Monday, November 17, 2014

Dispatches From the Border: November 2014

Events and News From Borderlands Books

Upcoming Events

Robert Shults and Rudy Rucker, THE SUPERLATIVE LIGHT (Daylight Books, Paperback, $39.95) Saturday, November 8th at 3:00 pm

Chaz Brenchley BEING SMALL (Per Aspera Press, Trade Paperback, $10.99) & BITTER WATERS (Lethe Press, Trade Paperback, $18) and Laurie R. King IN THE COMPANY OF SHERLOCK HOLMES (Pegasus, Hardcover, $24.95) Sunday, November 9th at 3:00 pm

F. Paul Wilson, FEAR CITY (Tor Books, Hardcover, $25.99) Friday, November 14th at 7:00 pm

Frankie Y. Bailey, THE RED QUEEN DIES (Minotaur Books, Hardcover, $24.99) Saturday, November 15th at 4:00 pm

Steven Erikson, WILLFUL CHILD (Tor Books, Hardcover, $24.99) Sunday, November 16th at 3:00 pm

Mira Grant, SYMBIONT (Orbit, Hardcover, $26) Tuesday, November 25th at 7:00 pm

Sisters in Crime / Mystery Writers of America Northern California Holiday Party, Saturday, December 6th from 2:00 - 4:00 pm

(for more information check the end of this newsletter)


* Overheard in the Store:

"You just called 'Westeros','Dextrose'!  Westeros is the land.  Dextrose is sugar.  I am NEVER going to let you live that down."

"[H. P. Lovecraft] stories are like a magic-eye image of a goth Georgia O'Keefe painting.  Just unfocus your eyes & witness the beginning and the end."

"Sometimes I forget to ask myself, 'Will doing this thing make me an a**hole?', & then I usually run into trouble."

* The wondrous Tanarive Due & Guest of Honor David Gerrold are scheduled to host Hugo Awards Ceremony.  Can't wait! -

* Sad news: the SF/F Translation Awards are shutting down.  Read their farewell here -

* An unpublished 1959 essay by Isaac Asimov is finally seeing the light of day.  It was shared after Asimov left the GLIPAR contract.  It's as valid now as it was then -

* And a triptych of Amazonian news:

Amazon and Simon & Schuster finally reach an agreement, but unfortunately since it's being kept super-secret-hush-hush it's impossible for us to tell which of them gave in more -

Amazon is going to open physical store, which when you consider their beginnings and raison d'etre, makes about as much sense as a fur coat in August in Florida but . . . okay -

And finally, Amazon releases their Diversity stats waaaay after other companies and the results are not exactly good, especially since they refuse to break down their numbers as other companies have: &

* The amazing and skilled Zilpha Keatley Snyder died on October 8th.  This is a great loss to the children's/YA field and to us all.  Zilpha was best known for her novels THE EGYPT GAME, THE HEADLESS CUPID, THE WITCHES OF WORM & the GREEN SKY TRILOGY, which lead to one of the first computer games (written by the book's author and considered canon, 1984's BELOW THE ROOT) -

* For those of us who came up in the 80s/90s there is a new free fan-made Pokemon game that is sweeping the internetz!  People who had no interest in Pokemon in their youth are enjoying this like never before -

* io9 give us their monthly list of the most exciting new SF/F books coming out in November -

* The Geffen Awards, which are presented by the Israeli Society for Science Fiction and Fantasy, have announced their 2014 Winners -

* Nicola Griffith wins the Washington State Book Award for her absolutely fantastic historical novel HILD:

* Deliciously dark fan-made film catches the more serious side of Sabrina that's been recently explored in Archie comics -

* Charlie Jane Anders and Abhimanyu Das give us a list of 20 Dr. Who plots that are based on actual science -

* Comics Master Bill Watterson has drawn a one page comic which will be a poster for this year's Angouleme festival -

* In news of Mother Nature showing you that everything you thought you knew is wrong, Lucien Beaumont captures on film a lone porcupine fending off 17 lions and surviving-

* The excavation of a 3,400 year-old temple by seven residents of the apartments above results in their arrest -

* Annalee Newitz breaks down why "Interstellar" is both the best and worst space opera you'll see -

* Four pieces of wonderful Marvel news:

Behind-the-scenes footage has arrived for both the upcoming Ant-Man film and Avengers: Age of Ultron -

Speaking of Ant-Man, significant changes to the synopsis for the Ant-Man movie clear some things up, sort of -

Speaking of first views, the first view of the Agent Carter mini-series featuring Agent Peggy Carter during WWII has arrived and it looks amazing!

And finally, Marvel announced release dates for a string of nine films, fulfilling many geek dreams, wishes, and sacrifices by revealing that both Captain Marvel & Black Panther are getting feature films! -

* So we've finally gotten the title for the new Star Wars film STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS.   Head over here to see how this title might play into the latest rumors on Luke Skywalker's fate -

* Andy Serkis, everyone's favorite body motion actor, will be in the new Star Wars film, but is but he will also be voicing the antagonist in an upcoming Robin Hood-esque futuristic game called VOLUME by THOMAS WAS ALONE creator Mike Bithell-

* George R.R. Martin says "No one ever gets the Iron Throne right" -

* An interesting post on the decline of writing income,  and how your class background and parents' economic status might limit your artistic dreams.  A lot to chew on and talk about -

From The Office
The Best Book for Old Hallows
by Devany Tesch

Since October has come to a close and the holiday season is blasting at full volume from every drugstore and supermarket, I’m already beginning to miss the cobwebs, fake blood and horrors of Halloween.  Really, who can blame me?

As an antidote for the too early switch to day-light savings time, Christmas carols, and turkeys, I'm going to tell you about the best Halloween novel of all time.

Before I moved out to San Francisco, I grew up in North Carolina.  I would come out to the West Coast to visit my family during the summers and holidays.  On one night in particular, when I was trying to go to sleep before my flight back east, I was restless and completely unable to sleep.  I couldn’t seem to keep my eyes closed and my heart kept racing.  My dad heard me rolling around and came in to check on me.  When I told him that I was restless and sleep was being particularly troublesome, he asked me what he could to do to help.  I asked him to read me a story.

The book he chose was Roger Zelazny’s “A Night in the Lonesome October”, and while it did eventually manage to get me to sleep my Dad stayed up for more than two hours reading to me.  That night I fell in love with that novel.

The first year I lived in San Francisco, I started feeling pretty lonely around the beginning of October. To cheer myself up, I asked my Dad if I could borrow his old copy of Zelazny’s novel. Not only did reading it cheer me up, it also set into motion a tradition I’ve kept for the past four years; reading through “A Night in the Lonesome October”, day by day, starting October first.  Even disregarding my pleasant associations with that novel, it is the perfect Halloween story and one of Zelazny's most underrated works.

The book take place over the thirty one frightfully fun days of October, with each chapter dedicated to a single date.  This set-up makes it perfect to read throughout the entire month, getting the reader all set and ready for the final, terror-fueled night.  I think of it as the advent calendar for October.  Zelazny uses a wide cast of characters. pulling from all the great classics in fright; Jack the Ripper, Witches, Dracula, Frankenstein and his Monster and many more.  But none of these big name stars is the narrator nor are they central to the action.

Instead the focus is on their familiar animals, primarily Snuff, the companion to Jack the Ripper, through whose canine point of view the story is told.  Each familiar has a distinctive voice and presence and adds to the character of whatever master they serve.  This structure makes the story approachable for all ages. Adults will get a kick out of the macabre humor and the many nods to classic literary monsters, while the kids have the entertaining and wacky animals to focus on, without getting too scared.

This book, to my mind, is a prime example of the art of “show, don’t tell”.  Throughout the story, the reader is given bits and pieces of information about the ancient "game" which all the "players" have gathered to complete.  At the outset, the players and their familiars clearly know more than we do, but as the story progresses the curtains are opened by increments to shed light on the story at just the right time to keep the reader interested, but still thoroughly in the dark.  The mystery of the book is part of its charm and appeal and, even after the central secret has been revealed, the reader is drawn to continue to the resolution.

It is so full of fine details and clever bits of writing, not to mention sly references to classic horror stories, that it has stood up tremendously well to multiple readings.  I suppose that at some point I might stop re-reading it but I can't see that happening anytime soon.

Best Sellers
Borderlands Best-Selling Titles for October, 2014

1. CLARIEL by Garth Nix
3. THE PERIPHERAL by William Gibson
4. WHAT IF? by Randall Munroe
5. THE DOUBT FACTORY by Paolo Bacigalupi
6. BLOOD OF OLYMPUS by Rick Riordan
7. LOCK IN by John Scalzi
8. HAWK by Steven Brust
10. THE BROTHERS CABAL by Jonathan L. Howard

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. SABRIEL by Garth Nix
2. DANGEROUS WOMEN VOL. 1 edited by Geroge R.R. Martin
3. THE NAME OF THE WIND by Patrick Rothfuss
4. THE WINTER LONG by Seanan McGuire
5. INCREMENTALISTS by Steven Burst & Skyler White
6. LIRAEL by Garth Nix
7. ACROSS THE WALL by Garth Nix
8. WISE MAN'S FEAR by Patrick Rothfuss
9. BASTION by Mercedes Lackey
10. PERILOUS SHIELD by Jack Campbell

Trade Paperbacks
1. ANCILLARY SWORD by Ann Leckie
2. VANISHING POINT - TUNE VOL. 1 by Derek Kirk Kim
4. PROPHECIES, LIBELS & DREAMS by Ysabeau S. Wilce
5. THE DARK DEFILES by Richard K. Morgan

Book Club Information

The QSF&F Book Club will meet on Sunday, November 9th, at 5 pm to discuss EIGHT MILLION GODS by Wen Spencer. The book for December is WOOL by Hugh Howey. Please contact the group leader, Christopher Rodriguez, at, for more information.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club will meet on Sunday, November 16th, at 6 pm to discuss ANCILLARY JUSTICE by Ann Leckie. The book for December is WOMAN ON THE EDGE OF TIME by Marge Piercy.  Please contact for more information.

Upcoming Event Details

Robert Shults and Rudy Rucker, THE SUPERLATIVE LIGHT (Daylight Books, Paperback, $39.95) Saturday, November 8th at 3:00 pm - Photographer Robert Shults looks for the sublime in his images of the Texas Petawatt Laser.  This past spring, Austin-based fine art photographer Robert Shults visited the Texas Petawatt Laser, one of the most powerful lasers in the world.  He wanted to capture "an observer's awe-struck perception of a seemingly sacred space where a brilliant but mortal group of men and women perform work normally reserved for the gods."   The book features a scientific introduction by Dr. Todd Ditmire, director of the Texas Petawatt at the University of Texas at Austin, as well as an original science fiction story by award-winning author, mathematician, genius, artist and troublemaker Rudy Rucker.  Additionally, each copy of the volume includes a unique bookmark made from specialized laser "burn paper" with an image etched directly onto its surface by the Texas Petawatt. You can read more about the fascinating process that brought Shults to the project here: Do not miss this incredible, very unusual event!

Chaz Brenchley BEING SMALL (Per Aspera Press, Mass Market, $10.99) & BITTER WATERS (Lethe Press, Trade Paperback, $18) and Laurie R. King IN THE COMPANY OF SHERLOCK HOLMES (Pegasus, Hardcover, $24.95) Sunday, November 9th at 3:00 pm - Store favorite Chaz Brenchley returns to Borderlands with two new books!  In BEING SMALL the horror of grief and growing up is exemplified by Michael and his mother who endeavor to keep Small -- the dead twin removed from Michael's body -- alive in spirit. This goal narrows their world & keeps them isolated. When Michael meets a house of men caring for their dying friend, he is drawn more and more into their world and away from the world he's always known -- but will Mother and Small let him leave?  BITTER WATERS, Brenchley's newest short story collection and the first devoted to gay readers, will make you weep, sweat and bleed.  The bitter waters are always inside of us and Brenchley brings them all out with his daring style and unique viewpoint.  We are also thrilled to welcome Laurie R. King to Borderlands for the first time! World-renowned and respected for her Kate Matinelli mysteries, her Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes mystery series, and other fantastic books, she comes to us as co-editor of the anthology IN THE COMPANY OF SHERLOCK HOLMES.  Chosen by King and her co-editor Leslie S. Klinger, these stories come from authors spanning every genre from horror, to science fiction, to fantasy, to mystery, and more.  What they all have in common is an appreciation of Doyle's genius detective.  Lovingly curated and excellently chosen, these stories take the essence of Sherlock Holmes' canon and merge them with other worlds, other times, and other lives.  Please join us to meet these two marvelous authors!

F. Paul Wilson, FEAR CITY (Tor Books, Hardcover, $25.99) Friday, November 14th at 7:00 pm - We are thrilled and excited to welcome F. Paul Wilson back to Borderlands for the last chapter of "Repairman Jack: The Early Years, the prequel trilogy focusing on the formative years of Wilson's globally popular supernatural troubleshooter."  From Macmillan's website: "The strands of Jack's life, established in the first two books, COLD CITY and DARK CITY, are now woven into a complete pattern.  Centered around an obscure group of malcontents intent on creating a terrible explosion in New York City in 1993, Fear City shows the final stages of young Jack becoming Repairman Jack. It is a dark and terrible story, full of plots and needless mayhem, with secret agents, a freelance torturer, a secret society as old as human history, love, death, and a very bleak triumph. Jack threads his way through this intricate maze, as people he loves are stripped away from him in a way that presages the later epic series of novels."

Frankie Y. Bailey, THE RED QUEEN DIES (Minotaur Books, Hardcover, $24.99) Saturday, November 15th at 4:00 pm - We are delighted to welcome Frankie Bailey to Borderlands!  Frankie is a criminal justice professor at UAlbany (SUNY).  She won the George N. Dove Award for her research on mystery and crime fiction, and has been nominated for several other awards, including the Edgar, Agatha, and Anthony, and is the winner of a Macavity Award for African American Mystery Writers (2008).  Frankie is a former Executive Vice President of Mystery Writers of America and a past president of Sisters in Crime.  Her new near-future mystery sounds amazing! From the book description: "The year is 2019, and a drug used to treat soldiers for post-traumatic stress disorder, nicknamed "Lullaby," has hit the streets. Swallowing a little pill erases traumatic memories, but what happens to a criminal trial when the star witness takes a pill and can't remember the crime? When two women are murdered in quick succession, biracial police detective Hannah McCabe is charged with solving the case. In spite of the advanced technology, including a city-wide surveillance program, a third woman is soon killed, and the police begin to suspect that a serial killer is on the loose.  But the third victim, a Broadway actress known as “The Red Queen,” doesn’t fit the pattern set by the first two murders.  With the late September heat sizzling, Detective Hannah McCabe and her colleagues on the police force have to race to find the killer in a tangled web of clues that involve Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, and Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.  Fast-paced and original, this is a one-of-a-kind mystery from an extremely talented crime writer."

Steven Erikson, WILLFUL CHILD (Tor Books, Hardcover, $24.99) Sunday, November 16th at 3:00 pm - We're always happy to welcome Steven Erikson back to Borderlands!  This time he's got a left-field treat for all of us -- a loving "Star Trek" pastiche/parody/tribute -- WILLFUL CHILD!  From the book description: "From the New York Times Bestselling author Steven Erikson comes a new science fiction novel of devil-may-care, near calamitous and downright chaotic adventures through the infinite vastness of interstellar space.  These are the voyages of the starship A.S.F. Willful Child.  Its ongoing mission: to seek out strange new worlds on which to plant the Terran flag, to subjugate and if necessary obliterate new life-forms, to boldly blow the. . .  And so we join the not-terribly-bright but exceedingly cock-sure Captain Hadrian Sawback and his motley crew on board the Starship Willful Child. . . . The New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Malazan Book of the Fallen sequence has taken his lifelong passion for Star Trek and transformed it into a smart, inventive, and hugely entertaining spoof on the whole mankind-exploring-space-for-the-good-of-all-species-but-trashing-stuff-with-a-lot-of-high-tech-gadgets-along-the-way, overblown adventure. The result is an SF novel that deftly parodies the genre while also paying fond homage to it."  Check out a preview here:

Mira Grant, SYMBIONT (Orbit, Hardcover, $26) Tuesday, November 25th at 7:00 pm - Join us to meet Mira Grant and check out the terrifying sequel to PARASITE!  From the book description: "The SymboGen designed tapeworms were created to relieve humanity of disease and sickness.  But the implants in the majority of the world's population began attacking their hosts, turning them into a ravenous horde.
 Now those who do not appear to be afflicted are being gathered for quarantine as panic spreads, but Sal and her companions must discover how the tapeworms are taking over their hosts, what their eventual goal is, and how they can be stopped."  Don't miss the opportunity to get your book signed and have your skin crawl when you realize that the enemy is _inside us_.

Sister in Crime / Mystery Writers of America Northern California Holiday Party, Saturday, December 6th from 2:00 - 4:00 pm - Join us and more than a dozen fabulous local mystery writers for a fun holiday party!  There will be light refreshments and the chance to mingle with, and get books signed by, fantastic authors including Juliet Blackwell, Diana Chambers, Reece Hirsch, R. Franklin James, Susan Spann, CJ Verburg, and many others.  Don't miss this chance to meet so many authors all at the same time, and enjoy a rousing kick-off to the party season!

Borderlands event policy - all events are free of charge.  You are welcome to bring copies of an author's books purchased elsewhere to be autographed (but we do appreciate it if you purchase something while at the event).  For most events you are welcome to bring as many books as you wish for autographs.  If you are unable to attend the event we will be happy to have a copy of any of the author's available books signed or inscribed for you.  We can then either hold the book(s) until you can come in to pick them up or we can ship to you.  Just give us a call or drop us an email.  If you live out of town, you can also ship us books from your collection to be signed for a nominal fee.  Call or email for details.

Dispatches from the Border
Editor - Na'amen Tilahun
Assistant Editor - Jude Feldman
Guest Piece - Devany Tesch

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San Francisco CA 94110
415 824-8203
Comments and suggestions should be directed to