Sunday, July 5, 2020

Dispatches from the Border, July 2020

Events and News From Borderlands Books
JULY, 2020

Upcoming Events

Virtual event with Katherine Addison, THE ANGEL OF THE CROWS (Tor, Hardcover, $27.99) Wednesday, July 8th at 6:00 pm PST

Virtual event with Jo Walton, OR WHAT YOU WILL (Tor, Hardcover, $26.99) Thursday, July 9th at 5:00 pm PST

In the Middle: a virtual event with Mike Chen (A BEGINNING AT THE END, Mira, Hardcover, $26.99) and Kelly McWilliams (AGNES AT THE END OF THE WORLD, Little, Brown, Hardcover, $17.99) Wednesday, July 15th at 5:00 pm PST

Relentless and Unconquerable: a virtual event with Kate Elliott (UNCONQUERABLE SUN, Tor, Hardcover, $27.99) and Mary Robinette Kowal (THE RELENTLESS MOON, Tor, Hardcover $30.99 and Trade Paperback $17.99) Tuesday, July 21st at 7:00 pm PST

Virtual event with L.E. Modesitt, Jr. QUANTUM SHADOWS (Tor, Hardcover, $27.99) Thursday, July 23rd at 7:00 pm PST

Virtual event with Ferrett Steinmetz, AUTOMATIC RELOAD (Tor, Trade Paperback, $17.99) Friday, July 31st at 5:00 pm PST

(for more information check the end of this newsletter)


* As above, so below. . . a photographer captures the Milky Way and bioluminescent waters together:

* Author L.L. McKinney discuses the role publishers play in commodifying black pain, and how the focus of the industry must move beyond just "Issue" books:

* Customer Adam M. pointed out Bright 21st, a sci-fi short-story contest for "inspiring futures and positive alternate realities".  They have posted the winners of the most recent contest, and they're all free to read on the site (with free registration) and will be turned into audio plays this fall:

* Kate Warne, Pinkerton agent and America's first female private detective, was a pioneer in her field who also helped protect Abraham Lincoln:

* Wow.  An "Untethered Miniature Origami Robot that is able to self-assemble, walk on various surfaces, swim in shallow water, carry small items, and climb up different grades" -

* This hotel room has a secret library door that opens when you pull out a specific book in the room!

* Shut down during the pandemic, these museums are competing online for the creepiest object in their collection:

* One point scored against dystopia! A machine that sucks up smog and turns it into diamonds:

* Night of the Living Dead. . . Crickets?

* A bit of cryptographic history is up for auction: an Enigma encryption machine --

* Two terrifying trailers for the new "Candyman" movie, directed by Nia DaCosta and written by DaCosta, Jordan Peele, and Win Rosenfeld -- the theatrical trailer here: and DaCosta's haunting puppet trailer, that shows the Candyman's tragic origin story, here:

* Scientists say conspiracy theorists have a fundamental cognitive problem:

* Probably in my list of Top Ten Best Headlines Ever -- "The monstrous blobs near Earth's core may be even bigger than we thought":

* What do you call the world's only pink manta ray?  Inspector Clouseau, of course. . . .

Special Offer

About a month ago (or was it two years? -- so hard to tell nowadays) a nice guy named Payam Salehi who runs Anam Cara ( emailed us.  Anam Cara is part writing workshop, part social-network type of thing, and part writing/accountability group.  He got in touch with us to see if we'd be willing to help promote the next session (which starts on July 14th, and is led by author, professor and speaker Faith Adiele <>).

Off the bat we were _very_ skeptical.  There are an awful lot of on-line "writing classes" and they are usually, to some degree, a scam.  They over-promise, the "experts" actually aren't, they charge too much, and so on.  But Alan gave him a call anyway and he seemed like a nice, sincere guy.  After that, Alan did some digging and talked to both some prior participants and some other folks who are promoting it.  In the end, we decided that it was legit.  

Though it has the usual elements that you'd expect from an on-line writing class, the thing that stands out to us is the peer-support element.  At the outset, participants are added to a group and, further, assigned a writing partner.  The expectation is that, in addition to the class element, the group and especially your writing partner will be helpful and supportive of your work.  Based on the people Alan talked to, that idea actually functions as intended.

That seems to us to be a big plus over the typical writing group where the level of engagement within the group often leaves a bit to be desired, especially within groups that consist of mostly less-experienced writers.

Bottom line, if you're interested in trying it out, Payam is offering Borderlands folks a discount on the program.  The base cost is $390 ($290 each if you sign up with a friend) for the five-week course, but, if you use promo code "borderlands", you'll get $20 off of either price. Further, he's agreed to extend the refund period through the entire class so it is essentially a no-risk deal.  If you don't feel like it was worthwhile, you'll get a refund.

Full disclosure: Anam Cara's side of the promotional deal is that Borderlands will get 15% of any signups that come in through our promotion code.  We're not really focused on the income but, if the program is good and legit, it might be a nice little bit of extra cash for the shop.  The most important thing to us, however, is that it is, in fact, good and legit.  So, if you do decide to try it out, please let us know what you thought.

Audiobook Recommendations

Escape Through the Audio Hatch - Recommendations
By Melinda Rose

As I was compiling the list of my favorite listens of the past month, I realized these are all pure escapism. Light enough that you can do other things while listening, but meaty enough to hold your attention and distract. Turns out that's something I'm really needing right now, and maybe you are too. If so, I invite you to snuggle up with any of the following selections.

Going Postal by Terry Pratchett, performed by Stephen Briggs.
It's been a while since I've gone to the DiscWorld, and I'd almost forgotten how much it's like listening to a Monty Python sketch. Moist Von Lipwig is a con artist about to hang for his crimes when he's given a second chance at life. All he has to do is get the post office up and running again. Not a simple task. The mail's been piling up for decades and the postal workers are a skittish bunch of misfits. Despite his best efforts to remain cynical and aloof, Moist discovers his skill set is perfectly suited for government work, and that he really _wants_ to bring the postal service back to its glory days.

Have Space Suit, Will Travel by Robert A. Heinlein, performed by Mark Teretsky.
This classic has long been on my to-read list, and I'm glad I finally got around to it.  It's hard science fiction from 1958, yet somehow it holds up. There were times it reminded me of listening to The Martian by Andy Weir, because our hero is constantly science-ing himself out of or into difficult situations. I particularly loved Kip's pragmatic, supportive father. You want to go to the moon? Sure thing kid, guess you better figure out how you're getting there.There are so many great characters and plot twists I simply couldn't put my earbuds down.

Lucky Supreme by Jeff Johnson, performed by Keith Szarabajka
I loved "Everything Under the Moon", so when I was craving something gritty I decided to explore more of Johnson's catalogue. The voice actor brings the perfect gravelly tones and pacing to this modern noir tale. The story centers around Darby Holland who runs a tattoo parlor in Old Town Portland. He's content with a simple life and an inner circle of employees and the other neighborhood proprietors. His life gets a lot more complicated when there's a sighting of a former employee in California. In order to save face Darby has to go down there, confront him, and attempt to recover the art he stole while skipping town. That endeavor escalates into a confrontation with a seedy Bay Area crime syndicate. Now Darby has to gather up all his resources to save his shop from those nefarious forces as well as a landlord ready to give into the pressures of gentrification.

The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher, performed by Hilary Huber
"And I twisted myself about like twisted ones."  Fair warning - you're not going to be able to stop repeating the litany of the twisted ones for weeks after listening to this book. Mouse's grandmother was not a pleasant person. And, as Mouse discovers when she agrees to clean out the house after grandma dies, she was one hell of a hoarder. Among all the useless junk Mouse finds her step-grandfather's journal, and discovers there is definitely something eerie going on in the woods. The crazy ramblings of the journal start to manifest in the world around her and things get seriously spooky. There's an excellent unraveling of a mystery here, mixed in with so much laugh-out-loud humor I had to be careful about listening to this story in public.

[Editor's Note: is an audiobook purchase platform specifically designed to support independent bookstores. Unlike all of the e-book sites that have offered us partnerships, and in direct contrast to Amazon's audiobook platform, Audible, makes it practical and seamless to support Borderlands (or another indie of your choice) with your online audiobook purchases.  It's easy to sign up and easy to use, moreso, we've been blown away by their extraordinary customer service and dedication to helping bookstores. Just go to to learn more about them and create your free account. As part of the account set-up process, you designate an independent bookstore that you want your purchases to support. (You can use this link if you want to choose Borderlands to support right out of the gate: .)  After that, browse more than 150,000 audiobooks and either set up a monthly membership, or buy audiobooks a la carte. ]

From The Office

[Editor's Note: With all of the work we've been doing creating and revamping procedures and the projects that needed to occur to get our Valencia Street location back open, almost nothing has happened at Haight Street.  We hope to get back to work there shortly!]

Best Sellers
Borderlands Best-Selling Titles for June, 2020:

1. The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin
2. Network Effect by Martha Wells
3. Shakespeare for Squirrels by Christopher Moore
4. House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
5. The Last Emperox by John Scalzi
6. Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
7. Angel of the Crows by Katharine Addison
8. The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water by Zen Cho
9. Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre by Max Brooks
10. The Mermaid, The Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

Trade Paperbacks
1. The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix Harrow
2. Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisinn
3. Defy or Defend by Gail Carriger
4. The Book of Koli by M.R. Carey
5. Middlegame by Seanan McGuire
6. Fall; or, Dodge in Hell by Neal Stephenson
7. This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
8. Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin
9. Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin
10. City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. Dune by Frank Herbert
2. A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
3. The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi
4. Foundation by Isaac Asimov
5. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
6. Imaginary Numbers by Seanan McGuire
7. Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
8. Hyperion by Dan Simmons
9. Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson
10. Rosemary & Rue by Seanan McGuire

Book Club Information
Both of the book clubs that typically meet in the store will be meeting online via Zoom in July:

The QSF&F Book Club will meet on Sunday, July 12th, at 5 pm to discuss A CLOCWORK ORANGE by Anthony Burgess.  All the details are here: . Please contact the group leader, Christopher Rodriguez, at, for more information.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club will meet on Sunday, July 19th, at 6 pm to discuss A MEMORY CALLED EMPIRE by Arkady Martine.  Please contact to get the Zoom info.

Upcoming Event Details 

Virtual event with Katherine Addison, THE ANGEL OF THE CROWS (Tor, Hardcover, $27.99) Wednesday, July 8th at 6:00 pm PST - We're happy to virtually welcome Katherine Addison, beloved author of THE GOBLIN EMPEROR, as she presents her awesome new novel THE ANGEL OF THE CROWS! ANGEL is a terrific, atmospheric Holmesian fantasy with angels and werewolves and robotic dogs and mysterious murderer(s), and we know you're going to love it.  Register here for the event: and call or email us to set up an order for a signed and/or personalized copy!

Virtual event with Jo Walton, OR WHAT YOU WILL (Tor, Hardcover, $26.99) Thursday, July 9th at 5:00 pm PST - We're thrilled to be hosting Jo Walton as she presents her brand-new novel OR WHAT YOU WILL!  This is a story about an author's most beloved character, who has decided that perhaps he does not wish to be just a character any more. Jo will read an excerpt and discuss the book, and answer questions from the audience.  We do hope you'll join us; more details, and sign up for free here: The author has also been kind enough to offer to sign and/or personalize copies purchased from Borderlands, so call or email us to set that up!

In the Middle: a virtual event with Mike Chen (A BEGINNING AT THE END, Mira, Hardcover, $26.99) and Kelly McWilliams (AGNES AT THE END OF THE WORLD, Little, Brown, Hardcover, $17.99) Wednesday, July 15th at 5:00 pm PST - Please join us for a fascinating virtual event with authors Mike Chen and Kelly McWilliams!  Mike and Kelly will each do a short reading and then discuss what it's like to launch pandemic fiction during a pandemic, moderated by Jude Feldman from Borderlands.  There'll be an opportunity for live audience questions as well.  And, if you purchase a copy of either (or both) A BEGINNING AT THE END or AGNES AT THE END OF THE WORLD from Borderlands, you can get a bookplate from the author signed and/or personally inscribed!  Email ( or call (888 893-4008) for book order details; the link to sign up for the event via Crowdcast is here

Relentless and Unconquerable: a virtual event with Kate Elliott (UNCONQUERABLE SUN, Tor, Hardcover, $27.99) and Mary Robinette Kowal (THE RELENTLESS MOON, Tor, Hardcover $30.99 and Trade Paperback $17.99) Tuesday, July 21st at 7:00 pm PST - We're delighted to host a virtual event with these two acclaimed authors!  Register for free here: and join us on July 21st to hear an excerpt from Mary Robinette's eagerly awaited new Lady Astronaut novel, and Kate's thrilling new space opera.  The authors will also be in conversation, and how lucky are we to get to listen in?!

Virtual event with L.E. Modesitt, Jr. QUANTUM SHADOWS (Tor, Hardcover, $27.99) Thursday, July 23rd at 7:00 pm PST - We're always happy to welcome L.E. Modesitt, Jr. to Borderlands, regardless of the format!  Lee's new book is called QUANTUM SHADOWS, and he'll read a short excerpt, discuss the novel with Borderlands' manager Jude Feldman, and answer questions from the audience.  Register here and don't miss this fascinating event! The author is also happy to sign and personalize books ordered from Borderlands, so give us a call or drop us an email to set up your order!

Virtual event with Ferrett Steinmetz, AUTOMATIC RELOAD (Tor, Trade Paperback, $17.99) Friday, July 31st at 5:00 pm PST - Details TK!

Featured Upcoming Titles

(These titles have not arrived yet.  You may pre-order most of these books by calling or emailing us.  Prices may be subject to change.  Of course, we have many more titles arriving each week . . . call or email us if you're curious about a particular upcoming title not listed here. This list is tentative and subject to change by publishers. Unless otherwise noted, books are originals.) 

ROBERT JACKSON BENNETT * In the Shadow of Men * Subterranean Press, Aug 2020 (na, hc, eb)
BEN BOVA & DOUG BEASON * Space Station Down * Tor, Aug 2020 (hc, eb)
JOHN BIRMINGHAM * The Shattered Skies * Head of Zeus, Aug 2020 (hc)
CHRISTOPHER BROWN * Failed State * Harper Voyager US, Aug 2020 (tp, eb)
P.D. CACEK * Second Chances * Flame Tree Press US, Aug 2020 (h, tp, hc, eb)
NEIL CLARKE, ED. * The Best Science Fiction of the Year * Volume Five, Skyhorse/Night Shade Books, Aug 2020 (an, tp, hc, eb)
JULIE E. CZERNEDA * Mirage * DAW, Aug 2020 (hc, eb)
SETH DICKINSON * The Tyrant Baru Cormorant * Tor, Aug 2020 (hc, eb)
GARDNER DOZOIS & MICHAEL SWANWICK * City Under the Stars * Publishing, Aug 2020 (tp, eb)
GREG EGAN * Dispersion * Subterranean Press, Aug 2020 (na, hc)
SHANNON HALE * Kind of a Big Deal * Macmillan/Roaring Brook, Aug 2020 (ya, hc, eb)
LAURELL K. HAMILTON * Sucker Punch * Penguin Random House/Berkley, Aug 2020 (v, hc, eb)
MARIA DAHVANA HEADLEY * Beowulf * Macmillan/MCD X FSG Originals, Aug 2020 (pm, a, tp, eb)
KEVIN HEARNE * Ink & Sigil * Penguin Random House/Del Rey, Aug 2020 (hc, eb)
RICHARD KADREY * Ballistic Kiss * Harper Voyager US, Aug 2020 (h, hc, eb)
DEREK K√úNSKEN * The House of Styx * Rebellion/Solaris US, Aug 2020 (eb)
JOHN LANGAN * Children of the Fang and Other Genealogies * Word Horde, Aug 2020 (c, tp, eb)
JEFFREY ALAN LOVE * The Mountain of Smoke * Flesk Publications, Aug 2020 (pi, art, hc)
JONATHAN MABERRY * Lost Roads * Simon & Schuster, Aug 2020 (ya, h, hc, eb)
STEPHENIE MEYER * Midnight Sun * Little, Brown, Aug 2020 (ya, hc, eb)
TAMSYN MUIR * Harrow the Ninth * Publishing, Aug 2020 (hc, eb)
KAREN OSBORNE * Architects of Memory * Tor, Aug 2020 (tp, eb)
K.J. PARKER * How to Rule an Empire and Get Away with It * Orbit US, Aug 2020 (tp, eb)
GEORGE A. ROMERO & DANIEL KRAUS * The Living Dead * Tor, Aug 2020 (h, hc, eb)
ANTHONY RYAN * The Black Song * Ace, Aug 2020 (1st US, hc, eb)
LAVIE TIDHAR * By Force Alone * Tor, Aug 2020 (1st US, hc, eb)
F. PAUL WILSON * Other Sandboxes: Stories with Characters and Places Shared with Writers Living and Dead * Gauntlet Press, Aug 2020 (c, art, hc)

Abbreviations indicate: (r) reprint, (h) horror, (ya) young adult, (nf) non-fiction, (c) collection, (oc) original collection, (na) novella, (a) associational, (om) omnibus, (eb) e-book, (an) anthology, (pi) pictoral and other, (art) art and others, (gn) graphic novel, (x) media tie-in, (nv) novelette, (ss) short story, (hc) hardcover, (tp) trade paperback, (ph) pamphlet, (pb) paperback, (oa) original anthology, (b) biography, (v) paranormal romance, (pm) poetry.

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
Thanks to David Fitzgerald for contributing news items!

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