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Dispatches from the Border: November 2015
Events and News From Borderlands Books

Upcoming Events

Carter Scholz, GYPSY (PM Press, Trade Paperback, $13.00) Saturday, November 14th at 6:00pm -  with special guest Kim Stanley Robinson!

Small Business Saturday with guest bookseller Richard Kadrey, Saturday, November 28th from 1:00 - 3:00 pm

Mira Grant, CHIMERA (Orbit, Hardcover, $27.00) Saturday, December 5th at 3:00pm

Sisters in Crime / Mystery Writers of America Northern California Holiday Party, Saturday, December 12th from 2:00 - 4:00 pm

(for more information check the end of this newsletter)


* Overheard in the store:
"Why didn't anyone tell me that the 'True Blood' tv show was just an R-rated 'Buffy'?!"

* Someone sent us an absolutely lovely bottle of Scotch from New York.  We think it might be an Anniversary present, but we're not sure, since there was no note included with the bottle.  If you were kind enough to send us this present, could you please let us know so we can thank you?

* Sadly, Crossed Genres Magazine is going to be closing their doors at the end of this year.  Crossed Genres will continue to publish novels.

* The newest Marvel Netflix series "Jessica Jones," will premiere in November.  As old-school Jessica Jones fans, after seeing the full trailer,  we find ourselves really looking forward to it.

* Borderlands' owner Alan Beatts was on the Publishers Weekly podcast talking about the way the sponsors helped keep the store alive.  Listen here; Alan's segment starts around 9:40:

* A map of Middle Earth annotated by JRR Tolkien himself is up for auction after having been discovered in a copy of LORD OF THE RINGS owned by late acclaimed illustrator Pauline Baynes.  It is on display and on sale for 60,000 GBP.

* The trailer for the "Warcraft" film has been released, and if nothing else it looks like some good pulpy adventure fun.

* For those who haven't discovered the joy of Secure, Contain, Protect -- it is a wiki with each entry a supposed item/artifact/person that is supernatural, inter-dimensional, or just plain weird.  Some entries are sad, some fascinating, and others not to be read alone at night. .  (One of our personal favorites is SCP-1000, Bigfoot.)

* Charlie Jane Anders over at io9 posted a great infographic from Orbit of the compliment of the ships in Ann Leckie's amazing Ancillary trilogy, which was completed last month:

* SETI has been listening to star KIC8462852, (the one with the strange light patterns that people think might be aliens,) for two weeks and have heard nothing, but they're not giving up yet.  The Mary Sue has a full post on it:

* "Supergirl" premiered, and as a treat for superhero movie adaptation fans, this iteration's parents are played by Lois & Clark's Dean Cain and "Supergirl" film's Helen Slater.

* Ann Leckie gave Publisher's Weekly her list of Top Ten Science Fiction Novels and there are some great, usually ignored gems on her list.

* A new "Star Trek" television series is in the works for 2017!  We're simultaneously thrilled and terrified, and already busy creating that Dream Cast in our heads.  (Jude wants Angela Bassett to play the Captain.  And Dame Judi Dench should definitely be in there somewhere, too!)

* Congratulations to editor (and Borderlands sponsor) John Joseph Adams.  Publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt just announced that they're launching a new science fiction and fantasy line called John Joseph Adams Books/HMH that will be edited by JJA.  According to Shelf Awareness, the line's "first three titles are simultaneous hardcover and paperback editions of SHIFT, DUST and BEACON 23 by Hugh Howey, which will be published in February [2016]."

* Gunnar Hansen, who played Leatherface in 1974's iconic "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," has died at age 68.

* Happy Birthday to Ms. Ursula K LeGuin, one of the greatest authors of our time!

Award News

* Congratulations to this year's World Fantasy Award Winners!

* The 2015 British Science Fiction Award Winners have been announced!

* The Inaugural 100 Year Starship (100YSS) Canopus Awards, which celebrate interstellar writing, have announced their winners.

From The Office

A Great Idea

Customers frequently ask us how they can buy e-books, and still support Borderlands.  Now there's a way.  It's not precisely the way we would choose -- we'd rather you could purchase e-books directly from us -- but it's the best solution we've found so far, and it's really pretty smart.  There's an additional benefit, too: you can also get free or inexpensive digital versions of the paper books you already own!  BitLit <> is the company working on making this possible.

Brandon Sanderson (many of whose books are available through the BitLit app) was the one who told us about this.  The basic idea is that you get the app, which is free for iOS and Android.  You snap a well-lighted picture of your bookshelf (cleverly called -- what else? -- a "Shelfie",) and the app will let you know which of your books are available for free (or pretty cheap) download.  Select the book(s) you want.  Sign & photograph the copyright page(s) (or take a pic of your bookplate) to easily prove it's actually your book.  Send BitLit the photos, and they'll email you the e-book, which you can read on your existing e-Reader: Kobo, Nook, Kindle, or just in .pdf on your computer or phone.  It doesn't matter where your purchased your books, how long you've owned them.

BitLit currently offers around 75,000 titles for download, and they say the number is increasing every day, as more and more publishers realize what a good idea this is.  Already you can get most of Brandon's books, Joe Hill's, Jane Lindskold's, Neal Stephenson's, Charles Stross', Jo Walton's, F. Paul Wilson's . . . . the list goes on.  It is true that 75,000 books is only a tiny, tiny fraction of the books that readers already own, and might want to get digitally, but progress is certainly being made.  So far, of the "Big 5" publishers, HarperCollins and Macmillan are on board, although only for a portion of their lists.  I do believe the idea will take root and expand, though.  And while many of the books are free, some do have a nominal cost - usually between $2.99 and $6.99.  I think it's likely the prices will decrease, though, again as more publishers join up and add more titles, and the idea becomes more commonplace.

We've believed for a long time that it's an extremely logical next step to also offer the e-book to physical book purchasers, for the quite large number of people who would like the advantages of both -- i.e. the beautiful, well-crafted object of the physical book (possibly signed by the author!), and also the portable, take-anywhere convenience of the e-book.

And yes, there is already an Amazon thingamabob (called MatchBook; why the company ever thought that mixing fire imagery and books was a good idea is beyond me) that does something similar, but (1) it only works with physical books you purchased from Amazon, (2) you can only use it on a Kindle, and (3) their available selection, which currently offers fewer titles than BitLit, seems to be mostly composed of books that were self-published via Amazon.

This is not a new idea, but it does seem to be gaining ground.  Baen Books has made e-versions of their titles available for years, without even asking you to purchase the physical book -- they have the Baen Free Library <>.  They've also included CD's with a bunch of the author's backlist books with new Baen hardcovers.  Offering readers free books is certainly a generous, benevolent thing for them to do, but Baen is also shrewd enough to understand that it's an easy way to get readers utterly hooked on their authors and their books, and intent on purchasing that next volume.

I love physical books.  I don't ever want to give them up.  But there are definitely times when I am away from home and wish that I could just quickly check something -- a quote, a fact, a particularly lovely sentence -- that is printed in a book I own.  Or I am stuck in line at the post office with nothing to read.  At those times it would be terrific to be able to pull up one of my books on my phone and dive right in.

As I mentioned in opening, the logical extension of the process under discussion is also a way for readers to have their cake and eat it, too -- to keep physical bookstores like Borderlands, with their myriad advantages besides just selling books (like making the most accurate recommendations, being social centers, and providing places for readers to engage with authors,) in business -- to let readers possess beautiful objects in the form of physical books, while still being able to take their library on that long road trip with them.

-Jude Feldman

Best Sellers
Borderlands Best-Selling Titles for October, 2015

1. SHADOWS OF SELF by  Brandon Sanderson
2. WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor
4. KILLING TITAN by Greg Bear
5. THE CINDER SPIRES by Jim Butcher
6. SILVER ON THE ROAD by Laura Anne Gilman
7. LUNA: NEW MOON by Ian McDonald
8. ELANTRIS: 10th ANNIVERSARY EDITION by Brandon Sanderson
10. THE THREE BODY PROBLEM by Cixin Liu; translated by Ken Liu

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir
2. THE FLUX by Ferrett Steinmetz
3. THE MIRROR EMPIRE by Kameron Hurley
4. THE THOUSAND NAMES by Django Wexler
5. A RED-ROSE CHAIN by Seanan McGuire
6. THE ABYSS BEYOND DREAMS by Peter F. Hamilton
7. AMERICAN GODS by Neil Gaiman
8. ON THE STEEL BREEZE by Alastair Reynolds
9. DRAGONS OF HEAVEN by Alyc Helms
10. THE TERRANS by Jean Johnson

Trade Paperbacks
1. ANCILLARY MERCY by Ann Leckie
3. WOMEN UP TO NO GOOD by Pat Murphy
5. EMPIRE ASCENDANT by Kameron Hurley tie with SONGS OF A DEAD DREAMER AND GRIMSCRIBE by Thomas Ligotti

Book Club Information

The QSF&F Book Club will meet on Sunday, December 13th, at 5 pm to discuss LEVIATHAN WAKES by James S.A. Corey.  Please contact the group leader, Christopher Rodriguez, at, for more information.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club will meet on Sunday, November 15th, at 6 pm to discuss RED PLANET BLUES by Robert Sawyer.  The book for the following month will be STATION ELEVEN by Emily St. John Mandel.  Please contact for more information.

Upcoming Event Details

Carter Scholz, GYPSY (PM Press, Trade Paperback, $13.00) Saturday, November 14th at 6:00pm. With guest Kim Stanley Robinson! - We're delighted to welcome the very talented Carter Scholz, one of the finest of the "writer's writers"!  His new collection GYPSY, from PM Press, features the following wonders: "In the novella Gypsy, a small band of renegade scientists crowd-sources Earth's first starship in a desperate attempt to escape global catastrophe.  Heartbreak and hope collide in this moving and visionary tale. "The Nine Billion Names of God" uses a classic SF text to deconstruct literary deconstruction itself, with hilarious results.  In the wickedly droll "Bad Pennies," a spy tasked with trashing a foreign economy testifies before a complacent Congress. "The United States of Impunity" is an ironic salute to America's criminal overclass.  Also featured is our Outspoken Interview, in which a postmodern Renaissance Man charts the synergies and dissonances of a career that embraces both literary and musical composition, reveals the hidden link between winemaking and deep space astronomy, and tells you how to steal his car."  Carter will be joined by series contributor (and Hugo-, Nubula-. and World Fantasy Award-winning author) Kim Stanley Robinson.

Small Business Saturday with guest bookseller Richard Kadrey - Saturday, November 28th from 1:00 - 3:00 pm -  Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and locally-owned, like Borderlands!  This year we welcome author Richard Kadrey, who will be helping to make recommendations and signing books.

Mira Grant, CHIMERA (Orbit, Hardcover, $27.00) Saturday, December 5th at 3:00pm - We're happy to close the year with terrifying parasites & a visit from Mira Grant!  From the book description: "The final book in Mira Grant's terrifying Parasitology trilogy.  The outbreak has spread, tearing apart the foundations of society, as implanted tapeworms have turned their human hosts into a seemingly mindless mob.  Sal and her family are trapped between bad and worse, and must find a way to compromise between the two sides of their nature before the battle becomes large enough to destroy humanity, and everything that humanity has built. . . . including the chimera.  The broken doors are closing.  Can Sal make it home?"

Sisters in Crime / Mystery Writers of America Northern California Holiday Party, Saturday, December 12th 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 chance to meet so many authors all at the same time, and enjoy a rousing kick-off to the party season.

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 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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