Saturday, February 6, 2021

Dispatches from the Border, February 2021

 DISPATCHES FROM THE BORDER
Events and News From Borderlands Books
FEBRUARY, 2021

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News
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* We're very sorry to report that author and editor Storm Constantine has died at age 64: https://www.sfcrowsnest.info/storm-constantine-fantasy-author-passes-away-aged-64-news/

* Someone created a computer graphic of what a Culture ship, from Iain Banks' novels, might look like: https://vimeo.com/184041325

* I completely lost myself in this totally fascinating (Very geeky! Very academic!) blog series by historian Bret Devereaux, excoriating George R. R. Martin for his portrayal of the Dothraki.  (Thanks to Fazal for letting us know about this one!): https://acoup.blog/2020/12/04/collections-that-dothraki-horde-part-i-barbarian-couture/.  

* Thanks to Jordan for letting us know about this extensive (and in-progress) Historical Science Fiction Dictionary: https://sfdictionary.com/. (From https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/26/arts/science-fiction-dictionary.html)

* Legend Ursula K. Le Guin gets a postage stamp! https://www.cnet.com/news/pioneering-sci-fi-author-ursula-k-le-guin-gets-her-own-us-postage-stamp/

* A really interesting article on the 1960's concerns about "alien microbes" and the extreme (and massively flawed) steps NASA took to avoid a possible "lunar pandemic": https://aeon.co/essays/what-can-we-learn-from-the-lunar-pandemic-that-never-was

* Netflix's "Sandman" series has its main cast (ohmigosh, Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer! But where/who is Death?!): https://variety.com/2021/tv/news/sandman-netflix-series-cast-1234894383/

* LeVar Burton (<3!) has been named the inaugural PEN/Faulkner Literary Champion: https://locusmag.com/2021/02/levar-burton-named-inaugural-pen-faulkner-literary-champion/

* Yes, the title of this article from the Guardian UK is, in fact, "Texas Sorry After Mistakenly Sending Emergency Alert for Cursed Chucky Doll": https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/feb/03/texas-emergency-alert-chucky-doll

* Serious issues with AI and the "new" phrenology: https://aeon.co/ideas/algorithms-associating-appearance-and-criminality-have-a-dark-past

* The first successful face and double hand transplant has been completed: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/feb/03/first-successful-face-double-hand-transplant-completed-joe-dimeo

* Nice article about how the "The Expanse" shows (mostly) accurate science: https://www.sfgate.com/tv/article/We-asked-a-Bay-Area-astrophysicist-if-Amazon-s-15919191.php

* Somewhat unsurprisingly, the galaxy is larger than we thought.  Check out this article just for the phrase "galactic cannibalism"!: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2021/feb/01/discovery-of-outer-stars-of-dwarf-galaxy-sheds-new-light-on-dark-matter

* Locus Magazine has published their "Recommended Reading" List for 2020 - lots of fabulous stuff to check out: https://locusmag.com/2021/02/2020-locus-recommended-reading-list/

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Haight St. Update
----------------------

January is not a quiet month for small businesses.  There's all the catch-up to do after the holidays on top of all the work to close out the books for the past year, along with getting tax information prepared (since Borderlands is a corporation, our tax deadline is a month early, on March 15th).  On top of that, mid-month I took a run up to Seattle to buy a book collection (more about that in my Office Piece a bit further down in this newsletter).  Long and short of it was that it was not a productive month at the new building.  

We did make some solid inroads on finishing up the last bits of sheetrock for the bathroom but, beyond that, all that I managed to get done was hang the bathroom door. That was a job that should have taken an hour or two, tops, but instead took closer to a day and a half.  The door that I was putting in is essentially temporary.  It's enough to pass inspection and work perfectly well but . . . it's a cheap hollow-core door.  Due to the thickness of the bathroom walls, I had to special order it but I wasn't really expecting any surprises.  But, that door was _made_ of surprises.

The first thing was that there was a gap at the top of the frame.  One of the nails had split the wood and so the joint wasn't tight.  Before hanging the door, I pulled the offending nail and closed up the gap.  I figured that would be it.  Once I got the door up, however, I discovered that the door had been fitted correctly _with_ the gap so now it was too tight and was sticking at the top.  Next step was to plane the side of the door to make it narrower and fit properly.  That job done, the door closed but was a little wobbly.  I checked the hinges.

Four of the eight screws in the top hinge were loose.  I tightened them and now, guess what, there was a gap at the top of the door where I had planed it.  Oh well, not a big thing (or a big gap - the door would have needed to be planed anyway just . . . not quite so much).  Onward!

Next I installed the latch and door knob.  It was a little irritating because the mortise (i.e. the recessed area that the strike plate fits into) had been miss-cut but I was able to sort that out with some quick chisel work.  That was made more complicated because, at some point, an unknown someone had hit a nail or screw with my narrow chisel, cracking off the corner of the edge.  A hassle but I just flipped the chisel over (it was a thankfully shallow cut) and finished up.  Installed the door knob and . . . the door won't latch shut.

Subsequent investigation determined that the location of the strike (the thing in the doorframe that the latch goes into) and the location of the lock-set (the holes in the door that the door knob and latch fit into) didn't match up.  They weren't off by a whole lot but it was enough to stop the door from latching.  The fix was to make the hole in the strike plate bigger.  Rather than do that by hand with a file, I decided to take the strike back to the bookstore, where I had the tools to reshape it easily.

Back at the bookstore, I turned on my trusty compressor and grabbed a die grinder.  I figure that would make quick work of the job.  Then the compressor turned off. Check compressor, it's fine.  Check cord, it's fine.  Check circuit breaker . . . tripped.  Hummmm.  Reset breaker.  Compressor starts back up.  Runs for a minute or so. Circuit breaker trips.  Double hummmmm.  Reset breaker.  Compressor runs.  Breaker trips.

Check cord on compressor.  No problems, no wear, no short-circuit.  Take off a couple of cover plates to check wiring to compressor.  All fine. Ummmmmm.  Plug table saw into compressor circuit, reset breaker, turn on saw.  Saw runs then; breaker trips.  Right, bad breaker (they're all quite old because . . . landlord).

Look for extension cord for compressor.  All the heavy-duty cords are at Haight St.  Unplug compressor from air-lines, move compressor to different outlet.  Hook up temporary air line.

I'm not going to bore you with all the rest of the details.  Suffice it to say that, at pretty much every step, hanging that door was a problem.  I dunno, maybe the tree was cursed or something.  But, by the end of the second day (!) that I was working on it, the door functioned properly.  

That was last week.  I have high hopes that this week will be better.  I suppose it could be worse but I'm not sure I can imagine how.  Barring some unforeseen problems though, this month and next month are going to be very heavy days at the new building.  I've got all the catch-up done, the taxes are about ready to go to the accountant, and things at the shop are running smoothly.  The permit for the new front windows will expire in April and the permit for the bathroom expires in June.  It would be a very, very good thing to get both of those jobs closed out before the permits expire.  With a bit of luck and plenty of concentration, I'm pretty sure that I can get them finished.  Certainly, you will either be hearing about a bunch of accomplishments next month or . . . I'll be getting extensions for the permits sorted out.  Let's hope for the former.

-Alan Beatts

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From The Office
--------------------

My, it's much easier to focus on writing (or anything else) this month compared to early January.  That was one very weird time in the US.  Things are still pretty weird, I grant you, but the improvement is notable.  I hope that you are all doing well and staying safe.

We're one month into the year and our annual sponsorship renewal process.  As I mentioned last month, we have been dependent on our sponsorship program to offset higher payroll costs since 2015.  Each year 300 or more people sponsor us with a $100 contribution.  That process has not only allowed Borderlands to remain in operation but was the basis for the direct borrowing that allowed us to buy the building that will be our future home on Haight St.  Due to the economic effects of last year, moreso than ever before, sponsorships are critical for our continued operation.  If you've never been a sponsor before, now would be a great time to start.  You can sign up on-line here - https://borderlands-books.com/v2/become-sponsor/, come in person, or call us to sign-up via credit card.  We're even happy to take checks via mail (if you're going to go the mail route, please include your full name, phone number, email address and mailing address).

If you'd like to know more about the history of sponsorship and the benefits associated with it, take a look here - https://borderlands-books.com/v2/sponsorships/

One of the benefits that doesn't appear on that list is access to preview sales when we buy large, interesting book collections.  Last month I took a trip to Seattle and purchased an extensive library (over two and a half _tons_ of books).  It's a really neat collection and very wide-ranging.  I haven't unpacked all the boxes yet but so far there have been things ranging from good paperback reading copies (right now we have more Philip K. Dick paperbacks than anytime in the past decade) all the way to mid-20th century classics (for example, the nicest first edition of Who Goes There by John W. Campbell that I have _ever_ seen).  It's a good collection and there are a huge number of books (by my estimate it's around 4000 individual books).

There's another element to this sale as well; since we're going to need to make room for all those books when we get them inventoried, this sale will also include a 25% discount on all our used books (including the rare books behind the counter).

I mention all this to you for two reasons.

First, the preview sale for our sponsors will be on Thursday, February 11th.  The shop will be closed to the public that day, which is one thing you should know, but, more importantly, it's not too late to get a sponsorship and come to the sale.

Second, right now our used paperback sections are filled with really great stuff because we entered those books from the boxes we've sorted first.  It's not going to last though so, if you're in the market for some paperbacks that you don't see used often, come on by.  Also, over the next few months as we inventory all those books, you can expect that there will be a lot of neat books, mostly hardcover, showing up in the shop.  So, as they say, shop early and often.

All Best,
Alan

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Best Sellers
----------------

Borderlands Best-Selling Titles for January, 2021

Hardcovers
1. The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson
2. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
3. Across the Green Grass Fields by Seanan McGuire
4. Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
5. The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin
6. Ring Shout by P. Dejeli Clark
7. A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik
8. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
9. Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline
10. Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor

Trade Paperbacks
1. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
2. The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
3. The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
4. The Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky
5. Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
6. The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu
7. The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix Harrow
8. The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu
9. Exhalation by Ted Chiang
10. The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. Dune by Frank Herbert
2. Neuromancer by William Gibson
3. Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert
4. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
5. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
6. The Thousand Names by Django Wexler
7. The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
8. Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson
9. Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson
10. Foundation by Isaac Asimov

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Book Club Information
------------------------------

The QSF&F Book Club will meet virtually on Sunday, February 14th, at 5 pm to discuss THE FOLD by Peter Clines.  Please contact the group leader, Christopher Rodriguez, at cobalt555@earthlink.net, for more information.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club will meet virtually on Sunday, January 21st, at 6 pm to discuss FINNA by Nino Capri.  The book for March 21st is THE MEMORY POLICE by Yoko Ogawa.  Please contact bookclub@borderlands-books.com for more information.


This newsletter is distributed monthly free of charge and may be distributed without charge so long all the following information is included.

Dispatches from the Border
Editor - Jude Feldman
Assistant Editor - Alan Beatts

All contents unless otherwise noted are the property of Borderlands Books, 866 Valencia St.
San Francisco CA 94110
415 824-8203
http://www.borderlands-books.com
Comments and suggestions should be directed to editor@borderlands-books.com

*******

Friday, January 8, 2021

Dispatches from the Border, January 2021

Events and News From Borderlands Books

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News
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* The amazing Nalo Hopkinson has been named the 37th recipient of the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award by SFWA: https://locusmag.com/2020/12/hopkinson-named-sfwa-grand-master/

* We regret to report that legendary author and editor Ben Bova has died at age 88:  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/13/books/ben-bova-dies.html

* Comrade! Come live on this extremely modern Russian cyberfarm: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMX0pCs5-n0

* As Scott said, "cute so quickly devolves into terrifying,"; the Boston Dynamics robots dance, and this is completely unrelated to the cyberfarm link above: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fn3KWM1kuAw&feature=youtu.be

* "Rolling Stone" Magazine (!) talks to Kim Stanley Robinson: https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-features/the-ministry-for-the-future-interview-kim-stanley-robinson-1101738/

* "Write a sentence as clean as a bone," and other sage advice from genius James Baldwin: https://lithub.com/write-a-sentence-as-clean-as-a-bone-and-other-advice-from-james-baldwin/

* Would you like to be able to create holographs at will? https://mymodernmet.com/looking-glass-portrait-holographic-display/

* The best book covers of 2020, according to 29 professional book cover designers.  Jude and Scott have Opinions; let us know what you think!: https://lithub.com/the-89-best-book-covers-of-2020/

* The mysterious death of Edgar Allan Poe, explored: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/still-mysterious-death-edgar-allan-poe-180952936/

* "Time-traveling" comedian Julie Nolke's shorts, explaining current events to her past self, have been helping us keep sane this year through (somewhat bitter) laughter.  Start here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ms7capx4Cb8

* The ten most popular "National Geographic" stories of 2020 -- (spoiler alert, there are totally Murder Hornets; you'd temporarily forgotten about those because of all the other disasters, right?): https://www.nationalgeographic.com/2020/top-10-most-popular-stories-of-2020/

* The science stories most likely to make headlines in 2021, according to "Science" Magazine: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/12/science-stories-likely-make-headlines-2021

* Highlights in Radio Astronomy 2020, from Syfy Wire: https://www.syfy.com/syfywire/2020-didnt-completely-suck-here-are-some-cool-radio-astronomy-highlights

* SF Grand Master James Gunn has died at age 97: https://kryptonradio.com/2020/12/23/sf-grandmaster-hugo-winner-james-gunn-dead-at-97/

* The Zodiac Killer's most famous cypher, finally solved: https://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/zodiac-340-cipher-solved-solution-code-15795178.php

* Eleven lost cities you can visit: https://www.afar.com/magazine/11-lost-cities-you-can-actually-visit

* We're very sorry to report the death of author John Le Carre, undisputed master of the Cold-War spy thriller: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/13/books/john-le-carre-dead.html

* The life and death of the fisherman who discovered the Loch Ness Monster: https://narratively.com/the-obsessive-life-and-mysterious-death-of-the-fisherman-who-discovered-the-loch-ness-monster/

* William Gibson discusses his literary influences (& we're so pleased to see Jack Womack's endlessly underrated RANDOM ACTS OF SENSELESS VIOLENCE mentioned!): https://www.theguardian.com/books/2021/jan/01/william-gibson-i-read-naked-lunch-when-it-was-still-quasi-illicit

* "Serial Killers Should Fear This Algorithm": https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-02-08/serial-killers-should-fear-this-algorithm

* An absolutely mind-boggling 3D model wins 2020's Best Illusion of the Year Contest: https://mymodernmet.com/3d-schroder-staircase/

* Previously unseen Shirley Jackson story to be published: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/dec/17/unseen-shirley-jackson-story-to-be-published-adventure-on-a-bad-night

* Chinese authorities are investigating the suspected poisoning death of wealthy game tycoon (and producer of "The Three-Body Problem" Netflix adaptation) Lin Qi: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/28/games-of-thrones-video-game-tycoon-li-qin-dies-suspected-poisoning

* Can virtual reality change peoples' minds on social issues?  (Please note, this story is from 2017.)  https://narratively.com/can-virtual-reality-change-minds-social-issues/

* Seanan McGuire discusses how "My Little Pony" (or, as she describes it, "Gormenghast with hooves") inspired her (and continues to help her) subvert genre norms: https://www.tor.com/2021/01/04/my-little-pony-taught-me-to-write-fluffy-glittery-violence/#more-626133

* In case you hadn't noticed, nature is weird: https://www.biographic.com/convenient-conveyance/

* R.I.P., artist Jael, who has died at age 83: https://locusmag.com/2021/01/jael-1937-2020/; https://obits.nj.com/obituaries/starledger/obituary.aspx?n=jael-brown-ruesch&pid=197183150&fhid=12938

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From the Editor
-------------------

Well, welcome to 2021.  At this point, all I can say is that I'm fervently hoping that you're all doing and feeling as well as possible, and that the entirety of the rest of the year is extraordinarily boring.

A few quick reminders and updates for y'all -- first, we're currently open to the public from 11 am - 6 pm, seven days a week.  We have a maximum capacity of 10 people in the store at once, and masks are required for entry.  We'll also ask you to sanitize your hands on your way in.

If you'd rather not come into the store, there are other options.  We're always happy to do mail orders -- search our inventory online here: https://www.biblio.com/bookstore/borderlands-books-san-francisco or just call us directly and we'll be glad to send you whatever you'd like.

We're also doing curbside pickup, and we even have a specifically reserved parking space for it just outside the store -- call us and we'll work out the details and cheerfully bring your books out to you when you arrive.

As far as the new building on Haight Street -- as you can imagine, it's been pretty difficult to get anything substantial done.  We have made some progress on finishing the exterior of the bathroom (did I mention that, yay, we have a bathroom?!) and also gotten some planning work done, but concrete progress has been more elusive.  As with so much else right now, it's a matter of staying focused and doing the best we can.  We'll get there. We appreciate your support and faith.

Very Best,
Jude

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From The Office
--------------------

As I write this, it is the evening of Wednesday, January 6th.  It's hard to think that anything I've got to say has any significance in light of what has been (and is) happening in Washington, DC.  But, this is going to pass and we'll move on (though, like much of what 2020 brought us, I don't think we'll be "moving on" in the same way that we were).  So, please forgive the comparative triviality of what follows.

The last year has been crushingly hard for most small businesses and Borderlands was no exception.  Compared to 2019, our sales were down by 45%. That's a really hard hit for a bookstore.  On the other hand, several things were in our favor; we were among the lucky businesses to get a PPP loan from the SBA (which looks to be completely forgivable), we were able to make some changes to the schedule that reduced payroll (without any layoffs), and we have a wonderfully loyal set of customers.

But, the biggest thing we had going for us was that we are not a restaurant or, gods help them, a bar or music venue.  I cannot imagine what the owners of that sort of business have been going through.  Compared to them, at least we've been able to be _open_ through most of the past nine months.

One other thing that has been an immeasurable help over the past year is our sponsor program - https://borderlands-books.com/v2/sponsorships/. It came about in 2015, when I planned to close Borderlands because of the upcoming increases to San Francisco's minimum wage.  Though I enthusiastically support a higher minimum wage, the economics of the business meant that Borderlands wasn't going to be viable if we had to increase wages by almost 50% over three years.  Rather than hold on as long as we could, I decided it was best to close once it became apparent that we wouldn't be able to make it.

I expected that our customers would be upset to hear that we were closing but I totally underestimated the magnitude of the outcry.  To make a long story short(er), as a result of our customers' ideas and input from the staff, we came up with a solution.  

The wage increase was going to put the store roughly $30,000 in the red each year.  To offset that, we asked that 300 people each become "sponsors" at a cost of $100 each.  As long as that continued, each year thereafter, we could remain in business.  The response was overwhelmingly favorable and it has continued so every year since.

This year, more so than any other since 2015, sponsorships of Borderlands are hugely important.  We can continue to operate for at least the next six months under the current circumstances and probably longer but . . . without help, our planned move to our new location is going to be incredibly more difficult.  I'm pretty sure we can do it, regardless of the circumstances, but, at the very least, it won't be the way we've been imagining it.  But, to be painfully honest, I'm not 100% sure that it will be possible.  And that would mean that we will be in a difficult position indeed when our current lease expires in October.

So, if you are already a 2021 sponsor, thank you so much.  If you've been a sponsor in the past but didn't renew (something for which there are a multitude of good reasons), it would really mean a great deal if you came back this year.  And, finally, if you've never been a sponsor . . . becoming one, even if only for this year, will make a truly concrete difference for Borderlands' future.

But, all that aside, Borderlands is not the business that needs your help the most.  As I mentioned, there is a whole set of local businesses that have been hurt much more severely than us.  Restaurants, bars, gyms, nightclubs and live music venues, and many others; they are really struggling and some of them may not survive the next six months.  Many of us are experiencing constrained circumstances right now and, for many people, resources are limited.  So, if you're in a position where you must be selective about what businesses you are going to support -- please, turn your attention to the local businesses that are most at risk.

You can get some takeout from a local restaurant.  Or, even better, go in and pick it up yourself -- the delivery services eat (pun intended) a hell of a lot of restaurant profits.  Almost every local bar has a fund-raiser of some sort going on and, if they don't, they likely have t-shirts and other swag for sale. If live music is your thing, check out the Independent Venue Alliance (https://independentvenuealliance.com).  Also check your favorite place's website 'cause there's a good chance that they're running a "staff relief fund".  Anyway, you get the idea.

You're on this mailing list because you care about bookstores; you already know that the tapestry of locally-owned businesses are the backbone of a city's character.  Among all the things that have been threatened by the past year; those businesses; that backbone -- it's at risk.  Please help all of us get through the next six months so that, when the dust finally clears, SF will still be the city we lived in a year ago.  The alternative is a quasi-dystopian landscape of vacant storefronts and national chains enlivened by the occasional local shop that, somehow, managed to hang on.

If you're interested in becoming a sponsor, you can find more information here - https://borderlands-books.com/v2/sponsorships/ - and you can sign up on-line here - https://borderlands-books.com/v2/become-sponsor/.  You're also welcome to stop by the shop and sign up in person.  Or, if you're truly old-school, you can join by mail; just send your information (name, phone #, email address, and mailing address) to the store address with a check.

Thank you all for your support over the years.  Here's hoping for a much better and brighter year for all of us.

All Best,
Alan

PS  The focus of the preceding was on San Francisco, but it applies regardless of where you call home.  Local businesses really need your support if they are going to make it.  Please do what you can, whether you live in Chapel Hill, USA; Malmo, Sweden, or Helensburgh, Australia.

----------------
Best Sellers
----------------
Borderlands Best-Selling Titles for December, 2020

Hardcovers
1. Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson
2. The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson
3. Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline
4. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
5. Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
6. A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik
7. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
8. Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
9. The Once and Future Witches by Alix Harrow
10. The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin

Trade Paperbacks
1. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
2. The Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky
3. The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu
4. The Long Way to A Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
5. The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
6. The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix Harrow
7. Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
8. Aurora Rising by Alastair Reynolds
9. The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin
10. Rejoice, a Knife to the Heart by Steven Erickson

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. Dune by Frank Herbert
2. Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
3. Neuromancer by William Gibson
4. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
5. Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson
6. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
7. Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
8. Foundation by Isaac Asimov
9. The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
10. The Thousand Names by Django Wexler

------------------------------
Book Club Information
------------------------------

The QSF&F Book Club will meet virtually on Sunday, January 10th at 5 pm to discuss GRIDLINKED by Neal Asher.  Please contact the group leader, Christopher Rodriguez, at cobalt555@earthlink.net, for more information.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club will meet virtually on Sunday, January 17th at 6 pm to discuss THE DIAMOND AGE by Neal Stephenson.  The book for February is FINNA by Nino Capri.  Please contact bookclub@borderlands-books.com for more information.

This newsletter is distributed monthly free of charge and may be distributed without charge so long all the following information is included.

Dispatches from the Border
Editor - Jude Feldman
Assistant Editor - Alan Beatts

All contents unless otherwise noted are the property of Borderlands Books, 866 Valencia St.
San Francisco CA 94110
415 824-8203
http://www.borderlands-books.com
Comments and suggestions should be directed to editor@borderlands-books.com

*******

Monday, November 16, 2020

Dispatches from the Border, November 2020

Events and News From Borderlands Books

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News
-------

* Overheard in the store:
"We're really happy because, Space Vampires."
"Now everyone's wearing masks -- no more facial recognition software for you, Surveillance State!"
"'Sexy Sorting Hat' was a Halloween costume that just didn't fly."
[Customer holding a copy of DUNE]: "Do you have a less-thick version of this?"

* We're sorry to report the death of incredibly popular fantasy author Terry Goodkind, who passed away in September at the age of 72: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/02/books/terry-goodkind-dead.html

* RIP Richard A. Lupoff; writer, fan, Edgar Rice Burroughs expert, dear heart and old friend. https://locusmag.com/2020/10/richard-a-lupoff-1935-2020/

* With regret we report the death of amazing author and lovely person Rachel Caine at age 58. https://preview.mailerlite.com/x6r7e1

* A bit belated, but still stunning -- watch nearly 11,000 lightning strikes spark the awful mid-August Bay Area fires via a compilation of more than 400 satellite images: https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/08/20/watch-heres-what-10800-bay-area-lightning-strikes-sparking-367-wildfires-looked-like-from-space/amp/

* 15 recent sci-fi books that have shaped the genre: https://www.polygon.com/21516173/best-new-science-fiction-books-scifi-last-15-years

* Care for a cup of Satanic tea?  This company is making traditionally "cozy" tea a lot more metal: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/25/style/care-for-a-cup-of-satanic-chamomile.html

* A viable (and relatively safe) fusion reactor by 2025?  https://www.livescience.com/nuclear-fusion-reactor-sparc-2025.html

* This NASA spacecraft is losing precious study-able rubble: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/oct/23/nasa-spacecraft-osiris-rex-asteroid-rubble

* "Animals keep evolving into crabs," said the Popular Mechanics headline "which is somewhat disturbing," said the Popular Mechanics headline.  Gee, you think?!: https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/a34389129/crab-evolution-carcinization/

* Just what everyone needs! A life-size, knitted Thanos!   (Thanks to sponsor Jo F. for pointing this out.) https://nerdist.com/article/life-sized-knitted-thanos/ Photos here: https://www.instagram.com/woolymcwoolface/

* A much-too-short article, but some science to back up our strong supposition that growing up surrounded by books is a Very Good Thing Indeed: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/growing-surrounded-books-may-bolster-skills-later-life-180970523/

* Crowdsourcing your moral code? What could possibly go wrong? https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/oct/22/aita-how-a-reddit-forum-posed-the-defining-question-of-our-age

* Not super surprising but still incredibly cool: definitive evidence of water on the moon!  (Not to mention that just the phrase "flying telescope" is pretty nifty.) https://www.sfgate.com/cnet/article/NASA-telescope-uncovers-definitive-evidence-of-15675446.php

* Well, this was absolutely terrifying.  A short UK film on the "logical conclusions" of tech we already have: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HipTO_7mUOw

* This subterranean freshwater fish named after Gollum belongs to a never-before-described taxonomic family: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/subterranean-fish-named-gollum-belongs-new-family-180976123/

* What happens to your body when you die in space? https://www.popsci.com/what-happens-to-your-body-when-you-die-in-space/

* Whether it's a sundial, a "witches' mark", or something else entirely, this mysterious carved medieval graffiti is pretty interesting: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/witch-markings-thought-ward-evil-spirits-are-discovered-england-180976112/

* "Imagine an albatross with a hacksaw for a mouth" -- scientists have identified what may be the largest flying bird ever, with a wingspan of roughly 20 (!) feet: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/scientists-reveal-what-may-be-largest-flying-bird-ever-180976128/

* This is just cool.  Rather than build entirely over the hundreds and hundreds of years of history their Dublin grocery store was going to cover, these folks decided to feature it instead:  https://mymodernmet.com/medieval-viking-building-dublin/

* The footage is incredible, no question about it -- but we're not sure why they keep putting the word "spy" [referring to the hummingbird-style drone photographer] in quotation marks in this article: https://mymodernmet.com/butterfly-swarm-video/

* A design studio has developed a concept for a spaceship that would take tourists into space: https://mymodernmet.com/priestmangoode-neptune-spaceship/

* An envelope hidden in a wall for 100 years solves a minor mystery at the Winchester House: https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/winchester-mystery-house-windows-true-facts-14444695.php

* 14-year-old Anika Chebrolu was named America's Top Young Scientist in the 3M Young Scientist Challenge for her work in finding a molecule that could lead to a cure for COVID-19: https://mymodernmet.com/3m-young-scientist-coronavirus-drug/

* An alternative to GoodReads: https://www.newstatesman.com/science-tech/social-media/2020/08/better-goodreads-possible-bad-for-books-storygraph-amazon

--------------------
From The Office
--------------------

Despite the strangeness and historic elements of 2020, it's actually been pretty boring in a day-to-day way.  I don't know if that matches your experience but, around Borderlands, it's mostly been The Usual.  Or, perhaps I should say, the "new" usual.  Sales are slow-ish but we're managing and otherwise we're just plugging along.  Don't get me wrong, "plugging along" is just great, given how things might be, but it means I don't have a whole lot of news for you all.  One or two things, sure, but there really hasn't been much excitement around the shop.

Which is just _fine_ with me.  Absolutely.  In 2020 excitement has rarely, if ever, been a good thing.

Before I get to the store news, such as it is, I'm going to make a (thankfully rare) public service announcement.  I had been on the fence about mentioning this but today a friend who's a doctor with the SF Department of Public Health stopped by the shop.  She was a valuable resource for us in March and April while we were figuring out how to manage the pandemic and, as you'd expect, we started chatting about the current state of affairs.  That conversation made up my mind.  So, here goes -

As a country, we are in deep, deep trouble with the increasing rates of COVID-19.  At this moment, your risk of getting sick is probably higher than at any point since early March.  It's possible that your chances are higher than they have _ever_ been.  More importantly, your chances of getting infected and then passing that infection along to other people is higher than it's ever been.

And, the whole situation is going to get worse between now and January / February.  Possibly much worse.

There are two big things you can do to both keep you & yours safe and help out everyone else.  First is wear a mask (which you are almost undoubtedly doing already).  But the second thing is probably more important.

Stay home.  And, fer gods' sake, don't go to parties and social events.

It's pretty damn clear now how the vast majority of COVID infections are transmitted.  It's by breathing air in enclosed spaces with other people.  The longer you do it, the worse the risk.  The more people, the worse the risk.  Less air circulation . . . worse.

So, don't do that.

No holiday parties.  No parties, period.  No big Thanksgiving get together (no small one either).  Don't go camping with a group of people. Stay home New Year's Eve (though really, who would want to go out -- it's just the annual party for amateurs). And so on.

If you're thinking, "Come on, Alan.  I'm not an idiot.  I've been smart since March.  It's all those other people who are the problem." . . . I know you're smart.  Hell, you're someone who likes to read <grin>.  But here's the thing; I'm saying all this because I'm not seeing a clear message anywhere else.  Here's the bottom line:

The COVID-19 pandemic is;
WORSE THAT IT HAS EVER BEEN.

It is going to get;
WORSE THAN THIS;
before it gets better.

So, at the very least, act like you did in June or July.  If your behavior made sense then, it certainly makes sense now.

New Store Update
I'm still having trouble getting clear time to work at the new building but last month was better.  The most exciting thing is the plumbers came in and hooked up all the bathroom fixtures.  So, we once again have a toilet and sink.  There is still some finish work on the bathroom to do but I hope to have that done soon and then I'll post some pictures.  I think it's going to look really lovely when we're done.

Rare Books at the Shop
There have been a couple of neat books that have come into the shop that I thought I'd mention.  First off, we have a complete set of the 11th edition of the Encyclopedia Brittanica.  "Meh," you may think, "I've got the internet -- who needs an encyclopedia?"  Well, this one was published in 1910 and is notable in a number of ways: it's generally considered the last "British" edition (the later ones were produced in the US); it was the last one to include long, comprehensive articles (some almost the length of a short book); the contributors are a who's who of contemporary arts and sciences (Algernon Charles Swinburne, John Muir, T. H. Huxley, and Bertrand Russell for example); and, last but not least, the production is lovely (heavy, full leather binding on onion-skin paper).  And, it's a remarkable picture of the 19th Century.  When it was published there had never been a world war, the British Empire dominated most of the world, and the majority of nations were ruled by monarchs.  (By the way, it is technically a 12th edition, because it includes the three additional volumes published in 1921 that update the 11th edition to the 12th.)

It's not really something that's in our line but I just couldn't resist bringing it into the shop.  If you want a treat, ask to take a look at one of the volumes the next time you visit.  And, if you'd like to take the full 32 volume set home with you, it's priced at $500 (shipping, if needed, will be extra).

We also have a copy of The Storisende Edition of the Biography of the Life of Manuel by James Branch Cabell.  This was, at the time (published between 1927 and 1930), his complete works and the editing and production were supervised by him.  It is a total of 25 works in 18 uniform volumes and includes perhaps his best known work, Jurgen.  It's a pleasure to have a work like this, by such an early founder of the American fantasy tradition, in such a unique edition.  The condition is good but there has been some shelf wear in the past 90 years.  $600.

More Rare Books Coming
It's looking like we'll be getting a few more older rare books in stock over the next month or so.  And, sometime is the next couple of months, I think I'll be purchasing a pretty large collection with some nice titles in it.  All those will be 21st century works, but some small presses are going to be well represented so I think it will be exciting to get some of those in stock.  More details about that as I have them.

2021 Sponsorships in December
We are heading, once again, towards our annual sponsor signup drive.  (If you're not familiar with the sponsor program, you can find the details and history here - https://borderlands-books.com/v2/sponsorships/ ).  This year we will be doing a couple of things differently.

Unlike previous years, you'll be able to sign up in advance, starting on December 1st, by going to https://borderlands-books.com/v2/become-sponsor/ and following the instructions.  Also, after years of requests, we will have the option to have your sponsorship renew automatically every year.  Details about that can be found at the page I've linked to.

As I'm sure you all realize, the events of 2020 have made the support of our customers more important than at any time in our history.  I'm incredibly grateful for everything you have done for us over the past eight and a half months.  I'm hopeful that 2021 overall will be much better than this year, but I fear that at least the first half of it is going to be pretty rough.  That prospect combined with our upcoming move to the new building on Haight St. is causing me some financial concern.  Concerns aside, I'm positive that support in the form of sponsorship will do a great deal to protect the store through 2021.  So, if your situation allows, please consider becoming a sponsor this year if you haven't done so in the past.

Thank you for being a customer and supporting independent bookselling through 2020.  You're the best.

All Best,
Alan

----------------
Best Sellers
----------------
Borderlands Best-Selling Titles for October, 2020

Hardcovers
1. A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik
2. The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson
3. Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
4. Over the Woodward Wall by A. Deborah Baker
5. Battle Ground by Jim Butcher
6. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
7. Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh
8. The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin
9. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
10. The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix

Trade Paperbacks
1. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
2. The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix Harrow
3. A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine
4. The Emperor's Wolves by Michelle Sagara
5. Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
6. The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin
7. The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, trans. by Ken Liu
8. The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
9. A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher
10. The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins
 
 Mass Market Paperbacks
1. Dune by Frank Herbert
2. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
3. Children of Dune by Frank Herbert
4. Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert
5. Unkindest Tide by Seanan McGuire
6. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
7. Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
8. Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
9.  Foundation by Isaac Asimov
10. Neuromancer by William Gibson
 
------------------------------
Book Club Information
------------------------------

The QSF&F Book Club will meet on Sunday, November 8th, at 5 pm to discuss KINDRED by Octavia Butler.  These meetings are currently being held virtually.  Please contact the group leader, Christopher Rodriguez, at cobalt555@earthlink.net, for more information.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club will meet on Sunday, November 15th, at 6 pm to discuss THE CITY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT by Charlie Jane Anders.  The book for December is ANNIHILATION by Jeff Vandermeer.  These meetings are currently being held virtually.  Please contact bookclub@borderlands-books.com for more information.

This newsletter is distributed monthly free of charge and may be distributed without charge so long all the following information is included.

Dispatches from the Border
Editor - Jude Feldman
Assistant Editor - Alan Beatts

All contents unless otherwise noted are the property of Borderlands Books, 866 Valencia St.
San Francisco CA 94110
415 824-8203
http://www.borderlands-books.com
Comments and suggestions should be directed to editor@borderlands-books.com

*******
 

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Dispatches from the Border, October 2020

DISPATCHES FROM THE BORDER
Events and News From Borderlands Books
OCTOBER, 2020

-------
News
-------

* Disappointingly, the release of the anxiously-awaited new "Dune" film has been delayed until October 1, 2021, but the trailer is definitely something to see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9xhJrPXop4 There's also this absorbing shot-by-shot comparison of the images from 1984 and 2020: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcZPZGq3Zy8

* Fascinating stories of the recent (non-fictional) hard-boiled private eyes of San Francisco: https://altaonline.com/private-investigators-san-francisco-phil-bronstein/

* Wow -- check out this amazing animated short film based on Peter Watts' novel BLINDSIGHT! https://blindsight.space/

* These new climate change projection maps show a radically transformed US: https://projects.propublica.org/climate-migration/

* The pros and cons of Netflix's plan to adapt the THREE-BODY PROBLEM series, according to The Ringer:  https://www.theringer.com/tv/2020/9/1/21417294/three-body-problem-netflix-benioff-weiss

* Real drone footage of San Francisco's enormously unsettling "Red Day" on September 9th, 2020 set to the "Blade Runner 2049" theme: https://boingboing.net/2020/09/11/real-footage-of-san-francisco.html

* Brilliant author Kim Stanley Robinson on why climate change doesn't have to be the end: http://nautil.us/issue/90/something-green/kim-stanley-robinson-holds-out-hope (We still have a few signed copies of Stan's new novel THE MINISTRY FOR THE FUTURE, so let us know if you'd like us to hold one for you.)

* The incredible power of the number instinct in the animal kingdom: https://thereader.mitpress.mit.edu/animal-kingdom-power-of-the-number-instinct/

* Would we actually recognize aliens if we saw them? https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/sep/05/are-aliens-hiding-in-plain-sight

* While we're considering it, here are the 4 most promising worlds for life: https://www.inverse.com/science/the-4-most-promising-worlds-for-alien-life

* The fabulously successful Kickstarter for Brandon Sanderson's limited edition of THE WAY OF KINGS is over, but there's a sneak-peek image of the books here, and they are stunning.  (We say "books" because THE WAY OF KINGS limited edition will be two volumes.)  https://www.brandonsanderson.com/the-way-of-kings-leatherbound-kickstarter-sneak-peek/

* Decoding the mathematical secrets of amazing leaf patterns: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/decoding-mathematical-secrets-plants-stunning-leaf-patterns-180972367/

* This could be the future of biomaterial: https://www.inverse.com/innovation/bioinspired-material-for-martian-colonies

* The oldest items from 13 obscure libraries: https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/oldest-library-books-small-specific-libraries-manuscripts

* The conflicted, challenging, and sometimes life-saving history of lesbian pulp novels: https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/lesbian-pulp-fiction-ann-bannon

* How "A Wrinkle in Time" changed science fiction forever: https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/66705/how-wrinkle-time-changed-sci-fi-forever

* A new look at Phineas Gage, neuroscience's greatest mystery: https://slate.com/technology/2014/05/phineas-gage-neuroscience-case-true-story-of-famous-frontal-lobe-patient-is-better-than-textbook-accounts.html

* What would humans do with a vastly extended expected life span?  https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-if-we-could-live-for-a-million-years/

* The Guardian UK says that Silicon Valley's notion of "disruption" is a con: https://www.theguardian.com/news/2020/sep/24/disruption-big-tech-buzzword-silicon-valley-power

* It was amazingly simple for this college student to generate an AI-created, virally popular fake blog: https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/08/14/1006780/ai-gpt-3-fake-blog-reached-top-of-hacker-news/

--------------------
From The Office
--------------------

What's Goin' On?

Firstly (and maybe a bit redundantly) -- Wow, 2020 has been a terrible year in almost every detail.  From the most global standpoint all the way down to the most personal, it's just been awful for almost everyone I know.

I had a conversation recently with a friend that put some perspective on it.  They're at the age when low iron levels and / or thyroid issues start to crop up with the common symptom of general fatigue.  They'd been feeling like they just couldn't get enough sleep so, like you do, they got in touch with their doctor about maybe getting some blood tests.  The doctor's (quite lengthy) response was, in essence; "I'll order the tests for you but I suggest you skip them for now.  Almost every single one of my patients has mentioned the same symptom and, in virtually all of those cases, the cause is stress because of what this year has been like.  So, stay home, take care of yourself, and let me know if the feeling gets worse."

Imagine.  This year has been so bad, universally, that it's causing a common medical complaint all the way across the patient list of a busy doctor practicing in a major and diverse city.

That is, as they say, a Thing.

On one hand, that's pretty distressing.  But, on the other hand, it actually made me feel better.  Goodness knows, I've had some trouble focusing and getting work (or anything else) done over the past few months.  And there've been a fair number of days when a nap seemed like just about the best thing in the world.  Knowing that it's not just _me_, knowing that everyone has been having problems functioning this year . . . it makes it a little easier.

I mention this because, if you've been having a bit of trouble with the old "get up and go"; it ain't just you.  So, do like a bookseller - just hang on, read (if and when you can), and wait this out.  It's _got_ to end sometime.

On that topic, that's what we've been doing at the shop -- hanging on and taking the cards as they're dealt.  Overall, it's been tough but manageable. Business is down about the same amount as most retail in SF but we'll be fine for the rest of this year and into the next.  In part it's because we managed to get one of the Payroll Protection loans in April.  In part it's because we had pretty good cash reserves at the beginning of the year (because we were saving money to cover our moving costs).  Finally, we're doing alright because our payroll is down. Maddy decided that it was time to move on from SF so they're no longer working with us.  That means Jude and I are covering two counter shifts a week.  Since we're both on salaries, that drops our staff payroll by close to a third, and payroll has always been our biggest expense.  

So yeah, times are tough and we can't stay in business like this forever, but we're doing alright for now.  And, we're still on track to make our move to the new store on Haight St.  It's just going to be a bit later than I expected when I announced that we were going to open there in May of this year. Ah, in hindsight, there were many plans that I had at the beginning of the year that look so sweet, quaint and optimistic it almost makes me giggle now.

Basically, I lost several months of working time at the new building this year.  The first problem was the initial shut-down.  To start with, I sheltered at home like everyone else.  Then we were able to start filling mail orders and that took up most of my time.  Then the store was able to do curb-side pickups and figuring that out, then making it work, used up my time.  And then we could open again, with all new protocols, which ate up even more of my time.  It wasn't until late August that I was really able to get back to work.

Then, about a month ago, in a splendid display of distraction, I stepped on an unsecured board and took a fall.  It wasn't a bad one, as such things go, but I did manage to sprain both of my wrists.  Figuring out how much damage I'd done took a while and so I was doing very limited work 'til just this week (pro tip - broken bones in your wrist are nothing to mess around with . . . ever, hence my caution).  Now it's clear that it was only a sprain so I can get back to hammering and such, as long as I take it easy.

But, all in all, we are way behind schedule.  However, I'm not sure it makes much difference.  The pre-pandemic plan was to get moved as soon as we could and then get our landlord on Valencia St. to buy out the remaining time on our lease (much as he did with the cafe).  At the very least, I was pretty sure he'd be happy to see us go and would let us out of the lease early and at no cost.

Now though . . . were I a landlord, I wouldn't be very excited about letting a tenant out of their lease.  I damn sure wouldn't be buying out any leases. The commercial vacancy rate in town is going up a lot and it's probably going to keep increasing for the next six months or more.  What that means is there is probably no upside to getting out of the current shop before our lease ends in October next year.  Not to say that I'm going to waste time getting the new shop open, far from it.  But it does mean that there is less urgency than there was in the "before times".  I expect that we'll get moved sometime in the middle to latter part of next year but I wouldn't be unhappy if it was sooner.

This isn't really a good outcome but, like much of this year; if it's going to be like that and it's beyond my control, I'm happy to take the good parts since I'm stuck with the bad.  The (comparative) lack of pressure is certainly a good part.  I'll be continuing to work on the new building and I hope to have some cool pictures up at the store's blog in the next couple of weeks.  The bathroom will be finished soon and it's going to look great.  Plus, there are one or two other things I'd love to show you all.

Until then, please do take care of yourselves and the people around you.  We'll be here at the shop.  If you feel like coming by for a visit -- it's pretty darn COVID-safe.  Most times during the weekdays, there are two or three customers in the place, tops, and much of the time, it's pretty much empty.  If you want to say, "Hi", and chat with someone you don't live or work with . . . we'll be here.

All Best,
Alan

----------------
Best Sellers
----------------

Borderlands Best-Selling Titles for September, 2020

Hardcovers
1. A Killing Frost by Seanan McGuire
2. Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
3. Battle Ground by Jim Butcher
4. The Trouble With Peace by Joe Abercrombie
5. A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik
6. The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin
7. The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson
8. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
9. House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
10. Empire of Gold by S.A. Chakraborty

Trade Paperbacks
1. The Trials of Koli by M.R. Carey
2. Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
3. Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
4. The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix Harrow
5. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
6. The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin
7. All Systems Red by Martha Wells
8. This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
9. The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, trans. by Ken Liu
10. A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine
 
 Mass Market Paperbacks
1. Dune by Frank Herbert
2. Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert
3. Children of Dune by Frank Herbert
4. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
5. Unkindest Tide by Seanan McGuire
6. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
7. Hyperion by Dan Simmons
8. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
9.  Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
10. The Shining by Stephen King
 
------------------------------
Book Club Information
------------------------------

The QSF&F Book Club will meet online Sunday, November 8th, at 5 pm to discuss KINDRED by Octavia Butler.  Please contact the group leader, Christopher Rodriguez, at cobalt555@earthlink.net, for more information.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club will meet online Sunday, October 18th, at 6 pm to discuss GIRL IN LANDSCAPE by Jonathan Lethem.  The book for November 15th is THE CITY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT by Charlie Jane Anders.  Please contact bookclub@borderlands-books.com for more information.

-----------------------------

This newsletter is distributed monthly free of charge and may be distributed without charge so long all the following information is included.

Dispatches from the Border
Editor - Jude Feldman
Assistant Editor - Alan Beatts

All contents unless otherwise noted are the property of Borderlands Books, 866 Valencia St.
San Francisco CA 94110
415 824-8203
http://www.borderlands-books.com
Comments and suggestions should be directed to editor@borderlands-books.com

*******
 

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Dispatches from the Border, September 2020

DISPATCHES FROM THE BORDER
Events and News From Borderlands Books
SEPTEMBER, 2020

-------
News
-------

* Mapping Earth's eighth continent, which is almost entirely under New Zealand: https://www.livescience.com/lost-continent-zealandia-new-tectonic-map.html

* An AI wrote this opinion piece on why we shouldn't be afraid of AI: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/sep/08/robot-wrote-this-article-gpt-3

* National Geographic discusses "declinism" (decline bias), news and social media consumption, and why 2020 isn't _actually_ the Worst Year Ever: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2020/09/why-2020-feels-like-the-worst-year-ever/

* Author Judith Tarr on horses, metaphors, and accurate worldbuilding: https://www.tor.com/2020/09/08/writing-horses-those-handy-equestrian-metaphors/

* Brandon Sanderson will be offering a free YouTube lecture series on writing science fiction and fantasy: https://www.deseret.com/entertainment/2020/9/2/21417196/brandon-sanderson-free-creative-writing-class-youtube-science-fiction-fantasy

* This was fascinating; mystery writer Gabriel Cohen moved into a New York apartment that seemed too good to be true, and ended up both captivated and haunted by the real-life murder he found out had taken place there: https://narratively.com/a-splash-of-red/

* For fans of Seanan McGuire's "Wayward Children" books, a side-quest novella with Lundy from IN AN ABSENT DREAM: https://www.tor.com/2020/07/13/juice-like-wounds-seanan-mcguire/

* A bit click-bait-y, but still good for providing perspective on our place (and importance) in the Universe: http://justsomething.co/these-25-pictures-will-make-you-completely-re-evaluate-your-existence/

* "Scientists were convinced that biological clocks are predominantly driven by internal rhythms. There was just one problem --involving some mollusks and the moon." https://www.wired.com/story/oysters-that-knew-what-time-it-was/

* "A working class hero/is something to be. . ." Tor.com celebrates the unsung cooks, clerks, janitors and freelance bards of science fictions and fantasy media: https://www.tor.com/2020/09/04/celebrating-the-working-class-warriors-of-sff/

* 17 of the most devious sci-fi and fantasy villains, according to BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/blog/most-devious-sci-fi-and-fantasy-villains

* "The Future is Fungal" -- why the science of mycology is on the rise: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/aug/23/the-future-is-fungal-why-the-megascience-of-mycology-is-on-the-rise

* For the home that has everything, "broken", cartoon-y fantasy furniture from artist and woodworker Henk Verhoeff: https://mymodernmet.com/amazing-woodworking-projects/

* The 60-year-old teenage lie that became "The Creature From the Sand Pits":https://narratively.com/the-teenage-prank-thats-lasted-60-years/

* "Comics Open Up The Idea Of What A Story Can Be": A Conversation With Tom Gauld: http://www.tcj.com/comics-open-up-the-idea-of-what-a-story-can-be-a-conversation-with-tom-gauld/

* Move over, Spinal Tap -- one man's dream of an Arthurian rock opera on ice is stranger: https://www.vanityfair.com/style/2020/06/the-stranger-than-fiction-secret-history-of-prog-rock-icon-rick-wakeman

* August 21st, 2020 was the 50th anniversary of the original fanzine publication of "The Eye of Argon" by Jim Theis, which in later novel form is frequently considered to be one of the worst fantasy novels ever published: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Eye_of_Argon

* "There are hundreds of thousands of absolutely incredible creatures in the World Ocean that keep surprising even the most experienced marine biologists." Here are some of them, gorgeously photographed by marine biologist and photographer Alexander Semenov: https://mymodernmet.com/alexander-semenov-underwater-photography/

* C'mon, you know you want to hear "Bohemian Rhapsody" in the original Klingon: https://www.ajournalofmusicalthings.com/heres-bohemian-rhapsody-performed-in-the-original-klingon/

* Best cure for your fear of bugs?  Become an award-winning macro insect photographer like Mofeed Abu Shalwa: https://mymodernmet.com/macro-beetle-photography-mofeed-abu-shalwa/

* Useful dinosaur survival information for time travelers: https://www.wired.com/story/how-outrun-dinosaur/

--------------------
From The Editor
--------------------

Since business has been a bit slow due to the pandemic, we took the chance to make some changes to how the books are shelved at the shop. It seems to us that it would be easier for everyone if our used books and new books were shelved together.  In fact, there was a time when we did exactly that, but then we ran out of space and had to split them up.  We have enough space now due to a bunch of shelf re-arranging, and so we've merged the new and used hardcover and trade paperback sections together in all three genre areas (science fiction & fantasy, horror, and mystery).  Likewise the used and new paperback horror and mystery sections have been combined as well.  Sadly, there is no way that we could fit the science fiction & fantasy paperbacks in one section so they are still in two spots.

We hope that it will make shopping easier for you all in addition to making shelving easier for us.  Please feel free to let us know what you think.

Do bear in mind - if you see two or more copies of the same book; one or more of them may be used and, therefore, much less expensive.

Since we made these changes, we've created more room on the shelves as well.  So, we're looking for more used books.  If you've got some books that you like to sell to the shop for store credit or even cash, we're going to be buying books all through the month of September.  So, sort through that pile of books by your bed and bring us the ones you don't want to keep.  

----------------
Best Sellers
----------------

Borderlands Best-Selling Titles for August, 2020

Hardcovers
1. Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
2. The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin
3. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
4. House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
5. Quantum Shadows by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
6.  Network Effect by Martha Wells
7. Angel of the Crows by Katharine Addison
8. Axiom's End by Lindsay Ellis
9. The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water by Zen Cho
10. Empire of Gold by S.A. Chakraborty

Trade Paperbacks
1. This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
2. The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix Harrow
3. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
4. Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
5. The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin
6. A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine
7. Drowned Country by Emily Tesh
8. Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
9. Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, trans. by Ken Liu
10. The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
2. Children of Dune by Frank Herbert
3. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
4. Arcanum Unbounded by Brandon Sanderson
5. Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch
6. Foundation by Isaac Asimov
7. Dune by Frank Herbert
8. Unkindest Tide by Seanan McGuire
9. Octavia Gone by Jack McDevitt
10. Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert

------------------------------
Book Club Information
------------------------------

The QSF&F Book Club will meet virtually on Sunday, September 13th, at 5 pm to discuss GIDEON THE NINTH by Tamsyn Muir.  Please contact the group leader, Christopher Rodriguez, at cobalt555@earthlink.net, for more information.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club will meet virtually on Sunday, September 20th, at 6 pm to discuss TIME SHARDS by Dana Fredsti and David Fitzgerald.  Please contact bookclub@borderlands-books.com for more information.

-----------------------------
Featured Upcoming Titles
-----------------------------

(These titles have not arrived yet.  You may pre-order most of these books by calling or emailing us.  Of course, we have many more titles arriving each week . . . call or email us if you're curious about a particular upcoming title not listed here. This list is tentative and subject to change by publishers. Unless otherwise noted, books are originals.)

NINA ALLAN * Ruby * Titan Books US, Oct 2020 (tp, eb)
ANONYMOUS, ED. * Escape Pod: The Science Fiction Anthology * Titan Books US, Oct 2020 (an, tp, eb)
KELLEY ARMSTRONG * A Stitch in Time * Subterranean Press, Oct 2020 (hc)
ELIZABETH BEAR * Machine * Simon & Schuster/Saga Press, Oct 2020 (hc, eb)
BEN BOVA * My Favorites * Blackstone Publishing, Oct 2020 (c, hc, eb)
TERRY BROOKS * The Last Druid * Penguin Random House/Del Rey, Oct 2020 (hc, eb)
P. DJÈLÍ CLARK * Ring Shout * Tor.com Publishing, Oct 2020 (na, hc, eb)
JOHN CONNOLLY * The Dirty South * Simon & Schuster/Atria/Bestler, Oct 2020 (1st US, h, hc, eb)
BRENDA COOPER * The Making War * WordFire Press, Oct 2020 (tp, hc, eb)
ELLEN DATLOW, ED. * The Best Horror of the Year, Volume Twelve * Skyhorse/Night Shade Books, Oct 2020 (an, tp)
ALIETTE DE BODARD * Seven of Infinities * Subterranean Press, Oct 2020 (na, hc, eb)
CORY DOCTOROW * Attack Surface * Tor, Oct 2020 (hc, eb)
C.S. FRIEDMAN * This Virtual Night * DAW, Oct 2020 (hc, eb)
NEIL GAIMAN * A Neil Gaiman Reader * HarperCollins/Morrow, Oct 2020 (c, hc, eb)
NEIL GAIMAN * Pirate Stew (with Chris Riddell) * Bloomsbury, Oct 2020 (ya, hc, art)
PAULA GURAN, ED. * The Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: Volume One * Start/Pyr, Oct 2020 (an, tp, eb)
PETER F. HAMILTON * The Saints of Salvation * Penguin Random House/Del Rey, Oct 2020 (hc, eb)
ALIX E. HARROW * The Once and Future Witches * Orbit US/Redhook, Oct 2020 (hc, eb)
ALICE HOFFMAN * Magic Lessons * Simon & Schuster, Oct 2020 (hc, eb)
ALAYA DAWN JOHNSON * Reconstruction * Small Beer Press, Oct 2020 (c, tp, eb)
STEPHEN JONES, ed. * Terrifying Tales * PS Publishing, Oct 2020 (hc)
CAITLÍN R. KIERNAN * The Tindalos Asset * Tor.com Publishing, Oct 2020 (na, h, tp, eb)
T. KINGFISHER * The Hollow Places * Simon & Schuster/Saga Press, Oct 2020 (h, tp, eb)
DEAN KOONTZ * Elsewhere * Amazon/Thomas & Mercer, Oct 2020 (h, hc, eb)
URSULA K. LE GUIN * Annals of the Western Shore * Library of America, Oct 2020 (om, ya, hc)
YOON HA LEE * Phoenix Extravagant * Rebellion/Solaris US, Oct 2020 (hc, eb)
CIXIN LIU * To Hold Up the Sky * Tor, Oct 2020 (c, hc, eb)
TOM LLOYD * God of Night * Orion/Gollancz, Oct 2020 (eb, hc)
GREGORY MAGUIRE * A Wild Winter Swan * HarperCollins/Morrow, Oct 2020 (hc, eb)
MARSHALL RYAN MARESCA * People of the City * DAW, Oct 2020 (pb, eb)
GRAHAM MASTERTON * The House of a Hundred Whispers * Head of Zeus, Oct 2020 (h, hc)
SEANAN MCGUIRE * Dying With Her Cheer Pants On: Stories of the Fighting Pumpkins * Subterranean Press, Oct 2020 (c, hc, eb)
JAMES S. MURRAY & DARREN WEARMOUTH * Don't Move * Blackstone Publishing, Oct 2020 (h, hc, eb)
CHRISTOPHER PRIEST * The Evidence * Orion/Gollancz, Oct 2020 (eb, hc)
PHILIP PULLMAN * Serpentine * Penguin Random House/Knopf, Oct 2020 (na, hc, eb)
REBECCA ROANHORSE * Black Sun * Simon & Schuster/Saga Press, Oct 2020 (hc, eb)
KIM STANLEY ROBINSON * The Ministry for the Future * Orbit US, Oct 2020 (hc, eb)
MICHELLE SAGARA * The Emperor's Wolves * Harlequin/Mira, Oct 2020 (tp, eb)
ANDRZEJ SAPKOWSKI * The Tower of Fools * Orbit US, Oct 2020 (hc, tp, eb)
V.E. SCHWAB * The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue * Tor, Oct 2020 (v, hc, eb)
CHARLES STROSS * Dead Lies Dreaming * Tor.com Publishing, Oct 2020 (hc, eb)
JODI TAYLOR * Hard Time * Headline, Oct 2020 (hc)
MEGAN WHALEN TURNER * Return of the Thief * HarperCollins/Greenwillow, Oct 2020 (ya, hc, eb)
CARRIE VAUGHN * Kitty's Mix-Tape * Tachyon Publications, Oct 2020 (c, tp, eb)
IAN WHATES, ed. * London Centric: Tales of Future London * NewCon Press, Oct 2020 (hc, eb, tp)
DAVID WONG * Zoey Punches the Future in the Dick * St. Martin's, Oct 2020 (hc, eb)
JANE YOLEN * Midnight Circus * Tachyon Publications, Oct 2020 (c, tp, eb)

Abbreviations indicate: (r) reprint, (h) horror, (ya) young adult, (nf) non-fiction, (c) collection, (oc) original collection, (na) novella, (a) associational, (om) omnibus, (eb) e-book, (an) anthology, (pi) pictoral and other, (art) art and others, (gn) graphic novel, (x) media tie-in, (nv) novelette, (ss) short story, (hc) hardcover, (tp) trade paperback, (ph) pamphlet, (pb) paperback, (oa) original anthology, (b) biography, (v) paranormal romance, (pm) poetry.

This newsletter is distributed monthly free of charge and may be distributed without charge so long all the following information is included.

Dispatches from the Border
Editor - Jude Feldman
Assistant Editor - Alan Beatts
(Special thanks to David Fitzgerald for tracking down a bunch of news items, and to sponsors Ken P. and Jay M. for contributions as well!)

All contents unless otherwise noted are the property of Borderlands Books, 866 Valencia St.
San Francisco CA 94110
415 824-8203
http://www.borderlands-books.com
Comments and suggestions should be directed to editor@borderlands-books.com

*******

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Dispatches from the Border, July 2020

DISPATCHES FROM THE BORDER
Events and News From Borderlands Books
JULY, 2020

----------------------
Upcoming Events
----------------------

Virtual event with Katherine Addison, THE ANGEL OF THE CROWS (Tor, Hardcover, $27.99) Wednesday, July 8th at 6:00 pm PST

Virtual event with Jo Walton, OR WHAT YOU WILL (Tor, Hardcover, $26.99) Thursday, July 9th at 5:00 pm PST

In the Middle: a virtual event with Mike Chen (A BEGINNING AT THE END, Mira, Hardcover, $26.99) and Kelly McWilliams (AGNES AT THE END OF THE WORLD, Little, Brown, Hardcover, $17.99) Wednesday, July 15th at 5:00 pm PST

Relentless and Unconquerable: a virtual event with Kate Elliott (UNCONQUERABLE SUN, Tor, Hardcover, $27.99) and Mary Robinette Kowal (THE RELENTLESS MOON, Tor, Hardcover $30.99 and Trade Paperback $17.99) Tuesday, July 21st at 7:00 pm PST

Virtual event with L.E. Modesitt, Jr. QUANTUM SHADOWS (Tor, Hardcover, $27.99) Thursday, July 23rd at 7:00 pm PST

Virtual event with Ferrett Steinmetz, AUTOMATIC RELOAD (Tor, Trade Paperback, $17.99) Friday, July 31st at 5:00 pm PST

(for more information check the end of this newsletter)

-------
News
-------

* As above, so below. . . a photographer captures the Milky Way and bioluminescent waters together: https://mymodernmet.com/bioluminescence-milky-way/

* Author L.L. McKinney discuses the role publishers play in commodifying black pain, and how the focus of the industry must move beyond just "Issue" books: https://www.tor.com/2020/06/17/the-role-publishing-plays-in-the-commodification-of-black-pain/

* Customer Adam M. pointed out Bright 21st, a sci-fi short-story contest for "inspiring futures and positive alternate realities".  They have posted the winners of the most recent contest, and they're all free to read on the site (with free registration) and will be turned into audio plays this fall: https://www.bright21st.com/

* Kate Warne, Pinkerton agent and America's first female private detective, was a pioneer in her field who also helped protect Abraham Lincoln: https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/606901/kate-warne-first-female-detective

* Wow.  An "Untethered Miniature Origami Robot that is able to self-assemble, walk on various surfaces, swim in shallow water, carry small items, and climb up different grades" - https://laughingsquid.com/dissolvable-miniature-origami-robot/

* This hotel room has a secret library door that opens when you pull out a specific book in the room!  https://mymodernmet.com/bella-vista-bb-hidden-room/

* Shut down during the pandemic, these museums are competing online for the creepiest object in their collection: https://www.boredpanda.com/creepiest-objects-curator-battle-yorkshire-museum/

* One point scored against dystopia! A machine that sucks up smog and turns it into diamonds: https://ideas.ted.com/this-tower-sucks-up-smog-and-turns-it-into-diamonds/

* Night of the Living Dead. . . Crickets? https://www.popsci.com/living-dead-excerpt/

* A bit of cryptographic history is up for auction: an Enigma encryption machine -- https://www.theartnewspaper.com/news/second-world-war-enigma-coding-machine-on-offer-at-vienna-s-dorotheum

* Two terrifying trailers for the new "Candyman" movie, directed by Nia DaCosta and written by DaCosta, Jordan Peele, and Win Rosenfeld -- the theatrical trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlwzuZ9kOQU and DaCosta's haunting puppet trailer, that shows the Candyman's tragic origin story, here: https://variety.com/2020/film/news/candyman-short-puppet-origin-story-1234640739/

* Scientists say conspiracy theorists have a fundamental cognitive problem: https://www.inverse.com/article/37463-conspiracy-beliefs-illusory-pattern-perception

* Probably in my list of Top Ten Best Headlines Ever -- "The monstrous blobs near Earth's core may be even bigger than we thought": https://www.livescience.com/core-mantle-ulvz-blobs-enormous.html

* What do you call the world's only pink manta ray?  Inspector Clouseau, of course. . . . https://mymodernmet.com/pink-manta-ray-kristian-laine/

-----------------
Special Offer
-----------------

About a month ago (or was it two years? -- so hard to tell nowadays) a nice guy named Payam Salehi who runs Anam Cara (https://writewithfriends.com) emailed us.  Anam Cara is part writing workshop, part social-network type of thing, and part writing/accountability group.  He got in touch with us to see if we'd be willing to help promote the next session (which starts on July 14th, and is led by author, professor and speaker Faith Adiele <https://www.adiele.com>).

Off the bat we were _very_ skeptical.  There are an awful lot of on-line "writing classes" and they are usually, to some degree, a scam.  They over-promise, the "experts" actually aren't, they charge too much, and so on.  But Alan gave him a call anyway and he seemed like a nice, sincere guy.  After that, Alan did some digging and talked to both some prior participants and some other folks who are promoting it.  In the end, we decided that it was legit.  

Though it has the usual elements that you'd expect from an on-line writing class, the thing that stands out to us is the peer-support element.  At the outset, participants are added to a group and, further, assigned a writing partner.  The expectation is that, in addition to the class element, the group and especially your writing partner will be helpful and supportive of your work.  Based on the people Alan talked to, that idea actually functions as intended.

That seems to us to be a big plus over the typical writing group where the level of engagement within the group often leaves a bit to be desired, especially within groups that consist of mostly less-experienced writers.

Bottom line, if you're interested in trying it out, Payam is offering Borderlands folks a discount on the program.  The base cost is $390 ($290 each if you sign up with a friend) for the five-week course, but, if you use promo code "borderlands", you'll get $20 off of either price. Further, he's agreed to extend the refund period through the entire class so it is essentially a no-risk deal.  If you don't feel like it was worthwhile, you'll get a refund.

Full disclosure: Anam Cara's side of the promotional deal is that Borderlands will get 15% of any signups that come in through our promotion code.  We're not really focused on the income but, if the program is good and legit, it might be a nice little bit of extra cash for the shop.  The most important thing to us, however, is that it is, in fact, good and legit.  So, if you do decide to try it out, please let us know what you thought.

-----------------------------------
Audiobook Recommendations
------------------------------------

Escape Through the Audio Hatch - Libro.fm Recommendations
By Melinda Rose

As I was compiling the list of my favorite listens of the past month, I realized these are all pure escapism. Light enough that you can do other things while listening, but meaty enough to hold your attention and distract. Turns out that's something I'm really needing right now, and maybe you are too. If so, I invite you to snuggle up with any of the following selections.

Going Postal by Terry Pratchett, performed by Stephen Briggs.
It's been a while since I've gone to the DiscWorld, and I'd almost forgotten how much it's like listening to a Monty Python sketch. Moist Von Lipwig is a con artist about to hang for his crimes when he's given a second chance at life. All he has to do is get the post office up and running again. Not a simple task. The mail's been piling up for decades and the postal workers are a skittish bunch of misfits. Despite his best efforts to remain cynical and aloof, Moist discovers his skill set is perfectly suited for government work, and that he really _wants_ to bring the postal service back to its glory days.
https://libro.fm/audiobooks/9780060824693-going-postal?bookstore=borderlands

Have Space Suit, Will Travel by Robert A. Heinlein, performed by Mark Teretsky.
This classic has long been on my to-read list, and I'm glad I finally got around to it.  It's hard science fiction from 1958, yet somehow it holds up. There were times it reminded me of listening to The Martian by Andy Weir, because our hero is constantly science-ing himself out of or into difficult situations. I particularly loved Kip's pragmatic, supportive father. You want to go to the moon? Sure thing kid, guess you better figure out how you're getting there.There are so many great characters and plot twists I simply couldn't put my earbuds down.
https://libro.fm/audiobooks/9781482964189-have-space-suit-will-travel?bookstore=borderlands

Lucky Supreme by Jeff Johnson, performed by Keith Szarabajka
I loved "Everything Under the Moon", so when I was craving something gritty I decided to explore more of Johnson's catalogue. The voice actor brings the perfect gravelly tones and pacing to this modern noir tale. The story centers around Darby Holland who runs a tattoo parlor in Old Town Portland. He's content with a simple life and an inner circle of employees and the other neighborhood proprietors. His life gets a lot more complicated when there's a sighting of a former employee in California. In order to save face Darby has to go down there, confront him, and attempt to recover the art he stole while skipping town. That endeavor escalates into a confrontation with a seedy Bay Area crime syndicate. Now Darby has to gather up all his resources to save his shop from those nefarious forces as well as a landlord ready to give into the pressures of gentrification. 
https://libro.fm/audiobooks/9781982616137-lucky-supreme?bookstore=borderlands

The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher, performed by Hilary Huber
"And I twisted myself about like twisted ones."  Fair warning - you're not going to be able to stop repeating the litany of the twisted ones for weeks after listening to this book. Mouse's grandmother was not a pleasant person. And, as Mouse discovers when she agrees to clean out the house after grandma dies, she was one hell of a hoarder. Among all the useless junk Mouse finds her step-grandfather's journal, and discovers there is definitely something eerie going on in the woods. The crazy ramblings of the journal start to manifest in the world around her and things get seriously spooky. There's an excellent unraveling of a mystery here, mixed in with so much laugh-out-loud humor I had to be careful about listening to this story in public. 
https://libro.fm/audiobooks/9781508297475-the-twisted-ones?bookstore=borderlands

[Editor's Note:
Libro.fm is an audiobook purchase platform specifically designed to support independent bookstores. Unlike all of the e-book sites that have offered us partnerships, and in direct contrast to Amazon's audiobook platform, Audible, Libro.fm makes it practical and seamless to support Borderlands (or another indie of your choice) with your online audiobook purchases.  It's easy to sign up and easy to use, moreso, we've been blown away by their extraordinary customer service and dedication to helping bookstores. Just go to https://libro.fm/story to learn more about them and create your free account. As part of the account set-up process, you designate an independent bookstore that you want your purchases to support. (You can use this link if you want to choose Borderlands to support right out of the gate: https://libro.fm/?bookstore=borderlands .)  After that, browse more than 150,000 audiobooks and either set up a monthly membership, or buy audiobooks a la carte. ]

--------------------
From The Office
--------------------

[Editor's Note: With all of the work we've been doing creating and revamping procedures and the projects that needed to occur to get our Valencia Street location back open, almost nothing has happened at Haight Street.  We hope to get back to work there shortly!]

----------------
Best Sellers
----------------
Borderlands Best-Selling Titles for June, 2020:

Hardcovers
1. The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin
2. Network Effect by Martha Wells
3. Shakespeare for Squirrels by Christopher Moore
4. House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
5. The Last Emperox by John Scalzi
6. Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
7. Angel of the Crows by Katharine Addison
8. The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water by Zen Cho
9. Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre by Max Brooks
10. The Mermaid, The Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

Trade Paperbacks
1. The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix Harrow
2. Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisinn
3. Defy or Defend by Gail Carriger
4. The Book of Koli by M.R. Carey
5. Middlegame by Seanan McGuire
6. Fall; or, Dodge in Hell by Neal Stephenson
7. This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
8. Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin
9. Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin
10. City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. Dune by Frank Herbert
2. A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
3. The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi
4. Foundation by Isaac Asimov
5. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
6. Imaginary Numbers by Seanan McGuire
7. Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
8. Hyperion by Dan Simmons
9. Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson
10. Rosemary & Rue by Seanan McGuire

------------------------------
Book Club Information
------------------------------
Both of the book clubs that typically meet in the store will be meeting online via Zoom in July:

The QSF&F Book Club will meet on Sunday, July 12th, at 5 pm to discuss A CLOCWORK ORANGE by Anthony Burgess.  All the details are here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/qsfandf . Please contact the group leader, Christopher Rodriguez, at cobalt555@earthlink.net, for more information.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club will meet on Sunday, July 19th, at 6 pm to discuss A MEMORY CALLED EMPIRE by Arkady Martine.  Please contact bookclub@borderlands-books.com to get the Zoom info.

------------------------------
Upcoming Event Details 
------------------------------

Virtual event with Katherine Addison, THE ANGEL OF THE CROWS (Tor, Hardcover, $27.99) Wednesday, July 8th at 6:00 pm PST - We're happy to virtually welcome Katherine Addison, beloved author of THE GOBLIN EMPEROR, as she presents her awesome new novel THE ANGEL OF THE CROWS! ANGEL is a terrific, atmospheric Holmesian fantasy with angels and werewolves and robotic dogs and mysterious murderer(s), and we know you're going to love it.  Register here for the event: https://www.crowdcast.io/e/borderlands-books-hosts/register and call or email us to set up an order for a signed and/or personalized copy!

Virtual event with Jo Walton, OR WHAT YOU WILL (Tor, Hardcover, $26.99) Thursday, July 9th at 5:00 pm PST - We're thrilled to be hosting Jo Walton as she presents her brand-new novel OR WHAT YOU WILL!  This is a story about an author's most beloved character, who has decided that perhaps he does not wish to be just a character any more. Jo will read an excerpt and discuss the book, and answer questions from the audience.  We do hope you'll join us; more details, and sign up for free here: https://www.crowdcast.io/e/borderlands-books-hosts-2/register The author has also been kind enough to offer to sign and/or personalize copies purchased from Borderlands, so call or email us to set that up!

In the Middle: a virtual event with Mike Chen (A BEGINNING AT THE END, Mira, Hardcover, $26.99) and Kelly McWilliams (AGNES AT THE END OF THE WORLD, Little, Brown, Hardcover, $17.99) Wednesday, July 15th at 5:00 pm PST - Please join us for a fascinating virtual event with authors Mike Chen and Kelly McWilliams!  Mike and Kelly will each do a short reading and then discuss what it's like to launch pandemic fiction during a pandemic, moderated by Jude Feldman from Borderlands.  There'll be an opportunity for live audience questions as well.  And, if you purchase a copy of either (or both) A BEGINNING AT THE END or AGNES AT THE END OF THE WORLD from Borderlands, you can get a bookplate from the author signed and/or personally inscribed!  Email (orders@borderlands-books.com) or call (888 893-4008) for book order details; the link to sign up for the event via Crowdcast is here https://www.crowdcast.io/e/55so28hg/register.

Relentless and Unconquerable: a virtual event with Kate Elliott (UNCONQUERABLE SUN, Tor, Hardcover, $27.99) and Mary Robinette Kowal (THE RELENTLESS MOON, Tor, Hardcover $30.99 and Trade Paperback $17.99) Tuesday, July 21st at 7:00 pm PST - We're delighted to host a virtual event with these two acclaimed authors!  Register for free here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sci-fi-authors-mary-robinette-kowal-and-kate-elliott-in-conversation-tickets-111045758854 and join us on July 21st to hear an excerpt from Mary Robinette's eagerly awaited new Lady Astronaut novel, and Kate's thrilling new space opera.  The authors will also be in conversation, and how lucky are we to get to listen in?!

Virtual event with L.E. Modesitt, Jr. QUANTUM SHADOWS (Tor, Hardcover, $27.99) Thursday, July 23rd at 7:00 pm PST - We're always happy to welcome L.E. Modesitt, Jr. to Borderlands, regardless of the format!  Lee's new book is called QUANTUM SHADOWS, and he'll read a short excerpt, discuss the novel with Borderlands' manager Jude Feldman, and answer questions from the audience.  Register here and don't miss this fascinating event! https://www.eventbrite.com/e/borderlands-books-hosts-l-e-modesitt-jr-for-new-book-quantum-shadows-tickets-111050990502 The author is also happy to sign and personalize books ordered from Borderlands, so give us a call or drop us an email to set up your order!

Virtual event with Ferrett Steinmetz, AUTOMATIC RELOAD (Tor, Trade Paperback, $17.99) Friday, July 31st at 5:00 pm PST - Details TK!

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Featured Upcoming Titles
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(These titles have not arrived yet.  You may pre-order most of these books by calling or emailing us.  Prices may be subject to change.  Of course, we have many more titles arriving each week . . . call or email us if you're curious about a particular upcoming title not listed here. This list is tentative and subject to change by publishers. Unless otherwise noted, books are originals.) 

ROBERT JACKSON BENNETT * In the Shadow of Men * Subterranean Press, Aug 2020 (na, hc, eb)
BEN BOVA & DOUG BEASON * Space Station Down * Tor, Aug 2020 (hc, eb)
JOHN BIRMINGHAM * The Shattered Skies * Head of Zeus, Aug 2020 (hc)
CHRISTOPHER BROWN * Failed State * Harper Voyager US, Aug 2020 (tp, eb)
P.D. CACEK * Second Chances * Flame Tree Press US, Aug 2020 (h, tp, hc, eb)
NEIL CLARKE, ED. * The Best Science Fiction of the Year * Volume Five, Skyhorse/Night Shade Books, Aug 2020 (an, tp, hc, eb)
JULIE E. CZERNEDA * Mirage * DAW, Aug 2020 (hc, eb)
SETH DICKINSON * The Tyrant Baru Cormorant * Tor, Aug 2020 (hc, eb)
GARDNER DOZOIS & MICHAEL SWANWICK * City Under the Stars * Tor.com Publishing, Aug 2020 (tp, eb)
GREG EGAN * Dispersion * Subterranean Press, Aug 2020 (na, hc)
SHANNON HALE * Kind of a Big Deal * Macmillan/Roaring Brook, Aug 2020 (ya, hc, eb)
LAURELL K. HAMILTON * Sucker Punch * Penguin Random House/Berkley, Aug 2020 (v, hc, eb)
MARIA DAHVANA HEADLEY * Beowulf * Macmillan/MCD X FSG Originals, Aug 2020 (pm, a, tp, eb)
KEVIN HEARNE * Ink & Sigil * Penguin Random House/Del Rey, Aug 2020 (hc, eb)
RICHARD KADREY * Ballistic Kiss * Harper Voyager US, Aug 2020 (h, hc, eb)
DEREK KÜNSKEN * The House of Styx * Rebellion/Solaris US, Aug 2020 (eb)
JOHN LANGAN * Children of the Fang and Other Genealogies * Word Horde, Aug 2020 (c, tp, eb)
JEFFREY ALAN LOVE * The Mountain of Smoke * Flesk Publications, Aug 2020 (pi, art, hc)
JONATHAN MABERRY * Lost Roads * Simon & Schuster, Aug 2020 (ya, h, hc, eb)
STEPHENIE MEYER * Midnight Sun * Little, Brown, Aug 2020 (ya, hc, eb)
TAMSYN MUIR * Harrow the Ninth * Tor.com Publishing, Aug 2020 (hc, eb)
KAREN OSBORNE * Architects of Memory * Tor, Aug 2020 (tp, eb)
K.J. PARKER * How to Rule an Empire and Get Away with It * Orbit US, Aug 2020 (tp, eb)
GEORGE A. ROMERO & DANIEL KRAUS * The Living Dead * Tor, Aug 2020 (h, hc, eb)
ANTHONY RYAN * The Black Song * Ace, Aug 2020 (1st US, hc, eb)
LAVIE TIDHAR * By Force Alone * Tor, Aug 2020 (1st US, hc, eb)
F. PAUL WILSON * Other Sandboxes: Stories with Characters and Places Shared with Writers Living and Dead * Gauntlet Press, Aug 2020 (c, art, hc)

Abbreviations indicate: (r) reprint, (h) horror, (ya) young adult, (nf) non-fiction, (c) collection, (oc) original collection, (na) novella, (a) associational, (om) omnibus, (eb) e-book, (an) anthology, (pi) pictoral and other, (art) art and others, (gn) graphic novel, (x) media tie-in, (nv) novelette, (ss) short story, (hc) hardcover, (tp) trade paperback, (ph) pamphlet, (pb) paperback, (oa) original anthology, (b) biography, (v) paranormal romance, (pm) poetry.

This newsletter is distributed monthly free of charge and may be distributed without charge so long all the following information is included.

Dispatches from the Border
Editor - Jude Feldman
Assistant Editor - Alan Beatts
Thanks to David Fitzgerald for contributing news items!

All contents unless otherwise noted are the property of Borderlands Books, 866 Valencia St.
San Francisco CA 94110
415 824-8203
http://www.borderlands-books.com
Comments and suggestions should be directed to editor@borderlands-books.com

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