Thursday, January 12, 2017

Dispatches from the Border, January 2017

Events and News From Borderlands Books
January 2017

Upcoming Events
Shaenon Garrity, SKIN HORSE VOL. 6 (Trade Paperback, $14.00) Release Party on Saturday, January 14th at 3:00pm

Writers With Drinks with authors Jeff Chang, Jennifer Dronsky, Antonio Garcia-Martinez, Aya de Leon, and Wendy C. Ortiz at The Make Out Room on Saturday, January 14 at 6:30pm

Black Comix Arts Festival at the San Francisco Public Library on Sunday, January 15th starting at 12:00 pm

Alex Lamb, ROBOTEER (Trade Paperback, Gollancz, $13.99) on Saturday, January 21st at 3:00pm

Laura Anne Gilman, THE COLD EYE (Hardcover, Saga Press, $27.99) on Sunday, January 22nd at 3:00pm

SF in SF with authors Cecelia Holland and Kim Stanley Robinson at The American Bookbinders Museum on Sunday, January 22nd at 6:30pm

Ellen Klages, PASSING STRANGE (Trade Paperback,, $14.99) on Saturday, January 28th at 3:00pm

Laurel Anne Hill, THE ENGINE WOMAN'S LIGHT on Saturday, February 4th at 3:00pm

Women in Horror event with Rena Mason, Lisa Morton, Kate Jonez, & Loren Rhoads on Sunday, February 5th at 3:00pm

(for more information check the end of this newsletter)

Coming up later this year, we're thrilled to welcome Meg Elison, Erike Lewis and Veronica Rossi, Joe R. Lansdale, Cory Doctorow and John Scalzi, and many, many other excellent writers!


* Despite any number of people (including the author of the law, who failed to be re-elected in November, and an ill-informed commenter on our blog), saying, in essence; "Oh, don't worry about it -- it's not meant to affect books", California's AB1570 autograph law is being taken seriously by publishers.  Easton Press, publisher of lovely, leather-bound editions of classics, is no longer shipping signed copies of Neil Gaiman's OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE to California.  So, yeah, it's a really stupid law -

* Overheard in the store:
"I wish the cyberpunk dystopia that we actually live in had more ninjas and day-glo colors."

* Rest in peace, dear Carrie Fisher.  Actress.  Writer.  Feminist.  Icon.  Jedi.

* We're sorry to report the death of author Richard Adams, who wrote many books, although his best-known works are the classics WATERSHIP DOWN and THE PLAGUE DOGS - both of which were turned into animated films that traumatized many a child across generations.

* In the grand tradition of the beginning of the year, both The Verge ( and Culturess ( have released their lists of anticipated speculative fiction coming out in 2017.

* If you are seeking a roundtable on diversity that features diverse voices, you can head here ( and listen to three nerds of color list their recommendations and talk about whitewashing in Hollywood.

* Author and Borderlands sponsor Kate Elliot suggests a re-jiggering of the beginning of "Rogue One" and talks about the importance of relationships in narrative, taking the time to list the stories this year that presented compassionate and complex relationships.

* Bustle give us a list of 9 Modern Women Science Fiction Writers that we should be celebrating.  How many of them have you read and how many do you need to add to your reading list?

* An interview with Sigourney Weaver about her latest genre film, "A Monster Calls" and her long history with science-fiction on the screen.

* Entertainment Weekly gives us (an unfortunately not very elaborate) list of the most anticipated YA of 2017. (Still, it's a good jumping-off point for more research on the titles that interest you.)

* We are huge fans of Tarsem Singh's lush visuals and gorgeous cinematography, plus we love a meta remake. So we're hoping the NBC series "Emerald City" manages to deliver on both fronts.  It looks quite promising.

* More and more people are discussing the ideas of AI and human rights, as demonstrated in this article in Open Democracy ( (Although no one seems to be thinking about the rights of the AIs themselves ,which is an article we would love to see.)

* Wired Magazine focuses on science fiction in their latest issue, and the Editor-in-Chief explains why science fiction is so important to our future.

* Inverse features the stories of four African-American people who contributed to science fiction and who are sometimes forgotten. Even for those of us who know their names, there are some interesting and little-known facts in the write-ups.

* There's probably. . . maybe? . . . going to be another attempt to bring DUNE to the big screen. We could say a lot, because we've heard this many times, but we'll just settle on -- We'll believe it when we see it.

* Inquisitr lists some classic "forgotten" science fiction films.  There are a couple of great films on the list that do not get the recognition they deserve for sure.

* There is no official announcement or plans, or anything, really, but director James Gunn has tweeted that he would love to do a "Moonknight" film, and as hardcore Moonknight fans we're pretty stoked that someone with some power might feel the same.

* Five different takes on cashless societies from science fiction authors.  What does a cashless society look like to you?

* Cthuluhu help us all!  Rob Liefeld is trying to bring his EXTREME! universe to the screen.  The only way we can see this working, is full camp.

* An editor speaks on the reshoots of "Rogue One".  We hope an extended version is soon released!

* We pray that this is some kind of hoax, because otherwise these are the fish that will be appearing in our nightmares until the day we die.

* Beijing-based Cristal Pictures is getting into the business of disaster films, a genre that is a favorite for many.  There's a science fiction element since what messes everything up is engineering by us in an effort to save our world. ("Snowpiercer" already did this but there's always room for more.)

* Not enough people are talking about the new "Power Rangers" film, in our opinion.  For a generation of nerds this is the guiltiest of pleasures and many of us will be seeing this film.

* We want this to work out -- heaven knows we're tired of walking, but we've been promised science fictional transport frequently before.  If the hyperloop appears, it will most likely be hellishly expensive but really, really cool.

Award News

* The Cybils, which celebrate children's and young adults authors, and have both graphic novel and speculative fiction categories, have announced their 2016 finalists:

From The Office

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

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

We outlined a few benefits that we could offer sponsors at little or no cost to the business, and then announced the program.  It was an almost immediate success and, last year, we succeeded again.  And now, the new year has rolled around and we once again need sponsors. 2015 ended with 844 sponsors.  In 2016 the count was 679.  Of course, a drop from year one to year two was expected. When closing seemed imminent, people were impassioned and enthusiastic to support us (and I'm grateful to every one of them) but, a year later, some of those people were bound to conclude that they'd made their contribution and it was time to move on to other worthy causes.

What I'm hoping is that we can match the number from last year, or at least come close to it. That will be a sign that what we've created is sustainable over the long term.  If the numbers continue to drop, the long-term prognosis won't be known until the numbers stop dropping (or, we'll know when we fail to meet 300 and close).

If you've never been a sponsor, I'd like to suggest you consider it this year.  Aside from keeping our doors open, there are some nice things that come along with sponsorship - you'll find a full list here -  We also have some sort of sponsor event every month.  Last year some of them were - a tour of The Interval and an explanation of the goals and accomplishments of The Long Now Foundation, intimate receptions with authors like Patrick Rothfuss and Charles Stross, a series of presentations about the business of writing and publishing from experts in the field, a tour of the fascinating American Bookbinders' Museum, and a picnic in Golden Gate Park.  But, all the neat things we've done with and do for sponsors are just our way of saying, "Thank you" -- sponsorship is an opportunity to support bookstores, independent business, the local character of San Francisco, and our genres.

You can become a sponsor on-line at, or you can call 888 893-4008, email or come into the store in person.

There's only one thing left to say:

I and everyone else at Borderlands salute the 844 people in 2015 who decided that bookstores matter and that Borderlands mattered enough to save.  And we further salute the 679 people who did it again, a year later.  And, last but far from least, we salute the people who will do it this time in 2017.  We are here today because of you.  You have our heartfelt gratitude.

Alan Beatts

PS  In case you're wondering what we're doing with the money from the sponsorships over the 300 we need:  the extra money is being put aside so that we can buy a building when our lease expires in 2021.  We need $300,000 to $800,000 for the down payment.  If we get enough sponsors over the next few years, I think we can make it.

Best Sellers
Borderlands Best-Selling Titles for December, 2016

1. BABYLON'S ASHES by James S.A. Corey
2. ARCANUM UNBOUNDED by Brandon Sanderson
4. MISTBORN (Leatherbound Special Edition) by Brandon Sanderson
5. PIRATE UTOPIA by Bruce Sterling
6. INVISIBLE PLANETS edited by Ken Liu
8. ALL THE BIRDS IN THE SKY by Charlie Jane Anders
9. CROSSTALK by Connie Willis
10. DEATH'S END by Cixin Liu

Trade Paperbacks
2. LEVIATHAN WAKES by James S.A. Corey
4. THE FIFTH SEASON by N.K. Jemisin
7. NORMAL by Warren Ellis
9. THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY by Genevieve Cogman

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. THE NAME OF THE WIND by Patrick Rothfuss
2. GOOD OMENS by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
3. THE WISE MAN'S FEAR by Patrick Rothfuss
4. LEAGUE OF DRAGONS by Naomi Novik
5. DISSIDENCE by Ken MacLeod
7. AURORA by Kim Stanley Robinson
8. NIGHT'S MASTER by Tanith Lee
9. INSURGENCE by Ken MacLeod
10. MISTBORN by Brandon Sanderson

Book Club Information

The QSF&F Book Club will meet on Sunday, February 12th, at 5 pm to discuss CALIBAN'S WAR by James S.A. Corey.  The book for March will be BRILLIANCE by Marcus Sakey.  Please contact the group leader, Christopher Rodriguez, at, for more information.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club will meet on Sunday, January 15th, at 6 pm to discuss CENTRAL STATION by Lavie Tidhar. The book for the following month will be AMERICAN GODS by Neil Gaiman. Please contact for more information.

Upcoming Event Details

Shaenon Garrity, SKIN HORSE VOL. 6 (Trade Paperback, $14.00) Release Party on Saturday, January 14th at 3:00pm - We're always delighted to welcome Shaenon K. Garrity!  Along with co-creator Jeffrey C. Wells, Shaenon is the genius behind the long-running and indisputably brilliant webcomic SKIN HORSE!  The 6th collection has just been successfully Kickstarted, and we hope you'll join us to celebrate.  From the description: "You'd think helping inhuman monstrosities with their personal problems would be simple.  But as the Project Skin Horse field team heads to California to parlay with the Zombie Emperor of Colma, nothing can be trusted except for Tip's ability to find a date for a wine country weekend.  All it takes to tear Skin Horse apart is one really bad day. . . ." Join us for an informal meet-and-greet and signing with Shaenon in the bookstore!  Cupcakes have been promised.

Writers With Drinks with authors Jeff Chang, Antonio Garcia-Martinez, Aya de Leon, and Wendy C. Ortiz at The Make Out Room on Saturday, January 14 at 6:30pm - Writers With Drinks is the most awesome spoken-word variety show in the world, and we're always happy to participate! This month WWD will be guest-hosted by Baruch Porras-Hernandez, and the amazing lineup includes authors: Jeff Chang (Who We Be, We Gon' Be Alright, Can't Stop Won't Stop), Jennifer Dronsky (Winner of the Alameda Comedy Competition), Antonio Garcia-Martinez (Chaos Monkeys), Aya de Leon (Uptown Thief), and Wendy C. Ortiz (Bruja). Cost: $5 to $20, no-one turned away.  All proceeds benefit the Center for Sex and Culture.  Doors open at 6:30 and Borderlands will be on hand to sell books.

Black Comix Arts Festival at the San Francisco Public Library on Sunday, January 15th starting at 12:00 pm - We're delighted to be hanging out and selling books at the Black Comix Arts Festival!  This special celebration of black writers and artists is a can't-miss event.  Guests this year include Tananarive Due, John Jennings, Nisi Shawl, and Na'amen Tilahun among many other luminaries. We hope you'll join us.  The full schedule is here:

Alex Lamb, ROBOTEER (Trade Paperback, Gollancz, $13.99) on Saturday, January 21st at 3:00pm - We are happy to welcome local hard science fiction author Alex Lamb!  Here's the description of his awesome new novel from the publisher: "The starship Ariel is on a mission of the utmost secrecy, upon which the fate of thousands of lives depend. Though the ship is a mile long, its six crew are crammed into a space barely large enough for them to stand.  Five are officers, geniuses in their field.  The other is Will Kuno-Monet, the man responsible for single-handedly running a ship comprised of the most dangerous and delicate technology that mankind has ever devised.  He is the Roboteer.  Roboteer is a hard-SF novel set in a future in which the colonization of the stars has turned out to be anything but easy, and civilization on Earth has collapsed under the pressure of relentless mutual terrorism. Small human settlements cling to barely habitable planets.  Without support from a home-world they have had to develop ways of life heavily dependent on robotics and genetic engineering.  Then out of the ruins of Earth's once great empire, a new force arises - a world-spanning religion bent on the conversion of all mankind to its creed.  It sends fleets of starships to reclaim the colonies.  But the colonies don't want to be reclaimed. Mankind's first interstellar war begins.  It is dirty, dangerous and hideously costly.  Will is a man bred to interface with the robots that his home-world Galatea desperately needs to survive.  He finds himself sent behind enemy lines to discover the secret of their newest weapon.  What he discovers will transform their understanding of both science and civilization forever. . . but at a cost."

Laura Anne Gilman, THE COLD EYE (Hardcover, Saga Press, $27.99) on Sunday January 22nd at 3:00pm - Laura Gilman returns to Borderlands for the sequel to SILVER ON THE ROAD.  From the publisher: "In the anticipated sequel to SILVER ON THE ROAD, Isobel is riding circuit through the Territory as the Devil's Left Hand.  But when she responds to a natural disaster, she learns the limits of her power and the growing danger of something mysterious that is threatening not just her life, but the whole Territory.  Isobel is the left hand of the old man of the Territory, the Boss -- better known as the Devil.  Along with her mentor, Gabriel, she is traveling circuit through Flood to represent the power of the Devil and uphold the agreement he made with the people to protect them. Here in the Territory, magic exists -- sometimes wild and perilous.  But there is a growing danger in the bones of the land that is killing livestock, threatening souls, and weakening the power of magic.  In the next installment of the Devil's West series, Isobel and Gabriel are in over their heads as they find what's happening and try to stop the people behind it before it unravels the Territory."

SF in SF with Cecelia Holland with Kim Stanley Robinson at The American Bookbinders Museum on Sunday January 22nd at 6:30pm - (Suggested donation $10, no one turned away for lack of funds.)  Doors and bar at 5:30 pm, event begins at 6:30 pm. We're always happy to participate in SF in SF, particualrly with these beloved authors!  Each author will read a selection from their work, followed by Q&A from the audience moderated by author Terry Bisson.  Authors will schmooze & sign books after.  Books available for sale courtesy of Borderlands Books.  Seating is limited, so first come, first seated.  Bar proceeds benefit the American Bookbinders Museum.   Phone (night of event) 415-572-1015.  Questions? Email

Ellen Klages, PASSING STRANGE (Trade Paperback,, $14.99) on Saturday, January 28th at 3:00pm - We're always very happy to welcome the hilarious and whip-smart Ellen Klages to the store.  This time around, Ellen will be showing off her gorgeous new novella from, PASSING STRANGE.  The catalog copy is very intriguing: "San Francisco in 1940 is a haven for the unconventional. Tourists flock to the cities within the city: the Magic City of the World's Fair on an island created of artifice and illusion; the forbidden city of Chinatown, a separate, alien world of exotic food and nightclubs that offer "authentic" experiences, straight from the pages of the pulps; and the twilight world of forbidden love, where outcasts from conventional society can meet. Six women find their lives as tangled with each other's as they are with the city they call home. They discover love and danger on the borders where mystery, science, and art intersect."  We hope you join us to check out this awesome new offering.  You can see the beautiful cover art here:

Laurel Anne Hill, THE ENGINE WOMAN'S LIGHT on Saturday, February 4th at 3:00pm - We're happy to welcome Laurel Anne Hill back to Borderlands!  She'll be showing off her awesome new novel THE ENGINE WOMAN'S LIGHT.  From the publisher: "A mystical vision of an airship appears to fifteen-year-old Juanita in 1894.  The long-dead captain commands her to prevent California's thrown-away people  -- including young children --  from boarding trains to an asylum.  That institution's director plots murder to reduce the inmate population.  Spirits watch over Juanita. But who is she?  A mystic in love who holds life sacred?  Or a ghost-possessed railroad-saboteur?  To save innocent lives Juanita must take lives of the corrupt.  How can she reconcile her assignment with her belief in the sacredness of all human life?  And will she survive to marry her betrothed?  Juanita sets out despite inner trepidation to sabotage the railroad.  Her ancestor Billy, the ghost of a steam locomotive engineer, guides her.  Then bit by bit, she discovers the gut-wrenching truths all of her ancestors neglected to reveal."

Women in Horror event with Rena Mason, Lisa Morton, Kate Jonez, & Loren Rhoads on Sunday, February 5th at 3:00pm - February is Women in Horror Month.  To celebrate, join Horror Writers Association President Lisa Morton (GHOSTS: A HAUNTED HISTORY), Bram Stoker Award winner Rena Mason (THE EVOLUTIONIST and EAST END GIRLS), Shirley Jackson Award nominee Kate Jonez (CEREMONY OF FLIES), and local author Loren Rhoads (LOST ANGELS) as they demonstrate the breadth of what women are doing in horror writing!

Featured Upcoming Titles
(These titles have not arrived yet.  You may pre-order any 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.)

Anderson, Poul * The Collected Short Works of Poul Anderson, Volume 7: Question and Answer * (NESFA Press, cln, hc)
Barker, Clive * Infernal Parade * (Subterranean Press, cln, hc)
Beagle, Peter S. * In Calabria * (Tachyon Publications, hc)
Beaulieu, Bradley P. * With Blood Upon the Sand * (DAW, hc)
Broaddus, Maurice * The Voices of Martyrs * (Rosarium Publishing, cln, tpb)
Carey, Jacqueline * Miranda and Caliban * (Tor, hc)
Chizmar, Richard, & Brian James Freeman * Darkness Whispers * (Scarlet Galleon, nva, hc)
Danielewski, Mark Z. * The Familiar: Volume 4: Hades * (Random House/Pantheon, tpb)
Datlow, Ellen, ed. * Black Feathers: Dark Avian Tales * (Pegasus, anth, hc)
Donnelly, Lara Elena * Amberlough * (Tor, hc)
Dornbusch, Betsy * Enemy * (Skyhorse/Night Shade Books, hc)
Duncan, Dave * Portal of a Thousand Worlds * (Open Road, tpb)
Gannon, Charles E. * Caine's Mutiny * (Baen, tpb)
Gevers, Nick, ed. * Extrasolar * (PS Publishing, anth, hc)
Guran, Paula, ed. * The Mammoth Book of the Mummy * (Prime Books, anth, tpb)
Harrison, Kim * The Turn * (Simon & Schuster/Gallery, hc)
Hurley, Kameron * The Stars Are Legion * (Simon & Schuster/Saga Press, hc)
Kadrey, Richard * The Wrong Dead Guy * (Harper Voyager US, hc)
Kiernan, Caitlin R. * Agents of Dreamland * (, tpb)
Latham, Rob, ed. * Science Fiction Criticism: An Anthology of Essential Writings * (Bloomsbury Academic US, nf, hc/tpb)
Martinez, Juan * Best Worst American * (Small Beer Press, cln, tpb)
Nix, Garth * Frogkisser! * (Scholastic Press, nvl-ya, hc)
Palmer, Ada * Seven Surrenders * (Tor, hc)
Resnick, Mike * The Castle in Cassiopeia * (Prometheus/Pyr, tpb)
Resnick, Mike * Voyages * (Subterranean Press, cln, hc)
Reynolds, Alastair * Revenger * (Orbit US, tpb)
Reynolds, Alastair * Slow Bullets * (Orion/Gollancz, hc)
Sagara, Michelle * Grave * (DAW, hc)
Saunders, George * Lincoln in the Bardo * (Random House, hc)
Schwab, V. E. * A Conjuring of Light * (Tor, hc)
Sparks, Cat * Lotus Blue * (Skyhorse/Talos Press, hc)
Spencer, Wen * The Black Wolves of Boston * (Baen, hc)
Spinrad, Norman * The People's Police * (Tor, hc)
Tem, Steve Rasnic * Ubo * (Rebellion/Solaris US, tpb)
Wallace, Matt * Idle Ingredients * (, nva, tpb)
Wendig, Chuck * Thunderbird * (Simon & Schuster/Saga Press, hc)

Abbreviations indicate --
hc=hardcover; tpb=trade paperback; otherwise mass-market pb, or we're not sure
cln=collection; om=omnibus; anth=anthology; nva=novella; otherwise novel
h=horror; nf=nonfiction; a=associational [non-sffh]; otherwise sf/fantasy
1st US editions (+) are books previously published in the UK or other countries; otherwise US and UK books listed as originals are 1st English language editions.

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 - Na'amen Gobert Tilahun
Assistant Editor - Jude Feldman

All contents unless otherwise noted are the property of Borderlands Books, 866 Valencia St.
San Francisco CA 94110
415 824-8203
Comments and suggestions should be directed to

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