Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Dispatches from the Border, February 2018

Events and News From Borderlands Books
February 2018

Upcoming Events

NEVERTHELESS, SHE PERSISTED (Book View Cafe, Trade Paperback, $19.99) with authors Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff, Marie Brennan, Nancy Jane Moore, Deborah Ross and Dave Smeds Saturday, February 10th at 3:00 pm

Writers With Drinks with authors Stephanie Burt, Jasmine Guillory, Ellen Klages, Angela Pneuman, and Molly Sauter  (at the Make-Out Room, 3225 22nd St, San Francisco, CA) Saturday, February 10th at 7:30 pm

SF in SF with authors Nancy Jane Moore and Trina Robbins (at the American Bookbinders Museum, 355 Clementina St, San Francisco) Sunday, February 11th at 6:30 pm

Patricia Bossano, NAHIA (Waterbearer Press, Trade Paperback, $15.99) Thursday, February 22nd at 6:00 pm

Ada Palmer, THE WILL TO BATTLE (Tor Books, Hardcover, $26.99) Saturday, February 24th at 3:00 pm

Tina LeCount Myers, THE SONG OF ALL (Night Shade Books, Hardcover $25.99 and Trade Paperback $14.99) Saturday, March 3rd at 3:00 pm

Mishell Baker, IMPOSTOR SYNDROME (Saga Press, Hardcover $29.99 and Trade Paperback, $15.99) and Seanan McGuire, TRICKS FOR FREE (DAW, Mass Market, $7.99)

(for more information check the end of this newsletter)


* Overheard in the Store:

"I'm going to make glitter prints with it.  How often do you get to make art with your internal organs?"

"Seriously surreal.  I'm inadvertently eavesdropping on these 4 Well-Heeled White Women of a Certain Age, & they're discussing their preferred CBD concentrations."

"I'm going to chop your head off! I love you!"

"If you're equally terrified of everything, you're kind of fearless."

* The world has lost of the best writers of the last century.  Acclaimed poet, essayist, translator and author Ursula K. Le Guin passed on January 22nd 2018 at the age of 88.

--An obituary from

--5 Canadian speculative writers talk about their favorite Ursula K. Le Guin novel:

-- Author Nisis Shawl remembers Ursula K. Le Guin:

* Locus Magazine has released their annual recommended reading list.  Check out the whole thing here and see if you missed any gems in the past year:

* Some people think science fiction is really taking over television. We would argue that we're finally getting the attention we deserve.  Either way, here's a essay asking what the new mainstream popularity will do to the genre:

* Even the Oscars are finally seeing the worth of speculative fiction, but will the genre take home the big prize for the first time?

* WhatCulture gives us a list of ten underrated science fiction movies you might not have seen yet.  The list covers both recent and older films, everything from "Zardoz" to "Colossal".

* Den of Geek has its own movie list - The 12 Best Science Fiction movies on Hulu. Between this list and the one above you should be able to find _something_ to watch this weekend.

* Netflix's new series "Altered Carbon", based on the first book in the Takeshi Kovacs series by Richard K. Morgan, is now out.  The showrunner talks about how women in science fiction shaped her life and career.

* Science fiction has always taken its inspiration from any number of places, but one constant source is real-life conflict; like the graphic novel "The Solar Grid" which was inspired by the Egyptian revolution.

* Having read quite a few articles about Boots Riley's new film Sorry To Bother You, we still have no idea what the movie is about, but we're really desperate to see it!

* If you are anywhere near Massachusetts and are a fan of fantasy and science fiction, we assume you are already planning a trip to Harvard to check out their exhibition of over sixty maps from novels of speculative fiction:

* A great article on the shift in "Black Mirror" between seasons 2 and 3, why it had to happen, and why it's been so polarizing to the fans.

* "Does Science Fiction Create the Intellectual Space for Inventions?"  The answer seems like an obvious yes to us, but if you're on the fence or simply want to hear someone break it down you can listen to children's author Bruce Grant talk about it here:

* The Mary Sue points out that according to Rotten Tomatoes, "The Last Jedi" was the best reviewed science fiction & fantasy film of the year.  (We'd personally consider "Wonder Woman", "Coco", "Get Out" & "Logan" to be genre as well, but Rotten Tomatoes categorizes them differently.)

* A list of the most important pets in science fiction & fantasy leaves us with one question: why do the wolves all end up dying?

* JJ Abrams has sold another show to HBO, this one involving a scientist whose husband and daughter cross over into a world under attack when going through her research.

* "Krypton" is a series that's set before Superman but -- it's not a prequel, it has time travel and sets up the science fiction universe, but seems unconnected to their popular Arrowverse or Supergirl.  Honestly it sounds like a bit of a mess but they're projecting a 7-8 year future, so only time will tell.

* THE FEMME MAGNIFIQUE anthology is finally getting a softcover release in November of 2018. The comics anthology tells stories of women role models including the recently passed Ursula K. Le Guin. Check out more information here:

* Syfy lists some great books to read in February. We're most excited by the Vandana Singh short story collection, but there are a number of great books on the list.

* This article touching on time loops and time travel in fiction is interesting, but left out the classic MAN WHO FOLDED HIMSELF by David Gerrold -- one of the most underrated novels on the subject of time travel consequences.

* An interesting addition to any library of science fiction, "A Conversation Larger Than the Universe" is one expert's opinion on the history of fantastic literature and some its ignored gems.

Award News

* The nominees for the Philip K. Dick Award have been announced.  Congratulations to all the nominees and especially local author Meg Elison!

* Stephen King will receive the Pen America Literary Service Award this year.  His latest book will be released on the day of the award ceremony, May 22nd.

* The two James Tiptree fellows for the coming year have been announced.  Congratulations to authors H. Pueyo and Ineke Chen-Meyer!

* The Romantic Times Awards have announced their nominees, including many categories of interest to speculative readers: Fantasy Novel, Sci-Fi Novel, Fantasy Romance, Fantasy Adventure, Urban Fantasy Worldbuilding and more. Check out the full list here:

* George R.R. Martin is starting a scholarship for the Clarion West Writing Workshop focused on worldbuilding.

* The Darrell Awards, which celebrate speculative fiction written by those living in, or set in, the greater Memphis area, have announced their nominees and their Coger Hall of Fame inductee for this year.

From The Office

Haight Street Update

Last month I told you all the things that were up in the air about the construction work on our new building on Haight Street.  In the past few weeks they've all been resolved and, in every case, the news is quite good.  Here's the current run-down:

Moving the Electrical Service
Great news on this front.  Last month I said that I was thinking that we'd just have to live with the odd little wall right in front of the door as you enter the place that houses the electrical meters, because PG&E was going to take forever and a day to approve moving them.  But, great news -- it turns out that the city building department trumps PG&E.  If we get the city permits to move the meters, then we can do the work regardless of whether PG&E gives us their blessing or not.  So, it's full steam ahead on that job.  Antonius Dintcho, our electrician, has already arranged for a pre-permit meeting with the inspector.  He suggested it and I think it's a great idea.  It costs a couple hundred bucks but the inspector comes down before we get the permits and start work.  We can discuss with him what we want to do and he'll give us pointers on how he'd like us to do it.

Without this step, we'd need to get the permits, do all the rough work, and then have it inspected.  For something simple, like putting in some outlets or new lights, that's fine, but for something as complicated (and expensive) as relocating meters and panels, there is rooms for interpretation about what the electrical code requires.  By having a pre-inspection we reduce the chances that, after doing a ton of work, the inspector ends up being dissatisfied with our interpretation of the code, and makes us tear a bunch of it out.

The one thing that we will need to wait for PG&E to do is increase the amount of electrical service coming into the building.  But, that's not a problem since we can put in all the gear for 400 amp service, but use smaller main breakers so that it'll be correct for the existing 200 amp service.  Then, in the fullness of time, when PG&E gets around to us -- they upgrade the service, we swap the main breakers out and we're all set.  And, swapping the breakers is only a ten minute job (granted, a sweaty, nervous ten minute job -- at least if you're me; 400 amps at 240 volts will kill a person very, very, extra-crispy dead).

Remodeling the Storefront
Our building is lovely in part because it was built in 1902.  But that also means it is an historic building and is subject to special rules that require that any exterior changes must be reviewed by a city planning department specialist to make sure that they're consistent with the age of the building.  The current front door, display windows, and front of the shop are a 1970s mess that I'd love to fix (you can check out the last newsletter for all the details about that - ).  But, Kevin (the architect) and I were concerned about what sort of hoops we'd have to jump through to do that work.

Well, it's good news on that front as well.  We met with the planner this morning; she was pleasant, helpful, and very much on our side.  The permitting process is going to be very easy and the design we have in mind is totally prefect from an historical standpoint.  And, as a bonus, since we're not going to be keeping anything at all of the existing front, we're going to be able to move the door to the center of the wall as opposed to its current off-set position.  It's going to look so lovely when we're done -- as well as letting in twice as much light through the front windows.

Other News
I'm expecting the written report from Matthew, our structural engineer, later this week.  The drawings should follow next week.  Since Kevin has already completed the bathroom design, it'll just be a matter of combining the two sets of drawings and then we'll be able to submit them for permits.  That should take a day or so and then, contractors willing, we can get started on the job of redoing the bathroom and expanding the sales floor into the lightwell area.

Matthew has also weighed in on the project of removing the posts and beams from the basement.  It's looking like we're going to be able to eliminate all of the posts in the office area and replace them (and their associated beams) with a single heavy beam supported by a single post at each end.  That is great news.  And, one of the best parts is that, since that new beam will run beside the existing ones, we won't have to put up a bunch of temporary shoring to support the upper floor while we remove the old post and beams. The new one will go in, support the floor, and then we take the old ones out.

And, last but not least, last Sunday we broke up all 250 square feet of concrete in the backyard to get it ready for the garden.  We took two truckloads to the dump (3300lbs), and there's another 3500-4000lbs left to go.  It was one big, hard sweaty job but, thanks to a remarkable crew of folks, we managed to get it done.  On top of that, the garden design is getting close to set.  We're going to use raised planting beds to define the space and I'm very excited about it.

That's about it for now.  As I did last month, I'll be holding the place open one day in February.  I'll be there from noon until six pm on Saturday, February 24th.  If you're interested in seeing the space, please stop by and I'll give you the tour -- 1377 Haight St. at Masonic Ave.  I'll hope to see you there.

All Best,

Best Sellers

Borderlands Best-Selling Titles for January, 2018

1) Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire
2) Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
3) Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant
4) Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire
5) Dark State by Charles Stross
6) La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman
7) Autonomous by Annalee Newitz
8) The Power by Naomi Alderman
9) Artemis by Andy Weir
10) Iron Gold by Pierce Brown

Trade Paperbacks
1) Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
2) The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu
3) Binti: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor
4) Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor
5) Robots vs. Fairies edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe
6) Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff
7) All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
8) The Tree by Na'amen Gobert Tilahun
9) Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin
10) The Last Days of New Paris by China Mieville

Mass Market Paperbacks
1) Who Fears Death? by Nnedi Okorafor
2) Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
3) Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
4) Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
5) Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
6) A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
7) Old Man's War by John Scalzi
8) Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
9) The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
10) The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi

Book Club Information

The QSF&F Book Club will meet on Sunday, February 11th, at 5 pm to discuss NEVERWHERE by Neil Gaiman.  Please contact the group leader, Christopher Rodriguez, at, for more information.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club will meet on Sunday, February 18th at 6 pm to discuss DIASPORA by Greg Egan. The book for the following month will be.  Please contact for more information.

Upcoming Event Details

NEVERTHELESS, SHE PERSISTED (Book View Cafe, Trade Paperback, $19.99) with authors Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff, Marie Brennan, Nancy Jane Moore, Deborah Ross and Dave Smeds Saturday, February 10th at 3:00 pm - We are delighted to welcome 5 local authors, all contributors to the anthology NEVERTHELESS, SHE PERSISTED.  Their stories celebrate women "who persist through tales of triumph --in the past, present, future, and other worlds. . . From the halls of Ancient Greece to the vast space between stars, each story illustrates tenacity as women overcome challenges -- from society, from beloved family and friends, and even from their own fears.  These strong heroines explore the humor and tragedy of persistence in stories that range from romance to historical fiction, from fantasy to science fiction.  From tale to tale, every woman stands firm: a light against the darkness."  We hope you'll join us for an inspiring reading and signing!

Writers With Drinks with authors authors Stephanie Burt, Jasmine Guillory, Ellen Klages, Angela Pneuman, and Molly Sauter  (at the Make-Out Room, 3225 22nd St, San Francisco, CA) Saturday, February 10th at 7:30 pm - Writers With Drinks is the most awesome spoken-word variety show in the world, hosted by Charlie Jane Anders, and we're always happy to participate! The amazing lineup this month includes authors Stephanie Burt, Jasmine Guillory, Ellen Klages, Angela Pneuman, and Molly Sauter.  Cost: $5 to $20, no-one turned away for lack of funds.  All proceeds benefit local non-profits. Doors open at 6:30 and Borderlands will be on hand to sell books.

SF in SF with authors Nancy Jane Moore and Trina Robbins (at the American Bookbinders Museum, 355 Clementina St, San Francisco) Sunday, February 11th at 6:30 pm - (Suggested donation $10.)  Doors and bar at 6:00 pm, event begins at 6:30 pm.  We're so happy to participate in the Science Fiction in San Francisco reading series! The authors 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. Questions? Email

Patricia Bossano, NAHIA (Waterbearer Press, Trade Paperback, $15.99) Thursday, February 22nd at 6:00 pm - Please join us for an informal signing in the bookstore with author Patricia Bossano!  She'll be showing off the third installment in her Fairie: Legacy series entitled NAHIA.  "The faery sphere and the human world collide in [Nahia] this third installment of a series . . . Bossano's writing is beautiful and rich with detail . . . the overarching themes of loyalty, family, and weighing one's own desires versus the greater good remain throughout . . . A vivid and intricate fantasy tale about the ties that bind and the conflicts between two realms." --Kirkus Reviews

Ada Palmer, THE WILL TO BATTLE (Tor Books, Hardcover, $26.99) Saturday, February 24th at 3:00 pm - We're thrilled to be hosting author, historian and composer Ada Palmer!  The first two books of the series, TOO LIKE THE LIGHTNING and SEVEN SURRENDERS, dove deep into the near-utopian world of 2454.  The third installment, THE WILL TO BATTLE looks every bit as engrossing, and we look forward to hearing Palmer's personal vision for the future -- as only a historian could envision.  From the author's website: "Science fiction often has asked contemporary questions of an imagined future.  In the four-volume Terra Ignota novel series, author Ada Palmer has reflected this tradition back upon itself, exploring the questions the brilliant world of 2454 might ask when faced with its own unknowable future.  After citizenship and religion, family and language, law and freedom have been utterly reformed over half a century of war and three centuries of peace, where do the denizens of a near-Utopia turn for answers when their world order faces upheaval?  A notorious criminal genius is the historian of the world’s remaking; a mysterious spiritual counselor seeks truth in a world that has atomized religion; carnality and high politics join to preserve the old order as a rumored god, an omnipotent child, a celebrity assassin and a living myth struggle to shape the future as a rediscovered orator calls for inevitable war."

Tina LeCount Myers, THE SONG OF ALL (Night Shade Books, Hardcover $25.99 and Trade Paperback $14.99) Saturday, March 3rd at 3:00 pm - We're delighted to welcome Tina LeCount Myers, who will be presenting her new fantasy epic THE SONG OF ALL!  Just listen to this awesome description from the author's website: "In an icy and unforgiving world, Irjan's life is at a crossroads, and he must decide whether to follow the course of fate, or find his own direction.  Irjan believes his past is behind him.  He is building a new life based on hope rather than bloodshed.  He is a farmer now -- a husband, a father.  But in Davvieana, where days are marked by the struggle between light and dark, the past is not easily left behind.  Caught between the regrets of his former life and his perilous future, Irjan, guided by love for his son, goes beyond the mortal veil of his people, the Olmmoš, into the Immortal's world of the Jápmemeahttun and their Song of All.  As the Jápmemeahttun endeavor to exist in peace with their sworn enemies, the Olmmoš, Irjan must make a choice -- one that will forever alter his life and the lives of all around him."  We sincerely hope you'll join us; don't miss the start of something grand!

Mishell Baker, IMPOSTOR SYNDROME (Saga Press, Hardcover $29.99 and Trade Paperback, $15.99) and Seanan McGuire, TRICKS FOR FREE (DAW, Mass Market, $7.99) - How amazing is it that we're hosting these two authors together again?  More details to come next month, but you know you'll want to be here!

Borderlands event policy - all events are free of charge unless otherwise stated.  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.

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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