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Events and News from Borderlands Books

March, 2009

Chapter One - Event Information, News, and Special Features

SF in SF presents free movies, with author James Morrow: “Ghost of Frankenstein” and “The Mummy’s Curse” at the Variety Preview Room, 582 Market Street, Wednesday, March 11th at 6:00 pm

James Morrow, SHAMBLING TOWARDS HIROSHIMA (Tacyhon Publications, Trade Paperback, $14.95) Friday, March 13th at 7:00 pm

Donald Sidney-Fryer, THE ATLANTIS FRAGMENTS (Hippocampus Press, Limited Edition (300 copies) Hardcover, $55.00) Saturday, March 14th at 5:00 pm

SF in SF hosts authors Frank Robinson and James Rollins at the Variety Preview Room, 582 Market Street, Saturday, March 14th at 7:00 pm

S.G. Browne, BREATHERS: A ZOMBIE'S LAMENT (Broadway Books, Trade Paperback, $14.00) Sunday, March 15th at 3:00 pm

The Road Trip of the Drunken Fantasy Authors, with Mario Acevedo, JAILBAIL ZOMBIE (Eos, Trade Paperback, $14.99), Mark Henry, ROAD TRIP OF THE LIVING DEAD (Kensington, Trade Paperback, $15.00), Caitlin Kittredge, SECOND SKIN (St. Martin's, Mass Market, $6.99) and Cherie Priest, FATHOM (Tor, Hardcover, $25.95) Sunday, March 15th at 7:00 pm

Jonathan Thomas, MIDNIGHT CALL AND OTHER STORIES (Hippocampus Press, Trade Paperback, $15.00) Saturday, March 21st at 1:00 pm

Mark von Schlegell, MERCURY STATION (Semiotext(e), Trade Paperback, $17.95) Saturday, March 21st at 3:00 pm

Jay Lake, ESCAPEMENT (Tor, Mass Market, $7.99) and Ken Scholes, LAMENTATION (Tor, Hardcover, $24.95) Write In-Store, Saturday, March 28th from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm

Amber Benson, DEATH'S DAUGHTER (Ace, Mass Market, $7.99 Saturday, March 28th at 4:00 pm

Kris Saknussemm, PRIVATE MIDNIGHT (Overlook, Hardcover, $25.95) Saturday, April 4th at 3:00 pm

L.E. Modesitt, Jr., IMAGER (Tor, Hardcover, $25.95) Sunday, April 5th at 3:00 pm

Special Feature

[Editor's Note: Thanks to intrepid customer/reviewer Christopher Hsiang for the following.  This review was previously published by the awesome folks over at <> - Jude]

M. John Harrison has inspired a fantasy tradition of strange, shifting cities by authors like Neil Gaiman, China Miéville, Steph Swainston, Jeff VanderMeer, Ian R. MacLeod, and Jay Lake. The New Weird influence of Harrison's VIRICONIUM can definitely be seen in the first two Ararat novels by Felix Gilman.

In THUNDERER (2008, Bantam Spectra, Mass Market) a young monk, Arjun, is on a mission to find his God. For untold ages the Choirmen of Gad have worshiped the Voice, an invisible deity living in the uppermost spire of the Choristry, inspiring the faithful with its perfect wordless song. Now the Voice is gone and the Choir may disband in apathy. Arjun convinces his superiors to let him set out North to distant Ararat. A city of unthinkable size and age, divided into myriad warring fiefdoms, Ararat has no borders to the East or West. On the far northern horizon one can just make out the immense black Mountain said to be the center of unimaginable power. Thousands of gods walk the endless streets of Ararat. Surely if Arjun cannot get his beloved Voice back he can find a replacement deity for the Choristry.

As Arjun arrives, there is a theophany of the god known as the Bird. Some of the Bird's essence is captured to fuel the Thunderer, a flying warship designed to serve the expansionist aims of Countess Ilona, ruler of this portion of Ararat. The Bird also blesses an imprisoned orphan named Jack, allowing him to escape his masters, giving him new purpose and an insatiable taste for freedom. As Arjun finds his bearings, he attracts the attention of Professor Holbach, the scientist behind the Thunderer's launch. In exchange for aiding in his quest for the Voice the Professor recruits Arjun for the Professor's cabal of eccentric savants and adventurers working on an Atlas of the vast city where maps are forbidden. Arjun also acts as the Professor's catspaw against a sinister figure sometimes known as Mr. Shay, who claims to be able to capture and manipulate not only the gods, but time and space as well. Arjun is repeatedly sidetracked in his quest by: a corrupted sewage god terrorizing the night; a guerrilla band of super-powered juvenile delinquents; clashing religious zealots; and by the Countess' continuing War on Everybody. Gilman's fertile visions owe inspiration not only to earlier New Weird authors but also a dash of Peter Pan, and animes like "Princess Monomoke" or "Spirited Away". Some of the more interesting districts of Ararat resemble the surreal dreamlike cityscapes in Clive Barker's IMAJICA or Italo Calvino's INVISIBLE CITIES, but most of the action takes place in sooty Dickensian settings all too familiar in much recent Urban Fantasy.

In the sequel, GEARS OF THE CITY (2008, Bantam Spectra, Hardcover), a terrified man flees the unknown powers of the Mountain, losing his memories in the escape. He encounters an imprisoned reptilian Beast who claims to have the gift of prophecy and certainly has a skill for treachery. The Beast give the fugitive back his name: he is Arjun, and the loathsome Mr. Shay is behind his current predicament. Arjun finds himself in a bleak, gray district of Ararat at the foot of the unscaleable Mountain, untold ages after the last book. The gods are long gone, the streets drained of hope and inspiration. Grubby little industrial Combines rule, supported by jackbooted thugs called the Know-Nothings. There have been other victims of the Mountain: broken souls muttering of a terrible war. They're called ghosts and are treated with pity tempered by a cautious kindness. Two locals, Ruth and Marta Low, nurse Arjun back to health. They convince him to rescue their third sister from the clutches of a deranged libertine who has connections to Arjun's past. As he learns more about himself and the Mountain, destruction looms, and it becomes certain that Shay, now more powerful than any god, lies behind it. GEARS OF THE CITY is a much darker novel than THUNDERER, with a hefty helping of paranoia and hopelessness. Not recommended reading if you've just lost your job, your significant other, or it's been raining all week. Trust me on this.

There's a cool political feel to the plots. Many of the characters fight for social change, or at least Stick It to the Man, by defying the conformity whatever systems — local or global — demand from them. Sometimes their struggle brings down the oppressors, but with sobering predictability whoever occupies the power vacuum often turns out to be just as bad. New Flag, same old Bastards. I think Gilman wants to remind us to always look out for the rights of the individual and keep a critical eye on those leaders who claim to be fighting for the people, even when that leader is you. Not a revolution in revolutionary thought to be sure, class struggle is a common theme in most novels with these urban settings — China Miéville anyone? But Gilman fights the power and keeps it real.

Shay and some of the other characters posses the skill to “Break Through the Metacontext” and step into to any neighborhood in any era — sort of like using the TARDIS without the blue box. This makes Ararat not just impossibly huge, but bloody infinite! Often Ararat is too vast to make any sense. A few times in THUNDERER a character will wonder where all the food to feed the city comes from; the answer is never really pursued. There is only the reason and logic of dreams.

The narrative jumps around a bit in both books, especially at the beginnings. Felix Gilman's imaginative writing often leaves a lyrical waxy buildup that could have been tempered by his cast of dozens of creatively flamboyant or frightening characters. Unfortunately, most of them are so driven by their own particular obsessions that they come off as rather flat. Gilman may have tried to cram too much into these novels. There's a lot of “weird for weirdness' sake,” and too many of the plot threads and Big Secrets have predictable resolutions. However, Felix Gilman has a great deal of vision. Certainly, we will see better and more focused work from him in the future.

- Christopher Hsiang


* R.I.P. Philip Jose Farmer
We are sorry to report the death of Philip Jose Farmer, who passed away February 25th at the age of 91.  Dozens of remembrances can be found at his website: <>

* Previously unpublished J.R.R. Tolkien book
Publishers Weekly reports that "Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has acquired a previously unpublished work by J.R.R. Tolkien, written while Tolkien was a professor at Oxford during the 1920s and ’30s, before he wrote The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The house will publish The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún in the U.S. and worldwide on May 5. The publication will mark the first extensive retelling in English narrative verse of the epic Norse tales of Sigúrd the Völsung and the Fall of the Niflungs. The book will include an introduction by Tolkien, drawn from one of his lectures on Norse literature, with commentary, and notes on the poems by Christopher Tolkien. . . ."

* "Pride and Predator"
As far as I can tell, it's not a joke.  Even The Guardian UK reported on it, although their information comes from the article that I quote here.  Filming is supposedly due to begin on an aliens vs. Jane Austen movie later this year.  Variety Magazine reports: ". . . Will Clark is set to direct "Pride and Predator," which veers from the traditional period costume drama when an alien crash lands and begins to butcher the mannered protags, who suddenly have more than marriage and inheritance to worry about."  (Honestly, I just love how Hollywood it is to use the word "protags".)  Read the slightly ridiculous article here: <>

* Murray Leinster gets a holiday
The Virginia State Legislature has passed a resolution declaring June 27, 2009 to be Will F. Jenkins Day.  Jenkins (1896 - 1975) wrote groundbreaking science fiction under the pseudonym Murry Leinster.  According to the full text of the resolution, Jenkins published 74 novels and collections and 1,800 (!) stories in magazines.  The complete resolution is here: <>

* Wil McCarthy rants about supporting local bookstores
Thanks, Ken Penn, for bringing this to our attention -- an extremely timely rant from author Wil McCarthy, ironically written in 1997. <>

* Joanna Russ makes us laugh
Thank you to editor Sharyn November who shared the following hysterically funny article on "Useful Phrases for the Intergalactic Tourist": <>. One of my favorites is "Although I am very flattered by your kind offer, I cannot accompany you to the mating pits, as I am viviparous."

* Help name the International Space Station's Node 3!
From NASA's website: "NASA wants your opinion in naming the International Space Station’s Node 3 – a connecting module and its cupola – before the two segments travel to space and are installed on the orbiting laboratory. . . ."  We (and the overwhelming majority of voters so far) are voting for "Serenity," but you can also write in your own suggestion. <>

Cafe News

Alan is painting his . . . errr . . . body parts off right now after doing some intensive floor surgery.  It's moving along and there should be some very good news next month. 

And, no, there is not an opening date, yet.  But "real soon now".

From The Office

[Editor's Note: SF Signal <>  is a science fiction blog with news, reviews and commentary.  They run an occasional feature called Mind Meld, where they ask a bunch of authors, editors, and other genre professionals to all answer the same question, and then they post the question and all the answers.  The results are usually fascinating.  This month, they've asked Alan, Borderlands' owner, among lots of others, to answer the following question: "I've seen arguments for and against the used book market.  What's your take?  Does the used book market help or hurt the publishing industry?".  I thought the discussion was interesting, so we've decided to run Alan's answer here in the From the Office column.  Check with SF Signal later in the month to read all the other responses. - Jude]

Whether used book sales hurt or help the publishing industry is a complicated question.  This is mostly because the publishing industry contains several subsections, all of which have their own discrete and sometimes mutually incompatible goals and economic pressures.  To really look at the question comprehensively one has to consider readers, authors, booksellers, and publishers separately.  Before going to to that, let me point out two assumptions - one, that the only person who receives any payment for a used book is the person who sells it (i.e. no royalty goes to the author and the publisher doesn't get a penny) and two, that used books are sold based on the current model (i.e. mostly directly to the consumer in a face-to-face transaction but with a significant and increasing number of sales happening on-line).

Readers clearly benefit from used book sales.  It provides them with both a low-cost way of getting books and access to out-of-print works.  Readers also gain a way of recouping some of their investment in reading matter by giving them an outlet to sell books that they no longer want to own (often due to space considerations).  As long as used books sales don't do serious damage to authors' ability to make a living (and therefore remain authors) or publishers' ability to remain in business, then readers will benefit from used book sales.

Authors probably benefit from used booksales but only in a modest way.  On the plus side used books allow potential readers to try an author's work cheaply and, if they like what they find, the reader may become a "fan" of that author and buy new copies of the author's work in the future.  The used market also helps authors of series if the earlier books in the series are out-of-print since new readers will be able to "catch up" by buying used copies, which improves the chances that they will buy new copies of later books.  Finally, authors tend to acquire large numbers of books in both the usual way and due to their connection to publishing so they have the same desire to sell used books as readers.  On the down side, some percentage of used book sales equate one less new book sale which cost authors royalties.  Also, if there are large numbers of used copies available of a specific work it may decrease the chances of the author reselling that work to another publisher when the rights revert to the author (which happens once the original publisher takes the book out of print).  Neither of these outweigh the advantages to authors but I think the margin is relatively slim and the equation could shift.

Booksellers generally benefit from the used market, even if they aren't currently participating in it.  The margin for profit is much greater in used books than new (about two or three times better) and it's easy for a new book store to build a used section.  Adding such a section has been a technique that bookstores have been using for years to help improve their viability and profitability.  Prohibition of used book sales would eliminate that "emergency plan" at a time when stores are under significant economic pressure.  Secondarily, the ability of readers to sell unwanted books encourages them to buy more books, both because they have space to house them and because their total book-buying expense is reduced.

Finally publishers do not benefit from the used market.  The small advantage they gain by readers being able to discover new authors and turn-over their library (i.e. sell books to buy more books) doesn't outweigh the lost income when a used copy is bought instead of a new one.  Simply put, people are going to spend a certain amount of time reading and they'll buy books to fill that time.  If the only books available are new ones, they'll buy them.  Likewise, if someone needs a book for information related to their profession or hobby, they'll buy that book (as long as the price isn't outrageous).  Publishers are in the business of selling books and a market that costs them sales is a bad thing.

However, all this is beside the point because the publishing industry and the subsections that compose it exist in the larger world.  Taking the larger view into account, prohibiting, restricting or monitizing the used book market for the benefit of authors or publishers would strike at a basic assumption of our social and economic system -- the doctrine of First Sale.  In essence, First Sale means that, when I buy a book, actual ownership of that specific physical object is mine.  Though the author and/or publisher retains the copyright, the book is mine and I may do whatever I wish with it -- sell it, lend it, gift it, or throw the damn thing away.  If restrictions are placed on this I am, in essence, no longer the owner and, instead of buying the book I've bought some sort of ambiguous right to control over the book that's been presented as ownership.  Such a change is not likely to be good for anyone in our society, be they a publisher, reader, author or bookseller.

At this time, used book sales don't harm the publishing industry in any appreciable way.  That market has been part of the business landscape of publishing for as long as the business has existed and the business is thoroughly adapted to it.  But, over the last ten years, internet sales have been changing the equation and the effects of that are hard to predict.  Used book availability has historically been very regional.  At any time, only a small fraction of all the books published in the last 50 years were to be found on the shelves of the stores that were within reasonable traveling distance for buyers.  Supplies of popular titles where also sharply limited.  For example, in the early 90s I spent over six months searching in the San Francisco Bay Area for the first book of a series I wanted to read.  It wasn't anything particularly unusual -- paperback, printed by a big publisher in 1987.  I finally found a copy but it was quite difficult.

Right now there are 30 copies listed at a single used bookselling web site.

This expanding access to used books may change how much their sales affect the publishing industry.  It is possible that the change will be severe enough that publishers will be truly hurt by lost sales and that the balance of cost and benefit will shift for authors.  If I was a smarter man, I might have a suggestion for what can be done about that without eroding the concept of First Sale but all I can see to do is watch and wait.

-Alan Beatts

Top Sellers At Borderlands


1) Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs
2) White Witch, Black Curse by Kim Harrison
3) Caryatids by Bruce Sterling
4) Contagious by Scott Sigler
5) Drood by Dan Simmons
6) Horizon: The Sharing Knife by Lois McMaster Bujold
7) The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox by Barry Hughart
8) The Steel Remains by Richard K. Morgan
9)  The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
10) Chalice by Robin McKinley

Mass Market Paperbacks

1) Mirrored Heavens by David J. Williams
2) The City, Not Long After by Pat Murphy
3) Last Colony by John Scalzi
4) Duplicate Effort by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
5) Unfallen Dead by Mark Del Franco
6) Outlaw Demon Wails by Kim Harrison
7) The Automatic Detective by A. Lee Martinez
8) Halting State by Charles Stross
9) The Dreaming Void by Peter F. Hamilton
10) The Queen of Candesce by Karl Schroeder

Trade Paperbacks

1) Last Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko
2) Barfodder by Rain Graves
3) Revenant Road by Michael Boatman
4) World War Z by Max Brooks tie with Cyberabad Days by Ian McDonald
5) Matter by Iain M. Banks

Notes From a DVD Geek

This month I want to talk about Kaiju <>.  Giant monsters!  Men in rubber suits!  The destruction of large cities by rampaging beasties.  How can one go wrong with that?  And while bad Godzilla knock-offs can get old after a while, there’s enough variation to be found in the genre (giant alligators in the sewer, giant snakes in the jungle, etc. etc.) to keep things fresh.

The godfather of Kaiju is of course "Godzilla," created by Toho Studios and released in 1954.  This movie captured the imagination of post-war Japanese society and Tokyo has been destroyed innumerable times by countless monsters and robots ever since. Until a few years ago, it was not easy to get the original Japanese versions of these Toho Studio classics, but Sony has been releasing very nice deluxe editions of many of them, containing both the original Japanese version, and the often very different US versions of the same movie.  Any one of these deluxe editions is a great place to start exploring the magic of Kaiju.

Right now there is box set called “The Godzilla Collection” which contains all of these deluxe American releases.  This is a must-own for any self-respecting Kaiju fan, and it is also a great place to start exploring the original Toho Studio’s Kaiju films.  The box set contains both US and Japanese versions of "Godzilla," "Godzilla Raids Again," "Mothra vs Godzilla," "Ghidorah the Three Headed Monster," "Invasion of the Astro Monster," "Terror of Mecha Godzilla," and "All Monsters Attack".

Some may argue that the first Kaiju movie was actually "King Kong," since that hit the big screens in 1933.  And it would be a good argument, so let's take a look at all things Kong.  Since Peter Jackson’s big budget remake, it’s now possible to find most everything on DVD.  There are four “versions” of King Kong to keep an eye out for.

There was the original ground-breaking stop motion masterpiece from 1933, with the return-to-Skull-Island follow-up "Son Of Kong" being released in the same year.

Dino De Larentis produced a version in 1976, set contemporaneously, and featured Kong climbing the World Trade Center with Jessica Lang.  Linda Hamiliton starred in the often (and rightfully) forgotten De Larentis-produced sequel "Kong Lives" (1986).

The most recent incarnation of Kong was the 2005 Peter Jackson remake, which featured innumerable dinosaurs and giant bugs and Jack Black.  It had a running time longer than both the original 1933 movies put together.  ‘Nuff said.

It could be argued that Kong wasn’t really Kaiju until Toho Studios got their hands on the Universal property, made him roughly equal in stature to Godzilla, and brought him to Tokyo.  This happened in 1962 with "King Kong vs. Godzilla," and again in 1967 in "King Kong Escapes" (which was actually a live-action remake of the 1966 joint Japanese/American cartoon "The King Kong Show").  One of the monsters introduced in "King Kong Escapes" — Gorosaurus — appeared a year later in "Destroy All Monsters". It’s really nice to see all this internal consistency and rigorous world building coming out of Toho Studios.  The Toho-verse is a splendid, multi-layered masterpiece.

Never let it be said that the tendency in popular culture to create knock-offs and copycat product is an entirely bad thing.  One of my favorite Toho knock-off creations is Gamera . . . the giant turtle who can fly, breath fire, and is a friend to all children.  The backstory on Gamera evolved over time.  "Gamera the Invincible" came out in 1965, and was followed by 6 other films by 1971, all from the same production company.  After this company's demise, there was one more Gamera movie -- "Gamera Super Monster" -- within this continuity, in 1980, in which our beloved giant turtle was killed off.

In 1995, "Gamera: The Guardian of the Universe" came out, kicking off five new giant turtle movies, the latest of which, "Gamera the Brave," features the young offspring of the original turtle protector of the universe.  Sadly, this series hasn’t received the kind of attention and care on home video that the Godzilla series has, and the offerings are kind of hit or miss – usually miss, and usually poorly-dubbed English language editions.

Outside of these main franchises, there are many one-off Kaiju movies, some of which are NOT Japanese productions.  On of my favorite American Kaiju movies is "Q The Winged Serpent" . . . a classic 80’s movie staring David Carradine, featuring a giant pterodactyl-like monster roosting in the rafters of the Chrysler building. This one was directed by Larry “God Told Me to Kill” Cohen, and was far better then it had any right to be.

Another movie that absolutely transcends its b-movie status is “Lake Placid” . . . The best giant alligator movie ever made.  It features some stunningly awesome performances from Betty White, Brendan Gleeson, and Oliver Platt. This one should not be missed.

Another fun series of American giant monster movies is the Tremors series.  You can get all four movies in one DVD pack, and its definitely worth the price of admission.

I hope you’ll understand if I gloss over the two giant Kaiju films in the living room . . . the abominable US "Godzilla," and "Cloverfield".  I didn’t really care for either, but "Cloverfield" was definitely the better of the two New York destroying efforts.

A modern classic Kaiju film is the recent Korean epic, "The Host".  This one mixes classic themes of monsters arising out of pollution, and combines it with a family melodrama.  The young female protagonist in this one is absolutely compelling, and there won’t be a dry eye in your living room after watching this one. 

Set for theatrical release in Korea this year is a prequel to "The Host", "The Host 2".  It’s supposed to be filled with political allegory to contemporary Korea, which might be kind of opaque to a non-Korean audience, but I’m hopeful.  Because, to paraphrase Harvey Milk . . . you gotta have hope.  Even when it comes to Kaiju . . . you gotta have Kaiju hope!

-Jeremy Lassen

Book Club Info

The Gay Men's Book Club will meet on Sunday, April 12th, at 5 pm to discuss BUTCHER BIRD by Richard Kadrey.  Please contact the group leader, Christopher Rodriguez, at, for more information.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club will meet on Sunday, March 15th, at 6 pm to discuss UNDERTOW by Elizabeth Bear.  The book for April 19th is BLINDSIGHT by Peter Watts.  Please contact Jude at for more information.

Upcoming Event Details

SF in SF presents free movies, with author James Morrow: “Ghost of Frankenstein” and “The Mummy’s Curse” at the Variety Preview Room, 582 Market Street, Wednesday, March 11th at 6:00 pm - FREE POPCORN! Cash bar proceeds and tips benefit Variety’s Children’s Charity.  Doors open at 6:00 pm, and the first movie starts at 6:30.  There will be a short intermission between the two films.
This month, SF in SF presents a Lon Chaney, Jr. Film Festival, with "Ghost of Frankenstein" (1942) - 68 minutes, and "The Mummy’s Curse" (1944) - 62 minutes.  Award-winning science fiction author and armchair cineaste James Morrow, author of TOWING JEHOVAH, THE LAST WITCHFINDER, and THE PHILOSOPHER'S APPRENTICE, will be introducing two Lon Chaney, Jr, monster movies -- two classic 1940’s “B” movies featuring Lon Chaney, Jr.

James Morrow, SHAMBLING TOWARDS HIROSHIMA (Tachyon Publications, Trade Paperback, $14.95) Friday, March 13th at 7:00 pm - We're thrilled to welcome this living legend to the store! Morrow’s most recent novella, a postmodern extravaganza entitled SHAMBLING TOWARDS HIROSHIMA, recounts the extraordinary adventures of Syms Thorley, a Hollywood horror actor based on Chaney, Jr. In 1945 Syms’s career takes a bizarre turn when the U.S. Navy hires him to don a rubber lizard suit and impersonate the giant mutant iguana Gorgantis, a new and terrifying biological weapon that might, if Syms can give a sufficiently persuasive performance, convince the Japanese to lay down their arms.

Donald Sidney-Fryer, THE ATLANTIS FRAGMENTS (Hippocampus Press, Limited Edition (300 copies) Hardcover, $55.00) Saturday, March 14th at 5:00 pm - From Hippocampus Press: "Donald Sidney-Fryer’s massive, 550-page poetry omnibus is the most elaborate book ever published by Hippocampus. Its color frontispiece, printed end papers, profusion of interior illustrations, Smythe sewn signatures and illustrated dust wrapper destine it to be a collector’s item. This hardcover omnibus presents the collected edition of the trilogy SONGS AND SONNETS ATLANTEAN in a limited edition of 300 copies."  Don't miss the last of the courtly poets, Donald Sidney-Fryer, as he presents this beautiful volume.

SF in SF hosts authors Frank M. Robinson and James Rollins at the Variety Preview Room, 582 Market Street, Saturday, March 14th at 7:00 pm - We are happy to help SF in SF welcome these very distinguished guests!  Frank M. Robinson has had a long, delightful and varied career -- he's worked for Rogue Magazine, Harvey Milk, written a dozen novels, (including the book on which the movie "The Towering Inferno" was based,) and oh, so much more.  He also possesses one of the finest collections of pulp magazines in existence, and he's a heck of a nice guy.  James Rollins (aka James Clemens) is the New Times best-selling author of many, many thrillers, and the author of several different excellent fantasy series as well.  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

S. G. Browne, BREATHERS: A ZOMBIE'S LAMENT (Broadway Books, Trade Paperback, $14.00) Sunday, March 15th at 3:00 pm - We are delighted to host an event for S.G. Browne's debut novel, BREATHERS!  From Browne's site: "Meet Andy Warner, a recently deceased everyman and newly minted zombie. Resented by his parents, abandoned by his friends, and reviled by a society that no longer considers him human, Andy is having a bit of trouble adjusting to his new existence. But all that changes when he goes to an Undead Anonymous meeting and finds kindred souls in Rita, an impossibly sexy recent suicide with a taste for the formaldehyde in cosmetic products, and Jerry, a twenty-one-year-old car crash victim with an exposed brain and a penchant for Renaissance pornography. When the group meets a rogue zombie who teaches them the joys of human flesh, things start to get messy, and Andy embarks on a journey of self-discovery that will take him from his casket, to the SPCA, to a media-driven class-action lawsuit on behalf of the rights of zombies everywhere.  BREATHERS is a contemporary dark comedy about life, or undeath, through the eyes of an ordinary zombie. It’s a classic story of suffering and redemption, like The Color Purple or the New Testament. Only with cannibalism."  Also, we've just been informed that Fox Searchlight has acquired the rights to the novel, and Diablo Cody will be producing the movie.  Don't miss this chance to meet S. G. Browne and say you "knew him when"!

The Road Trip of the Drunken Fantasy Authors, with Mario Acevedo, JAILBAIL ZOMBIE (Eos, Trade Paperback, $14.99), Mark Henry, ROAD TRIP OF THE LIVING DEAD (Kensington, Trade Paperback, $15.00), Caitlin Kittredge, SECOND SKIN (St. Martin's, Mass Market, $6.99) and Cherie Priest, FATHOM (Tor, Hardcover, $25.95) Sunday, March 15th at 7:00 pm - We are so excited to be hosting these four funny, mischievous authors, all at once! Stolen from Mark Henry's site: "Mario Acevedo, Mark Henry, Caitlin Kittredge, and Cherie Priest are cruising the west coast (Las Vegas, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Portland) for five evenings of witches, vamps, shape-shifters, zombies and all things weird.  Just look for the classic Impala and listen for the questionable content, as the authors read choice selections from their latest works, bandy about prizes and sign their new releases.  The Paranormal Bender Tour is for mature audiences only – though an immature sense of humor is welcome and even encouraged.  So bring your fangs, your cauldrons, and your appetite for brains.  This is a night for kindred spirits and killer stories, from the demented minds of four of the most twisted purveyors of paranormal fiction (and a few special guests). Think you’re brave enough to attend the Paranormal Bender Tour?"

Jonathan Thomas, MIDNIGHT CALL AND OTHER STORIES (Hippocampus Press,  Trade paperback, $15.00) Saturday, March 21st at 1:00 pm - From Hippocampus Press: "An artist is summoned to paint the portrait of sinister Mr. Finster in a decaying mansion . . . A suburban couple is vexed by the inveterate lawn-mowing of a ghost . . . In ice-bound Vermont, one farmer’s crop is suspiciously bountiful . . . A miniature nymph is found swimming in an office water cooler . . .  These are the bizarre conceptions of Jonathan Thomas, a powerful new writer of weird, horrific, and supernatural fiction who introduces himself to the reading public with this rich and varied short story collection. Thomas is, however, a practiced hand at terror-weaving, and his work spans the spectrum from comic fantasy to psychological suspense to science fiction. Unifying all his tales is a prose style of singular fluency and grace, enlivened by keen observation and mordant satire."

Mark von Schlegell, MERCURY STATION (Semiotext(e), Trade Paperback, $17.95) Saturday, March 21st at 3:00 pm - When Mark von Schlegell first visited Borderlands in 2005, the response to his novel VENUSIA was overwhelming.  Now Mark is back with a brand-new book!  From MIT Press: "Published by Semiotext(e) in 2005, Mark von Schlegell's debut novel VENUSIA was hailed in the sci-fi and literary worlds as a "breathtaking excursion" and "heady kaleidoscopic trip," establishing him as an important practitioner of vanguard science fiction. MERCURY STATION, the second book in Von Schlegell's System Series, continues the journey into a dystopian literary future.  It is 2150. Eddard J. Ryan was born in a laboratory off Luna City, an orphan raised by the Black Rose Army, a radical post-Earth Irish revolutionary movement. But his first bombing went wrong and he's been stuck in a borstal on Mercury for decades. System Space has collapsed and most of human civilization with it, but Eddie Ryan and his fellow prisoners continue to suffer the remote-control domination of the borstal and its condescending central authority, the qompURE MERKUR, programmed to treat them as adolescents.  Yet things could be worse. With little human supervision, the qompURE can be fooled. There's food and whiskey, and best of all, the girl of Eddie Ryan's dreams, his long-time friend and comrade Koré McAllister, is in the same prison. When his old boss, rich and eccentric chrononaut Count Reginald Skaw shows up in orbit with an entire inter-station cruiser at his disposal, there's even the possibility of escape ... back in time.  Like VENUSIA, MERCURY STATION tells a compelling story, drawn through a labyrinth of future-history sci-fi, medieval hard fantasy, and cascading samplings of high and low culture. The book is a brilliant literary assault against the singularity of self and its imprisonment in Einsteinian spacetime."

Jay Lake, ESCAPEMENT (Tor, Mass Market, $7.99) and Ken Scholes, LAMENTATION (Tor, Hardcover, $24.95) Write In-Store, Saturday, March 28th from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm - Join us as we put authors Jay Lake and Ken Scholes on display for your perusal!  The current plan is for Jay and Ken to write two short collaborative stories, do a reading and sign books . . . and all right in front of your eyes!

Amber Benson, DEATH'S DAUGHTER (Ace, Mass Market, $7.99 Saturday, March 28th at 4:00 pm - Amber Benson has some pretty impressive TV credentials, but she's also a great author.  She's collaborated with Christopher Golden on several books, and now her first solo novel is out!  From the book cover: "Calliope Reaper-Jones so just wanted a normal life: buying designer shoes on sale, dating guys from Craig’s List, web-surfing for organic dim-sum for her boss . . . But when her father—who happens to be Death himself—is kidnapped, and the Devil’s Protege embarks on a hostile takeover of the family business, Death, Inc., Callie returns home to assume the CEO mantle— only to discover she must complete three nearly impossible tasks in the realm of the afterlife first."  Join us to meet this fascinating woman and up-and-coming author!

Kris Saknussemm, PRIVATE MIDNIGHT (Overlook, Hardcover, $25.95)Saturday, April 4th at 3:00 pm - We are delighted to host Kris Saknussemm!  Publishers Weekly raves about PRIVATE MIDNIGHT: "James Ellroy meets David Lynch in this addictive mix of noir and supernatural horror from Saknussemm (Zanesville).  Det. Birch Ritter investigates the suspected suicide of California real estate magnate Deems Whitney, who apparently doused his Mercedes with gasoline and died in the resultant explosion a day after changing his will to benefit his trophy wife and disinherit his grown children.  Before the cop can interview Whitney’s widow, Ritter receives a cryptic message from his ex-partner that steers him to the enigmatic Genevieve Wyvern. Wyvern, who disconcerts Ritter with how well she knows his past, plunges him into a surreal world of bondage, domination and mind games. Despite being humiliated by Wyvern, Ritter finds himself unable to stay away from her lair. An unexpected and bizarre twist well into the novel jolts the fairly standard plot off the rails, but the powerful narrative voice will compel most readers to follow."

L. E. Modesitt, Jr., IMAGER (Tor, Hardcover, $25.95) Sunday, April 5th at 3:00 pm - We are delighted to welcome the talented and prolific Mr. Modesitt, Jr. back to Borderlands!  IMAGER is the first in a brand-new fantasy series.  Click here for an excerpt: <>

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

WE NEVER TALK ABOUT MY BROTHER by Peter S. Beagle (Tachyon Publications, Trade Paperback, $14.95) - Another surprising, touching, and bittersweet collection from this award-winning author.

THE REVENANT ROAD by Michael Boatman (Drollerie Press, Trade Paperback, $15.95) - Just hearing Michael Boatman read a short excerpt from this novel at SF in SF won me over completely.  Unusual and darkly funny.  Recommended by Jude.

UNCANNY TALES by F. Marion Crawford (Tartarus Press, Hardcover, $50.00) - From Tartarus Press: "UNCANNY TALES is one of the classic collections of ghost and horror stories. Dorothy Scarborough, one of their earliest critics and connoisseurs observed: 'Few writers have equalled F. Marion Crawford in the modern ghost story. His tales have a curdling intensity, a racking horror that set them far above the ordinary supernatural fiction. They linger in the mind long after one has tried in vain to forget them, if indeed one ever does forget their sense of evil power. There is in each of his stories an individual horror that marks it as distinct from its fellows . . .'  This volume not only adds to the collection F. Marion Crawford's 'lost' story, 'The King's Messenger', but also further uncanny tales by his sisters, Mary and Anne. The former, Mrs. Hugh Fraser, adds an account of werewolves in the Campagna, and the latter, Countess von Rabe (writing as Von Degen), two weird tales; 'A Mystery of the Campagna' and 'A Shadow on a Wave.'

BRITISH INVASION by Christopher Golden, Tim Lebbon and James A. Moore (Cemetery Dance, Limited Edition (1000 copies) Hardcover, $40.00) - From Cemetery Dance: "They've invaded before, sending their best and brightest to transform popular music for all time. This time, they're leaving the music behind and focusing on words. The British Invasion has begun again, in a collection of twenty-one unforgettable stories of horror and the dark fantastic. . . . From creeping dread to hideous humor, from quiet terror to brutal horror, from mad speculation to unspeakable truth, the twenty-one tales here represent the best that the U.K. has to offer. The rising stars and the masters of British horror have joined together.  The British Invasion has begun."  Gorgeous cover artwork by Les Edwards.  I've heard that these are close to sold out from the publisher, so don't delay picking up a copy!

SWORD OF THE DEMON by Richard A. Lupoff (Cosmos, Mass Market, $6.99) - From versatile local author Richard Lupoff comes an inexpensive reprint of SWORD OF THE DEMON, originally published in 1978.  This is the novel that Theodore Sturgeon called "[o]ne of the most beautiful things I've ever read".

CRYPTIC: THE BEST SHORT FICTION OF JACK MCDEVITT by Jack McDevitt (Subterranean Press, Hardcover, $38.00) - A lovely and enormous (592 pages, 38 stories!) best-of collection from one of the very best living science fiction writers.

SHAMBLING TOWARDS HIROSHIMA by James Morrow (Tachyon Publications, Trade Paperback, $14.95) - See event write-up above.

New and Notable

THE JUDGING EYE - ASPECT-EMPEROR VOL. 1 by R. Scott Bakker (Overlook Press, Hardcover, $26.95) - This new series picks up twenty years after the events of THE THOUSANDFOLD THOUGHT. 

DOMINO MEN by Jonathan Barnes (William Morrow, Hardcover, $24.95) - I've just begun this novel by the author of THE SOMNAMBULIST, so I can't share too much about it,  but I can't wait to get back to it!  It seems that long ago, Queen Victoria made a Faustian bargain, signing away London and all of its souls to a nefarious entity, and now that creature's come to collect. But it's more complicated than that.  Here, let me share the cover copy with you: "Henry Lamb, an amiable and anonymous file clerk, pushes paper in the Storage and Record Retrieval section of the Civil Service Archive Unit. His life has always been quiet and unremarkable—until the day he learns that he's expected to assume the covert responsibilities of his universally despised grandfather, now lying comatose in the hospital.  Summoned to the gargantuan Ferris wheel known as the London Eye, Henry receives his orders from Dedlock, a gilled and wrinkled old gentleman eternally floating in a pool of amniotic fluid. London, it seems, is at war, resisting an apocalyptic fate foisted upon it by a long-dead queen. A shadowy organisation known (to very few) as the Directorate wishes to recruit Henry to the cause. All he has to do is find "the girl" and save the world from the monster Leviathan, who can already taste the succulent metropolis that will soon be his to devour. Simple enough.  But there are formidable enemies lining up to oppose Henry, all gathering in and around the royal family. His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Arthur Aelfric Vortigern Windsor—the sniveling, overbored, underappreciated sole heir to the British throne—has been shaken from his resentful malaise by grisly, seductive visions of unrestrained power . . . and by an extremely potent narcotic called ampersand. And an unspeakable evil lurks in the cellar of 10 Downing Street: the twin, serial-slaying schoolboy nightmares, the Domino Men—so-called for their hideous desire and terrifying ability to topple every towering edifice in the city, one after the other . . . just for a giggle."  How can you not love this book already?

BONE CROSSED by Patricia Briggs (Ace, Hardcover, $24.95) - We have just a few signed copies left, so get yours today!

WINGS OF WRATH by C.S. Friedman (DAW, Hardcover, $25.95) - I LOVE C.S. Friedman.  As far as I'm concerned, she can do no wrong, and WINGS OF WRATH is no exception.  Friedman is prolific, and she never does the same thing twice, but I especially like this follow-up to (the excellent) FEAST OF SOULS.  Honestly, given the huge scope of this novel, (it's not as big as Erikson's world, or even Martin's, but it is large, interlocking and quite complex) it's too much to try to summarize here.  Let us let it rest by saying that Friedman is unfortunately one of fantasy's best-kept secrets.  Pick up FEAST OF SOULS today, because the more quickly you read it, the faster you can get to this book.  Oh, and don't get too attached to any of the characters.  Recommended by Jude.

A WALKING TOUR OF THE SHAMBLES by Neil Gaiman and Gene Wolfe (American Fantasy, Small Trade Paperback, $15.00) - We now have copies of the third printing of this feisty little booklet from two of our favorite authors.

THE DREAMING VOID - VOID TRILOGY VOL. 1 by Peter F. Hamilton (Del Rey, Mass Market, $8.99) - I have a brief story to tell you about Peter F. Hamilton, who is an intelligent, thoughtful, soft-spoken, genuine gentleman.  When Mr. Hamilton was in San Francisco for both an appearance at Borderlands for the hardcover of THE DREAMING VOID, and also a reading at Writers With Drinks at the Make-Out Room, no one had told him what to expect at WWD.  So he came from a reading and signing here at Borderlands, full of decorous, curious fans who sat politely and asked in-depth questions about his previous series, to the barely-controlled, top-volume circus-like anarchy of Writers With Drinks.  Mr. Hamilton looked around the bar-room full of some of the most tattooed and pierced of the Misson's alternative denizens and said, (charmingly a little nervous,) "I'm not really sure that this is the ideal audience for my books".  But when he got up to read, you could have heard a pin drop, and everyone was fascinated and respectful.  And Mr. Hamilton went back to the UK with a great story about one of his most unusual audiences.  The entire situation was sweet.  And now the book is available in paperback, (gin and tonic optional).

STEAL ACROSS THE SKY by Nancy Kress (Tor, Hardcover, $25.95) - From Macmillan's website: "The aliens appeared one day, built a base on the moon, and put an ad on the internet: “We are an alien race you may call the Atoners. Ten thousand years ago we wronged humanity profoundly.  We cannot undo what has been done, but we wish humanity to understand it.  Therefore we request twenty-one volunteers to visit seven planets to Witness for us.  We will convey each volunteer there and back in complete safety.  Volunteers must speak English. Send requests for electronic applications to"  At first, everyone thought it was a joke.  But it wasn’t.  This is the story of three of those volunteers, and what they found on Kular A and Kular B."  I usually find that Nancy Kress' books are a great place to get lost for a day or two.

THE SOLARIS BOOK OF NEW SCIENCE FICTION VOl. 3 edited by George Mann (Solaris, Mass Market, $7.99) - Stories by Daniel Abraham, Stephen Baxter, Ken MacLeod, John Meaney, Alastair Reynolds, Ian Watson and more.

BLACK BLOOD by John Meaney (Bantam, Hardcover, $24.00) - I enjoyed this sequel to BONE SONG even more that the first book.  The continuing adventures of Donal Riordan in the shadowy gothic noir city of Tristopolis, this volume delves much more deeply into the political situation at the heart of much of the intrigue in the city.  A wonderful, creepy mix of hard-boiled detective, dark urban fantasy and something else entirely.  Recommended by Alan and Jude.

THE WALLS OF THE UNIVERSE by Paul Melko (Tor, Hardcover, $25.95) - From Macmillan's site: "John Rayburn thought all of his problems were the mundane ones of an Ohio farm boy in his last year in high school. Then his doppelgänger appeared, tempted him with a device that let him travel across worlds, and stole his life from him. John soon finds himself caroming through universes, unable to return home—the device is broken. John settles in a new universe to unravel its secrets and fix it.  Meanwhile, his doppelgänger tries to exploit the commercial technology he’s stolen from other Earths: the Rubik’s Cube! John’s attempts to lie low in his new universe backfire when he inadvertently introduces pinball. It becomes a huge success. Both actions draw the notice of other, more dangerous travelers, who are exploiting worlds for ominous purposes. Fast-paced and exciting, this is SF adventure at its best from a rising star."

FOOL by Christopher Moore (William Morrow, Hardcover, $26.99) - We're all crazy about Chris Moore, and if you'll allow me to indulge in a little bit of "Consarn kids thinkin' they invented stuff that's been around forever!" talk, I'll tell you that I've loved Chris Moore since I read PRACTICAL DEMONKEEPING way back in the early '90's.  (Yes, that was over 15 years ago now.  I'm old, and you are, too.)  Now he's this major author with cult status and hitting the NY Times List and all.  Sigh.  Things do change.  Anyway, we ARE happy for Chris, and here's the scoop on FOOL: "This is a bawdy tale. Herein you will find gratuitous shagging, murder, spanking, maiming, treason, and heretofore unexplored heights of vulgarity and profanity, as well as nontraditional grammar, split infinitives, and the odd wank . . . If that's the sort of thing you think you might enjoy, then you have happened upon the perfect story!".

LAMENTATION by Ken Scholes (Tor, Hardcover, $24.95) - LAMENTATION is the Next Big Thing in fantasy.  Like NAME OF THE WIND by Patrick Rothfuss, I'd heard so many people rave about LAMENTATION that I thought "it can't be THAT good".  And like NAME OF THE WIND, I was wrong. This is an excellent, complex novel that deserves the attention it's getting.  (It's a fantasy novel with robots, whoo hoo!) Also, don't forget to come meet Ken Scholes when he writes in-store with Jay Lake on March 28th.  That way you'll be able to say "I saw him in the bookstore _before_ he was as popular as Robert Jordan!" and you'll have the signed copy of LAMENTATION to prove it.  Recommended by Jude. 

THE CARYATIDS by Bruce Sterling (Del Rey, Hardcover, $25.00) - I'm going to let you read Cory Doctorow's excellent wild-eyed  review of this hopeful post-apocalyptic novel, because he does it better than I would. <>.

STORM FROM THE SHADOWS - HONOR HARRINGTON VOL. 13 by David Weber (Baen, Hardcover, $27.00) - The Honorverse continues!  Read Chapter 1 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 - Jude Feldman
Assistant Editor - Alan Beatts
Contributors - Jeremy Lassen, Christopher Hsiang

All contents unless otherwise noted are the property of

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