stuff that I thought was particularly neat now-a-days.  Actually, I don't get much time. Period.

But, I ran across two things last month that I wanted to share.  The first is the TV series of Andrzej Sapkowski's "The Witcher".  It is . . . odd . . . and I really liked it.  The books are thoroughly imbued with Polish historical and cultural influences and that quality comes through in the show.  Which means that characters don't always act the way that you'd expect, and the story doesn't play out that way, either.

Now, granted the show is a bit uneven and there are some flaws but, overall, I thought it was refreshingly different.  And there are two _great_ sword fights, which is a big plus in my book. You'll find it on Netflix and I think it's worth a watch.  As a little added treat, here's the show's star, Henry Cavill, reading the first "Witcher" story - https://youtu.be/uUST_IQYp-o

The other thing . . . wow.  I read Everything Under The Moon by Jeff Johnson a couple of weeks ago.  I read it in one day (almost in a single sitting).  The damn thing grabbed me by the face and didn't let go 'til I was done.  I absolutely loved it.  It came out in 2016 but somehow I managed to miss it 'til now.  Full disclosure prompts me to make clear that this isn't everyone's sort of book; it's kind of like Crooked Little Vein by Ellis or Bad Monkeys by Ruff ran into a Jim Butcher novel in a dark alley.  The main character is part werewolf and kills bad people for fun (and profit), all while wearing a bad attitude like a trench-coat.  It's very noir, pretty violent, and the first person narrator's voice is absolutely spot-on and irresistible.  If that sounds like your sort of thing, you will _love_ this book.

February Building Update:

January was a good month and we made solid progress.  The bathroom tile work is done and looks wonderful.  We have a little bit of work left to do on the walls, and then we can have the plumbers and electricians come in to do the final work.  With that completed, we should be just about ready to close out that permit; almost two years after we opened it.  That's been a long trip but, given that the job started in the basement with new foundations and structural beams, I think we've done pretty well. I'm excited to get that closed and, perhaps even more so, excited to have a bathroom again.

January Bestsellers


1. Agency by William Gibson
2. Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire
3. Strange Planet by Nathan Pyle
4. Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
5. Dead Astronauts by Jeff VanderMeer
6. The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
7. Penric's Progress by Lois McMaster Bujold
8. The Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz
9. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
10. Dune: Deluxe Edition by Frank Herbert

Trade Paperbacks

1. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
2. A People's Future of the United States edited by Victor LaValle and John Joseph Adams
3. To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers
4. How Long 'Til Black Future Month? by N.K. Jemisin
5. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
6. Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers
7. The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin, translated by Ken Liu
8. Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
9. Death's End by Liu Cixin, translated by Ken Liu
10. Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski

Mass Market Paperbacks

1. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
2. Dune by Frank Herbert
3. Neuromancer by William Gibson
4. Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert
5. Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
6. Hyperion by Dan Simmons
7. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
8. Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
9.  The Consuming Fire by John Scalzi
10. Old Man's War by John Scalzi

February News

* Overheard in the Store:

"Our benevolent, yet hapless, geek empire will span the galaxy."

"PLEASE go away. I am completely out of patience for mumbled glossolalia today."

"Thank you kindly, but I don't need anything else that could potentially cause awkward questions from the TSA."

"I don't need to watch the game. I can track it from the screaming outside."

"She kills all the plants, right?"
"Yeah, she's _definitely_ more of a mineral person."

[angrily, on the phone]: "Well obviously there's a ton of uncertainty here. We have no idea what we're doing, but that's never stopped us before!"

"Our team-building activity is to not talk to each other.”

"I told her that I REALLY needed a cocktail. Or a lobotomy."

"I like it when the aliens are weird enough to be recognizably alien but still human enough to be hot."

* "In partnership with SF in SF, Borderlands Books, Locus magazine, Tachyon Publications, Consonance and other organizations, SF by the Bay at the San Francisco Public Library, February 1 – April 30, presents over two dozen programs, including film screenings, author talks, live dramas, lectures, panel discussions, a filk music concert, book displays, a costume contest, and an exhibit of rare books, magazines and art drawn from the Main Library's J. Francis McComas Fantasy and Science Fiction Collection, a reference collection of more than 3000 books and magazines. With a focus on local authors and culture, the SF by the Bay exhibit and programs highlight the San Francisco Bay Area's important contributions to the history of fantasy and science fiction and celebrate this ongoing history in relation to its international and multimedia contexts." https://tachyonpublications.com/experience-sf-by-the-bay-a-grand-celebration-of-the-san-francisco-bay-area-science-fiction-and-fantasy/