Click me to see what SinisterVisions can do for you!



Events and News from Borderlands Books

July, 2013

Chapter One - Event Information, News, and Special Features

Editor's Note - You may be aware that we have a blog where this newsletter also appears <>.  At the end of major features in this newsletter you'll find permanent links to the same item on our blog.  These links can be convenient if you want to send just a single article or if you'd like to link to it from your website.

Upcoming Author Events

Simon Wood, NO SHOW (Thomas & Mercer, Trade Paperback, $14.95) Saturday, July 13th at 3:00 pm

SF in SF (at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building, 582 Market Street) with authors Nalo Hopkinson, Madeleine Robins and Deborah J. Ross, Saturday, July 20th at 7:00 pm

Grania Davis, TREE OF LIFE, BOOK OF DEATH - THE TREASURES OF GRANIA DAVIS (Ramble House, Trade Paperback) Sunday, July 21st from 4:00 - 6:00 pm

Max Gladstone, THREE PARTS DEAD (Tor, Hardcover, $24.99 and Trade Paperback, $15.99) Saturday, July 27th at 3:00 pm

Sheldon Siegel, THE TERRORIST NEXT DOOR (Poisoned Pen Press, Trade Paperback $14.95 and Hardcover $24.95) Saturday, August 3rd at 3:00 pm

(for more information check the end of this section)

And coming up later on this year, look for events with Seth Harwood, Richard Kadrey, actress and author Lara Parker, Seanan McGuire, and many, many more!

Permalink -


* Those of you going to see "Star Trek: Into Darkness" probably already have, so, hilarious Spoiler FAQ from <>

* And more from The difference between geeks and nerds, settled by an infographic: <>

* We unfortunately lost two of the greats this month: Iain M. Banks at age 59 <> and Richard Matheson at age 87. <>

Permalink -

From The Office

Quick Takes - B&N, Marriage, and World War Z
by Alan Beatts

Barnes & Noble's Financial Report

B&N had a very poor year based on their recent financial filings.  Their 2013 fiscal year (which ended on April 27th) showed a total loss of $154.8 million dollars, compared to last year, which showed less than half that loss ($65.6 million in 2012).  Much of that was a result of sales of their e-reader, the Nook, falling off a cliff (sales down 16.8%).  But sales at their retail stores were also poor: same-store sales (the comparison between stores that have been open for at least a year) were down 3.4%.

Most telling to me, however, are the figures for the last quarter of this year.  In the 4th quarter alone, ebook sales (both devices and ebooks) were down 34% and same-store retail sales were down 8.8%.  That looks like an accelerating slide to me.  If you dig through the accountant-speak in the report, some of the retail store sales drop was tied to poor Nook performance, but that could also be wishful thinking.  Likewise, that quarter lacked some big sellers like Fifty Shades of Gray and such but still . . . it's not looking very good.  What will tell us a great deal is what the quarterly reports for the next two look like.  If the drop continues or increases, it'll be a very bad sign for the company's future.

One thing that may change the whole equation is the possibility that B&N's founder, Len Riggio, is reportedly looking to buy the retail segment of the company and take it private (i.e. closely held, probably by his family, and not publicly traded).  Doing so would allow a much greater degree of freedom in the management since concerns like stock price would no longer stop store closures and so forth.  A few months ago I speculated that Riggio might buy one of the other two segments of the company (which are the Nook business and the college stores).  Based on comments since from Riggio and the Board of B&N it looks like I was totally wrong.

Certainly, if B&N were to close all the stores that are performing in the lower 50%, it would immediately improve the company's balance sheet.  Of course it would also deliver a huge kick in the delicate parts to the big US publishers.  Under usual bookstore terms, inventory can be returned 90 days after it was ordered for full credit.  So, the first thing that B&N would do would be to return absolutely everything they could from stores that are closing.  A huge flood of returns would hurt publishers twice.  First there would be the lost money from the books themselves because, once the books come back, there is little chance that they could be resold (except for B&N itself, there is no bookstore that could use that much inventory).  Many of the books returned would be either destroyed or sold at super low prices as remainders.  The second hit would be that B&N would have a huge credit balance with all the publishers as a result of that return.  Which means that, for some time, B&N wouldn't be sending the publishers any money.  They would be "paying" for their orders with credit.

Authors would also suffer since remainder sales and books that are destroyed are charged against their royalties.  For mid-level and even some bestselling authors that might mean a year or more without any royalty payments.  Also, if the publishers are hurting for money _and_ have lost a huge number of stores to put books into, that will mean fewer books bought by them and smaller advance payments for the books they do buy.

It's very weird for an independent bookseller to be thinking this but, for the sake of my industry as a whole, I half-hope that B&N doesn't go down.  Or at least, if it does, that it's a slow process, not a fast one.


As a rule I avoid political topics in public.  Like discussions of sex and religion, I think that it's best kept private and among friends. But, living in San Francisco over the past few days has affected me so deeply that I cannot refrain from saying something.

Wednesday night the general feeling was so happy and so exuberant that I was personally overwhelmed.  I do not think I have ever experienced such a sense of universal happiness and relief in my life.  That tone has continued since then and reached a new peak when, yesterday afternoon, marriages started being performed at City Hall (which is staying open today to continue performing marriages).  I fully expect that the Pride Parade and celebration tomorrow will be something completely unique in my 25 years of attendance.

Probably my favorite thing thus far has been this -- Yesterday afternoon, the Attorney General of California, Kamala Harris, married two of the plaintiffs in the Supreme Court case at City Hall in San Francisco.  And yesterday evening, in one of his last acts in office, the mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, married the other two plaintiffs.

As a nation we have decided that homosexuality is not a crime nor is reason for discrimination.  I'm not going to debate whether that is the right decision or not (though the answer has been clear to me for a long time).  That fact is that our body of law demonstrates that is the conclusion that our society as a whole has come to.  Having decided on that position, legalizing marriage for homosexuals is the only logical, ethical, and legal action we can take.

I wish all the married couples out there, regardless of their gender or orientation, all the joy that they could wish for and a happy, productive partnership for all the years to come.

World War Z, The Film

Max Brooks' zombie novel is quite special to us at Borderlands.  It is one of three books that, in our 15 years in business, everyone on the staff read, liked, and recommends (the other two are Little Brother by Cory Doctorow and The Gumshoe, The Witch, and The Virtual Corpse by Keith Hartman).  If you haven't read it, you really, really, should.  It transcends the sub-genre the way that The Watchman did for superheroes or Game of Thrones did for epic fantasy.

As a result I was very worried about the movie.  As soon as it was optioned to Brad Pitt I stopped having any hope that the movie would be much like the book at all.  But I was hoping the movie would be, first of all, good, and second, that it would be relatively true to the spirit and tone of the book.

I saw it Sunday night and I was very pleased.  I know that there are plenty of people who have been critical of the many, many ways that it departed from the book but I cannot imagine a way that the book could have been turned into a big-budget film without those sort of changes.  But the important parts are still there -- it's a thoughtful treatment of the topic, the big action scenes are few and far between, it almost completely lacks gratuitous explosions, and the feeling is much like the book. Including a solution to the problem implemented by North Korea that is clever, chilling, and very much in keeping with the tone of the book.  As Max Brooks himself commented, it should be judged as a movie in its own right, not as a treatment of the novel. And on that basis, I think it is very good indeed.

I did have two quibbles but, to prevent spoilers, I'm going to put them at the very end of this article.  I'm also going to frame them in a way that significantly reduces the spoiler chance.

1) Amputated limbs bleed a whole lot.  Even after they're bandaged.
2) If zombies are attracted to noise, you've got video surveillance, and there are phones scattered around, it would be very smart to herd the zombies out of your way by ringing the phones.

Permalink -

Top Sellers At Borderlands

1. The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
2. Scatter, Adapt and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction by Annalee Newitz
3. The Fractal Prince by Hannu Rajaniemi
4. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
5. Quarry by Iain Banks
6. The Long War by Stephen Baxter and Terry Pratchett
7. The Human Division by John Scalzi
8. Mending the Moon by Susan Palwick
9. Homeland by Cory Doctorow
10. Inferno by Dan Brown

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
2. Blue Remembered Earth by Alastair Reynolds
3. Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
4. Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
5. Old Man's War by John Scalzi
6. The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi
7. Home From the Sea by Mercedes Lackey
8. 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson
9. Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu
10. Shapeshifted by Cassie Alexander

Trade Paperbacks
1. Cold Steel by Kate Elliott
2. Sorcerer's Luck by Katharine Kerr
3. World War Z by Max Brooks
4. Abbadon's Gate by James S.A. Corey
5. Aether Age: Helios edited by Christopher Fletcher and Brandon H. Bell

Permalink -

Book Club Info

The QSF&F Book Club will meet on Sunday, July 14th, at 5 pm to discuss BETTER TO BEG FORGIVENESS by Michael Z. Williamson. Please contact the group leader, Christopher Rodriguez, at, for more information.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club will meet on Sunday, July 21st, at 6 pm to discuss PRELUDES & NOCTURNES: THE SANDMAN VOL. 1.  The book for August 18th is ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  Please contact for more information.

Upcoming Event Details

Simon Wood, NO SHOW (Thomas & Mercer, Trade Paperback, $14.95) Saturday, July 13th at 3:00 pm - We're delighted to welcome Simon Wood back to Borderlands!  In his newest novel, NO SHOW, "Englishman Terry Sheffield has just arrived in San Francisco to start his new life with Sarah, the investigative journalist he married after a transatlantic love affair. But Sarah never shows up at the airport. . . . When Terry reports his wife as missing, the police chalk it up to a new bride with cold feet. Then one murdered woman after another turns up, all with something in common: they had exposed scandals just before their deaths. . . and their names appear on a list that Sarah composed. As a journalist, Sarah's exposed her share of scandals, and Terry realizes that she's not missing -- she's on the run."  Don't miss this chance to meet Simon and check out this pulse-pounding new thriller!

SF in SF (at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building, 582 Market Street) with authors Nalo Hopkinson, Madeleine Robins and Deborah J. Ross, Saturday, July 20th at 7:00 pm - We are happy to help SF in SF welcome these 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

Grania Davis, TREE OF LIFE, BOOK OF DEATH - THE TREASURES OF GRANIA DAVIS (Ramble House, Trade Paperback) Sunday, July 21st from 4:00 - 6:00 pm - Please join us to celebrate both the release of this incredible short story collection (which includes a memoir!) and Ms. Davis' 70th birthday!  Grania Davis is a well-respected author and editor, and a hub of the Bay Area science fiction scene. We're delighted to host this reading, signing and party for her, and we hope to see you there!

Max Gladstone, THREE PARTS DEAD (Tor, Hardcover, $24.99 and Trade Paperback, $15.99) Saturday, July 27th at 3:00 pm - "A god has died, and it's up to Tara, first-year associate in the international necromantic firm of Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao, to bring Him back to life before His city falls apart.  Her client is Kos, recently deceased fire god of the city of Alt Coulumb. Without Him, the metropolis's steam generators will shut down, its trains will cease running, and its four million citizens will riot.  Tara's job: resurrect Kos before chaos sets in. Her only help: Abelard, a chain-smoking priest of the dead god, who's having an understandable crisis of faith.  When Tara and Abelard discover that Kos was murdered, they have to make a case in Alt Coulumb's courts-and their quest for the truth endangers their partnership, their lives, and Alt Coulumb's slim hope of survival. Set in a phenomenally built world in which justice is a collective force bestowed on a few, craftsmen fly on lightning bolts, and gargoyles can rule cities, THREE PARTS DEAD introduces readers to an ethical landscape in which the line between right and wrong blurs." Max Gladstone is fascinating and we think you'll love THREE PARTS DEAD!

Sheldon Siegel, THE TERRORIST NEXT DOOR (Poisoned Pen Press, Trade Paperback $14.95 and Hardcover $24.95) Saturday, August 3rd at 3:00 pm - We're happy to welcome Sheldon Siegel and showcase the hardcover edition of his novel!  From the synopsis "He\u2019s Homeland Security\u2019s worst nightmare. More than a decade after 9/11, someone is setting off fire bombs in Chicago using untraceable cell phones. . ." Detective David Gold, who had thwarted an earlier terror plot at the cost of his partner's life, is drawn into a deadly cat-and-mouse game against a brilliant and cunning mind.  Join us to check out this timely and compelling new thriller.  You can read the first three chapters here:

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


JUNE, 2013
MAY, 2013
APRIL, 2013
MARCH, 2013

AUGUST, 2012
JULY, 2012
JUNE, 2012
MAY, 2012
APRIL, 2012
MARCH, 2012

AUGUST, 2011
JULY, 2011
JUNE, 2011
MAY, 2011
APRIL, 2011

AUGUST, 2010
JULY, 2010
JUNE, 2010
MAY, 2010
MARCH, 2010

AUGUST, 2009
JULY, 2009
JUNE, 2009
MAY, 2009
APRIL, 2009
MARCH, 2009

AUGUST, 2008
JULY, 2008
JUNE, 2008
MAY, 2008
APRIL, 2008
MARCH, 2008

AUGUST, 2007
JULY, 2007
JUNE, 2007
MAY, 2007
APRIL, 2007
MARCH, 2007

AUGUST, 2006
JULY, 2006
JUNE, 2006
MAY, 2006
APRIL, 2006
MARCH, 2006

AUGUST, 2005
JULY, 2005
JUNE, 2005
MAY, 2005
APRIL, 2005
MARCH, 2005

AUGUST, 2004
JULY, 2004
JUNE, 2004
MAY, 2004
APRIL, 2004
MARCH, 2004