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Events and News from Borderlands Books

April, 2008

Chapter One - Event Information, News, and Special Features

SF in SF presents free movies "Dark Star" and "Tron," at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building, 582 Market Street, Wednesday, April 9th at 7:00 pm

Peter F. Hamilton, THE DREAMING VOID, (Del Rey, Hardcover, $26.95), Saturday, April 12th at 4:00 pm

Juvenal Acosta, Dayvid Figler, Elliot Fintushel, Karen Joy Fowler, Peter F. Hamilton and Fran Varian are guests of Writers With Drinks at the Make-Out Room, 3225 22nd Street, Saturday, April 12th at 7:00 pm

T.A. (Tim) Pratt, POISON SLEEP, (Bantam, Mass Market, $6.99) Saturday, April 19th at 1:00 pm

Ray Garton, RAVENOUS, (Leisure, Mass Market, $7.99) Saturday, April 19th at 3:00 pm

David Lunde and Patricia McKillip are guests of SF in SF at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building, 582 Market Street, Sunday, April 20th at 6:00 pm

Lois McMaster Bujold, PASSAGE - THE SHARING KNIFE VOL. 3, (Eos, Hardcover, $25.95) Saturday, April 26th at 3:00 pm

Paul Genesee, THE GOLDEN CORD - THE IRON DRAGON VOL. 1 (Five Star, Hardcover, $25.95) Wednesday, May 14th at 7:00 pm

Cory Doctorow, LITTLE BROTHER, (Tor, Hardcover, $17.95) Thursday, May 22nd at 7:00 pm

(for more information check the end of this section)

Overheard in the Store

This is a feature that appears periodically, usually as we attend conventions and overhear things. The tradition of keeping track of anonymous overheard bits and bobs started for us at the 2002 ConJose in San Jose, where trying (or trying not to) fill in the blanks on overheard conversations made us laugh so much that we made it a tradition. There wasn't much to report from the recent World Horror Convention, but there are plenty of funny things to overhear here at the store:

*"Now THIS is a work of absolute genius on par with the Sistine Chapel." - (Customer, brandishing the graphic novel V FOR VENDETTA at her friend.)

*"The next Goth club I go to, I'm totally going dressed as a Pilgrim."

*"There's no way that kid is making it through high school without a collection of dead birds in his locker." - (Author, discussing the character Charlie Brown)

*"Externalizing your organs is a sign of maturity." - (Bookseller, World Horror Convention)


*We are sorry to report the death of science fiction giant Sir Arthur C. Clarke, who passed away in mid-March at the age of 90.  Clarke, the author of nearly 100 books including the immortal CHILDHOOD'S END, was also widely regarded as a visionary futurist and optimist.  Read a full obituary here: <,,2266521,00.html>

*Cassandra Clare, author of CITY OF BONES and CITY OF ASHES, will be dropping in to sign books sometime next week.  Just give us a call at 888 893-4008, or email if you'd like a copy of either book signed or inscribed.

*Congratulations to all of the Hugo Award nominees, especially all our friends who are up for awards!  The nominees for best novel are:
    * The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon (HarperCollins, Fourth Estate)
    * Brasyl by Ian McDonald (Gollancz; Pyr)
    * Rollback by Robert J. Sawyer (Tor; Analog Oct. 2006-Jan/Feb. 2007)
    * The Last Colony by John Scalzi (Tor)
    * Halting State by Charles Stross (Ace)

You can find the complete list of nominees here: <>.  The Hugos will be presented this summer at the World Science Fiction Convention in Denver.

*Speaking of awards, the Bram Stoker Awards were presented at the World Horror Convention last weekend in Salt Lake City, Utah. You can find the complete list of winners here: <

*For the legions of fans of Richard Kadrey's BUTCHER BIRD, we have a limited number of signed copies of Richard's first two books, METROPHAGE (Gollancz, UK Hardcover, $24.00) and KAMIKAZE L'AMOUR (St. Martin's, Hardcover, $20.95). Get 'em fast!

*Thanks to author Tom Piccirilli for the following brief notes about his upcoming work: "My novel THE COLD SPOT (Bantam pb $6.99) hits at the end of the month.  My novel THE MIDNIGHT ROAD is up for an International Thriller Writers Award [and] my novella "Loss," originally published in FIVE STROKES TO MIDNIGHT will see reprint in Mammoth Book of Best New Horror #19 edited by Stephen Jones."

* A rare copy of THE HOBBIT, inscribed by Tolkien, has sold at auction for $118,873. <,,2266390,00.html>

*Juliet Ulman from Random House is excited about Bantam Spectra's new "publication".  She says: "We started a Spectra Pulse magazine. Kind of -- the definition of magazine may or may not apply. It's full-colour and will come out twice a year, will feature interviews & articles & excerpts & original short fiction from Spectra authors. We're giving it away at various conventions like Comic Con this year. I just got the first advance issue and it's darned pretty."  We'll look forward to grabbing some when they're available!

*Kevin Peters, Borderlands' rep from Tor Books, forwarded us the following press release about the Prometheus Awards: "The Best Novel finalists for the 2008 Prometheus Awards have been announced, and all five are Tor authors!  The nominees are as follows: Tobias Buckell for Ragamuffin, Ken Macleod for The Execution Channel, Larry Niven & Edward Lerner for Fleet of Worlds, Harry Turtledove for The Gladiator, and Jo Walton for Ha’Penny.  The Libertarian Futurist Society present the Prometheus Award for Best Novel annually at the World Science Fiction Convention."

*Thanks to local author Dick Lupoff, who has provided us with the following exciting news: "After more than fifty years in the writing racket, dozens of books, a hundred or so short stories and assorted screenplays, essays, and postcards home from camp, our own Dick Lupoff is finally realizing a long-held ambition: he’s becoming a publisher!  Well, sort of.  Ramble House, that wonderful quirky company operating out of Shreveport, Louisiana, is the publisher of the complete works of Harry Stephen Keeler in 82 volumes plus a couple of hundred other mystery, horror, science fiction, and assorted uncategorizable volumes. Fender Tucker, President and Editor-in-Chief of Ramble House, has offered Lupoff a private imprint as part of the older company.  The new company will be known as Surinam Turtle Press. Lupoff will be responsible for acquisitions and editing for STP. Production and business affairs will remain with the parent company.  As Lupoff says, the Surinam turtle is a wonderful creature whose laziness is exceeded only by its ugliness. Lupoff’s own title is as yet undetermined. Maybe Publisher. Maybe Editor. Maybe Hey Kid Get Me a Cup of Coffee.  Surinam Turtle Press will function initially as a reprint house, specializing in mystery, fantasy, and science fiction with an emphasis on “proto-pulpsters” like Gelett Burgess, Thomas and Mary Hanshew, and E. W. Hornung. Later plans include new authors.
The first Surinam Turtle Press book will be The Master of Mysteries, by onetime San Franciscan Gelett Burgess, followed by Ladies in Boxes, by the same author. Other books by this highly eccentric, once famous, now unjustly forgotten writer, will follow."  Our congratulations to Mr. Lupoff on this new undertaking!

From The Office

Thus far, 2008 has brought several things that may lead to some changes in the world of books - business moves that is making, the current financial trouble at Borders Books, and sharply increased interest in eBooks.  I thought it would be interesting to talk about all three in this column.  Over the next three months I'll talk about each one in depth but first I'm going to start with an overview of what's going on.  Before I start, one warning -- much of what follows isn't very good news if you love traditional books and bookstores.  I don't want to bring anyone down but I do think it's good to let people know what's going on.  So, if you want cheerful and happy bunnies, you might want to give this column a miss for the next few months.  On the upside, in the next three months I'm going to give some specific suggestions about what you can do if you don't like some of the changes I'm discussing here.

1)'s Business Direction

What - At this point, Amazon owns MobiPocket (the most popular multi-platform eBook reader and eBook format), BookSurge (the second biggest print-on-demand (POD) publishing company in the US), and (one of the largest sellers of downloadable audiobooks).  Recently Amazon has informed all of its POD publishers that they must use BookSurge as their printer (instead of Lightning Source which is more popular and less expensive).  This move has been met with great displeasure by authors and publishers on both sides of the Atlantic; (in the US, the Author's Guild is investigating the anti-trust implications and in the UK,, the Arts Council initiative for new writers, has called for a boycott of Amazon).  In addition, Amazon's EBook reader, the Kindle, uses a proprietary format and users have to follow several steps (as well as paying a fee) to convert documents from other formats. On the publisher side, Amazon has set an inflexible maximum price for ebooks available for the Kindle (one which happens to be, surprise, lower than usual for ebooks of new releases - $9.99).

Implications - Amazon is carving out a major place as a producer of merchandise as well as being a reseller.  To help support this, they are working to tie both their customers and their suppliers to formats controlled by them.  In combination with dictating price terms to their suppliers, it seems Amazon is setting up to exercise even greater control of the publishing field as well as vertically integrating to increase their advantage over both chain and independent bookstores.

Why Does It Matter - In the long run, this type of vertical integration (one entity becoming both the manufacturer and seller of an item), is bad for consumers since it allows a significant competitive advantage over other businesses, which leads to elimination of competition and thence to price-fixing (among other monopolistic practices).  There is also the risk of censorship, either deliberate (in an attempt to forward an agenda or belief.  For example; the Fundamental Christian agenda that guided Blockbuster Video's choice of films) or accidental (a result of simple shortsightedness that limits what is sold to only those items that are believed to be "marketable").  The short version - it's almost always bad news when any one company controls the majority of a retail market and it's worse when they also create the contents of that market.

2)  Borders Books' Financial Woes

What - Borders Books has been having a hard time - sales have been dropping, they're trying to sell their overseas stores (with little success) and are busily closing all of their Walden Books stores.  To continue operations they've borrowed $42.5 million from their largest shareholder, Pershing Square Capital Management.  They have just restructured their deal with Pershing so that the terms are a bit more reasonable (i.e. the loan is now at 9.8% interest instead of the original, very high, 12.5%) but in exchange they've given Pershing another seat on their board of directors and will be allowing Pershing to buy all their overseas interests, valued at $200 million, for $135 million unless they can find another buyer.  With this new deal in place Borders CEO George Jones has said that they will, "review their strategic alternatives".  I don't speak fluent Corporate but I'm pretty sure that means, "We're going to try to figure out what the hell we're going to do now."

Implications - It's hard to say what's going to happen but if I were a betting man I'd say that Borders is going to try to downsize substantially and concentrate on their "new" store model, which is based on a more multi-media approach and offers lots of "digital lifestyle" goods and services like ebook downloads and readers (more on _that_ later), music and video sales, and a smaller number of books.  If that doesn't work, they'll either have to declare bankruptcy or sell.  If sold, it seems unlikely that they'll continue to operate in their current form.  The most likely outcome of a sale would be the company being broken down and sold piecemeal.  Either way, Borders as we know it would cease to exist.  A secondary consequence of a Borders closure is the possibility of a huge financial hit for all their suppliers (which include virtually all US publishers) if the details of the closure mean that Borders will not be paying its outstanding debt.  Since over 25% of the money owed major US publishers at any given time is owed by Borders, a loss like this would be a heavy blow.  And in the aftermath, the lost sales when one of US publishing's two biggest customers vanishes would make quite a one-two punch (Chain bookstores represent 33% of all book sales).  The big publishers should be able to handle this kind of abuse but some smaller, independent publishers might not be able to survive it.  Even if Borders manages to downsize successfully, that will still represent a notable shrinkage in the overall wholesale market for books.

Why Does It Matter - Fewer bookstores, albeit chain stores, means fewer book sales and reduced availability.  If you're a reader that means less access to books and greater reliance on Amazon and other internet sellers.  If the total wholesale market for publishers shrinks, it's harder for a mid-list (i.e. non-bestseller) book to be profitable since the publisher needs to sell the same number of books as before but there's a smaller market for them.  If you're an author, that means lower advances and a more restricted market for your work as publishers become more conservative in response to a smaller market.  If you're a reader that may mean less titles on the shelves, at least for a short time.  Long term the wholesale market may increase back to previous levels as the remaining chains and independent bookstores open in areas abandoned by Borders.

3)  Expanding Interest in eBooks

What - Last Thanksgiving introduced the Kindle eBook Reader, which sold out almost immediately and has been available on a back-order basis since then.  Excitement surrounding it has generated secondary interest in ebooks and associated devices in general which has increased sales of ebooks across the board (for example, so far this year, sales of books for Sony's competing ebook reader have doubled).  What is really distinguishing the Kindle from other devices is its built-in nation-wide wireless connection that allows users to purchase and download titles from Amazon anytime and anywhere.  To date Amazon has refused to supply figures on sales of either Kindles or titles for them but educated guesstimates have placed the sales of ebooks as high as five to nine thousand per _day_.  eBook sales haven been growing every year at a rapid rate and last year they more than doubled, though they still are less than 1% of all book sales.

Implications - If Amazon demonstrates that ebooks can be profitable, other companies are likely to follow suit.  However, with one exception, no one has a distribution system that even comes close to Amazon's seamless connection between the Kindle and their web site.  The exception is Apple and the consequences of this could be major.  If Apple chooses to market a competing ebook reader (perhaps something like an iPhone with a larger screen -- something that is rumored to in the works already) and combined it with the iTunes store, it would be a very capable competitor for and the Kindle.  The iTunes store is a perfect outlet from which to sell ebooks and Apple has proven with the iPod and the iPhone that they are hard to beat when it comes to creating outstanding consumer devices that dominate the market.

Why Does It Matter - Despite the widely held belief that no gadget could replace a book, economic pressures created by a profitable ebook market might make physical books progressively less available to the average consumer.  Consider this - the vast majority of bookstores, both chain and independent, could not survive a 25% reduction in sales, which means that only one book-buyer in four would have to switch to ebooks to put virtually all the new bookstores in the country out of business.  Furthermore, many stores couldn't survive a 10% loss in sales (that's only one customer in ten switching to ebooks).  As stores close, the market for printed books starts to dry up, which means fewer potential copies sold of each title.  As I mentioned earlier, that means that a publisher needs to be confident of more sales from the limited outlets to make a book profitable which means that mid-list and special interest titles are less likely to be published.  At the same time, the market for ebooks would be growing and the total sales required for profitability with an eBook are _much_ lower than their printed counterpart.  So, more and more often, publishers might choose to release a title as "ebook only".  And this choice on the part of publishers accelerates the process further.  So, money drags the whole business down a road that no-one wants (not the publishers nor readers nor authors and, sure as hell, not booksellers) but no-one can escape.


Whew, that was quite a bit of information in a small space.  As I said at the beginning, some interesting times (probably in the Chinese curse sort of way).  For the sake of brevity I have not given any citations but, if you're curious, please drop me a line and I'll be happy to give you my sources.  As always, comments are welcome.  Next month we'll see what the news is from Borders, where they might be going and what it might mean to readers.


Top Sellers At Borderlands

1. Matter by Iain M. Banks
2. The Shadow Year by Jeffrey Ford
3. Rolling Thunder by John Varley
4. Pump Six by Paolo Bacigalupi
5. The Outlaw Demon Wails by Kim Harrison
6. When the Tide Rises by David Drake
7. Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis
8. Singularity's Ring by Paul Menko
9. Halting State by Charles Stross
10. The Triumph of Night and Other Stories by Edith Wharton

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. Snake Agent by Liz Williams
2. The Demon and the City by Liz Williams
3. Poison Sleep by T.A. Pratt
4. The City, Not Long After by Pat Murphy
5. Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
6. The Android's Dream by John Scalzi
7. Judge by Karen Traviss
8. All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris
9. Spindrift by Allen Steele
10. The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction vol. 2, edited by George Mann

Trade Paperbacks
1. World War Z by Max Brooks
2. Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse edited by John Joseph Adams
3. Blindsight by Peter Watts
4. Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie
5. The Dragon Never Sleeps by Glen Cook

Notes From a DVD Geek

"Notes" will return next month.

- Jeremy Lassen

Book Club Info

The Gay Men's Book Club will meet on Sunday, April 13th, at 5 pm to discuss GREY by Jon Armstrong.  Please contact the group leader, Christopher Rodriguez, at, for more information.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club will meet on Sunday, April 20th, at 4:30 pm to discuss HARROWING THE DRAGON by Patricia McKillip.  *Please note that this book club will take place in conjunction with the SF in SF event, so it is both at a different time than usual, and at a different location: the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building, 582 Market Street.*  After the book club, stick around to meet Patricia McKillip and have a drink!  Please contact Jude at for more information.

Upcoming Event Details

SF in SF presents free movies "Dark Star" and "Tron," in the Hobart Building, 582 Market Street, Wednesday, April 9th - 7:00 pm "Dark Star" directed by John Carpenter, 9:00 pm "Tron" directed by Steven Lisberger.  Free movies! Free popcorn! Cash bar!  The screenings will take place at Variety's Preview Room, located in The Hobart Building, 582 Market Street @ Montgomery, San Francisco.  Doors open at 6:30 pm and the first movie starts at 7:00 pm.  There will be one thirty-minute intermission between the two films. Seating is limited and seats are available on a first-come, first seated basis, so arrive early!  Refreshments will be available for purchase, and your purchase benefits Variety Children's Charity of Northern California, a non-profit organization that supports children in local communities who are dealing with poverty, neglect, violence, and physical disabilities.  For more information about upcoming movies, write  For more information on Variety Children's Charity, see their web site at ( ) or write  

Peter F. Hamilton, THE DREAMING VOID, (Del Rey, Hardcover, $26.95), Saturday, April 12th at 4:00 pm - From Peter F. Hamilton's website: "At the center of the Intersolar Commonwealth universe is a massive black hole.  Inside there is a strange universe where the laws of physics are very different from those we know.  It is slowly consuming the other stars of the galactic core - one day it will have devoured the entire galaxy.  It's AD 4000, and a human has started to dream of the wonderful existence of the Void. He has a following of millions of believers, who now wish to pilgrimage to the Void to live the life they have been shown.  Other starfaring species fear their migration will cause the Void to expand again. They are prepared to stop the pilgrimage fleet, no matter what the cost."  Don't miss the opportunity to meet this hugely popular author who rarely visits the States!

Juvenal Acosta, Dayvid Figler, Elliot Fintushel, Karen Joy Fowler, Peter F. Hamilton and Fran Varian are guests of Writers With Drinks at the Make-Out Room, 3225 22nd Street, Saturday, April 12th at 7:00 pm - Writers With Drinks is a monthly reading series that "combines erotica with literature, stand-up comedy with science fiction and poetry with essays. Plus mystery, romance, memoir, rants and "other."  $3-$5 sliding scale, all proceeds benefit Other Magazine."  This month WWD features poet Juvenal Acosta, spoken-word performer Dayvid Figler, theremin-playing author Elliot Fintushel, best-seller Karen Joy Fowler, science fiction sensation Peter Hamilton and poet Fran Varian.  Books will be for sale courtesy of Borderlands.  A Note From Alan: "I'd never seen the theremin played until I saw Elliot perform at SF in SF.  It's so terribly cool to watch that I really can't describe it.  Combined with a very rare apperance of Peter F. Hamilton, this is going to be an evening not to be missed."

T.A. (Tim) Pratt, POISON SLEEP, (Bantam, Mass Market, $6.99) Saturday, April 19th at 1:00 pm - From Tim's website: "Tim Pratt lives in Oakland, California, with his wife, Heather Shaw. His fiction and poetry have appeared in The Best American Short Stories: 2005, The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, Strange Horizons, Realms of Fantasy, Asimov's, Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, and Year's Best Fantasy, among many others. . . ."  POISON SLEEP, the sequel to BLOOD ENGINES, is the second in a new urban fantasy series featuring ass-kicking sorceress Marla Mason.  We are always happy to welcome Tim back to the store!

Ray Garton, RAVENOUS, (Leisure, Mass Market, $7.99) Saturday, April 19th at 3:00 pm - Lycanthropy is posited as a sexually transmitted disease in the newest novel from cult favorite, author of LIVE GIRLS, and really nice guy, Ray Garton.  We're happy to welcome him back to the store.  Here's the synopsis of his newest, RAVENOUS, from Dorchester's web site: "A corpse gets up and walks out of the hospital morgue.  Minutes later, a policeman is killed outside the same hospital. . . and partially eaten. Something deadly has come to the coastal California town of Big Rock—something that’s leaving mangled and devoured bodies in its wake.  Sheriff Arlin Hurley refused to believe the wild talk of werewolves. Then a tuft of wolf’s fur was found on one of the victims.  But there’s more than one werewolf on the prowl.  It’s quickly becoming an epidemic, the curse passed on not through blood but through sex.  As the sheriff and his men set out to stop the spreading terror, they’ll learn that many of the old werewolf legends are just myths.  The reality is far worse."

David Lunde and Patricia McKillip are guests of SF in SF at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building, 582 Market Street, Sunday, April 20th at 6:00 pm - SF in SF is a free monthly reading series moderated by Terry Bisson.  This month's guests are Patricia McKillip, who is considered one of the foremost American fantasy authors, and the renowned science fiction poet David Lunde.  Doors open at 5:00 pm, and there is a cash bar.  Books will be available for sale from Borderlands.

Lois McMaster Bujold, PASSAGE - THE SHARING KNIFE VOL. 3, (Eos, Hardcover, $25.95) Saturday, April 26th at 3:00 pm - Borderlands is glad to welcome multiple-award-winning author Lois Bujold to the store!  Harper Collins describes the new book thus: "Young Fawn Bluefield and soldier-sorcerer Dag Redwing Hickory have survived magical dangers and found, in each other, love and loyalty. But even their strength and passion cannot overcome the bigotry of their own kin, and so, leaving behind all they have known, the couple sets off to find fresh solutions to the perilous split between their peoples. But they will not journey alone. Along the way they acquire comrades, starting with Fawn's irrepressible brother Whit, whose future on the Bluefield family farm seems as hopeless as Fawn's once did. Planning to seek passage on a riverboat heading to the sea, Dag and Fawn find themselves allied with a young flatboat captain searching for her father and fiancee, who mysteriously vanished on the river nearly a year earlier. They travel downstream, hoping to find word of the missing men, and inadvertently pick up more followers: a pair of novice Lakewalker patrollers running away from an honest mistake with catastrophic consequences; a shrewd backwoods hunter stranded in a wreck of boats and hopes; and a farmer boy Dag unintentionally beguiles, leaving Dag with more questions than answers about his growing magery.  As the ill-assorted crew is tested and tempered on its journey to where great rivers join, Fawn and Dag will discover surprising new abilities both Lakewalker and farmer, a growing understanding of the bonds between themselves and their kinfolk, and a new world of hazards both human and uncanny."

SF in SF presents free movies "Silent Running" and "Outland," in the Hobart Building, 582 Market Street, Wednesday, May 7th - 7:00pm "Silent Running" directed by Douglas Trumbull,  9:00pm "Outland" directed by Peter Hyams.  Free movies! Free popcorn! Cash bar! The screenings will take place at Variety's Preview Room, located in The Hobart Building, 582 Market Street @ Montgomery, San Francisco.  Doors open at 6:30 pm and the first movie starts at 7:00 pm.  There will be one thirty-minute intermission between the two films. Seating is limited and seats are available on a first-come, first seated basis, so arrive early!  Refreshments will be available for purchase, and your purchase benefits Variety Children's Charity of Northern California, a non-profit organization that supports children in local communities who are dealing with poverty, neglect, violence, and physical disabilities.  For more information about upcoming movies, write  For more information on Variety Children's Charity, see their web site at <> or write  

Paul Genesee, THE GOLDEN CORD - THE IRON DRAGON VOL. 1 (Five Star, Hardcover, $25.95) Wednesday, May 14th at 7:00 pm - From Paul's website: "Paul lives with his incredibly supportive wife Tammy and their collection of frogs. He spends endless hours in his basement writing fantasy novels, short stories, crafting maps of fantastical realms, and occasionally copy-editing manuscripts for a small press publisher. . ."  We are happy to welcome Paul, in an unusual mid-week event, to the store for the first time.  He'll be presenting his debut novel THE GOLDEN CORD, the first volume of his Iron Dragon series. Paul describes the book thus: "Take a journey to the harsh plateau world of Ae'leron.  The dragon king has risen from the Void, forcing a hunter to leave behind the woman he loves, give up all hope of survival, and guide his most hated enemies to the dragon king's lair."  Read the first chapter at <>.

Cory Doctorow, LITTLE BROTHER, (Tor, Hardcover, $17.95) Thursday, May 22nd at 7:00 pm - We're very excited to welcome former local author Cory Doctorow back to Borderlands.  This time, he's presenting what may be his most important novel to date.  All of the staff here has already read LITTLE BROTHER and we're crazy about it -- in fact, it is one of only three novels in the past ten years that everyone on the staff has loved!  Here's the text from the book jacket, so our enthusiasm doesn't give you any spoilers: "Marcus, a.k.a “w1n5t0n,” is only seventeen years old, but he figures he already knows how the system works–and how to work the system.  Smart, fast, and wise to the ways of the networked world, he has no trouble outwitting his high school’s intrusive but clumsy surveillance systems.  But his whole world changes when he and his friends find themselves caught in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco.  In the wrong place at the wrong time, Marcus and his crew are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and whisked away to a secret prison where they’re mercilessly interrogated for days.  When the DHS finally releases them, Marcus discovers that his city has become a police state where every citizen is treated like a potential terrorist. He knows that no one will believe his story, which leaves him only one option: to take down the DHS himself."

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

Strange Roads by Peter S. Beagle (DreanHaven Books, Limited Edition (1000 copies) Chapbook, $15.00) - “Collects three new stories by Peter Beagle: "Uncle Chaim and Aunt Rifke and the Angel"; "King Pelles the Sure"; and "Spook", featuring Joe Farrell, who has previously appeared in "Lila the Werewolf," "Julie's Unicorn," and "The Folk of the Air". Full-color cover and black & white interior art by Lisa Snellings-Clark."

The WisCon Chronicles vol. 1, edited by L. Timmel Duchamp (Aqueduct, Oversized Trade Paperback, $17.50) - From Aqueduct: "L. Timmel Duchamp has assembled a collage of diverse materials to document the thirtieth anniversary of WisCon, which was a grand reunion of most of the convention's previous Guests of Honor. These include the transcript of Samuel R. Delany's interview of Joanna Russ, several essays reflecting on the diverse aspects of the convention, as well as papers presented in the academic track, panel notes and transcripts, an original short story by Rosaleen Love, and Eileen Gunn's snappy series of Q&A with numerous WisCon attendees, among them Ursula K. Le Guin, Julie Phillips, Ted Chiang, Carol Emshwiller, and Suzy McKee Charnas."  This is an awesome, unusual book, and they're selling fast.

Venus on the Half-Shell and Others by Philip Jose Farmer (Subterranean Press, Signed and Numbered Limited Edition (125 copies) Hardcover in Slipcase, $125.00) - "Venus on the Half-Shell and Others collects for the first time the best of the best from Philip José Farmer's scintillating "fictional-author period."

H.P. Lovecraft in Britain: A Monograph by Stephen Jones (British Fantasy Society, Signed, Limited Edition (750 copies) chapbook, $29.75) - From the BFS: ". . . a new limited edition chapbook written by World Fantasy Award winner Stephen Jones. Based on unique access to correspondence and business papers dating back more than fifty years, the author charts H.P. Lovecraft’s convoluted publishing history in the United Kingdom – from the distinctive Gollancz hardcovers, through the various licensed paperback reprints, up to the present day.  H.P. LOVECRAFT IN BRITAIN reveals the often complicated and never-before-told story of how the renowned horror author’s work came to be published in the UK, and along the way reveals new insights into how certain volumes were compiled. It is a fascinating tale, told in the words of the people involved.  Featuring an original full colour cover and interior illustrations by acclaimed British artist LES EDWARDS, the chapbook also includes reproductions of many obscure book covers and rare documents." Signed by Stephen Jones and Les Edwards.

Sredni Vashtar: Sardonic Tales by Saki (Tartarus Press, Limited Edition (300 copies) Hardcover, $60.00)

Time Pieces edited by Ian Whates (Newcon Press, Signed, Numbered, Limited edition (500 copies) Chapbook, $24.95) - Original stories by Stephen Baxter, Steve Cockayne, Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Mark Robson, Sarah Singleton, Ian Watson, Ian Whates and Liz Williams. Signed by all eight authors.

New and Notable

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare (Margaret K. McElderry, Hardcover, $17.99) - From the book jacket: "Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what's normal when you're a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who's becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn't ready to let her go -- especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary's only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil -- and also her father.  To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings -- and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?  In this breathtaking sequel to City of Bones, Cassandra Clare lures her readers back into the dark grip of New York City's Downworld, where love is never safe and power becomes the deadliest temptation."  I really liked CITY OF BONES, the novel that preceded this one, and I can't wait to read CITY OF ASHES.  If you'd like a signed copy, call or email the store.

Dingo by Charles de Lint (Viking, Hardcover, $11.99) - From de Lint's website: "High school senior Miguel's life is turned upside down when he meets new girl Lainey, whose family has just moved from Australia. With her tumbled red-gold hair, her instant understanding of who he is, and her unusual dog—with fur the same colour as her hair—Lainey is unforgettable. And, as he quickly learns, she is on the run from an ancient bargain made by her ancestors. There's no question that Miguel will do whatever he can to help her—but what price will each of them have to pay?  Dingo [has been] published in hardcover in the spring of 2008 as part of a five year anniversary celebration for Firebird Books."

Wit's End by Karen Joy Fowler (Marian Wood/Putnam, Hardcover, $24.95) - The new novel from the best-selling author of THE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB and SARAH CANARY.  Meet Karen Joy Fowler at Writers With Drinks on Saturday, April 12th!

Black Ships by Jo Graham (Orbit. Trade Paperback, $14.99) - Thanks to customer and friend Jim Lively for the following review: "Black Ships is a well-researched retelling of Virgil's "Aenead" from a woman's point of view.  Whereas the classic is an heroic epic, this novel examines the everyday heroism of survival under adverse conditions. The narrative follows Gull, whose Mother is raped and taken into slavery during the sack of Troy.  Gull is dedicated as a sybil to the goddess Pythia at a young age and the novel follows her life through the Trojan diaspora, the re-gathering of the people by Prince Aeneas and the founding of a new homeland. While the book is being marketed as a fantasy, to me it read more like an historical.  Either way I found the characters believable, the action exciting and the conflicts well-written.  This is a surprisingly satisfying first novel and I look forward to more from this writer."

The Martian General's Daughter by Theodore Judson (Pyr, Trade Paperback, $15.00) - Lou Anders from Pyr says: "The novel tells the story of Peter Black, the last loyal general in an empire that is rapidly crumbling, as seen through the eyes of his illegitimate daughter."  And Judson comments: "As happens in the other science fiction novels I have written, the story takes place in the distant future and yet it is a retelling of an ancient tale. Specifically, the reader may recognize the history of the last of the Roman Antonine Caesars, as told in the Augustine Histories. I re-write history like this not because I believe history repeats itself, but that humans inevitably repeat the triumphs and mistakes of those who have gone before them."  I think you're going to like this novel.

Infected by Scott Sigler (Crown, Hardcover, $24.95) - Scott has been a podcast sensation for years now; check out his first major-publisher release!  This is a horror/thriller about some seriously dangerous blue triangles. We have signed copies available, but they're going fast.

Judge by Karen Traviss (Eos, Mass Market, $7.99) - "The final volume of the Wess'har Wars begins with Shan Frankland's return to Earth with the alien fleet that will reverse the terrible damage that has been done to the environment . . . no matter how many millions of humans they have to kill to do it.  Traviss' work is unique in that in combines a sophisticated understanding of social, interpersonal, and environmental issues with a clear-eyed comprehension of the occasional necessity of violence."  Outstanding work highly recommended by Alan and Jim.

Blindsight by Peter Watts (Tor, Trade Paperback, $14.95) - "Easily the best hard SF novel I’ve read all year. Watts has a firm grip on his science, an audacious vision of what it may portend, and pacing that just won’t quit.  Good stuff!" - Recommended by Jeremy and Alan, review by Jeremy.

DVD New Arrivals

Will return next month.

This newsletter is distributed monthly free of charge and may be distributed without charge so long all the following information is included.

Dispatches from the Border
Editor - Jude Feldman
Assistant Editor - Alan Beatts
Contributors - Jeremy Lassen

All contents unless otherwise noted are the property of

Borderlands Books
866 Valencia St.
San Francisco, CA  94110

Comments and suggestions should be directed to


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