Saturday, February 4, 2017

Dispatches from the Border, February 2017

Events and News From Borderlands Books
February 2017

Upcoming Events

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

Coffee with a Cop at Borderlands on Tuesday, February 7th at 9:00am

GENUS LOCI: TALES OF THE SPIRIT OF PLACE (Ragnarok Publications, Trade Paperback, $18.95) event with Jason Daniel Batt, Chaz Brenchley, Sunil Patel, Vivienne Pustell, z.m. quynh, and Carrie Ratajski on Saturday, February 18th at 2:00pm

Meg Pontecorvo, MURDER IN THE GENERATIVE KITCHEN (World Weaver Press, Mass Market, $9.99) on Sunday, February 19th at 2:00pm

Meg Elison, THE BOOK OF ETTA (47North, Trade Paperback, $14.95) on Saturday, February 25th at 3:00pm

Joe Lansdale, RUSTY PUPPY (Mulholland Books, Hardcover, $26) on Saturday, March 4th at 2:00pm

Erika Lewis, GAME OF SHADOWS (Tor Books, Hardcover, $25.99) and Veronica Rossi, SEEKER (Tor Teen, Hardcover, $17.99) on Saturday, March 18th at 1:00pm

Richard Kadrey, THE WRONG DEAD GUY (Harper Voyager, Hardcover, $24.99) on Saturday, March 18th at 3:00pm

(for more information check the end of this newsletter)


* R.I.P. William Peter Blatty, who had a long and varied career in literature, film and newspapers. His most successful creation was the novel The Exorcist.

* We're also sorry to report the passing of actor John Hurt.  Here, presents clips from some of his most memorable genre roles:

* Efforts to revise or repeal California's terrible autograph law AB5170 have resulted in AB228, a revised piece of legislation that is due to be voted on as soon as February 26th, 2017.  It's not how we would have re-written it, but it does have the positive effects of exempting most regular bookstores and booksellers from the law.  You can read the text of it here: .  We'll keep you posted if it passes!

* Unfortunately, local San Francisco bookstore Adobe Books was broken into for the second time this year:

* Locus Magazine has released their 2016 Recommended Reading List -- everything from novels to novellas to shorts.  Check out the full list here:

* Strange Horizons has released their 2016 Readers Poll:

* The first recipients of the Young Adult Write Now Endowment (endowed by the Horror Writers Association) have been announced. The five libraries will receive $500 each to help fund teen writing programs.  More details here:

* Fantastic Stories of the Imagination will be shutting down after their special People of Color Take Over issue because of financial issues.  More details in the Publisher's letter:

* In more sad news, long a hub for SF writers, has announced that it will be closing by the end of March.  Their full statement is here:

* You can help in naming the World Science Fiction Society’s new award for Best Young Adult Book by voting.  The name Worldcon seems kind of meh to us, but all of the others are pretty great.  Check out the options with small explanations on the choices here:

* If you're feeling down, here's a list of some inspirational quotes from science fiction.

* An essay on how the use of allegory to represent oppression can actually erase the very people it's meant to be helping.

* YAY! The Expanse is back! We're still behind, but if you're caught up, check out this article on why it's so relevant to our current times.

* A great list that explores many of the ways that consuming science fiction can make the world a better place.

* We can't wait for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.  More Rey!  More Poe!!  More Finn!!!  Here's a little article where the director reveals the three films that influence his ideas of the Star Wars universe.

* They've been talking about a Highlander reboot for years, but now we have a lot more information.  Check here if the cheesiness of Highlander was a huge part of your childhood.

* Author Marlon James talks about his upcoming fantasy trilogy, cultural perspectives on what fantasy is, and goes more into more detail on what he's called an "African Game of Thrones". Read the whole interview here:

* Science fiction has created some of the most political shows in recent memory.  Here are five upcoming shows in 2017 that are ready to carry that torch forward.

Award News
* The Horror Writers Association has released the preliminary ballot for the Bram Stoker Awards. Check out all the nominees here:

* The Philip K. Dick Award has announced their 2016 nominees!  For the list go here:

* The judges for the 2017 World Fantasy Award have been announced:

* The 2016 SF&F Hall of Fame Inductees have been announced, and not only have the rules of eligibility been expanded, but in honor of their 20th anniversary they inducted 20 extra creators and works into the Hall of Fame.  See the full list here:

* Mystery Writers of America announces the shortlist for the Edgar Award, and many of the nominees are of definite interest to speculative fiction fans.  The full list is here:

* The nomination period for the Hugos is open.

From The Office

Once again, we've made our minimum goal for sponsors.  So, we'll be staying open throughout 2017.  If you're not familiar with our Sponsorship Program and how it is critical for the continued operation of Borderlands Books, you can find information about it here - .

I want to personally thank all our 2017 sponsors for allowing us to continue to do what we love -- run a fine shop and put great books in the hands of readers.  If you're not a sponsor or if you haven't renewed your sponsorship yet, you're welcome to do so anytime this year.  There are some nice benefits <> to being a sponsor and, each sponsor who supports us over the minimum gets us one step closer to our long-term goal of buying a building before our current lease expires in 2021.  You can sign up on-line <>, in person at the store, by phone with a credit card (toll free 888 893-4008), or with a check by physical mail.  We sincerely appreciate everyone's support.

That said, I'm going to jump to a mostly unrelated topic.

It has been my policy since opening Borderlands to keep the business as thoroughly separated from politics as possible.  It's not that I (and the rest of the staff) lack political convictions.  But, the staff and customers at Borderlands are a very diverse group with a range of political and social views as broad as the general public.  If I were to take political positions in my role as the owner of this business, to some extent I would be demanding that my customers, fellow members of our community like authors and publishers, and, most of all, my staff make a choice.  They could either tacitly support my views by continuing to be associated with Borderlands or they could sever their relationship.  Although that tacit support would be minor and of small degree, it would be present.

Since I don't think it would be right for me to place people whom I respect in that position and, more so, because I don't think that my views are something that I should force on anyone, I have always maintained that apolitical standard for our business.  The one exception to that standard has been the very rare laws that directly affect bookselling and booksellers (such as the recent California autograph law - AB1570).  Beyond that, the larger political arena has been off-limits.  We won't even put up signs for local candidates or host meetings for them.

But, there are times when political matters transcend mere questions of governance and begin to touch upon more vital questions of essential civil rights and the rule of law.  I believe that, when politics treads into the territory of civil rights, I have an ethical obligation to not be silent. Likewise, if the fundamental legal bases of our nation and society are threatened or abridged, I feel a duty to speak out.

I believe we are living through a remarkable period of American politics.  We are truly seeing history being made and we are witnessing events that will be discussed 50 and 100 years from now.  And I am concerned that we are also living through a period in which matters of civil rights and the rule of law may be sharply contested.  And so, this note is along the lines of giving fair warning: if my ethics or duty require that I speak up, I will do so -- regardless of the discomfort it might cause me or other people associated with Borderlands.

I'm aware that there's a possibility that, were I to take political positions in my capacity as the owner of Borderlands, it will be a slippery slope that leads farther than I would wish.  I also know that I might offend some of our customers in the process.  I hope that, if I go to farther into the realm of the political than the guidelines I mentioned would allow, you'll let me know.  And I also hope that, if you disagree with something I've said or are offended by it, you'll write or call and hopefully we can have a useful and respectful conversation about it.

But, most of all, I hope that the next few years will not hold anything that I feel I have to comment on.  I think that really would be best, for me and for our country.

Warm Regards,

Best Sellers
Borderlands Best-Selling Titles for January, 2017

1. KINDRED: THE GRAPHIC NOVEL by Octavia Butler and John Jennings
2. BABYLON’S ASHES by James S.A. Corey
3. EMPIRE GAMES by Charles Stross
5. INVISIBLE PLANETS edited by Ken Liu
6. PIRATE UTOPIA by Bruce Sterling
7. THE COLD EYE by Laura Anne Gilman
10. EVERFAIR by Nisi Shawl

Trade Paperbacks
1. THE THREE-BODY PROBLEM by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu
3. PASSING STRANGE by Ellen Klages
6. THE BURNING PAGE by Genevieve Cogman
7. THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY by Genevieve Cogman
9. PRIVILEGE OF THE SWORD by Ellen Kushner
10. A BLADE OF BLACK STEEL by Alex Marshall

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. THE HANGING TREE by Ben Aaronovitch
2. AURORA by Kim Stanley Robinson
4. DISSIDENCE by Ken MacLeod
5. THE BLOCKADE by Jean Johnson
6. THE END OF ALL THINGS by John Scalzi
7. INSURGENCE by Ken MacLeod
8. BATTLE HILL BOLERO by Daniel Jose Older
10. THE GUNSLINGER by Stephen King

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 BRILLANCE 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 AMERICAN GODS by Neil Gaiman. The book for the following month will be A CANTICLE FOR LEIBOWITZ by Walter M. Miller. Please contact for more information.

Upcoming Event Details

Women in Horror event with Rena Mason, Lisa Morton, & 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!

Coffee with a Cop on Tuesday, February 7th at 9:00am - Borderlands is pleased to host a social meeting at the cafe with SF Police Department patrol officers from the Mission District, along with the Captain of Mission Police Station, Daniel Perea and members of his staff.  This is a great opportunity to meet the officers that work in our district, ask any questions you have about policing in the Mission or in the City in general, and raise any concerns you may have.  As some of you may remember, we've worked with Capt. Perea on his project to create a free library at Garfield Park.  He's very much "our" sort of person - a SF native who still lives in San Francisco and who obviously understands the importance of reading, literacy and local small businesses.  We'll hope to see you at this chance to have "Coffee with a Cop".  We're certainly looking forward to seeing some of the officers, since a couple of them are regular customers at the store (not to mention one of them whose first science fiction novel will be published this year).

GENUS LOCI: TALES OF THE SPIRIT OF PLACE (Ragnarok Publications, Trade Paperback, $18.95) event with Jason Daniel Batt, Chaz Brenchley, Sunil Patel, Vivienne Pustell, z.m. quynh, and Carrie Ratajski on Saturday, February 18th at 2:00pm - We are delighted to welcome 6 brilliant local authors, all contributors to the anthology GENIUS LOCI, to Borderlands!  From the publisher: "Guardian spirits. Divine presences.  Demonic powers.  Ghosts.  The concept of 'genius loci' is indeed an ancient one, found in nearly every human mythology.   GENIUS LOCI is a huge anthology of 31 all-new fantasy and science fiction stories drawing on the rich tradition of place-as-person.  Within its pages, the authors present stories of sentient deserts, beneficent forests, lonely shrubs, and protective planetary spirits, highlighted by the fantastic art of Lisa A. Grabenstetter and Evan M. Jensen, and edited by Jaym Gates."  We hope you'll join us for an unforgettable event!

Meg Pontecorvo, MURDER IN THE GENERATIVE KITCHEN (World Weaver Press, Mass Market, $9.99) on Sunday, February 19th at 2:00pm - We're delighted to welcome San Francisco author Meg Pontecorvo, as she shows off her amazing debut novella!  From the book description: "MURDER IN THE GENERATIVE KITCHEN intertwines parallel plots: the Chicago murder trial of McConnery Ellis, a wealthy middle aged woman accused of poisoning her husband with a gourmet meal prepared with the help of her AI "smart kitchen"; and the efforts of juror Julio Gonzalez to hook up with Iris, a beautiful fellow juror, at the Acapulco resort where they have been sent to watch trial footage.  The futuristic trial system, "Vacation Jury Duty," enables the lucky jurors to stream daily testimony through sleek headsets as they enjoy the amenities at the court-owned resort.  But there's a catch:  as in jury trials today, they are forbidden to communicate with other jurors.  Under constant surveillance by the resort's security guards, Julio struggles to devise ways to catch Iris's attention.  He also becomes fascinated by the trial, in which attorney-manipulated sims interrogate a lively parade of human witnesses.  The plots converge when Julio returns to Chicago for deliberation and valiantly attempts to seduce Iris with his command of the facts, as the jurors clash over whether the murderer is Mrs. Ellis, or a high tech kitchen capable of intuiting--and fulfilling--its owner's innermost desires."  We hope you'll join us to meet Meg and check out MURDER, which has been praised by David Brin, Amazing Stories and Terry Bisson!

Meg Elison, THE BOOK OF ETTA (47North, Trade Paperback, $14.95) on Saturday, February 25th at 3:00pm - We're happy to welcome Oakland-based author Meg Elison back to Borderlands!  From the publisher: "Meg Elison’s Philip K. Dick Award-winning debut THE BOOK OF THE UNNAMED MIDWIFE tells the story of an unnamed woman who survives a plague that wipes out most women and children in weeks, leaving 10 male survivors for every woman.  Donning male clothing and making it her mission to provide the few surviving women with birth control and medical care, she must navigate her way through a world she once knew to find her place in a dangerous new one.  In her gripping sequel, THE BOOK OF ETTA, Elison takes readers deeper into her post-apocalyptic world.  The story continues many years after the midwife delivered her first child to survive birth.  The inhabitants of Nowhere continue to struggle with vestiges of the plague that nearly wiped out earth’s population. Women are scarce and childbearing is dangerous, yet desperately necessary for humankind’s future.  While Mothers and midwives are considered sacred in Nowhere, Etta – a young transgender male – has a different calling as a scavenger.  Taking the name Eddy, he roams the desolate territory beyond salvaging useful relics of the ruined past and braving the threat of brutal slave traders, who are seeking women and girls to sell and subjugate. When those he loves are put in danger, Eddy will risk both body and spirit not only to save lives, but also to liberate a new world’s destiny."

Joe Lansdale, RUSTY PUPPY (Mulholland Books, Hardcover, $26) on Saturday, March 4th at 2:00pm - We're thrilled to welcome Joe Lansdale to Borderlands!  We've been fans since THE DRIVE IN, but it's never quite worked to get Joe to the store, until now!  Joe's currently touring for RUSTY PUPPY, the new Hap and Leonard novel.  Here's the synopsis from the publisher: "By now, readers are familiar with the opposites-attract partners -- Hap Collins, a white-trash rebel, and Leonard Pine, a gay, black, Republican Vietnam vet --and they've got another heated case to work on.  A grieving mother turns to Hap to seek justice both for her murdered son -- a straight-A student destined for better things than the projects, until he began asking too many questions about the racist police force -- and for her daughter, who was sexually harassed by a bullying cop.  Hap enlists the help of his best friend, Leonard, to navigate the murky waters of investigation. . .. As the two men start to unpack the mystery at hand, it isn't long before all signs point to a calculated "boys club" of corrupt cops the neighboring town over, who happen to be running an illegal fighting circuit. Though the two have faced their share of bigotry and intimidation, could Hap and Leonard have finally met their match?"  We hope you'll join us to meet Joe and check out this exciting new novel!

Erika Lewis, GAME OF SHADOWS (Tor Books, Hardcover, $25.99) and Veronica Rossi, SEEKER (Tor Teen, Hardcover, $17.99) on Saturday, March 18th at 1:00pm - We're happy to welcome these two Macmillan authors to Borderlands!  From the publisher: "In GAME OF SHADOWS, a young man plagued by the ability to see ghosts races to save the mythical land of Tara from a terrible fate. GAME OF SHADOWS has been receiving glowing advance praise, with Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee calling the book a 'riveting page-turner,' TV host and founder of Nerdist Industries Chris Hardwick called Game of Shadows 'smart, fun and addictive' and Booklist recommends the novel for 'fans of Rick Riordan and Celtic-mythology buffs alike.'"  In Veronica Rossi's SEEKER, "[t]he sequel to RIDERS follows Daryn and the riders as they attempt to save Sebastian from Samrael's dark dimension.  Daryn must rely on her instincts, her intelligence, and on blind faith to lead the riders who are counting on her in search of Sebastian.  As they delve into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems and where Samrael is steadily amassing power, Daryn faces the ultimate test.  Will she have to become evil to destroy evil?  The very fate of humankind rests in the answer." We hope you'll join us to meet two extraordinary authors!

Richard Kadrey, THE WRONG DEAD GUY (Harper Voyager, Hardcover, $24.99) on Saturday, March 18th at 3:00pm - It's always a treat to welcome local favorite Richard Kadrey to Borderlands!  Richard's recently been writing some comedic fantasy along with his ultra-noir Sandman Slim series - "In this fast paced sequel to THE EVERYTHING BOX  -- the second entry in New York Times bestselling author Richard Kadrey's comedic supernatural series -- chaos ensues when Coop and the team at DOPS steal a not-quite-dead and very lovesick ancient Egyptian mummy wielding some terrifying magic.  Coop, a master thief sort-of gone legit, saved the world from an ancient doomsday device -- heroism that earned him a gig working for the Department of Peculiar Science, a fearsome top secret government agency that polices the odd and strange.  Now Woolrich, Coop's boss at the DOPS, has Coop breaking into a traveling antiquities show to steal a sarcophagus containing the mummy of a powerful Egyptian wizard named Harkhuf.  With the help of his pals Morty, Giselle, and a professor that's half-cat, half-robotic octopus, Coop pulls off the heist without a hitch.  It’s not Coop's fault that when DOPS opened the sarcophagus they didn't find the mummy they were expecting. Well, it was the right mummy, but it wasn't exactly dead -- and now it's escaped, using a type of magic the organization hasn't encountered before.  Being a boss, Woolrich blames his underling for the screw up and wants Coop to find the missing Harkhuf and make it right, pronto." You won't want to miss Richard and THE WRONG DEAD GUY!

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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