Thursday, April 12, 2018

Dispatches from the Border, April 2018

Upcoming Events

Ilana C. Myer, FIRE DANCE (Tor, Hardcover, $26.99) Saturday, April 14th at 3:00 pm

Writers With Drinks with authors Chiwan Choi, Chelsey Johnson, Dominica Phetteplace, Shobha Rao, Lilah Sturges, and Javier Zamora, hosted by Charlie Jane Anders (at the Make Out Room, Make Out Room
3225 22nd St.) Saturday, April 14th at 7:30 pm

Birthday Celebration with Peter S. Beagle! Sunday, April 22nd at 2:00 pm

Catherine Asaro, BRONZE SKIES (Been Books, Trade Paperback, $16.00) and INFINITE STARS (Titan, Hardcover, $24.95) Saturday, April 28th at 3:00 pm

Jason Porath, TOUGH MOTHERS: AMAZING STORIES OF HISTORY'S MIGHTIEST MATRIARCHS (Day Street Books, Oversized Hardcover, $24.99) Sunday, April 29th at 3:00 pm

(for more information check the end of this newsletter)

And coming up soon, look for events with Tamora Pierce, Jacqueline Carey, B Catling, and many more!

* Overheard in the Store:
[one very stoned visitor to another]: "Star Trek; so it's non-fiction, but cats; so it's fiction."

* R.I.P. Kate Wilhelm, a prolific and talented author of science fiction and mystery, and the cofounder of the Clarion Writing Workshops, who passed away from respiratory illness.

* R.I.P. Ahmed Khaled Tawfik; considered the first contemporary Arab writer of science fiction and horror, he has passed away at 55.  He leaves behind over 200 novels and fans across the globe.

* R.I.P. Stephen Hawking, a complex & brilliant scientist whose lifelong work impacted and inspired so many, and left a lasting mark on our understanding of the universe.

* Worldcon 76's Artist Guest of Honor John Picacio has teamed with authors John Scalzi, Mary Robinette Kowal, Ty Franck, Kate Elliott and more to create The Mexicanx Initiative. They're sponsoring Worldcon Attending Memberships for 50 Mexicanx pros and fans to attend Worldcon in San Jose this summer.  Now that they've achieved that goal, they've created The Mexicanx Initiative's Assistance Fund -- a separate, dedicated fund to provide travel and lodging assistance for those 50 Mexicanx invitees, many of whom ail be journeying across the border from Mexico.  SFSFC, the host committee for Worldcon 76, is handling the collection of all funds which will be distributed to the Recipients at Worldcon.  About $6000 has been collected so far, and the fund's goal is $15,000 before Memorial Day Weekend. If you're able to participate, donate here (see "Mexicanx Initiative Assistance Fund"):  And here's a short article from the San Antonio Current on John's idea:

* Amazon has spent $1 billion to adapt Liu Cixin's award-winning novel THE THREE BODY PROBLEM into a three-season TV series.

* Easter's over, but the idea of resurrection lives on.  The Mary Sue share some of their favorite resurrections from fiction.


* Netflix is bringing back "Lost in Space".  The original 60's show was a classic, (and the less said about the 90's film, the better).  Let's hope this new imagining is closer to the former than the latter.

* Stephen L. Carter shares his personal 12 Science Fiction Rules for Life, each drawn from a classic quote. Not sure we agree, but they are interesting.

* We would have included Quvenzhane Wallis from "Beasts of the Southern Wild", Noah Hathaway in "The Neverending Story", and some other stunning performances, but this is a pretty good list of great child performances in F/SF:

* "Black Panther" has finally been dethroned at the box office, (but by another science fiction film with a black lead actor, the gorgeous and talented John Boyega) -- "Pacific Rim: Uprising".

* Last month we mentioned the stabbing of Bangladeshi science fiction author Zafar Iqbal.  While he has been recovering, there has been an in-depth investigation into the motives behind the stabbing:

* A teaser trailer has been released for GRRM's new series "Nightflyers".  Even Na'amen, who's not a big horror fan, has found himself anxiously awaiting the release once he heard the description as "Psycho in space":

* The newest featurette from "Incredibles 2" focuses on the genius, the talent, the icon: Miss Edna Mode.

* Walmart has filed a patent for autonomous robot bees.  We've all seen this movie or read this story before, right?   Bee-pocalypse in 5 . . . 4 . . . 3 . . . 2 . . .

* If you feel like dystopias are everywhere, and you're looking for a little fun distraction, why not try one of these 20 works of upbeat science fiction?

* A real life "Jurassic Park", what could POSSIBLY go wrong?  (Although it is "The Sun", so take it with at least half of a grain of salt.)

* A wonderful profile on the Strugatsky brothers: their writing, their politics and the way Judiasm is present in their work.

* We can only hope the headline of SciFi taking over TV this spring is really true.  We're ready.

* An in-depth look at what is likely the worst "Star Trek: Voyager" episode: "Threshold", (otherwise known as the one where Paris and Janeway turn into giant lizards and have sex).

* Syfy gathers a list of the best & worst of the giant monster movies.

Award News

* Congratulations to Victoria Bergin for winning the 2017 Tiptree Award, and also to Charlie Jane Anders, who made the honor list.

* The 2018 Hugo Award nominees have been announced:

* The 2018 British Science Fiction Association Award winners have been announced:

* The 2017 Aurealis Awards for Australian Speculative winners have been announced:

* BANNERLESS by Carrie Vaughn has won the 2018 Philip K. Dick Award!  More info here:

* The Ditmar Awards, which celebrate Australian SF, have also announced their 2018 winners:,_Perth

From The Office

Slow With Email

I'm really sorry to still be saying this but, I've been having a terrible time keeping up with my email given everything that is going on (and been going on).  If you've sent me an email that deserves a reply and you haven't heard from me yet, please forgive me.  I'm trying and making some progress but the backlog is still pretty bad.  If the topic of your not-yet-replied-to email is urgent, please send it to me again.  I think I've gotten back to everyone about time-critical stuff but I could have missed something.  Thank you so much for your patience.  And now, the usual . . .

Haight Street Update

And we're off! The wave state is collapsing and things are starting to really progress visually (as opposed to progressing behind the scenes). Thanks to our amazing cadre of volunteers, the west and south walls are now closed up and if the weather would just cooperate, we'd be a lot further along on taping and mudding. Thanks to Mr. Jim Lively, we got all the seams done and a skim coat on the existing drywall, and thanks to the weather we now wait for the rest of the wall to dry completely before proceeding. And wait . . . and wait . . . and, oh, look, more rain . . . wait . . . .

(Side note: "skim coat" is a very thin layer of drywall mud spread over a large surface - in this case, filling in the dings on the existing sheetrock courtesy of 40 years of abuse and covering the truly unfortunate texture courtesy of the disastrous 1970's remodel)

The core crew of volunteers continue to refine their construction skills while learning new ones, and the drop-in folks have been a huge help as well. Everyone who has come has worked really hard, and it's been truly exciting to see people move out of their comfort zones or step into zones they don't typically have a chance to occupy.

In addition to the exciting progress on the walls, the backyard actually looks like a place you might want to sit in someday. The last of the concrete chunks will be leaving this week. The giant pile of dirt leftover from the initial cleanup has been evened out and spread over the entire footprint. We'll be starting to rebuild the fences (including the one the ivy ate) in the next week or two. And once we're done tromping power tools through it, our gardener Melinda can get started.

The next few weeks should see similar progress on all fronts. We got all the plans for the new store front and windows approved. The very nice woman from the Historic Preservation department was a treat to work with. I asked her if there were any specific things people do during a historical building review that make things hard, and her response was "not liking old things". Which, if you ask me, seems like just begging for trouble. Fortunately liking old things is not something Borderlands needs to worry about. Soon I'll enclose the front of the building and get to tear out the whole front of it.  That will eliminate almost the last vestige of the bad repair job that was done in the 70s.

I've also decided not to enclose the lightwell. There are several reasons, the two biggest being the cost (more than $500 per square foot, which is much more than it would cost to just build partway into the back yard) and the effect it would have on the layout (the supports necessary would change the place from feeling very open and continuous to being broken up into two separate-feeling spaces). Rather than enclose the lightwell, I've decided to shrink it a bit to make room for a larger, ADA-compliant bathroom.  Then we'll use the smaller light well for an indoor garden and display. Velociraptors may become involved.

Another milestone is that the major electrical work started yesterday.  One of the goals this month is to complete that while figuring out a way to get it done without inconveniencing the folks upstairs too much. Once it's done, we'll be able to move the giant pillar out of the middle of the floor and remove the spiderweb of conduit that feeds out of it. And that would be a very, very fine thing.

If you're interested in volunteering or would like to see the place, please let me know. And again, thank you so much to all the people who've volunteered. We've made so much progress already -- it would have been much slower and much, much less fun without you all.

All Best,

PS  I've been trying to have Haight Street open for visits once a month but this month, due to various events and such, there just isn't a Saturday that will work.  But, I'll do it next month.

Best Sellers
Borderlands Best-Selling Titles for March, 2018


1) The Power by Naomi Alderman
2) If Tomorrow Comes by Nancy Kress
3) Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire
4) The Will to Battle by Ada Palmer
5) Autonomous by Annalee Newitz
6) Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs
7) Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
8) Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
9) The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman
10) Impostor Syndrome by Mishell Baker

Trade Paperbacks

1) The Song of All by Tina LeCount Myers
2) The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin, trans. by Ken Liu
3) Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
4) Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer
5) All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
6) Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer
7) Strange Bird by Jeff Vandermeer
8) New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson
9) Robots vs. Fairies edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe
10) The Atheist in the Attic by Samuel R. Delany

Mass Market Paperbacks

1) Tricks for Free by Seanan McGuire
2) Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
3) The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin
4) Who Fears Death? by Nnedi Okorafor
5) Changing Planes by Ursula K. LeGuin
6) The Wrong Stars by Tim Pratt
7) Old Man's War by John Scalzi
8) Arcanum Unbounded by Brandon Sanderson
9) Red Sister by Mark Lawerence
10) The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Book Club Information

The QSF&F Book Club will meet on Sunday, May 13th, at 5:00 pm to discuss PLANET OF THE APES by Pierre Boulle.  Please contact the group leader, Christopher Rodriguez, at, for more information.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club will meet on Sunday, April 15th, at 6:00 pm to discuss PASSING STRANGE by Ellen Klages.  The book for the following month will be CHILDREN OF TIME by Adrian Tchaikovsky.  Please contact for more information.

Upcoming Event Details

Ilana C. Myer, FIRE DANCE (Tor, Hardcover, $26.99) Saturday, April 14th at 3:00 pm - We're delighted to welcome Ilana C. Myer as she returns with a standalone novel set in the same extraordinary world as her debut novel LAST SONG BEFORE NIGHT!  From the publisher: "Espionage, diplomacy, conspiracy, passion, and power are the sensuously choreographed steps of the soaring new high fantasy novel by Ilana C. Myer, one woman's epic mission to stop a magical conflagration.  Lin, newly initiated in the art of otherwordly enchantments, is sent to aid her homeland's allies against savage attacks from the Fire Dancers: mysterious practitioners of strange and deadly magic.  Forced to step into a dangerous waltz of tradition, treachery, and palace secrets, Lin must also race the ticking clock of her own rapidly dwindling life to learn the truth of the Fire Dancers' war, and how she might prevent death on a scale too terrifying to contemplate.  Myer's novel is a symphony of secret towers, desert winds, burning sands, blood and dust.  Her prose soars, and fluid movements of the politically charged plot carry the reader toward a shocking crescendo."  We hope you'll join us to meet this up-and-coming fantasy novelist!  Read the excellent Publishers Weekly review of FIRE DANCE here:

Writers With Drinks with authors Chiwan Choi, Chelsey Johnson, Dominica Phetteplace, Shobha Rao, Lilah Sturges, and Javier Zamora, hosted by Charlie Jane Anders (at the Make Out Room, Make Out Room 3225 22nd St.) Saturday, April 14th 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 Chiwan Choi, Chelsey Johnson, Dominica Phetteplace, Shobha Rao, Lilah Sturges, and Javier Zamora.  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.

Birthday Celebration with Peter S. Beagle! Sunday, April 22nd at 2:00 pm - Someone special is having a birthday and you are personally invited!  Peter S. Beagle, author of the fantasy classic THE LAST UNICORN among many, many others, is celebrating his birthday with us at Borderlands Books, so cake is on the menu and he is happy to chat and sign books.  You may certainly bring your own, but Borderlands will also have his books on hand for purchase. This is not a traditional reading and signing, but a great way to meet a very special author while enjoying sugary confection.  We'll also be celebrating Peter's being named a SFWA Grandmaster, <> so come on down and join us!

Catherine Asaro, BRONZE SKIES (Been Books, Trade Paperback, $16.00) and INFINITE STARS (Titan, Hardcover, $24.95) Saturday, April 28th at 3:00 pm - Borderlands welcomes author, physicist, and Oakland native Catherine Asaro to share volume two in the life of Major Bhaajan in BRONZE SKIES; the newest cycle in the Skolian Universe.  Asaro will also be sharing the story published in the SF anthology INFINITE STARS, both of which will be available for the reading and signing.  From the publisher's website on BRONZE SKIES: "Major Bhaajan achieved the impossible.  Born to the Undercity, the slums below the City of Cries on the planet Raylicon, she broke free from crushing poverty and crime to become a military officer with Imperial Space Command.  Now retired from military duty, she walks the mean streets of Undercity as a private investigator.  And she is about to embark on her most challenging case yet."  Join us to meet this fabulous author!

Jason Porath, TOUGH MOTHERS: AMAZING STORIES OF HISTORY'S MIGHTIEST MATRIARCHS (Day Street Books, Oversized Hardcover, $24.99) Sunday, April 29th at 3:00 pm - 2016's release of REJECTED PRINCESSES was a runaway success for Borderlands Books, lasting for months on our Bestseller list.  Now Jason Porath is back, this time sharing his new, unique and gorgeous work titled, TOUGH MOTHERS: AMAZING STORIES OF HISTORY'S MIGHTIEST MATRIARCHS.  We hope you'll join us to meet Jason and hear about fifty fascinating, kick-ass women; some famous and some lesser-known.  RSVP here if you do the FB thing:

Borderlands event policy - all events are free of charge.  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.