Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Dispatches from the Border, July 2018

Events and News From Borderlands Books
July 2018

Upcoming Events

SF in SF (at The American Bookbinders Museum, 355 Clementina Street) with authors Terry Bisson & Paul Park, moderated by guest Cliff Winnig, Sunday, July 22nd at 6:30 pm

B Catling, THE CLOVEN (Vintage, Trade Paperback, $16.95) Wednesday, July 25th at 6:00 pm

Open House at Borderlands West, 1377 Haight St, Saturday, July 28th from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Borderlands Sponsors' Open Mic, Sunday, August 5th at 5:00 pm

Writers With Drinks (at The Make Out Room, 3225 22nd St.) with authors S.L. Huang, Jack Kaulfus, Cassandra Khaw, Hannah Pittard, Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, and Marlee Jane Ward, Saturday, August 11th at 7:30 pm

SF in SF presents: George R.R. Martin in conversation with John Picacio! (A fundraiser for The Locus Science Fiction Foundation, at the Fox Theatre, Redwood City) Tuesday, August 14th at 7:30 pm

* Overheard in the Store:
"I've been seeing the saddest couples on BART [recently] if Sid & Nancy were American, 18 years old, and didn't know who Sid & Nancy were."

* Attention, Borderlands community!  Do you work for Stripe or Square, or another mobile credit card service?  We're looking for a contract-free mobile POS and credit card solution to try out while we're at WorldCon next month -- if it works well, it will likely become our in-store replacement for our cash register.  Can you assist us, either directly or with advice?  If so, please email Jude at  We need to have a service functional for WorldCon next month, so time is a bit of the essence, and your help is very appreciated!

* Over at, Rebecca Roanhorse gives us a list of five Indigenous authors that we should be reading.

* Speaking of Rebecca Roanhorse, here is an article about her award-winning new novel TRAIL OF LIGHTNING, and bringing Indigenous futurism to urban fantasy.

* Amy Erica Smith over at Vox uses the film "Solo" to examine the weak state of The Empire as a whole.

* In good news, the sales of science fiction and fantasy books has doubled since 2010!  It's simply going unreported because of non-traditional publishing practices.

* The Verge has an excellent article arguing that you might want to spend this weekend streaming (or rewatching in my case) Battle Royale on Netflix since The First Purge is out this weekend.

* Harlan Ellison has died at the age of 84, and many are struggling to reconcile a creator important to them with an often violent, volatile, and sexist person.  The New Republic goes in depth and links to others like Doctorow speaking of their internalized conflict.

* The CEO of Clara Labs talks about how science fiction's portrayal of AI has taught us to fear the wrong things from Artificial Intelligences.

* A list of the best Sci-Fi films of 2018 (so far); we would agree with 5 of the 9, but your mileage might vary.

* The future of transportation could look a lot like our favorite science fiction works.  (Although we really don’t want to see the first hyperloop collision.)

* On June 22nd Google celebrated the life of science fiction and fantasy author Octavia Butler by making her their google doodle of the day.  Check out the image and learn (or brush up on) the facts of Butler's incredible legacy.

* If you are a gamer like many of us, you might be interested in this list of the Best Science Fiction games available for PS4.  Although there are a few on the list that make our eyebrows rise (Technomancer has horrible controls & the less said about D:BH's plot the better,) it also reminded us of a few we've been dying to check out like Torment: Tides of Numenera.

* In praise of Gunnerkrigg Court -- one of the best science fiction-fantasy webcomics out there, even after over a decade of production.

* The great new comic book Skyward, which features a mostly black cast and deals where an Earth where gravity has suddenly become a fraction of what it is, has been optioned for film. We all know being optioned doesn't necessarily mean it will happen, but fingers crossed this one does.

* Hungry to know what epic fantasy projects are going to delight or disappoint you next?  Here's a list of ten projects in development, and ten rumored projects to get hyped over.

*There has been recent news about award-winning author Marlon James' new series, which is being described as an "African 'Game of Thrones'".  The series will be called Dark Star and the first book is titled BLACK LEOPARD RED WOLF.  The summary, which sounds great, can be read over at EW:

* If you're looking for speculative works with interesting ideas on gender, check out this list of 25 books that The Nerd Daily put together; there are older classics like LeGuin's LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS and newer classics like JY Yang's THE BLACK TIDES OF HEAVEN.  Check out the whole list here:

* Looking for a little nostalgia science fiction, fantasy or horror television?  Here's a list of 13 classic shows available on <shudder> Amazon Prime.

* Afrofuturism has had a boom through the first half of 2018, and so The Outline asked some afrofuturists where the movement goers from here.  Listen to or read their responses here:

* So those of us who saw "Wonder Woman" say that Steve Trevor definitely died and yet Chris Pine (arguably the best Chris) will be back in "Wonder Woman 1984".  How?  Cinema Blend goes over all the current theories.

* Aliens and weird creatures and spaceships, oh my!  But they're in such pop-py colors you can't help but love them even as they attack humans.  Check out the art of Anton Brzezinski:

* Five fantasy books written by women Newsweek has declared you have to read in 2018.  Add them to your shopping list!

Award News

* The 2018 John W. Campbell Memorial Award was given to David Walton for his novel THE GENIUS PLAGUE.  More information here:

* The 2018 Theodore A. Sturgeon Memorial Award went to Charlie Jane Anders for her short story "Don’t Press Charges and I Won't Sue".

* The winners of the 2018 Locus Awards have also been announced, including such talented authors as Scalzi and Jemisin.  See the full list of winners here:

* Speaking of N.K. Jemisin: she has become the first speculative author to be awarded the BoBi (Best of Brooklyn) Award.  Details and photos here:

* The finalists for the Aurora Awards, celebrating excellence in Canadian writing of the fantastic, have been announced.  You can see the public ballot here:

* The 30th Lambda Literary Awards were announced and Locus went ahead and curated all there titles of interest to speculative readers.
If you’d like to see a full list of winners?

* The Bi Writers Association have also announced the winners of the Bisexual Book Awards, which have more works of speculative interest.

From The Office

July Building Update

Hi Everybody,

So, remember last month when I said that the work on the building had been pretty slow and irritating in May but that June was going to be better?  Whelp, thankfully that was true.  Much was accomplished, most notably getting the I-beam fixed, then up and shored in place; pulling out several of the old posts (they were in the way of the excavations for the new foundations); cutting the concrete floor of the basement for the new foundations; and, a bit over a week ago Sunday, getting all the excavation work done.

That Sunday, the 1st, was a truly Borderlands kind of day.  Based on some rough calculations by my friend Zach, it seems we shifted more than 3 tons of dirt up a flight of stairs and then 80 feet into the garden.  There were five of us moving the buckets of dirt and, most of the time, one of us digging and filling the buckets.

It took three hours.

That's 6000 lbs, and averages out at about 33 lbs of dirt every minute, non-stop, for three hours.  That is, if you'll forgive the language, some seriously bad-assed frickin' bad-assery.  So, let me salute Cassie, Emily, Dave, Salem, and Zach -- they're a crew who really know how to put the hammer down and do the job.

With all that done, I spent  much of last week getting in the reinforcing steel (e.g. rebar).  Now that is completed, we need to get an inspection from our structural engineer to make sure I did it right.  I'm pretty confident that we'll pass that, and then we get the concrete poured for the foundations.  With that out of the way we get to yank out all the posts in the front of the basement as well as getting progress made on putting up the beam that will support the upper stories when we demolish part of the lightwell wall to accommodate the new bathroom.  At the same time, (because there will be delays in getting the SE and concrete scheduled), we'll be putting up a temporary enclosure over the front of the shop so we can tear that out and start building the new store-front.

But, before all that, there was last Sunday.

I've been keeping my eye out for salvaged brick, because part of my plan for the backyard is to put down dry-layed brick on the walkways and seating areas.  Last week I found someone who had a patio that they wanted removed.  The lovely thing about it was that the brick was layed dry.  In other words, it was put down on a sand bed and supported on the sides.  That meant that there was no mortar used, which in turn meant that I wouldn't have to clean off the old mortar before I re-used it -- a truly miserable job that I wasn't looking forward to.  The not-so-lovely thing was that they wanted someone to take all of the brick (or, at least most of it).  That patio was roughly 1000 square feet, which was a lot more brick than we needed. However, the owner was willing to let us take just around two-thirds of it.  But that's still a lot of brick.

We did it, and it was a job that made the previous Sunday look like a relaxing day at the beach.  Thankfully, a lot of people volunteered to help.  For most of the day we had a crew of 18 people working to fill three flat-bed trucks with brick.  You see, it takes around four and a half standard bricks to make a square foot, and bricks weigh around five pounds each.  So, we loaded each truck with 1080 bricks (which was the weight limit for the truck), and then drove them back to SF, where we unloaded half of them (the other half we unloaded on Monday).

That's just a hair over eight tons of brick.  Adding in the unloading, we shifted twelve tons of brick last Sunday.  (Say what you will about Borderlands, we certainly attract some hard-working volunteers!)

With all that out of the way, I'm back to getting the structural work done so that we can start on the framing of the new bathroom.  It's going to be an interesting month . . . actually, it's going to continue to be an interesting month.

There are more pictures up at our Flickr account, including some of the recent basement work and the brick-apocalypse (, so please do go check that out (

All Best,

Best Sellers

Borderlands Best-Selling Titles for June, 2018

1) Starless by Jacqueline Carey
2) Brief Cases by Jim Butcher
3) Head On by John Scalzi
4) Noir by Christopher Moore
5) Artificial Condtion by Martha Wells
6) Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
7) The Oracle Year by Charles Soule
8) Autonomous by Annalee Newitz
9) Clockwork Dynasty by Daniel H. Wilson
10) Summerland by Hannu Rajaniemi

Trade Paperbacks
1) Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, trans by Ken Liu
2) How to Marry a Werewolf by Gail Carriger
3) Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
4) Revenant Gun by Yoon Ha Lee
5) The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
6) Freeze-Frame Revolution by Peter Watts
7) All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
8) The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
9) Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant
10) Walkaway by Cory Doctorow

Mass Market Paperbacks
1) Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K LeGuin
2) Old Man's War by John Scalzi
3) Who Fears Death? by Nnedi Okorafor
4) Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
5) American Gods by Neil Gaiman
6) Sea Peoples by S.M. Stirling
7) Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
8) God Save the Queen by Kate Locke
9) Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey
10) Lock In by John Scalzi

Book Club Information

The QSF&F Book Club will meet on Sunday, August 12th, at 5 pm to discuss SPACE OPERA by Cat Valente.  Please contact the group leader, Christopher Rodriguez, at, for more information.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club will meet on Sunday, July 15th, at 6 pm to discuss WHERE LATE THE SWEET BIRDS SANG by Kate Wilhelm.  The book for the following month will be SIX WAKES by Our Lafferty.  Please contact for more information.

Upcoming Event Details

SF in SF (at The American Bookbinders Museum, 355 Clementina Street) with authors Terry Bisson & Paul Park, moderated by guest Cliff Winnig, Sunday, July 22nd 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 Cliff Winnig.  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

B Catling, THE CLOVEN (Vintage, Trade Paperback, $16.95) Wednesday, July 25th at 6:00 pm - We are delighted to welcome Brian Catling to Borderlands!  From the publisher's website:  "In the stunning conclusion to Brian Catling's Vorrh trilogy, the colonial city of Essenwald gives up all its secrets, as the ancient forest seeks to reclaim what has been taken from it.  Those who have been enslaved shall be no longer, and two heroes once thought dead shall reemerge stronger than ever.  A man will be split in two, and a young woman will rise to the height of her powers.  Meanwhile, the threat of war looms over London.  Germany is gearing up to begin the Blitz, and only Nicolas the Erstwhile senses the danger to come.  Will he be able to save the man who saved him?  THE CLOVEN is a book of battles and betrayals, in which Catling's incredible creations all fulfill their destinies and lead us to an epic conflagration with the fate of mankind hanging in the balance as the Vorrh attacks the one thing humankind can't live without."

Open House at Borderlands West, 1377 Haight St, Saturday, July 28th from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm - Would you like to see what we've been up to at the bookstore-to-be?  Come to our future home at 1377 Haight Street to get a tour of the new bookstore space and check out the progress we've made, and how far there is to go; you know you want to be able to say you "saw it when"!  This is an open house, so come by anytime between two and six and Alan or Jude will show you around.

Borderlands Sponsors' Open Mic, Sunday, August 5th at 5:00 pm - (Please note: This event is open to the general public, but only Borderlands sponsors may read.)  Borderlands' sponsors are an intelligent, talented, and diverse group of people, and many of them are writers!  We're hosting another Open Mic Night for sponsors, giving them a chance to share short stories, flash fiction, an excerpt from a longer work -- almost any type of writing, in any genre.  All we ask is that the readings are kept short -- five minutes or less -- to allow as many readers as possible the opportunity.  The really fun thing about open mic nights is that each reader brings fresh surprises and you never know what's coming up next.  We hope you'll come by to check out your talented friends and fellow customers!

Writers With Drinks (at The Make Out Room, 3225 22nd St.) with authors S.L. Huang, Jack Kaulfus, Cassandra Khaw, Hannah Pittard, Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, and Marlee Jane Ward, Saturday, August 11th 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 S.L. Huang (Zero Sum Game), Jack Kaulfus (Tomorrow or Forever), Cassandra Khaw (A Song for Quiet, Bearly a Lady), Hannah Pittard (Visible Empire), Margaret Wilkerson Sexton (A Kind of Freedom), and Marlee Jane Ward (Welcome to Orphancorp). 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.  More info:

SF in SF presents: George R.R. Martin in conversation with John Picacio! (A fundraiser for The Locus Science Fiction Foundation, at the Fox Theatre, Redwood City) Tuesday, August 14th at 7:30 pm - "SF in SF presents an evening with George R.R. Martin, creator of Game of Thrones, in conversation with Hugo Award-winning artist John Picacio at the landmark Fox Theatre in Redwood City on August 14, 2018.  Join friends, colleagues, and co-conspirators Martin and Picacio as they delve into a discussion on literature, art, and life in this intimate and historic theater setting, followed by a Q&A session with the audience.  Borderlands Books will be on-site selling books.  Please note: A limited number of signed books will be available for purchase at this event, but Mr. Martin will not be available to sign copies of attendees' books.  Ticket proceeds from this SF in SF fundraiser go to support the non-profit Locus SF Foundation, parent to Locus Magazine, the long-standing journal of record for the science fiction and fantasy fields."  More information and tickets here:

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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