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Events and News from Borderlands Books

January, 2009

Chapter One - Event Information, News, and Special Features

Scott Sigler, CONTAGIOUS, (Crown, Hardcover, $24.95) Saturday, January 10th at 3:00 pm

Writers With Drinks at the Make-Out Room, (3225 23rd St.): Lisa Katayama, Ann Packer, Yosefa Raz, Steven Schwartz, Scott Sigler, and Lan Tran,  Saturday, January 10th at 7:30 pm

John Levitt, NEW TRICKS, (Ace, Mass Market, $7.99) Sunday, January 11th at 3:00 pm

Mary Robinette Kowal and John Scalzi, Friday, January 16th at 7:00 pm

Aimee Bender and Sean Stewart are guests of SF in SF at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building, 582 Market Street, Saturday, January 17th at 7:00 pm

P.S. Gifford, THE CURIOUS ACCOUNTS OF THE IMAGINARY FRIEND, (Virtual Tales, Trade Paperback, $14.95) Sunday, January 18th at 1:00 pm

Borderlands Night at Evil Dead the Musical! (at the Campbell Theatre, 636 Ward Street, Martinez, CA 94553), Friday, January 23rd at 10:30 pm

SF in SF presents free movies: “Kung-Fu Panda” and “Wall-E” at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building, 582 Market Street, Saturday, January 24th at 7:00 pm

Toby Bishop, AIRS OF NIGHT AND SEA (Ace, Mass Market, $7.99), and Pat Murphy, THE WILD GIRLS (Speak, Trade Paperback, $7.99) Saturday,  January 24th at 3 pm

John Birmingham, WITHOUT WARNING, (Del Rey, Hardcover, $26.00) Tuesday, February 3rd at 7pm

Patricia Briggs, BONE CROSSED, (Ace, Hardcover, $24.95) Friday, February 6th at 7:00 pm

(for more information check the end of this section)


* Goodbye, Forry:
We're very sorry to report the death "Mr. Science Fiction," Forrest J. Ackerman, who passed away December 4th, 2008 at the age of 92.  Ackerman was an editor, author, actor, literary agent, producer, and the ultimate science fiction fan.  Obituary from Time Magazine here: <,8599,1864854,00.html?imw=Y> There's also a cute "25 Things We Miss About Uncle Forry" from Sci Fi Wire here :<>

* Stacey's Bookstore to close
We just received the sad news that Stacey's, a San Francisco institution sibnce 1923, will close its doors in March.  This is a blow both to San Francisco and to bookselling as a whole. Article from the San Francisco Chronicle here: <>

* KQED Blog mention:
Danielle Sommer, a local writer, spoke to the staff at Borderlands concerning the theory that science fiction sales increase during times of social and political unrest, and asked us about recent bestsellers.  Her article has a couple of factual errors (the edition of ALTERED CARBON of which we've sold hundreds of copies is the Del Rey mass market, not the gorgeous Subterranean Press limited edition with the Vincent Chong illustrations, for example,) but it certainly makes interesting reading: <>

* Best of 2008:
Annalee Newitz over at the awesome has published Io9's list of Best Science Fiction Books of 2008.  You'll want to check out their choices. <>

* Sir Pratchett!
Author Terry Pratchett has been knighted!  Full details from the BBC here: <>

* Galleycat interviews Tachyon:
Brief interview with Jacob Weisman from San Francisco's own Tachyon Publications here: <>

* The Washington Post lauds many of our friends:
Michael Dirda's article on the triumph of the small press for ghost stories, with mentions of many of our favorites: <>

* Ripley photo, for cat fans:
Customer (and photographer) Derek Powazek was kind enough to drop off an enlarged copy of this picture that he took of Ripley in the store: <> Thanks, Derek!

* We want your reviews:
We're posting a big bulletin board in the store for customer reviews.  Here's how it will work: Pick up a review form in the store and fill it out.  Give it to the clerk at the counter, along with your email address if you choose.  The office staff will go over the reviews, post them to the huge board so that everyone can know what you think, *and* pick some to run in future issues of Dispatches From the Border, (that's this newsletter!) if you give your permission. See?  Easy!  (We do reserve the right not to post/run every review we receive.)

Cafe News

After a pause and some delays for the holidays, work proceeds apace.  The hugely talented duo of Simon and Mike from Canterbury Tile are setting all the tile in the kitchen and bathroom right now and they're doing a great job.  Tile is pretty unforgiving because, unlike wood or sheet rock, it won't bend or flex and all the seams show.  That makes working in our 100 year-old building, where _nothing_ is straight, level, flat or square, a challenge, but those guys are handling it with grace and the results look wonderful.

I'm rebuilding the windows and hanging doors.  It's a bit of a rush to stay ahead of the tile but I'm managing.  It's mostly hand work and involves lots of fitting due to the before-mentioned lack of straight, flat, level and square.  Time consuming but I like it.

Once I get that work done (hopefully by mid-next week) I'll start on the first round of painting.  Contrary to common wisdom, I find that it's better to paint first and refinish floors afterwards so the walls and ceiling will get paint, then the floor gets repaired, sanded and sealed.  Final step will be painting the baseboards and other trim, then putting all that up.

I'm not sure how much of that I'll get done this month but we'll see how it shakes out.  As it stands, there is still no fixed opening date but it's going to be this year for sure and probably no later than this Summer.  Might be much sooner but I'm not going to hex myself by saying so and giving the universe an irresistible opportunity to make me wrong.

- Alan "I'm not a contractor, I just found this hammer" Beatts

From The Office

Happy New Year everyone,

The holidays are past, the relatives have gone home and there goes another year.  At Borderlands, 2008 wasn't such a bad year, all things considered.  Despite the economy we're doing alright in terms of sales and the staff are all doing well.  I'm overworked as usual (well, perhaps a bit more than usual considering all the work that I'm doing to get the the cafe next door open) but life is really damn good.

At the end of the year I like to look back and consider some of the books that I really enjoyed.  What follows are some of the standout titles that I read in 2008.  Please bear in mind that 1) just because I _read_ them in 2008 doesn't mean they came out that year and 2) I'm sure I've forgotten several.  If I was smart I'd keep a list of what I read but I'm neither that smart nor _that_ obsessive.

The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie - For someone who doesn't like fantasy novels much, I'm surprised at how many I thought were outstanding this year.  Abercrombie's first book in the First Law trilogy really surprised me both with the quality of writing and with a number of plot twists and turns.  He seems to revel in defying conventions; providing the reader with wise wizards who are selfish and have hellish bad tempers, barbarians who are secretly scared piss-less, very smart, sympathetic torturers and a quest that doesn't really have any pay-off at all (or at least so it seems).

Line War by Neal Asher - Asher's final (?) novel featuring Ian Cormac brings the events which have been building over the past three books to a satisfying conclusion and provides a number of revelations about What's Really Been Going On.  It's not the place to start if you haven't read the other books but it's an excellent capstone to the story that began in Gridlinked.

Toll the Hounds by Steven Erikson - Though this eighth novel in the Malazan Books of the Fallen is mostly about tying up loose ends, I though it was great.  As Steve himself pointed out when he was at the store, it's a book about remorse and loss.  I think that Steve's awareness that great events often have terrible consequences for the people involved is what I liked so much about Toll The Hounds.  It's a sad book and not something to read if you're feeling down but, for those who've been following the series, it's a necessary book and has some of his best writing yet.

Pandemonium by Daryl Gregory - And now, a book that's not part of a series!  Daryl's first novel is just brilliant.  It's a sort-of alternate history in which people are randomly possessed by "demons" which embody archetypes like the Trickster, Judgement, Death and so on.  The protagonist's journey to discover what happened to him while he was possessed as a child leads him into a quest to find out why the possessions have been happening at all.  It's both an investigation into our culture's archetypes and a finely crafted mystery chockfull of pop-culture and genre references.  I'm really looking forward to whatever Daryl does next.

The Steel Remains by Richard Morgan - Richard's previous five novels have all been science fiction and have received a huge amount of well-deserved attention and so I was really excited two years ago at ComicCon when he told me that he was working on a fantasy novel.  Ever since I read Larry Niven's What Good Is a Glass Dagger, it's been my experience that when SF writers take on fantasy the results are surprising and usually damn good.  At the time, he told me a little about the book and gave me a chapter to read.  I thought that it seemed pretty cool.  And then I read the final novel . . . .  I don't want to build it up too much and risk disappointed readers but.  It.  Is.  So.  Good.  As is typical in Richard's work, The Steel Remains is on the grim side and unforgiving in its portrayal of violence while being unashamedly critical of aspects of our modern society.  But as is also typical of his work, the possibility of redemption is implicit throughout and is a goal that the characters strive towards.  And what characters.  I'd put the main protagonist in my personal top dozen favorite fictional of all time and the rest of the cast are equally well drawn.

Wolfman by Nicholas Pekearo - You would think that the traditional werewolf would have been done to death in fiction by now.  That's what I thought 'til I read The Wolfman.  I think that the real strength in Pekearo's novel is the characterization of the protagonist.  He doesn't want to be a werewolf but he's accepted it.  He's also accepted that, every month, he's going to kill someone and that the only alternative is to kill himself -- which he's not going to do.  So he does his best to make sure that the people he kills are, if not deserving of it, at least are not particularly nice or likely to be missed by anyone.  It requires very talented writing to take a character like that and make him sympathetic and human to the reader but Pekearo manages it despite his limited experience (this is his first novel).

Implied Spaces by Walter Jon Williams - I've loved Walter's work since the 80s when I read Hardwired (which is still one of the best Cyberpunk novels ever) and I've followed him ever since.  His recent novel takes on new territory for him -- the post-singularity, post-scarcity society.  Authors like Charlie Stross and Ken MacLeod have done some great work playing with the idea of a future in which advanced technology has made any sort of tangible property essentially free for all and where advanced intelligent computer/softwear combinations far exceed human abilities.  What made Implied Spaces such a treat was seeing what an experienced and seasoned writer with over 20 years experience can do in such a playground.  It was so good.  The combination of the ideas with the deft plotting and great characterization that I've come to expect from Walter was unbeatable.  It also has the distinction of being the first novel I've read to come even halfway close to describing what a military conflict might be like if both sides had access to advanced nano-tech.

I hope you enjoyed my idiosyncratic take on the books of last year.  Here's hoping that the books next year are equally good.  More importantly -- here's hoping that 2009 brings you all that you need and much that you wish for.

Warm Regards,

Top Sellers At Borderlands

1. Contagious by Scott Sigler
2. The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
3. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
4. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
5. 1635: The Dreeson Incident by Eric Flint and Virgina DeMarce
6. Anathem by Neal Stephenson
7. The Gabble and Other Stories by Neal Asher (UK)
8. Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer
9. The Steel Remains by Richard Morgan (UK)
10. Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. New Tricks by John Levitt
2. The Outlaw Demon Wails by Kim Harrison
3. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
4. The Good Fairies of New York by Martin Millar
5. Dog Days by John Levitt
6. The City, Not Long After by Pat Murphy
7. Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan
8. Flora Segunda by Ysabeau Wilce
9. Black Magic Woman by Justin Gustainis
10. Halting State by Charles Stross tie with
      Snake Agent by Liz Wiliams

Trade Paperbacks
1. Steampunk edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer
2. Ancestor by Scott Sigler
3. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
4. The Living Dead edited by John Joseph Adams
5. The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie tie with
    The Shadow of the Scorpion by Neal Asher

Notes From a DVD Geek

Our intrepid DVD Geek is off in sunny Hawaii, so the column will return next month.

- Jeremy Lassen

Book Club Info

The Gay Men's Book Club will meet on Sunday, January 11th, at 5 pm to discuss DUNE by Frank Herbert.  Please contact the group leader, Christopher Rodriguez, at, for more information.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club will meet on Sunday, January 18th, at 6 pm to discuss TAM LIN by Pamela Dean.  Please contact Jude at for more information.

Upcoming Event Details

Scott Sigler, CONTAGIOUS, (Crown, Hardcover, $24.95) Saturday, January 10th at 3:00 pm - Alright, Junkies, your Future Dark Overlord is back!  From Scott's website: "Across America, a mysterious pathogen transforms ordinary people into raging killers, psychopaths driven by a terrifying, alien agenda. The human race fights back, yet after every battle the disease responds, adapts, using sophisticated strategies and brilliant ruses to fool its pursuers. The only possible explanation: the epidemic is driven not by evolution but by some malevolent intelligence.  Standing against this unimaginable threat is a small group, assembled under the strictest secrecy. Their best weapon is hulking former football star Perry Dawsey, left psychologically shattered by his own struggles with this terrible enemy, who possesses an unexplainable ability to locate the disease’s hosts. Violent and unpredictable, Perry is both the nation’s best hope and a terrifying liability. Hardened CIA veteran Dew Phillips must somehow forge a connection with him if they’re going to stand a chance against this maddeningly adaptable opponent. Alongside them is Margaret Montoya, a brilliant epidemiologist who fights for a cure even as she reels under the weight of endless horrors.  These three and their team have kept humanity in the game, but that’s not good enough anymore, not when the disease turns contagious, triggering a fast countdown to Armageddon. Meanwhile, other enemies join the battle, and a new threat — one that comes from a most unexpected source — may ultimately prove the most dangerous of all."  Join us as we host Scott Sigler, and find out for yourself why fans of the series are called junkies!

Writers With Drinks at the Make-Out Room, (3225 23rd St.): Lisa Katayama, Ann Packer, Yosefa Raz, Steven Schwartz, Scott Sigler, and Lan Tran,  Saturday, January 10th at 7:30 pm - Writers With Drinks is exactly what it sounds like -- writers with drinks!  Emceed by the madcap and inimitable Charlie Anders, this is a monthly spoken-word variety series that takes place at a bar down the street from Borderlands.  Do not miss this odd mix of authors, alcohol and fun! Sliding scale, $3 - $5 at the door, proceeds benefit good causes locally.  Borderlands will be on hand to sell books at the event.  More info at <>.  This month, WWD features Lisa Katayama, Ann Packer (THE DIVE FROM CLAUSEN'S PIER, SONGS WITHOUT WORDS), Yosefa Raz (ZYZZYVA, GLIMMER TRAIN), Steven Schwartz, Scott Sigler (INFECTED, CONTAGIOUS), and Lan Tran (HOW TO UNRAVEL YOUR FAMILY).

John Levitt, NEW TRICKS, (Ace, Mass Market, $7.99) Sunday, January 11th at 3:00 pm - Everyone loved DOG DAYS, John Levitt's introduction to San Francisco magician/musician Mason and his sort-of dog, Lou (okay, he's an Iffrit, not a dog.  But he looks like a dog).  Now the two are back in another entertaining adventure.  Meet local author John Levitt and find out what's next for his unlikely hero.  Read an excerpt from the book here: <> and read an interview with Mason, John's protagonist, here: <>.

Mary Robinette Kowal and John Scalzi, Friday, January 16th at 7:00 pm - "John and Mary Show You Their Shorts!": 2008 Campbell Award winner Mary Robinette Kowal and NYT Bestselling author John Scalzi invite you to a night of funny short science fictional readings. Come on down! You'll plotz. Seriously.

Aimee Bender and Sean Stewart are guests of SF in SF at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building, 582 Market Street, Saturday, January 17th at 7:00 pm - We are very excited to help SF in SF welcome Aimee and Sean!  Each author will read a selection from their work, followed by Q&A from the audience moderated by author Terry Bisson.  Authors will schmooze & sign books after in the lounge. Books available for sale courtesy of Borderlands Books.  Seating is limited, so first come, first seated.  Bar proceeds benefit Variety Childrens Charity - learn more at <>.  We REALLY encourage you to take BART into the City, or use MUNI to get here - parking can be problematic in San Francisco, to say the least.  We are less than one block away from the Montgomery St. station.  Trust us - you don't want to be looking for parking and be late for the event!  Phone (night of event) 415-572-1015.  Questions? Email

P.S. Gifford, THE CURIOUS ACCOUNTS OF THE IMAGINARY FRIEND, (Virtual Tales, Trade Paperback, $14.95) Sunday, January 18th at 1:00 pm - From the book: "Who am I? Well, I am the Imaginary Friend.  You know -- the one you conjure up when you're consumed with loneliness, greed or visions of imminent doom.  I have listened to thousands of stories and it would be a shame if they just stayed with me, never to be heard again.  I have chosen to share only the ones I found particularly . . . curious."  Don't miss this chance to meet author and poet P.S. Gifford and . . . his Imaginary Friend!

Borderlands Night at Evil Dead the Musical! (at the Campbell Theatre, 636 Ward Street, Martinez, CA 94553), Friday, January 23rd at 10:30 pm - From the Theatre website: "The Evil begins Friday, January 9th!  Come see the musical everyone is talking about  . . it would kill you to miss it!  What can go wrong when five college students break into an abandoned cabin in the woods? Apparently a whole heck of a lot! They unleash evil spirits, turn into Candarian Demons - and sing showtunes! In EVIL DEAD: THE MUSICAL, Sam Raimi's cult classic '80s films are brought to life in a hilarious, campy show that will make you love the theatre again. As musical mayhem descends upon this sleepover in the woods, "camp" takes on a whole new meaning with uproarious numbers like "All the Men in My Life Keep Getting Killed by Candarian Demons," "What the F*@k was That?" and "Do the Necronomicon."  Performances will be at the Campbell Theatre in Martinez, with full bar service throughout the show! Performances are January 9th through February 7th at 7:00pm and 10:30pm on Friday and Saturday nights. For a really up-close and personal experience, be sure to sit in the SPLATTER ZONE, where the gore hits the floor (and the audience)!  Evil Dead: The Musical is rated PG-13 for. . . language and campy violence."   Mention Borderlands when you call the box office at 925-798-1300 to get your ticket for January 23rd and you'll get a $5 discount (even on the Splatter Zone tickets)!  We'll be working out carpools from San Francisco, so if you need a ride or you're planning on driving, drop a note to  See <> for more details on the show.

SF in SF presents free movies: “Kung-Fu Panda” and “Wall-E” at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building, 582 Market Street, Saturday, January 24th at 7:00 pm -  Free movies! Free popcorn! God cause! Doors open at 6:30 pm and the first movie starts at 7:00 pm.  There will be a short intermission between the films.  Seating is limited and seats are available on a first-come, first seated basis, so arrive early!  Refreshments will be available for purchase, and your purchase benefits Variety Children's Charity of Northern California, a non-profit organization that supports children in local communities who are dealing with poverty, neglect, violence, and physical disabilities.  For more information about upcoming movies, write  For more information on Variety Children's Charity, see their web site at  <> or write

Toby Bishop, AIRS OF NIGHT AND SEA (Ace, Mass Market, $7.99), and Pat Murphy, THE WILD GIRLS (Speak, Trade Paperback, $7.99)  Saturday,  January 24th at 3 pm - Louise Marley's earlier science fiction novels won both acclaim and awards. THE CHLD GODDESS won the 2005 Endeavour Award for excellence in science fiction, and in 2001 her novel THE GLASS HARMONICA shared the same award with Ursula K. Le Guin’s book THE TELLING. Louise's novels have been shortlisted for the Tiptree, Campbell, and Nebula Awards.  Her newest novel, written under her pseudonym, Toby Bishop, is part of the now-completed trilogy, "The Horsemistress Saga," a fantasy for young adult readers.   The first two novels, AIRS BENEATH THE MOON and AIRS AND GRACES, began the story of Larkyn Black and her winged stallion Black Seraph. AIRS OF NIGHT AND SEA is the conclusion.  Don't miss this opportunity to meet Toby Bishop and let her introduce you to the wonderful, mystical world of powerful women and winged horses.  Toby is even making "crooks" for the event, the cookies that one of her characters makes!  You can read an excerpt from the first book in the Horsemistress Saga, AIRS BENEATH THE MOON, here: <>.  Joining Louise will be local favorite Pat Murphy, showcasing the excellent novel THE WILD GIRLS, which is a magical book about the art of writing and becoming yourself.  About THE WILD GIRLS, Jane Yolen wrote: "This novel has characters who learn to tell the truth, which is the hardest lesson of all. And along the way, they paint their faces, walk on stilts, rule over foxes, occasionally throw rocks, . . . and fly.  I loved it." We're sure you'll love it, too! 

John Birmingham, WITHOUT WARNING, (Del Rey, Hardcover, $26.00) Tuesday, February 3rd at 7pm -  From the book: "The author of the acclaimed novels WEAPONS OF CHOICE, DESIGNATED TARGETS, and FINAL IMPACT returns with his most chilling -- and most mainstream -- story yet. . . . A thrilling novel that explores what would happen if an unexplained phenomenon virtually erased the United States overnight -- leaving the rest of the world to survive without it."  Come meet John Birmingham and ponder this frightening scenario!

Patricia Briggs, BONE CROSSED, (Ace, Hardcover, $24.95) Friday, February 6th at 7:00 pm - Patricia Briggs is the author of about a dozen books, and she's always been great, but it seems that she's just recently  come to major national attention with the kick-ass Mercy Thompson novels.  Mercy is an auto mechanic and a shapeshifter, and a cooler heroine would be difficult to imagine.  In BONE CROSSED, Mercy has to deal with an angry local vampire queen whom she has crossed; but because Mercy is protected from direct reprisal by her powerful associates, (_really_ powerful. . .they're werewolves!) it won't be Mercy's blood the vampire is after.  It'll be her friends'.  You can read an excerpt from BONE CROSSED here: <>

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 it until you can come in to pick it up or we can ship it 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.  Call or email for details.

Chapter Two - Book Listings

Small Press Features

THE FEASTER FROM AFAR - THE SELECTED WEIRD TALES OF JOSEPH PAYNE BRENNAN VOL. 1 by Joseph Payne Brennan (Midnight House, Numbered, Limited Edition (525 copies) Hardcover, $45.00) - The first of four volumes that will collect all of the great Weird Tales author's macabre and supernatural fiction.

I REMEMBER THE FUTURE: THE AWARD NOMINATED STORIES by Michael A. Burstein (Apex, Hardcover, $35.95, and Trade Paperback, $21.95) - Few writers have had their stories nominated for as many awards as Burstein!  This is a great collection that will hopefully make this deserving author known to a wider audience.  Especially for fans of classic science fiction in the Asmiov/Bradbury/Clarke vein.

PLUGGED IN by L. Timmel Duchamp and Maureen McHugh (Aqueduct Press, Trade Paperback, $12.00) - From Aqueduct Press: "In the kingdom of the blind," Sydney said, "The one-eyed girl is king." In "Kingdom of the Blind," Sydney, one of the codemonekys who maintain DMS, the software system that keeps the physical plants of the Benevola Health Network running, suspects the recent outages in the system may be a sign of the system's sentience rather than due to simple corruption of its code. Her fellow geeks view the reset button as a possible if drastic solution for restoring the system's integrity, but Sydney fears it might be a much too Final Solution. . . .
In L. Timmel Duchamp’s "The Man Who Plugged In," Howard Nies becomes the first male to plug into a Siemens Carapace.  And as an ad in the February 2013 issue of The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology notes, the Siemens Carapace is "a prenatal cradle of caring" at the cutting edge of technology, "made of the finest, strongest, most lightweight materials ever produced. Its clean, round lines and soft, silvery matte finish can't fail to reassure both the parents and the gestational carrier who wears it that the child within is getting better care and protection than any naturally gestated child."

ESCAPE FROM HELL! by Hal Duncan (MonkeyBrain, Trade Paperback, $9.95) - It sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, but instead it's the beginning of a great novella!  From MonkeyBrain Books: "A hitman, a hooker, a homosexual kid, and a hobo suicide make the ultimate prison break . . . escape from Hell itself! It’s "Escape from New York" meets "Jacob’s Ladder," by one of fantasy’s rising stars.  Four sinners die and go to Hell, a twisted version of New York City, each to their own torment.  The four meet, and decide to make a break, guns blazing. Before they manage to escape, they discover Lucifer himself kept prisoner by the angel Gabriel, and in freeing him find themselves facing an angel’s wrath.  But when news of their attempted escape gets out, the souls of the damned are transformed into a rioting mob, and all Hell truly does break loose."

ENGELBRECHT AGAIN! by Rhys Hughes (Dead Letter Press, Signed, Limited Edition (300 copies) Hardcover, $50.00) - From Dead Letter Press: "Engelbrecht is a dwarf surrealist boxer who does most of his fighting against clocks. His exploits were first chronicled by Maurice Richardson back in the 1940s in the pages of the esteemed Lilliput magazine. Engelbrecht is the most famous member of the Surrealist Sportsman’s Club, a very dubious society that spends the time it has left between the collapse of the moon and the end of the universe taking the concept of the 'game' to its logical limit, for instance arranging a rugby match between Mars and the entire human race, or playing chess with boy scouts and nuclear bombs as pieces.  Sixty or so years after his first appearance Engelbrecht has returned for another set of exploits that will take him on a voyage around the world, into space, down to Hell, into a labyrinth of plots and counter-plots that could mean the destruction of the entire membership of the Surrealist Sportsman’s Club. Running the gauntlet with gorgons, competing in the mesmeric tour-de-trance bicycle race, climbing the north face of the largest ego in existence, playing tug-o’-war with entire continents and even indulging in a round of lipograms with the monstrous Père Ubu – all these are in a day’s work for the plucky Engelbrecht!"

TALES OF TERROR by Guy de Maupassant (Tartarus Press, Limited Edition (300 copies) Hardcover, $55.00) - Foreword by Ramsey Campbell.  From Tartarus Press: "This volume collects together 32 of Guy de Maupassant's best tales of terror, in Arnold Kellet's glitteringly clear and precise translations."

ELECTRIC VELOCIPEDE ISSUE 15/16, WINTER 2008 edited by John Klima (Split Milk, Trade Paperback, $12.00) - There are only a handful of really good small genre magazines -- Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, Trunk Stories, GUD, Electric Velocipede and just a few others.  From Night Shade and Electric Velocipede: "Night Shade Books has joined forces with World Fantasy Award-nominated magazine Electric Velocipede, and, like a pair of steam-powered metal titans joined together to form a mighty behemoth, the pair plans to march forward in unison, changing the genre fiction battlefield for the better."  This is the first double issue of this small-press standout, and includes stories by Patrick O'Leary and Patricia Russo among many others.

SHADES OF DARKNESS edited by Barbara and Christopher Rodin (Ash-Tree Press, Limited Edition (400 copies) Hardcover, $49.00) - SHADES OF DARKNESS is the fifth anthology of original supernatural fiction to be published by Ash-Tree Press and edited by Barbara & Christopher Roden.

CAT & GNOME by Graham Roumieu (Blue Q, Small Paperback with Dustjacket, $8.00) - Delightfully twisted and kinda sad illustrated story of the one-sided relationship between a talking cat and a (totally inanimate) garden gnome.  There is also a snail and an exploding robot.  It's from the author of BIGFOOT: ME WRITE BOOK.  And it is infinetly better than 101 WAYS TO KILL YOUR BOSS by the same author, for which we had high hopes, but turned out to be crudely drawn and just not that funny.

PRIME CODEX: THE HUNGRY EDGE OF SPECULATIVE FICTION edited by Lawrence M. Schoen (Paper Golem, Trade Paperback, $14.00) - An anthology of 15 short stories showcasing the Codex Writers Group, a vibrant community of "neo-pro" writers of speculative fiction.  Really exceptional.

New and Notable

THE SOMNAMBULIST by Jonathan Barnes (William Morrow, Trade Paperback, $14.99) - I really enjoyed this peculiar tale of noir Victorian London which follows Edward Moon, a magician by profession, and his odd companion.  It would be a relatively straightforward historical thriller, except for the title character, a giant, good-natured mute creature who may or may not be a golem, and the twisty ending.  Recommended by Jude.

MEAN STREETS by Jim Butcher, Simon R. Green, Kat Richardson and Thomas E. Sniegoski (Roc, Trade Paperback, $15.00) - Four novellas starring the paranormal detectives that each of these authors have made famous.  I particularly liked Kat Richardson's tale of Harper Blaine's mysterious assignment to escort a statue of a dog to a Mexican graveyard on the Dia de los Muertos.  Recommended by Jude.

THE VORKOSIGAN COMPANION edited by Lillian Stewart Carl (Baen, Hardcover, $24.00) - For die-hard Miles fans, this book offers background details, little-known facts about the Saga, an interview with Lois McMaster Bujold, essays on crafting the Vorkosigan Universe, articles on the biology, technology and sociology of the planet Barrayar, and much more.

1635: THE DREESON INCIDENT by Eric Flint and Virginia DeMarce (Baen, Hardcover, $26.00) - The newest installment in the RING OF FIRE alternate history series.

GEARS OF THE CITY by Felix Gilman (Bantam, Hardcover, $24.00) - This is the follow-up the really excellent THUNDERER.  I think both will appeal to New Weird fantasy fans, i.e. if you've enjoyed Alan Campell, China Mieville, Catherynne M. Valente and/or Jeff VanderMeer, I bet you'll like it.

JUST ANOTHER JUDGEMENT DAY by Simon R. Green (Ace, Hardcover, $24.95) - The newest installment in the Nightside series, about an alternate London where it is always 3 am and every sin is available for a price.  I'm very partial to noir-y paranormal-investigator fiction, and I do like this series, especially when it's cyberpunk-y and blasphemous, which is often.  Really, my only complaint is that sometimes the awful, nasty, unspeakable things that people come to the Nightside to engage in don't hold a candle to your average Saturday night in San Francisco.  Recommended by Jude.

GETTING TO KNOW YOU by David Marusek (Del Rey, Trade Paperback, $15.00) - A quite uneven but nonetheless solid story collection from the author of COUNTING HEADS.  I particularly liked the first story, "The Wedding Album," which is near-impossible to describe, but very important to read.

THE BLACK MIRROR AND OTHER STORIES: AN ANTHOLOGY OF SIENCE FICTION FROM GERMANY AND AUSTRIA edited by Franz Rottensteiner (University Press of New England, Trade Paperback, $27.95)

TALES OF BEEDLE THE BARD by J.K. Rowling (Scholastic, Hardcover, $12.99) - The book-within-a-book from HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, bequeathed to Hermione, and now available to you!

CONTAGIOUS by Scott Sigler (Crown, Hardcover, $24.95) See event write-up above.

THE JENNIFER MORGUE by Charles Stross (Ace, Trade Paperback, $15.00) - The second collection (after ATROCITY ARCHIVES) of Lovecraft-meets-James-Bond spy thrillers starring Bob Howard, the geeky hacker.

December ended with a blizzard of new mass market arrivals!  We don't have room to list them all here, so we'll provide just a brief sample.  For the full effect, you'll really have to come in and check them out.

AIRS OF NIGHT AND SEA by Toby Bishop (Ace, Mass Market, $7.99) - See event write-up above.

PASSAGE - THE SHARING KNIFE VOL. 3 by Lois McMaster Bujold (Eos, Mass Market, $7.99) - Third in the romantic fantasy series from Bujold.

TERRITORY by Emma Bull (Tor, Mass Market, $7.99) - Cary and I both strongly recommend this awesome magical secret history of the events leading up to the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. - Jude

NOVA SWING by M. John Harrison (Bantam, Mass Market, $6.99) - Is there such a thing as hard science noir space opera?  Well, there is now.  Follow the adventures of Vic Serotonin and his battered crew of associates in this neo-cyberpunk tale.  Populated by Schrodinger's cats (including the bar Black Cat White Cat) and classic detective-fiction characters, including the blonde in trouble and the sad fat man.  It's not really a sequel to LIGHT, more of an associated novel, and I didn't care for LIGHT, but I appreciated and raced right through this one.   Recommended by Jude.

THE STEPSISTER SCHEME by Jim C. Hines (DAW, Mass Market, $7.99) - Jim C. Hines is a heck of a nice guy, and a very entertaining author.  Enjoy this novel about three fairy princesses (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White) who must rescue both Cinderella's handsome prince and themselves from some of Fantasyland's most unpleasant characters.  Fans of THE TOUGH GUIDE TO FANTASYLAND will likely appreciate both this book and Hines' funny goblin trilogy.

BONE SONG by John Meaney (Bantam, Mass Market, $6.99) - More fantasy noir, this time in an eerie necropolis-ish alternate world where the bones of the dead power the city's reactors.  Dark police procedural fun, especially if you liked THE DEVIL YOU KNOW by Mike Carey.  Recommended by Alan and Jude.

THE TERROR by Dan Simmons (Little, Brown, Mass Market, $7.99) - Mikael, who helps out at the store sometimes, likes to joke, "You willingly boarded a ship called "The Terror," bound for icy Arctic landscapes, and you thought it would work out well?  What were you thinking?!"

BEYOND THE SHADOWS - NIGHT ANGEL VOL. 3 by Brent Weeks (Orbit, Mass Market, $7.99) - We've been unable to keep this brand-new, super-popular trilogy on the shelves.


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
Contributors - Jeremy Lassen

All contents unless otherwise noted are the property of

Borderlands Books
866 Valencia St.
San Francisco, CA  94110

Comments and suggestions should be directed to


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