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Events and News from Borderlands Books

June, 2013

Chapter One - Event Information, News, and Special Features

Upcoming Author Events

Lauren Beukes, THE SHINING GIRLS (Mulholland, Hardcover, $26.00), Friday, June 7th at 7:00 pm

SF in SF Screening of "Safety Not Guaranteed" with guest speaker (and author) Ken Wharton, (at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building, 582 Market Street), Saturday, June 8th at 6:30 pm. Tickets $25.

Hannu Rajaniemi, THE FRACTAL PRINCE (Tor, Hardcover, $25.99), Friday, June 14th at 7:00 pm

SF in SF with authors Cassie Alexander, Heather MacDougal, and Cliff Winnig, (at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building, 582 Market Street), Saturday, June 22nd at 7:00 pm

Kate Elliott, COLD STEEL (Orbit, Trade Paperback, $18.00) and Katharine Kerr, SORCERER'S LUCK (Book View Cafe, Trade Paperback, $14.50), Thursday, June 27th at 7:00 pm

(for more information check the end of this section


* So I've watched this four times, and it's still giving me chills.  Chris Hadfield sings "Space Oddity" in the first music video in space! <>

* Economists recommend SF! <> and <>

* Join Clarion West's tenth annual Write-A-Thon!  They're aiming for 300 participants this year.  It's a fundraiser for Clarion West, but it's all about the writing first.  For more info and to sign up, see <>

* Author Blake Charlton (SPELLWRIGHT and SPELLBOUND) writes about dyslexia in an op-ed piece in the NY Times: <>

* We think you might enjoy reviewer and blogger Steven Klotz <>.  He's not only a sharp reviewer but he's also got the class to link to indi bookstores (instead of Amazon) from his site.

* The amazing 91-year-old Sir Christopher Lee (or, you might know him as Saruman) is releasing a _third_ heavy metal album -- his second about Charlemagne! <>

* Help the EFF save podcasting!  (Some of our best friends are podcasters.) <>

* Check out the 25 coolest science fiction weapons, according to an Australian news site: <>

* In May we hosted a preview of "The Pub From Another World" in the Cafe.  If you'd like to check out the recording, you can find it here: <>. Thanks to Sunil Patel for directing & arranging, and herding cats. . . I mean actors!

* We're extremely sorry to report the death of science fiction legend Jack Vance at the age of 96: <>

From The Office

Borderlands' Brush with Censorship
by Alan Beatts

In general the temptation to engage in censorship is not a problem for me.  I truly believe that there are no ideas too dangerous to discuss, no books that are too obscene to sell, no person whose ideas are too repugnant to be expressed.  Moreso, I think that censorship is one of the most slippery ethical and legal slopes that we face, as individuals and as a society.  As a result it's something that I steer clear of almost by reflex.

That's a good thing for a bookseller.  Along with publishers and librarians, we are uniquely equipped to act as censors -- in part because we can be very effective by inaction, unlike most other parties.  All that we need to do is refrain from purchasing a specific work and we've achieved our goal.  And we can always come up with reasons for our decision that are solid, hard to challenge, and lack all but the faintest whiff of censorship.  "The market isn't ready for it", "That sort of book just doesn't sell," "We're working on a limited budget and there are more important works to buy," "Our space is limited," and so on.  The explanations are limitless.

So I'm very happy and comfortable in the knowledge that I would never consider restricting what I allow my customers to buy based on my personal political or social agenda.

At least that's how I thought until about five years ago.

Like other conclusions I have come to about my own ethics, it's the ones that I didn't worry about and agonize over that almost come around and bite me on the ass.

Back in 2008 a friend mentioned that Orson Scott Card had written a piece for a newspaper (I recollect that it was the Deseret News) about same-sex marriage.  One of the comments that he made was that there weren't any laws stopping homosexuals from getting married . . . as long as they married someone of the opposite gender.  Yup, you read that right.  The article made me a bit hot under the collar but then I did some more looking and found this gem - .

In case you didn't follow the link above, the article was graced with phrases like,
- "The first and greatest threat from court decisions in California and Massachusetts, giving legal recognition to "gay marriage," is that it marks the end of democracy in America."
- "We already know where these decisions lead. We have seen it with the court decisions legalizing abortion."
- "Marriage is, if anything, more vital, more central, than property."
- "With "gay marriage," the last shreds of meaning will be stripped away from marriage, with homosexuals finishing what faithless, selfish heterosexuals have begun."

I went ballistic.  My first thought was that I was going to return (or just burn) every copy of his books that we had in the store and never, ever stock one of his books again.

It wasn't that I was hugely committed to the idea of gay marriage.  I'm in favor of it, sure, but it's not a huge personal issue for me.  At least in part because I have no interest in getting married to anyone and I'm not very fond of the institution in general.  Also, even back then, I thought it was probably a forgone conclusion that it was going to become legal.  I didn't expect it to move as fast as it has, but I was pretty sure we were going to get there.

So, what pissed me off so much?  It was the self-satisfied way that Card seemed so sure that he was with-a-capital-R right, that what he was espousing was clearly evident to anyone with half a brain, and the deceptive way that he was supporting his position.  And yeah, growing up in the 80s as a pretty weird kid, I've always hated the right, white, and up-tight, Leave It To Beaver, 1950s middle-American, bullshit world-view.  Which Card seems to embody about perfectly.

But, regardless of the reasons, I was all set to go plunging right off the censorship cliff while shouting my righteousness to the stars.

I'm so glad that I've learned over the years to slow down and think when I'm pissed.  And, to talk to some people I respect before I act.  After talking with some of the folks at the store and cooling down, I realized that it would be with-a-capital-W wrong to stop carrying Card's books, because it would have been censorship in exactly the sort of fashion that I mentioned at the beginning of this article.  Just because I disagree with his social views, that doesn't mean that I have the right to restrict access to his work.  Likewise, him pissing me off and my deeply held belief that he's an asshole doesn't make it right for me to put myself in the position of acting as a censor for my customers.

And so we still stock his books.  And we'll sell a ton of copies of Ender's Game as the excitement for the movie grows.

But, if anyone asks, I'll tell them just what I think of Orson Scott Card, his views and the way that he works his agenda into his writing.  (As an aside, even before all this, I thought it was kind of weird that the aliens in Ender's Game were called "buggers".  That just weird, isn't it?  As in, I'm-not-sure-that-word-means-what-you-think-it-means weird.)  And, I'll sure as hell suggest a used copy before a new one.  Authors don't get a dime when a used copy of their book is sold.


Obviously what brought this story to mind was the impending release of the film of Ender's Game.  I had been deeply undecided whether to see it or not, since I really didn't want to be part of making anything Card is associated with a success.  Then a friend pointed out a solution -- just buy a ticket for another move and then sneak into Ender's Game.  Not something I would have thought of but I think it's an elegant compromise.

Top Sellers At Borderlands

1. The Human Division by John Scalzi
2. You by Austin Grossman
3. NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
4. Without a Summer by Mary Robinette Kowal
5.  Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
6.  Make Good Art by Neil Gaiman
7.  The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
8.  Inferno by Dan Brown
9.  Mending the Moon by Susan Palwick
10. River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay tie with Redshirts by John Scalzi

Mass Market Paperbacks
1.  Old Man's War by John Scalzi
2.  Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
3.  Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
4.  Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
5.  Blue Remembered Earth by Alastair Reynolds
6.  Crucible of Gold by Naomi Novik
7.  Lost Fleet: Invincible: Beyond the Frontier by Jack Campbell
8.  Zoe's Tale by John Scalzi
9.  Serene Invasion by Eric Brown
10.  Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Trade Paperbacks
1.  Redshirts by John Scalzi
2.  Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
3.  Your Hate Mail Will be Graded by John Scalzi
4.  In Broad Daylight by Seth Harwood
5.  The Departure by Neal Asher

Book Club Info

The QSF&F Book Club will meet on Sunday, June 9th, at 5 pm to discuss THE YIDDISH POLICEMEN'S UNION by Michael Chabon.  Please contact the group leader, Christopher Rodriguez, at, for more information.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club will meet on Sunday, June 16th, at 6 pm to discuss THE EINSTEIN INTERSECTION by Samuel R. Delany.  The book for July 21st is THE SANDMAN: PRELUDES AND NOCTURNES by Neil Gaiman.  Please contact for more information.

Upcoming Event Details

Lauren Beukes, THE SHINING GIRLS (Mullholland Books, Hardcover, $26.00) Friday, June 7th at 7:00 pm - We're so excited to welcome Lauren Buekes back to Borderlands!  We thought her novels MOXYLAND and ZOO CITY were awesome, but this new book sounds even better.  From the publisher: "THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE meets THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, THE SHINING GIRLS by Lauren Beukes is the riveting, creepy story about a time-traveling serial killer being chased through decades past and present by his only surviving victim. The Huffington Post named it as one of their most anticipated reads of 2013, and it's received praise from Tana French, Matt Haig, and more. Beukes's previous work has been categorized as hardboiled thriller, cyberpunk, and supernatural and has won her fans in cult favorites like William Gibson and Neil Gaiman, but THE SHINING GIRLS represents a major work of crossover fiction that is sure to excite fiction fans everywhere.  Lauren Beukes is a recipient of the Arthur C. Clarke Award, was runner-up to Lev Grossman for the John W Campbell Award, was shortlisted for a plethora of other awards and received rave reviews from around the world including The New York Times and The Guardian. She lives in Cape Town, South Africa."

SF in SF Screening of "Safety Not Guaranteed" with guest speaker (and author) Ken Wharton, (at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building, 582 Market Street), Saturday, June 8th at 6:30 pm. Tickets $25 - Time travel is a wonderful idea.  Come explore that wonder while watching what Roger Ebert called "a more ambitious and touching movie than seems possible."  Your evening begins at 6:30 with no host drinks in the lounge of San Francisco's luxurious Variety Preview Theater. Then, at 7:30, take limitless free popcorn to plush theater seating for a special screening of 2012's "Safety Not Guaranteed" (91% FRESH on Rotten Tomatoes). Roger Ebert wrote of this terrific little film: "Few descriptions of 'Safety Not Guaranteed' will do it justice. It's a more ambitious and touching movie than seems possible."  Finally, at about 9 o'clock, physicist and sci-fi author Ken Wharton will help us examine the logic -- and illogic -- of time travel.  Dr. Wharton is Professor of Physics and Astronomy at San Jose State University.  He is also author of DIVINE INTERVENTION, earning the Special Citation for the Philip K. Dick Award in 2001.  All proceeds benefit Variety Children's Charity of Northern California and Wonderfest, the Bay Area Beacon of Science.  Tickets are $25, and also available at the door. To purchase tickets, go to  Borderlands will be on hand with a bevy of time travel books!

Hannu Rajaniemi, THE FRACTAL PRINCE (Tor Books, Hardcover, $25.99) Friday, June 14th at 7:00 pm - Join us to meet Hannu Rajaniemi and get a sneak preview of the third QUANTUM THIEF novel!  We were all very impressed with the first two books and are anxiously looking forward to the next one. Mr. Rajaniemi will read a bit, answer questions and sign books.  We're delighted to have him at Borderlands and hope you'll help provide a warm welcome!

SF in SF with authors Cassie Alexander, Heather MacDougal, and Cliff Winnig, (at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building, 582 Market Street), Saturday, June 22nd at 7:00 pm - We are happy to help SF in SF welcome these local authors!  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 (night of event) 415-572-1015.  Questions? Email

Kate Elliott, COLD STEEL (Orbit, Trade Paperback, $18.00) and Katharine Kerr, SORCERER'S LUCK (Book View Cafe, Trade Paperback, $14.50), Thursday, June 27th at 7:00 pm - We're so happy to welcome Kate Elliott and Katharine Kerr back to Borderlands!  Kate is presenting the last book in the Spiritwalker Trilogy, and she says "[a]ll events will include reading from COLD STEEL, from my forthcoming YA fantasy, and maybe even from the epic fantasy trilogy Im currently working on, or possibly I will read a short story instead although that might necessitate you believing I can actually write a short story. Which I can. I totally can."  Katharine's new book is called SORCERER'S LUCK, and here's the summary -- it sounds awesome! "Maya Cantescu is a struggling art student with an odd disease: a form of vampirism that afflicts the living, not the 'undead.'  Shes found a man who can help her stay alive in Tor Thorlaksson, a student of powerful magicks.  He knows that he has a major problem -- hes a bjarki, an involuntary shape-changer -- but hes unaware of a worse one.  Someone who wants a powerful magical artifact he owns is out to kill him.  Unfortunately for Maya, she stands in the way."  We hope you'll join us to meet these fabulous authors!

Borderlands event policy - all events are free of charge unless otherwise stated.  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 the book(s) until you can come in to pick them up or we can ship 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 for a nominal fee.  Call or email for details.

Dispatches from the Border
Editor - Jude Feldman
Assistant Editor - Alan Beatts

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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