Friday, April 10, 2015

Dispatches From The Border: April 2015

Events and News From Borderlands Books

Upcoming Events

Rick Wilbur (editor) and Jacob Weisman and Kim Stanley Robinson (contributors), FIELD OF FANTASIES (Night Shade Books, Trade Paperback, $15.99) Saturday, April 18th at 3:00 pm

Mission Local Neighborhood Discussion, Tuesday, April 21st at 7:00 pm

SF in SF and the Locus Science Fiction Foundation present authors Peter Straub and Michael Marshall Smith at the Book Club of California, 312 Sutter Street, 5th Floor, Friday, May 1st.  Doors at 5:30 pm, event starts at 6:30 pm. Tickets are $20.

Betsy Streeter, SILVERWOOD (Light Messages, Trade Paperback, $18.95) Sunday, May 3rd at 3:00 pm

Marie Brennan, VOYAGE OF THE BASILISK (Tor, Hardcover, $25.99), and Mary Robinette Kowal, OF NOBLE FAMILY (Tor, Hardcover, $26.99) Thursday, May 21st at 7:00 pm

Peter Orullian, TRIAL OF INTENTIONS (Tor, Hardcover, $27.99) Saturday, May 30th at 3:00 pm

Coming up later in the year, look for events with Paolo Bacigalupi, Peter Clines, Alec Helms, a Tiptree Winners' Celebration with Jo Walton, and much, much more!

(for more information check the end of this newsletter)


"Sometimes I'm on the internet and it's exactly like reading a bottle of Dr. Bronner's Soap - the gallon size."
"There are only two kinds of bookstores in Vallejo: those for Bibles, and those for porn."
"Just try it.  How can you _not_ smile when you say 'dachshund Easter egg hunt'?!"
"Sex comes and goes; chocolate is forever!"

* We're currently hiring counter help at the Cafe (not the bookstore, sorry!).   No experience is necessary, and high school students are welcome.  Fluency in English is a must, and a love of reading is a plus.  Afternoon and evening shifts to start; pay is $12.25/hour plus tips.  Drop off a resume at the Cafe or email it to .

* GRRM teams up with HBO for a historical science fiction TV show set in 1949.

* io9 has gathered some of the classic insults from science fiction & fantasy movies.  Relive the amazing moments here:

* What are the most recognizable songs from science fiction?  Do you agree with this list?

* Someone made an artistic representation of Iain M. Banks' Wasp Factory and it's just as gloriously disturbing as you think it is.

* First-ever winner of the YA Book Prize Award is ONLY EVER YOURS by Louise O'Neill:

* We mourn the passing of Sir Terry Pratchett, humanist and giant in speculative fiction:

* Jared Leto teased the world with the beginning of his transformation into The Joker for the film "Suicide Squad".  He has some massive shoes to fill.

* Independent publisher Musa Publishing has closed its doors as of March 1st, 2015.  Read their full letter here:

* There's a wax museum in Austin, TX that is exclusively dedicated to horror, science fiction and fantasy films!  And they're set to open up a new exhibit soon!  (Roadtrip!)

* io9 raises awareness of "Beyond," the queer SF/F comics anthology running a Kickstarter.  They've met their goal but there still time to get a bunch of cool stuff and help an awesome project.

* Unfortunately the Showtime re-launch of "Twin Peaks" looks as if it may have lost co-creator David Lynch over budget issues. Any fan of the original show is certainly hoping for a reconciliation -- "Twin Peaks" without David Lynch is pretty unthinkable.

* The Pollack Library at Cal State Fullerton will be displaying a collection of the original DUNE manuscripts as well as other DUNE items in their collection to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the watershed science fiction work:

* Speculative Awards season is upon us!

* The 2015 Philip K. Dick Winner has been announced!  THE BOOK OF THE UNNAMED MIDWIFE by Meg Elison is the winner, and a special citation has been given to ELYSIUM by Jennifer Marie Brissett.

* The 2015 James Tiptree Jr. Awards have been announced with THE GIRL IN THE ROAD by Monica Byrne and MY REAL CHILDREN by Jo Walton taking the top prizes. There's also an honors list which includes both PKD mentions!

* Finalists have been announced in the 2014 Aurealis Awards for Australian Excellence in Speculative Literature

* The Norma K. Hemming Awards (Australia's answer to the Tiptree award) for works that are excellent in their exploration of themes of race, gender, sexuality, class and disability in speculative fiction has announced their short list -

* The Horror Writers Association has announced a special award for publisher ChiZine

* The Hugo Nominations are out: .  And if the slate looks a little odd to you, there's a reason.  Charlie Jane Anders at io9 weighs in on the politics of it: .  The Guardian asks if the nominees are really the best SF/F books of the year. A.V. Club chimes in, calling it a "messy political controversy": . Matthew David Surridge explains in exhaustive detail why he declined a nomination .  And even well-known editor Patrick Neilson Hayden weighs in:

* The Kitschies, which celebrates works that are "progressive, intelligent and entertaining" and "contain elements of the speculative or fantastic" has announced their winners for this year!

* Congratulations to former guests of the store Chaz Brenchley, A.M. Dellamonica, Max Gladstone, and the other great finalists for Lambda Literary Awards this year, in their LGBT SF/F/H category and beyond.

*Spectrum has announced their nominees for "the best in contemporary fantastic art".  Look at the list of nominees and see the beautiful art right here:

* The British Science Fiction Awards announced their winners! Check them all out here:

* Locus brings us the list of winners for Australia's Ditmar Awards!:

* Joanna Russ (1937-2011) and Stanley Schmidt have been announced as the recipients of the 2015 SFWA Solstice Awards, as people who have impacted the science-fiction/fantasy landscape through their writing and editing respectively

Featured Title

A CROWN FOR COLD SILVER by Alex Marshall (Orbit, Hardcover, $26.00) comes out April 14th.  This is my favorite new fantasy - a throughly enjoyable, entertainingly complex story that falls somewhere in between Patrick Rothfuss and Joe Abercrombie.  Fabulous characters, ethical ambiguity, and an author who trusts in his readers' ability to "get it" without being smacked over the head.

This book is noteworthy for several reasons, but two aspects I especially appreciated were the kick-ass middle-aged female protagonist and the casual lack of heteronormativity, both extremely unusual in fantasy novels.  The pacing, dry humor, and logical but unexpected plot twists are also reasons to love it.

This is going to be my next go-to novel for fans of George R.R. Martin, Scott Lynch, and of course Abercrombie and Rothfuss.  Alan and everyone else here who has read it recommend it, too.

- Jude Feldman

From The Office

Hi Everyone,

I am, sadly, still playing catchup, still behind on my email (sorry to all of your who have been waiting for replies), and still over-the-moon happy that we're not closing.  I'm also really looking forward to our first Sponsors' Social, which is going to be on April 16th (in less than a week).

Speaking of our sponsors: if you were a sponsor as of the 19th of last month, you should have received an email from us.  If you didn't get that email, please let us know so that we can get whatever is wrong sorted out.  Much of the communication that we're going to have with sponsors will be via email and so we're working very hard to make sure we have correct addresses and that our emails are getting through.  If you got your sponsorship after March 19th, don't worry, we'll be sending out a note to you shortly.

Due to the work load right now, I don't have much clever or interesting to say this month except for one thing.  Our friends at Comix Experience < > are running into some of the same challenges regarding the San Francisco Minimum Wage that we faced (i.e. the prices for their goods are set by the publisher and they will have a hard time meeting the minimum wage as it goes up).  However, they aren't planning on closing.  Instead they're offering a graphic novel subscription service that, with sufficient support, will allow them to continue operations and meet the increasing minimum wage.  You can find all the information about it here < > but the thumbnail sketch is that, for a flat monthly fee of $25, you will receive a copy of the graphic novel of the month.  There is also a price break if you want a year-long subscription -- that's just $240.  Those are the in-person pickup prices but shipping (for those of you outside SF or those of you who just work too damn much), by Priority Mail no less, only adds $6 a month.

As Brian Hibbs explains, "Some months we might send you a more expensive book (If we had started this in February, the pick would have been Scott McCloud’s excellent “The Sculptor," which is $29.95), while some months it may be something less expensive – but every month you’ll get an accessible, compelling, and thoughtful piece of graphic fiction, and the value will be equivalent to the average price of a graphic novel over the course of the yearly plan." There are also some other cool perks like - live book club meeting and social event to discuss that book, the writers and artists of each of their picks participating in their monthly club meetings, and, for selected titles, an exclusive club-only invitation to attend a private after-hours event.

Comix Experience has been a feature and fixture in town for over 25 years.  I think that this program of theirs is a great idea and a great value.  So much so, I'm planning on signing up for purely selfish reasons.  Helping Brian keep the doors open is a good enough reason for me but the value he's offering makes it a no-brainer.  I like comics a lot but I don't have time to go shopping for them very often (despite being right around the corner from another great shop, Mission Comics and Art).  The idea of getting a new graphic novel delivered to my door every month is pretty damn cool and the $6 in shipping seems like a deal to me.  Plus, rather than wandering around the shop for a while and trusting my judgement, I can count on Brian and his crew to send me something that will be good and, quite possibly, something that I would never have picked up on my own.


Best Sellers

Borderlands Best-Selling Titles for March, 2015

1. PRUDENCE by Gail Carriger
2. TRIGGER WARNING by Neil Gaiman
3. THE THREE BODY PROBLEM by Cixin Liu translated by Ken Liu
4. HALF THE WORLD by Joe Abercrombie
5. THE BURIED GIANT by Kazuo Ishiguro
6. THE PERIPHERAL by William Gibson
7. SYMBIONT by Mira Grant
8. THE CALLING by James Frey and Nils Johnson
9. KAREN MEMORY by Elizabeth Bear

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. POCKET APOCALYPSE by Seanan McGuire
2. FLEX by Ferrett Steinmetz
3. HALF-OFF RAGNAROK by Seanan McGuire
4. FOXGLOVE SUMMER by Ben Aaronovitch
5. WORDS OF RADIANCE by Brandon Sanderson
6. SKIN GAME by Jim Butcher
7. THE WINTER LONG by Seanan McGuire
8. THE GOBLIN EMPEROR by Katherine Addison
9. 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson
10. EMPEROR OF THORNS by Mark Lawrence

Trade Paperbacks
2. THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir
3. SOULLESS by Gail Carriger
4. ANCILLARY SWORD by Ann Leckie
5. HALF A KING by Joe Abercrombie

Book Club Information

The QSF&F Book Club will meet on (this!) Sunday, April 12th, at 5 pm to discuss THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir. Please contact the group leader, Christopher Rodriguez, at, for more information.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club will meet on Sunday, April 19th, at 6 pm to discuss CRYPTONOMICON by Neal Stephenson.  The book for the following month will be A CIVIL CAMPAIGN by Lois McMaster Bujold.  Please contact for more information.

Upcoming Event Details

Rick Wilbur (editor), and Jacob Weisman and Kim Stanley Robinson (contributors), FIELD OF FANTASIES (NIGHT SHADE BOOKS, Trade Paperback, $15.99) Saturday, April 18th at 3:00 pm - From the book description: "Of all the sports played across the globe, none has more curses and superstitions than baseball, America's national pastime.  FIELD OF FANTASIES delves right into that superstition with short stories written by several key authors about baseball and the supernatural.  Here you'll encounter ghostly apparitions in the stands, a strangely charming vampire double-play combination, one fan who can call every shot and another who can see the past, a sad alternate-reality for the game's most famous player, unlikely appearances on the field by famous personalities from Stephen Crane to Fidel Castro, a hilariously humble teenage phenom, and much more.  Never has a book combined the incredible with great baseball fiction like FIELD OF FANTASIES.  This wide-ranging collection reaches from some of the earliest classics from the pulp era and baseball's golden age, all the way to material appearing here for the first time in a print edition. Whether you love the game or just great fiction, these stories will appeal to all, as the writers in this anthology bring great storytelling of the strange and supernatural to the plate, inning after inning." We're excited to welcome editor Rick Wilbur and contributors Kim Stanley Robinson and Jacob Weisman, who will be discussing and signing this unusual anthology!  (And, the great stories don't end there -- you'll also find short works from authors like Karen Joy Fowler, Rod Serling, and Jack Kerouac!)

Mission Local Neighborhood Discussion, Tuesday, April 21st at 7:00 pm - When we thought the store was closing, of the dozen some-odd papers, shows, and websites that Alan talked to, there were only three news sources that actually got the story straight - The New Yorker, The Examiner, and Mission Local.  Mission Local < > is a website that provides, in their words, "local news for a global neighborhood".  They strive for frank and even-handed reporting, "on everything from tacos to tech, crime to culture, murals to MUNI, recording the lives and changes in the city’s oldest (and arguably, best) neighborhood."  They promise to: offer original, transparent reporting; admit and correct their mistakes; cover everyone in the neighborhood; and experiment on how best to make civic issues meaningful.

What they do is, in our opinion, very damn important and so we're very pleased to host a discussion with Mission Local's publisher and staff to help determine the future direction of the site.  Mission Local started in 2008 as a a project of UC Berkeley’s Journalism School.  In 2014 they became independent and shifted to private funding.

They are currently raising funds to allow their operations to continue, but more importantly would like to explain what they're up to, and also hear from you and get feedback about what they can improve, what type of reporting, subject matter, and stories are of particular interest to the local community, and how they can best continue to be a fiercely independent neighborhood news source.  They (and we) invite you to come and bring your thoughts, comments, and questions.

SF in SF and the Locus Science Fiction Foundation present authors Peter Straub and Michael Marshall Smith at the Book Club of California, 312 Sutter Street, 5th Floor, Friday, May 1st.  Doors at 5:30 pm, event starts at 6:30 pm. Tickets are $20.  We are excited to help SF in SF and the Locus Science Fiction Founcdation in welcoming distinguished authors Peter Straub and Michael Marshall Smith!  The authors will read, take part in a discussion moderated by Terry Bisson, and sign books.  This event is a fundraiser for the Locus Science Fiction Foundation, and books will be available for sale from Borderlands.  Tickets at $20, and you can get yours by emailing

Marie Brennan, VOYAGE OF THE BASILISK (Tor, Hardcover, $25.99), and Mary Robinette Kowal, OF NOBLE FAMILY (Tor, Hardcover, $26.99), Thursday, May 21st at 7:00 pm - We are thrilled to welcome Marie and Mary back to Borderlands! They put on a fantastic show, in historical costume, featuring everything from bones to puppets. This go-round, we'll feature Marie's third memoir of the world's foremost dragon naturalist, the formidable Lady Trent, and the fifth of Mary's Glamourist Histories.  You don't want to miss this incredible event!

Betsy Streeter, SILVERWOOD (Light Messages, Trade Paperback, $18.95) Sunday, May 3rd at 3:00 pm - Join us to meet local author Betsy Streeter and check out her novel SILVERWOOD!  From the book description: "The Silverwoods are a clan with a messy history and an uncertain future, responsible [for] protect[ing] humanity from the shape-shifting Tromindox.  Helen Silverwood, fourteen, is beginning to realize that she will never lead a normal life.  There have been clues: her mother’s unusual work habits, her father’s absence, her brother’s strange abilities with a pencil and paper, and her own recurring dreams and hacker tendencies. And, the family’s constant moves from place to place.  Things are about to get much more complicated, and it all leads to the remote town of Brokeneck, California.  Can the Silverwoods keep from losing each other in space and time, while unraveling a dangerous mystery?"

Peter Orullian, TRIAL OF INTENTIONS (Tor, Hardcover, $27.99) Saturday, May 30th at 3:00 pm - We are happy to welcome author Peter Orullian back to the store!  He'll be showing off TRIAL OF INTENTIONS, the follow-up to THE UNREMEMBERED, and we hope you'll join us to meet him.  From the book description: "The gods who created this world have abandoned it. In their mercy, however, they chained the rogue god -- and the monstrous creatures he created to plague mortalkind -- in the vast and inhospitable wasteland of the Bourne. The magical Veil that contains them has protected humankind for millennia and the monsters are little more than tales told to frighten children. But the Veil has become weak and creatures of Nightmare have come through. To fight them, the races of men must form a great alliance to try and stop the creatures.  But there is dissent.  One king won't answer the call, his pride blinding him even to the poison in his own court. Another would see Convocation fail for his own political advantage. And still others believe Convocation is not enough. Some turn to the talents of the Sheason, who can shape the very essence of the world to their will. But their order is divided, on the brink of collapse.  Tahn Junell remembers friends who despaired in a place left barren by war. One of the few who have actually faced the unspeakable horde in battle, Tahn sees something else at work and wonders about the nature of the creatures on the other side of the Veil. He chooses to go to a place of his youth, a place of science, daring to think he can find a way to prevent slaughter, prevent war.  And his choices may reshape a world . . . ."

Dispatches from the Border
Editor - Na'amen Tilahun
Assistant Editor - Jude Feldman

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