Monday, July 17, 2017

Dispatches from the Border, July 2017

Events and News From Borderlands Books
July 2017

Upcoming Events

David D. Levine, ARABELLA AND THE BATTLE OF VENUS (Tor Books, Hardcover, $25.99) on Saturday, July 22nd at 3:00pm

Christopher Brown, TROPIC OF KANSAS (Harper Voyager, Trade Paperback, $15.99), in conversation with Michael Blumlein on Sunday, July 23rd at 3:00pm

Tal Klein, THE PUNCH ESCROW (Geek & Sundry, Trade Paperback, $14.99) on Tuesday, July 25th at 6:30pm

Laura Lam, SHATTERED MINDS (Tor, Hardcover, $25.99) on Sunday, August 20th at 3:00pm

(for more information check the end of this newsletter)

And, coming up in the Fall, we're happy to welcome Max Gladstone, Seanan McGuire, Ann Leckie, Annalee Newitz, and many, many others!

* Overheard in the Store:
"My perspective is skewed... I thought Cormac McCarthy's THE ROAD was about a father & son taking a trip to the beach."

"[I thought], when the Universe gives you ice cream, you'd _better_ get a spoon."

"That's not so great, honey -- did your mom _really_ call you a 'buzz kill'?"

* We are so sad to hear that after 41 years, the legendary bookstore Dark Carnival in Berkeley will be closing soon.  Please go by and buy a book or two or ten and give the store a grand send-off.

* AB228 (amendment to California's dreadful autograph law AB1570 -- see for background on the law) still faces two more committees; however some positive changes have been made to the amendment.  The language now includes "This bill would instead define 'autographed collectible' to mean an autographed sports or entertainment media item, as specified, sold or offered for sale in or from this state by a dealer to a consumer for $50 or more, bearing the actual signature of a person signed by that individual's own hand that increases the sale value of the item over that of a comparable item without the actual signature. The bill would exclude, among other items, works of fine art, signed books, furniture, and certain decorative objects, from the definition of an autographed collectible."  Therefore, if the amendment is adopted, booksellers and others whom this law was never intended to include would _actually_ be excluded from it.  The full text of the amendment can be found here:

* Are you into "Magic: The Gathering"?  Want to play with other Borderlands customers and friendly, like-minded weirdos?  Come hang out with the Bay Area Lady Planeswalker Society (informally known here as "Magic for Not-the-Usual-Suspects") at Borderlands Cafe, every first and third Saturday of the month, from 5 pm - 9 pm!  They welcome fresh faces.  However, since we've a private sponsor rental on Saturday, July 15th, the next "Magic: The Gathering"-Gathering will be Saturday, August 5th.  We hope you'll attend!

* Comedian and cartoonist Mike Capozzola has a cool new multimedia show for comic book & science fiction fans called "Evil Cyborg Sea Monsters", and partial proceeds from his July 25th performance at The Punch Line benefit the Cartoon Art Museum.

* An interview with one of the greats of experimental science fiction, Samuel R. Delany, at The Portalist:

* Ahh, the 1920s --  when sci-fi fashion meant actually looking like some planet or space anomaly.  We long for those days to return (but not in a hipster way!).

* So, this happened:

* Thanks to sponsor Andrea F. for pointing out Levar Burton's new podcast, "Levar Burton Reads," which is like "Reading Rainbow" for adults!  Mr. Burton particularly likes science fiction, so you should definitely check this out.

* You're a passenger in seat 14C, on Flight #008, and when you land, your plane has been mysteriously transported 20 years into the future.  Participate in this short story contest about the innovations and changes you find in 2037.  The prize includes a trip to Japan, a hotel stay and more.

* A list of all the classic (and maybe some not-so-classic) science fiction, fantasy and horror movies coming to Blu-Ray in July:

* Everything you need to know about Luc Besson’s upcoming science fiction epic "Valerian", which is based on a series of French comics:

* Most science fiction fans know that there's always been some crossover with the Western genre, from themes to plotlines to the Weird West trend.  More mainstream audiences are finally picking up on this:

* We have never heard of this so-called "greatest science fiction TV show of all time", but it does sound interesting:

* This essay over at io9 argues that it's really the creation of Hogwarts (and readers' reactions and love of the school) that has made the Harry Potter series.

* CBS has a new summer sci-fi series that basically sounds like a derivative "Armageddon: The Mini-Series," but also trashy summer fun, so why not?

* Geek Actually is serial fiction from Serial Box about five women who are geeks and friends.  Honestly as soon as Na'amen read "for anyone who loves both Sex and the City and Star Wars", he was sold, but your mileage may vary.

* An interview with artist Cristina Iglesias, who names Clarke and Ballard among her influences.

* Proving that Netflix learned nothing from "Ghost In The Shell", "The Great Wall", or their own "Iron Fist".

* Science and Science Fiction meet at Future Con (which we certainly hope to attend some year soon, 'cause it sounds amazing).

* An interview with fantasy author Myke Cole on his new dark fantasy series about oppressive religions, magic, and a young woman thrust into a leadership role.

* It's late for Fathers' Day, but here's a list of the supposed best fathers in science fiction.  (We find more than a few entries dubious at best.)

* There seems to be an interesting new Turkish science fiction series where all of Istanbul is under ice.  The only question now is how to find episodes in the US?

* A round-table discussion between speculative authors Jeff Vandermeer, Lidia Yuknavitch, and Omar El Akkad, who have all recently released dystopian novels.

* A list of comic books coming out this month that you should check out.

* Marvel's New Warriors has announced its cast, including Squirrel Girl:

* Speaking of exciting casting, Jodie Whittaker will be the next Doctor in Dr. Who!

Award News

* New Award Announcement: The Splatterpunk Awards, for achievement in the sub-genre of Splatterpunk/Extreme Horror.  More info here:

* The Locus Science Fiction Foundation has announced the winners of the 2017 Locus Awards.

* Colson Whitehead’s amazing novel UNDERGROUND RAILROAD won the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Fiction!

Best Sellers
Borderlands Best-Selling Titles for June, 2017

1. RISE AND FALL OF D.O.D.O by Nicole Galland and Neal Stephenson

2. THE KILL SOCIETY by Richard Kadrey



5. FATA MORGANA by Steven R. Boyett and Ken Mitchroney

6. SPOONBENDERS by Daryl Gregory

7. WALKAWAY by Cory Doctorow

8. CHASING SHADOWS edited by David Brin

9. THE BERLIN PROJECT by Gregory Benford

10. SOLERI by Michael Johnston

Trade Paperbacks
1. THE THREE-BODY PROBLEM by Cixin Liu, trans by Ken Liu

2. ALL THE BIRDS IN THE SKY by Charlie Jane Anders


4. PASSING STRANGE by Ellen Klages



7. WICKED WONDERS by Ellen Klages

8. PREY OF GODS by Nicky Drayden


10. RIVER OF TEETH by Sarah Gailey

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. NAME OF THE WIND by Patrick Rothfuss
2. AMERICAN GODS by Neil Gaiman
3. RED MARS by Kim Stanley Robinson
4. LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS by Ursula K. Le Guin
5. OLD MAN’S WAR by John Scalzi
6. INVASIVE by Chuck Wendig
7. ESCAPOLOGY by Ren Warom
8. THE THOUSAND NAMES by Django Wexler
9. THE GUNSLINGER by Stephen King
10. TO SAY NOTHING OF THE DOG by Connie Willis

Book Club Information

The QSF&F Book Club will meet on Sunday, August 13th, at 5 pm to discuss TOO LIKE THE LIGHTNING by Ada Palmer.  Please contact the group leader, Christopher Rodriguez, at, for more information.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club will meet on Sunday, August 20th, at 6 pm to discuss ALL THE BIRDS IN THE SKY by Charlie Jane Anders. The book for the following month will be SPIN by Robert Charles Wilson. Please contact for more information.

Upcoming Event Details


David D. Levine, ARABELLA AND THE BATTLE OF VENUS (Tor Books, Hardcover, $25.99) on Saturday, July 22nd at 3:00pm - We're happy to welcome David Levine to Borderlands, where he'll be showing off a brand-new adventure in the ongoing story of the swashbuckling Arabella Ashby!  From the publisher's website: "Arabella's wedding plans to marry Captain Singh of the Honorable Mars Trading Company are interrupted when her fiance' is captured by the French and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp on swampy Venus.  Now, Arabella must find passage to an enemy-controlled planet in the middle of a war, bribe or fight her way past vicious guards, and rescue her Captain.  To do this she must enlist the help of the dashing privateer, Daniel Fox of the Touchstone and build her own clockwork navigational automaton in order to get to Venus before the dread French general, Joseph Fouche', the Executioner of Lyon.  Once on Venus, Arabella, Singh, and Fox soon discover that Napoleon has designed a secret weapon, one that could subjugate the entire galaxy if they can't discover a way to stop Fouche', and the entire French army, from completing their emperor's mandate."  You can read Chapter 1 here: RSVP here if you do the Facebook thing:

Christopher Brown, TROPIC OF KANSAS (Harper Voyager, Trade Paperback, $15.99) in conversation with Michael Blumlein on Sunday, July 23rd at 3:00pm - Join us to meet World Fantasy Award nominee Christopher Brown and check out the novel that William Gibson described as "sheer batshit genius"!  From the publisher's website: "The United States of America is no more. Broken into warring territories, its center has become a wasteland DMZ known as 'the Tropic of Kansas.' Though this gaping geographic hole has no clear boundaries, everyone knows it's out there -- that once-bountiful part of the heartland, broken by greed and exploitation, where neglect now breeds unrest.  Two travelers appear in this arid American wilderness: Sig, the fugitive orphan of political dissidents, and his foster sister Tania, a government investigator whose search for Sig leads her into her own past -- and towards an unexpected future.  Sig promised those he loves that he would make it to the revolutionary redoubt of occupied New Orleans.  But first he must survive the wild edgelands of a barren mid-America policed by citizen militias and autonomous drones, where one wrong move can mean capture . . . or death.  One step behind, undercover in the underground, is Tania.  Her infiltration of clandestine networks made of old technology and new politics soon transforms her into the hunted one, and gives her a shot at being the agent of real change -- if she is willing to give up the explosive government secrets she has sworn to protect.  As brother and sister traverse these vast and dangerous badlands, their paths will eventually intersect on the front lines of a revolution whose fuse they are about to light."  Brown's work has been praised by Cory Doctorow, Nisi Shawl, Kelly Link, Bruce Sterling, and others -- meet him and see what you've been missing!  Christopher will be joined in conversation by author Michael Blumlein!

Tal Klein, THE PUNCH ESCROW (Geek & Sundry, Trade Paperback, $14.99) on Tuesday, July 25th at 6:30pm - We hope you'll join us to meet Tal Klein and check out his novel THE PUNCH ESCROW! From the publisher's website: "It's the year 2147: a time of enduring peace on Earth.  The Last War ended half a century ago.  We can cure most ills, the air is pure, and teleportation is how we get around.  Sounds great, right?  So why does everyone suddenly want to kill Joel Byram?"  Tal's novel won the first Inkshares' Geek & Sundry's Hard Science Fiction contest <>, and we think you'll agree it deserves the honor!

Laura Lam, SHATTERED MINDS (Tor, Hardcover, $25.99) on Sunday, August 20th at 3:00pm - We're happy to welcome Laura Lam back to Borderlands!  We cannot wait to check out her fascinating new novel SHATTERED MINDS.  From the publisher's website: "Ex-neuroscientist Carina struggles with a drug problem, her conscience, and urges to kill.  She satisfies her cravings in dreams, fueled by the addictive drug 'Zeal'. Now she's heading for self-destruction -- until she has a vision of a dead girl.  Sudice Inc. damaged Carina when she worked on their sinister brain-mapping project, causing her violent compulsions.  And this girl was a similar experiment.  When Carina realizes the vision was planted by her old colleague Mark, desperate for help to expose the company, she knows he's probably dead.  Her only hope is to unmask her nemesis -- or she's next.  To unlock the secrets Mark hid in her mind, she’ll need a group of specialist hackers. Dax is one of them, a doctor who can help Carina fight her addictions.  If she holds on to her humanity, they might even have a future together.  But first she must destroy her adversary -- before it changes us and our society, forever."

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

* * * * * * *