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ABOUT THE STORE : NEWSLETTER
DISPATCHES FROM THE BORDER
Events and News from Borderlands Books
Chapter One - Event Information, News, and Special FeaturesSF
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
Note: Thanks to intrepid customer/reviewer Christopher Hsiang for the
following. This review was previously published by the awesome
folks over at i09.com. <http://io9.com/> - 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: <http://www.pjfarmer.com/>
* 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: <http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118000187.html?categoryid=1238&cs=1&query=pride+predator>
* 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: <http://www.richmondsunlight.com/bill/2009/hj755/fulltext/>
* 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. <http://www.wilmccarthy.com/rant6.htm>
* Joanna Russ makes us laugh
Thank you to editor Sharyn November who shared the following
hysterically funny article on "Useful Phrases for the Intergalactic
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. <http://www.nasa.gov/externalflash/name_ISS/index.html>
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 <http://sfsignal.com/index.html>
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.
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
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 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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
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
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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
email@example.com 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
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 <http://www.varietync.org/>.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
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: <http://fantasyhotlist.blogspot.com/2009/02/exclusive-excerpt-from-l-e-modesitt-jrs.html>
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
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
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
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 witness@Atoners.com." 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
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
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. <http://www.boingboing.net/2009/02/24/bruce-sterlings-the.html>.
STORM FROM THE SHADOWS - HONOR HARRINGTON VOL. 13 by David Weber (Baen,
Hardcover, $27.00) - The Honorverse continues! Read Chapter 1
This newsletter is distributed monthly free
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Dispatches from the Border
Editor - Jude Feldman
Assistant Editor - Alan Beatts
Contributors - Jeremy Lassen, Christopher Hsiang
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