Thursday, November 21, 2019

Dispatches from the Border, November 2019

Events and News From Borderlands Books

Upcoming Events

Tori Eldridge, NINJA DAUGHTER (Agora Books, Trade Paperback, $16.95) Sunday, November 24th at 3:00 pm

Sisters in Crime / Mystery Writers' of America Holiday Party, Saturday, December 7th from 2:00 - 4:00 pm

Writers With Drinks with authors Megan E. O'Keefe, Alvin Orloff, and Olga Zilberbourg, and fabulous guest host Maggie Tokuda-Hall! (At the Make-Out Room, 3225 22nd Street, San Francisco)  Saturday, December 14th at 7:30 pm

(for more information check the end of this newsletter)


* Overheard in the Store:

"Pokemon should not make you feel funny in your pants-parts."

"Finally, a bookstore with the _correct_ smell!"

"Some fungi are only edible once."

"If all else fails, use the parallel world."

"The highest villain in the book is a giant bagpipe. Nothing could be more evil than a bagpipe."

"I was ambushed, and she forcibly read her poetry at me."

"If you're not pissing someone off, you're probably in PR."

"Joel Selvin has covered pop music for the San Francisco Chronicle since shortly after the Civil War."

"It's a book title - 'Consensual Cannibalism: An Atheist's Primer for Surviving the Apocalypse'."

"Apparently it's the day of Hyper Aggressive Authors."

* Big congratulations to all the nominees and winners of this year's World Fantasy Awards!

* We are very sad to share news of the death of the incomparable Michael Blumlein.  Michael was a Borderlands sponsor, a retired doctor, and an extremely talented genre author, but more importantly he was a brilliant, humorous, generous, and tremendously good human being with an enduring sense of wonder.  He will be fiercely missed.

* You can hear a podcast of Rudy Rucker's October 26th, 2019 event at Borderlands (including his touching tribute to Michael Blumlein) here:

* A lengthy article on how the amazing author John M. Ford fell into obscurity after his death.  And guess what?  His books are going to be reprinted!:

* John Varley's alien sex chart in WIZARD changed Annalee Newitz's life:

* Say, how big ARE Supermassive Black Holes?  Big enough to crush our puny human brains:

* Golden Gate Bridge vs. asteroid?  Florida vs. the Death Star?  See who wins:

* A real-life Iron Man breaks a powered suit aerial speed record:

* Listen to a new, free China Mieville horror story on audiobook, "The Design":

* Creepy tunnels under San Francisco:

* Your moment of quasicrystalline mind-wreckery for the day:

* Wisdom for aspiring artists from Moebius:

* An interesting article on "last words" -- what people actually say before they die:

* They look like scenes from an ancient tomb, but they aren't. . . . they're macro shots taken inside instruments:

* An entertaining article on Charles Adams from The Long Island Press:

* A haunting Ted-Ed lesson written by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and animated by Jorge Jaramillo, explains how H.P. Lovecraft turned scientific discoveries of his time into the creepy fear of the unknown:

* A new study shows what people from one of the earliest civilizations on Earth may have looked like:

* We're sorry to report the death of Alexei Leonov, the first person to walk in space.  Read a bit about that terrifying & history-making first spacewalk here:

From The Office

November Building Update

The last month has been a good one for the construction but not particularly exciting, so this update is going to be kind of short.  The rough plumbing is completed and passed inspection. Other than some less-than-esthetically-pleasing work in the lightwell, it's a really nice, clean job.  And, it'll be easy enough for me to re-route the stuff in the lightwell so that it's not quite so . . . industrial . . . looking.  Granted, I can understand why a plumber would want to run all the piping between waist and shoulder height -- it's easy to work at that level.  But it doesn't really make for the best look, if you know what I mean.

Antonius and Juan, our electricians, were in last week and the rough electrical for the bathroom is finished.  We just need to get that inspected and then we can get to closing up the walls. With a little luck, I hope to have the bathroom completed by the end of next month.

The framing for the front wall is also finished (big thanks to Zach for getting the last bits completed) and it passed inspection yesterday.  We need to put a little bit of electrical in that wall and then we can start closing it as well.  That job is going to be a bit long because of the complexity.  Instead of just simple sheetrock like the bathroom, there's tile on the outside to do, plus an awful lot of windows to build.  On the other hand, because that wall is mostly windows, once they are built and installed, most of the wall will be completed, both outside and in.

Regarding that wall, I did some research about what sort of wood to use for the trim, casing, and other parts of the window frames and trim-work outside.  I was looking for something that was hard (because of the wear and tear that a storefront gets on a busy street) and also rot resistant (because of the outside exposure).  I was surprised to find that white oak is very resistant to rot and insects.  It's right up there with redwood and is much, much harder.  I was astonished to find the results of a test conducted by the USDA Forest Service in which they left completely untreated (i.e. no paint or sealer) wood samples outside in Wisconsin for 22 years.  Over that time not one sample of white oak showed decay or fungal infection (  Of course, white oak is expensive and hard to work but, if we can afford it, I hope to use that for the exterior woodwork for the front of the shop.  It's sort of a shame to hide such a nice looking wood but, with a proper coat of primer and paint, I'm confident it'll last for at least 100 years.

Finally, I met with Kevin Short, our architect, yesterday as well and we came up with the lighting plan for the main section of the store.  After having guessed at that for both the current store and the cafe, it was really nice to work with someone who actually knew what they were doing.  I think it's going to look great and give us plenty of light.  The added plus is that, with that plan in hand, I can turn the electricians loose on that job.  Once it's completed, we can get the ceiling closed, which is going to make the place look completely different.

Bottom line, we're still plugging along and getting there, it's just been a little s-l-o-w this month.

All Best,

Best Sellers
Borderlands Best-Selling Titles for October, 2019


1. Burning White by Brent Weeks
2. Angel Mage by Garth Nix
3. The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman
4. The Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz
5. Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
6. Turning Darkness Into Light by Marie Brennan
7. A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie
8. The Institute by Stephen King
9. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
10. The Grand Dark by Richard Kadrey

Trade Paperbacks

1. To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers
2. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
3. The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin, translated by Ken Liu
4. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
5. Perfect Specimen by M. Luke McDonell
6. Million Mile Road Trip by Rudy Rucker
7. Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin
8. Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky
9. A People's Future of the United States edited by Victor LaValle and John Joseph Adams
10. In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan

Mass Market Paperbacks

1. The Consuming Fire by John Scalzi
2. Dune by Frank Herbert
3. Fallen by Benedict Jacka
4. The Forbidden Stars by Tim Pratt
5. The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi
6. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
7. Old Man's War by John Scalzi
8. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
9. Neuromancer by William Gibson
10. Empire of Silence by Christopher Ruocchio

Book Club Information

The QSF&F Book Club will meet on Sunday, December 8th, at 5 pm to discuss BATTLEFIELD EARTH by L. Ron Hubbard.  Please contact the group leader, Christopher Rodriguez, at, for more information.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club will meet on Sunday, Decmeber, at 6 pm to discuss SHARDS OF HONOR by Lois McMaster Bujold.  Please contact for more information.

Upcoming Event Details

Tori Eldridge, NINJA DAUGHTER (Agora Books, Trade Paperback, $16.95) Sunday, November 24th at 3:00 pm - We're happy to welcome author Tori Eldridge to Borderlands for her debut novel!  "THE NINJA DAUGHTER is an action-packed thriller about a Chinese-Norwegian modern-day ninja with Joy Luck Club family issues who fights the Los Angeles Ukrainian mob, sex traffickers, and her own family to save two desperate women and an innocent child."  Tori's own history is fascinating . . . from her bio, she is "a Honolulu-born thriller writer who challenges perspective and empowers the spirit. She holds a fifth-degree black belt in To-Shin Do Ninjutsu and has traveled the USA teaching seminars on the ninja arts, weapons, and women's self-protection."  We hope you'll join us to meet Tori and check out this new thriller!

Sisters in Crime / Mystery Writers' of America Holiday Party, Saturday, December 7th from 2:00 - 4:00 pm - Join us and more than two dozen fabulous local mystery writers for a fun holiday party!  There will be light refreshments and the chance to mingle with, and get books signed by, fantastic authors!  Don't miss this opportunity to meet so many authors all at the same time in an informal setting, and enjoy a rousing kick-off to the party season.

Writers With Drinks with authors Megan E. O'Keefe, Alvin Orloff, and Olga Zilberbourg, and fabulous guest host Maggie Tokuda-Hall! (At the Make-Out Room, 3225 22nd Street, San Francisco)  Saturday, December 14th at 7:30 pm  - Writers With Drinks is the most awesome spoken-word variety show in the world, hosted this month by Maggie Tokuda-Hall, and we're always happy to participate!  The amazing lineup this month incldes Megan E. O'Keefe, Alvin Orloff, and Olga Zilberbourg!  Cost: $5 to $20, no-one turned away for lack of funds.  All proceeds benefit local non-profits.  Doors open at 7:00 and Borderlands will be on hand to sell books.

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.

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 - Jude Feldman
Assistant Editor - Alan Beatts
(And big thanks to guest contributors David Fitzgerald and Madeleine Hubbard, who tracked down a bunch of news this month!)

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