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Events and News from Borderlands Books

August, 2008

Chapter One - Event Information, News, and Special Features

David Weber, BY SCHISM RENT ASUNDER (Tor, Hardcover, $25.95) Saturday, August 2nd at 3:00 pm

Borderlands Table at the World Science Fiction Convention in Denver, Colorado, Wednesday, August 6th to Sunday, August 10th

Jeff Carlson, PLAGUE WAR (Ace, Mass Market, $7.99), Saturday, August 16th at 3:00 pm

Michael Blumlein and Michael Shea are guests of SF in SF at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building, 582 Market Street, Saturday, August 16th at 7:00 pm

Barren Worlds/Ruins Metropolis Signing with C.E. Grayson,  Jude-Marie Green, Jasmine Hammer, and Rob Rosen, Sunday, August 17th at 2:00 pm

Greg Bear, THE CITY AT THE END OF TIME (Del Rey, Hardcover, $27.00) Tuesday, August 19th at 7:00 pm

SF in SF presents free movies "Galaxy Quest" and "Raiders of the Lost Ark" at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building, 582 Market Street, Wednesday, August 20th at 7:00 pm

Laurel Anne Hill, HEROES ARISE (Komenar Publishing, Hardcover, $24.95 and Trade Paperback, $15.95) Saturday, August 23rd at 1:00 pm

Barth Anderson, THE MAGICIAN AND THE FOOL (Bantam, Trade Paperback, $13.00) Saturday, August 23rd at 3:00 pm

SM Stirling, THE SCOURGE OF GOD (Roc, Hardcover, $25.95) Friday, September 5th at 7:00 pm

Steven Erikson, TOLL THE HOUNDS (Tor, Hardcover, $27.95, and Trade Paperback, $16.95) Saturday, September 6th at 3:00 pm EDIT - (Note - date changed to Thusday, September 25th at 7:00 PM due to delay in publication schedule)

SF in SF presents free movies "The Princess Bride" and "Ghostbusters" at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building, 582 Market Street, Wednesday, September 10th at 7:00 pm

Kevin J. Anderson and Brian Herbert, PAUL OF DUNE (Tor, Hardcover, $27.95) Monday, September 22nd at 7:00 pm

(for more information check the end of this section)

Stay tuned for Fall events with Steven Erikson, Kim Stanley Robinson, S.M. Stirling, and many other exciting authors!

Overheard in the Store

Will Return Next Month.


*Borderlands Voted Best Specialty Bookstore
We'd like to thank everyone who voted in the recent Best of the Bay poll in the San Francisco Bay Guardian <>.  It is really a great honor to win this award <>.

*Ripley's Surgery
We are extremely relieved to report that Ripley is recovering nicely from a rather unexpected surgery to remove the bump from her shoulder and several other smaller bumps as well.  The vet was concerned that they had turned into a form of skin cancer, so we had them removed immediately.  Ripley will have some super creepy scars, but give her an extra pat for being a survivor.

*Lots of Signed Books
We have signed books galore, so pick yours up today!  We have signed books from the following authors available: Kelley Armstrong, Michael Louis Calvillo, Gabrielle S. Faust, Melissa Marr, Naomi Novik, Charles Stross, Eldon Thompson, Harry Turtledove, David J. Williams, and likely several others I've forgotten in the swirl!

*Alan Once Again in the Public Eye
Check out SF Signal's newest Mind Meld, where genre professionals weigh in on suggested topics.  This time, it's controversial science fiction novels. <>

*Simon Wood News
Local author Simon Wood wrote in to let us know: "My horror novella 'The Scrubs,' is out from Bad Moon Books.  It's a limited edition 200 copy print run."  Borderlands will have copies available shortly, so reserve yours today!

*Free Movie Tickets
Terry Hines & Associates, the fine folks who send us free movie passes, are hosting an advance screening of STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS, August 11, 2008 at 7:00 pm at the AMC Metreon.  If you're interested in attending, email, and we'll give you the website and code to download a free pass for you and a friend.

*Worlds Without End Open for Visitors
A new reference and community site for the SF and Fantasy field, Worlds Without End <> is open to the public.  The primary goal of the site is to be a comprehensive source for information about SF / Fantasy award winning books and authors.  We at Borderlands have found it to be the best one out there, despite still being in beta-test and not having all the functions up yet.  Drop by, register and take a look.  If you're an author who has won or has been nominated for any of the major SF / Fantasy awards (i.e. the Hugo, Nebula, Clark, World Fantasy, etc.) you should really pay a visit since they're also collecting bios and other information about winners and nominees and they could use your help to make sure your information is complete.  Check out the entry for Cory Doctorow to see what I mean <>

From The Office

I thought this month was going to be easy.  I'd been working really hard putting the past few articles together and I figured I was done.  This month I was going to write about something simple -- maybe my favorite ten novels or the _real_ story of what happens to socks when they vanish in the dryer.  But two things happened.  First, there were several pieces of news about eBooks that came to my attention and second, (and most notably) a lot of people wrote me emails about the last article.  I had no idea that so many of you were interested in eBooks and their possible effects.  I also wasn't expecting so many cogent, thoughtful comments on the topic.  Not that I don't think that Borderlands customers are smart (our customers are _very_ smart, believe me) but I figured that you had more important things to do than write me.

So, welcome to _the last_ (I swear) article about the state of books according to yours truly.  At least for a while.  Here are some headlines to start off with.

*Amazon's Kindle is Doing Even Better
Remember that figure last month about the percentage of eBook sales for the Kindle as compared to physical sales?  Of titles that are available in both eBook and physical formats, eBook sales were 6% of all sales.  In other words, one electronic version is sold for every 14 or so physical copies.  That's old news.  According to a recent notice in Publishers Weekly, that figure was up to 12% at the beginning of July.  So now one eBook is being sold for every _eight_ physical copies of titles that are available in both formats.  That was fast, wasn't it?

*Apple's iPhone Apps Support eBooks
With the introduction of iPhone firmware version 2.0 and the iPhone App store, eReader software (which is used for Fictionwise ebooks) is now available for the iPhone and iPod Touch.  In the first day there were over 7000 downloads of this application by iPhone owners.  This has been followed by thousands of downloads _per day_ since.  It's worthwhile to note that Fictionwise has what I think is the best business model for eBooks in the field.  More on that later.

*Apple's New Mystery Product
Speculation is heavy surrounding a new product to release in September or October from Apple that was mentioned in a recent financial report from Cupertino.  The most common theory is that it's going to be a tablet-type computer with a screen around 9" in size and probably using a richer version of the multi-touch interface used in the iPhone/iPod Touch.  Though I don't think for a minute that it's going to be specifically geared towards eBooks, it would be a truly great platform for reading.  And, unlike the other eReaders out there, it would also work very well as an electronic reader for comic books, graphic novels and manga (Japanese comics).  That is a _huge_, profitable, and (in the US) untapped market.

*Kindle and Sony eReader Math
Based on reports from the Taiwanese tech news service Digitimes, Prime View International, the company that manufactures the displays for both the Kindle and the Sony eReader, is going to be stepping up their production of those displays.  The figures given in that report are very interesting.  In the first half of 2008, Prime View was shipping 60,000 to 80,000 displays per _month_, and in the later part of this year they are going to increase production to 120,000 units per month.  This figure is important because neither Amazon nor Sony have been willing to share sales numbers for their eReaders.  Many have speculated that this is because the sales are very low but I think it's because the sales are very _high_ and they don't want possible competitors to know how rich the market is . . . it certainly seems pretty rich.  The display in question is not used for anything other than those two readers and the report went on to say that Amazon takes 60% of the production and Sony gets the remaining 40%.  It's pretty simple math to work out that, based on the number of displays being sold, Amazon has been selling (or at least manufacturing) an average of 42,000 Kindles per month.  Remember, since Kindles are only available in the US, those figures mean that domestically the Kindle is beating the Sony eReader by a sizable margin.  But there's more -- based on the increase in production, it looks like Sony and Amazon combined will sell over _one-million_ eBook readers this year.

*Sony Opens Up the EReader and Hits UK Ahead of Amazon
Surprisingly for a company who is so much in love with proprietary formats (remember Betamax and Memory Sticks?), Sony has just released a firmwear update that will allow their second generation eReader to support both PDF and, more importantly, EPUB format files.  PDF files are common as dirt and the EPUB format is open-source (so anyone can use it) as well as having a great deal of support in the US publishing industry.  The eReader is the first device to support EPUB.  The short version is that Sony (probably under pressure from Amazon's success with the Kindle) has, in one step, positioned their eReader as the open-source friendly, non-proprietary format alternative to Amazon's Kindle.  And, continuing to build their competitive advantage over the Kindle, Sony has gotten their device to the British market well in advance of the Kindle.  Remember what I said in last month's article about competition provoking rapid advances?

And that's it for the news.

Something that surprised me in the comments I received this month was how many people agreed with my assessment of how the market is likely to go.  People including editors, librarians, graphic designers, booksellers, authors, and many avid readers wrote to say that, although they liked how I explained how things might go, it was not news to them that eBooks were going to grow in popularity.  So, I guess I could have spent less time explaining, and more time discussing the ramifications and what we as readers can do about it. 

What Can We Do?

As I said last month, I don't think that anyone is going to be able to stop the progressive adoption of eBooks.  And, for reasons I talked about then, I'm not sure it's in our best interests, as people who love stories and writing, to even try.  But there is one thing that I think we can affect -- how the business model works -- and I believe that it is _very_ important that we push for and vote (with our dollars) for a very specific business model.

Here's a question for you:  Can you be said to "own" something if you cannot sell it or give it to another person?

My answer is, "No.  If I can't sell it, I don't really own it."  That may be simple minded, but that's how I look at it.  And, furthermore, when it comes to electronic data, if I can't make as many copies as I want for my own use, I don't think I "own" the data.

Compare a book to an eBook.  Since a book is a physical object, the question of ownership is simple.  I paid for it.  I have it in my possession.  Therefore I own it.  I can do anything I want with it -- lend it, sell it, gift it, or even throw on the fire and use it for kindling.  But the one thing I can't do very easily is make a copy.  Sure, I can run down to the local copy shop and make a copy, but that copy will not be as good as the original.  In the first place, it won't be bound very well, but more significantly it will cost a hell of a lot to do it, probably more than buying another copy.

But data, such as eBooks, can be copied very easily and at almost no cost.  As a result, publishers (and authors to a lesser degree) are very concerned that people could copy eBooks and distribute them all over -- with the result that neither the publisher nor the author get their fair share of the profits.  So, to prevent this, publishers set up some sort of system that stops people from copying the data that makes up the eBook.  In general this is called Digital Rights Management (DRM hereafter).  Tens or perhaps even hundreds of millions of words have been written about DRM in the past ten years and I'm not going to rehash all the arguments about it here (if you're interested, you can find all you need to know on the web).  But I do want to make one point: if the DRM associated with an eBook means that you can't copy it as much as you want or give it to a friend, then that DRM means that you don't really own the book.  Period.  And that sucks big time.


There is the obvious reason that you can't exercise the rights you have with a physical book with that eBook.  Can't sell it, can't lend it.  But there are other, less obvious reasons that are associated with certain business and DRM models.  Take the DRM model, in which, anytime you want to copy your data onto a new device like a new computer or eReader, you have to register that device with a central authorization computer that's maintained by the company you bought the eBook from originally.  Once your new device is registered as belonging to you, you can copy the eBook onto it.  But what happens when the company goes out of business or just stops that part of their business?  If the authorization computer is shut down, you can never copy that eBook to a new device again.  And that is exactly what just happened to the sorry bastards who bought digital music from Yahoo.  Yahoo is stopping that service and they're shutting down their "Key Servers" in a month.  And their customers are out of luck.

I could go on with examples but you can find them all over the web, just search "DRM" and away you go.  Bottom line is that almost all methods of DRM are broken and seriously anti-consumer but, if we don't do something, DRM is going to be the standard for eBooks.  If that happens, we will be losing much more than the smell of paper and the feel of a book in our hands.  We'll be losing our real ownership of our libraries.  So, if you can avoid it, don't patronize _any_ eBook business or format that is supportive of DRM.  Furthermore, don't buy any eReader that doesn't cleanly support multiple, non-DRM formats (which cuts out the Kindle).  Over the next ten years, what is going to count is the dollars.  If publishers see that sales of DRM-protected eBooks are poor compared to non-protected formats, then they'll respond, but if everyone jumps on the Kindle-style, DRM-protected, single-supplier model, we're screwed.

Some Things to Do If You Want to Be a Smart EBook Buyer

1)  Buy non-DRM (what are sometimes called "multi-format") eBooks wherever possible.

2)  Be smart about the hardware you buy.  Either -

    a)  If you're going to buy a dedicated eBook reader (i.e. one with the nice, new low-power white screens) buy either a Sony eReader or the iLiad from iRex <>.  Of the two, the iLiad is expensive ($600 to $700) but it cleanly supports a wide range of non-DRM formats (including Mobipocket, PDF and even HTML, but not EPUB, yet) as well as having a touchscreen.  The Sony, on the other hand, is half the price and works almost as well.

    b)  Best of all, use a non-dedicated device like a Palm PDA, an iPhone or iPod Touch, or even a laptop or palmtop computer in conjunction with the reader software of your choice.  You'll end up with a more useful piece of hardware and completely avoid supporting hardware that is tied to DRM schemes.

3)  Support sellers who are opposed to DRM like Baen Books <> or Fictionwise.Com <>.  Fictionwise's business model is especially nice in that, once you have an account, they maintain a virtual bookshelf for you.  In practice that means you can go to their site anytime and re-download anything that you've purchased from them in any format that is available.  And you can do this an unlimited number of times.  They do sell DRM-protected titles and so this "bookshelf" model is not flawless, but it's still a very fair business plan and one that I'd like to see used by more companies in this business.

4)  Backup your eBooks.  I can't stress this enough.  If you aren't dealing with a seller like Fictionwise who will preserve your download rights, when your computer's hard drive goes, you'll lose all your eBooks.  Please note that I say "when" the hard drive goes, not "if".  Imagine what it would be like if a single, nearby lightning strike could disintegrate all your beloved, physical books?  You would take steps to protect them, right?

5)  DON'T ILLEGALLY COPY AND DISTRIBUTE EBOOKS!  Every time someone "pirates" an eBook it's one more argument for DRM.  Plus, darn it, the authors and publishers worked to produce that story.  They deserve to get paid for it.

Final Thought

We're moving into an age when much of our media (books, music, pictures, films) will exist solely in electronic format.  If we as a society don't make smart choices, I fear that we will lose a very essential right to property.  And what bothers and scares me the most is that it seems to be part of a larger movement that's been going on for at least half a century.  We have been a nation of renters for years now.  Even those who "own" their homes do so in partnership with the bank, and as a minority partner at that.  The same goes for most people's cars.  At the same time, it has become a tiny minority who own their business or who work for themselves.  And now we seem to be moving into a time when we won't even own our books and music.  Instead we will have some limited set of "rights" relative to those treasured possessions.  Rights that are much less than true "ownership".

I'll tell you though, I'll be damned if I'll spend money supporting a business model like Amazon's eBooks, which only gives me the choice of engaging in some strange sort of "rental" of eBooks under the guise of selling me something.  Hell, I'm one of the Luddites who still buys actual CDs, takes them home, and coverts them to MP3s for my iPod.  At least that way, I _know_ what I own and a decision by the people at Yahoo isn't going to deprive me of my property.

-Alan Beatts

Top Sellers At Borderlands

1. Toll the Hounds by Steven Erikson
2. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
3. Victory of Eagles by Naomi Novik
4. Saturn's Children by Charles Stross
5. Implied Spaces by Walter John Williams
6. Escapement by Jay Lake
7. Jhegaala by Steven Brust
8. The Man With the Iron Heart by Harry Turtledove
9. The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
10. Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr

Mass Market:
1. The City, Not Long After by Pat Murphy
2. The Devil You Know by Mike Carey
3. The Good Fairies of New York by Martin Millar
4. Ha'Penny by Jo Walton
5. Snake Agent by Liz Williams
6. Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan
7. Mainspring by Jay Lake
8. Shadows Return by Lynn Flewelling
9. Valiant: The Lost Fleet by Jack Campbell
10. Sun of Suns by Karl Schroeder tie with
 The Margarets by Sheri S. Tepper

Trade Paperback:
1. Mirrored Heavens by David J. Williams
2. Thirteen by Richard K. Morgan
3. Spook Country by William Gibson
4. Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
5. The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie tie with
The Word of God by Thomas Disch

Notes From a DVD Geek

Will return next month.

Book Club Info

The Gay Men's Book Club will meet on Sunday, August 10th, at 5 pm to discuss THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN by Michael Crichton.  The book for September is THE LATHE OF HEAVEN by Ursula K. LeGuin. Please contact the group leader, Christopher Rodriguez, at, for more information.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club will be on hiatus for the month of August.  Look for the new list of titles for the year in the next newsletter.  Please contact Jude at for more information.

Upcoming Event Details

David Weber, BY SCHISM RENT ASUNDER (Tor, Hardcover, $25.95) Saturday, August 2nd at 3:00 pm -  We're glad to welcome David Weber, author of the incredibly entertaining Honor Harrington books, back to the store with this sequel to OFF ARMAGEDDON REEF.  From the book jacket:"The world has changed. The mercantile kingdom of Charis has prevailed over the alliance designed to exterminate it. Armed with better sailing vessels, better guns and better devices of all sorts, Charis faced the combined navies of the rest of the world at Darcos Sound and Armageddon Reef, and broke them. Despite the implacable hostility of the Church of God Awaiting, Charis still stands, still free, still tolerant, still an island of innovation in a world in which the Church has worked for centuries to keep humanity locked at a medieval level of existence, but the powerful men who run the Church aren’t going to take their defeat lying down. Charis may control the world’s seas, but it barely has an army worthy of the name. And as King Cayleb knows, far too much of the kingdom’s recent good fortune is due to the secret manipulations of the being that calls himself Merlin—a being that, the world must not find out too soon, is more than human. A being on whose shoulders rests the last chance for humanity’s freedom.  Now, as Charis and its archbishop make the rift with Mother Church explicit, the storm gathers. Schism has come to the world of Safehold. Nothing will ever be the same."

Borderlands Table at the World Science Fiction Convention in Denver, Colorado, Wednesday, August 6th to Sunday, August 10th - Alan, Jude and Dan will be at WorldCon manning our tables in the dealers' room.  If you're coming to the con, stop by, say "Hi," and you could even buy some books.  When the room is closed, you can find us in the Borderlands Office (which everyone else calls the hotel bar, but we all know the truth -- hell, it must be our office, we spend enough money there to pay the damn rent!)

Jeff Carlson, PLAGUE WAR (Ace, Mass Market, $7.99), Saturday, August 16th at 3:00 pm - Meet Jeff Carlson and hear him read from the thrilling sequel to PLAGUE YEAR! "Earth has been ravaged by the machine plague, a nanotech virus that exterminates all warm-blooded organisms below altitudes of ten thousand feet.  The remnants of humanity cling to life on isolated mountain peaks around the world.  Nanotech researcher Ruth Goldman has developed a vaccine with the potential to inoculate the world's survivors against the plague, but the fractured U.S. government will stop at nothing to keep it for themselves.  Determined to share the cure, Ruth and Cam Najarro, a man who lived through the aftermath of the plague at great personal cost, must brave the devastated wasteland America has become.  Together, they begin a cross-country odyssey where they will encounter both the best and the worst in human nature - unaware that an even greater threat is poised to strike."  Jeff has filmed an awesome four-minute video "book trailer," and you should really check it out.  He tells us: "You can view a hi-res version on my web site at <>.  There is also an easily accessible version on YouTube at <>.  

Michael Blumlein and Michael Shea are guests of SF in SF at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building, 582 Market Street, Saturday, August 16th at 7:00 pm - Please join us for a reading, signing and discussion with these two fascinating authors!  Moderated by Terry Bisson.  Cash bar and doors open at 6:00 pm.  Seating is limited, and on a first-come, first-seated basis, so get there early!  Bar proceeds benefit Variety Children's Charity.  For more information about Variety, see <>.  For more information about SF in SF, see <>.
Barren Worlds/Ruins Metropolis (Hadley Rille Books, Trade Paperback, both $15.95) Signing with C.E. Grayson,  Jude-Marie Green, Jasmine Hammer, and Rob Rosen, Sunday, August 17th at 2:00 pm - We are glad to host four authors from two new anthologies published by Hadley Rille Books!  Join us to learn more about these up-and-comers and the Ruins series.

 Greg Bear, THE CITY AT THE END OF TIME (Del Rey, Hardcover, $27.00) Tuesday, August 19th at 7:00 pm - Living legend Greg Bear is the author of more than thirty books of science fiction and fantasy, including BLOOD MUSIC, THE FORGE OF GOD, DARWIN'S RADIO, and QUANTICO.  You can start unravelling the mysteries of his new novel,  CITY AT THE END OF TIME, by visiting <>.  We are honored to host Mr. Bear here at Borderlands and hope you'll take this opportunity to meet him!

SF in SF presents free movies "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Galaxy Quest" at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building, 582 Market Street, Wednesday, August 20th at 7:00 pm - 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 fifteen-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  

Laurel Anne Hill, HEROES ARISE (Komenar Publishing, Trade Paperback, $15.95) Saturday, August 23rd at 1:00 pm - From the author's website: "In a world where justice is achieved through careful customs of vengeance, Gundack pursues love and the preservation of his honor.  Desert kren are a nomadic people who believe their customs and mythology show them how to be honorable and thrive. Gundack, a trader and leader of the tribe, seeks revenge for the murder of his wife Talla in the prescribed manner of his people. According to kren custom, he must fulfill a vow of decreed vengeance against Tarr, the ruthless mountain kren responsible for Talla’s murder, and complete a pilgrimage to gain the right to marry the fair Eutoebi.  Gundack forms an unlikely alliance with the human Rheemar, who searches for a beloved sister stolen by Tarr. Rheemar’s mysterious past holds many secrets, including knowledge that could lead to the end of Tarr’s attacks on travelers and villagers and allow Gundack to return to his tribe in time for the Day of Marriages. But Rheemar is blinded by loyalties that he won’t reveal and ambitions that reflect a naive understanding of heroism.  As time grows short and some vows are satisfied, circumstances thrust Gundack into escalating tribal tensions. Only then does he realize that he must confront the oldest of kren beliefs: If vengeance swallows the land, Tharda shall bring a white light to give strength to the least of us, and unbelievers will make heroes arise. But can the least worthy prove themselves to be heroes, and the most worthy at least heroic?"

Barth Anderson, THE MAGICIAN AND THE FOOL (Bantam, Trade Paperback, $13.00) Saturday, August 23rd at 3:00 pm - From Publishers Weekly, "At the start of Anderson's offbeat thriller, Jeremiah Rosemont, a disgraced art historian who's been backpacking through Central America, accepts an airline ticket to Rome from a man he's never seen before. Later, Rosemont walks through the back door of a Roman hotel and finds himself in a street filled with strange festival-goers and men and women from his own past. Meanwhile in Minnesota, two deadly killers, one of whom was born in the 14th century, pursue a Dumpster diver and tarot reader called Boy King. The plot revolves around an ancient tarot deck, the origins of which, if authenticated by Jeremiah, will change the nature of the arcane 'science' of divination."

SM Stirling, THE SCOURGE OF GOD (Roc, Hardcover, $25.95) Friday, September 5th at 7:00 pm - Stirling continues his sequence of novels about the "Change" with this new installment.  From the publisher, "Rudi MacKenzie continues his trek across the land that was once the United States of America. His destination: Nantucket, where he hopes to learn the truth behind The Change that rendered technology across the globe inoperable.  During his travels, Rudi forges ties with new allies in the continuing war against The Prophet, who teaches his followers that God has punished humanity by destroying technological civilization. And one fanatical officer in the Sword of The Prophet has been dispatched on a mission—to stop Rudi from reaching his destination by any means necessary."

Steven Erikson, TOLL THE HOUNDS (Tor, Hardcover, $27.95) Saturday, September 6th at 3:00 pm - The next Malazan novel.  We're really very excited to host Steve once again as he travels down from Canada to promote the 8th novel in what is possibly Borderlands' best-selling fantasy series.  We're all thrilled that this talented and personable author will be visiting. EDIT - (Note - date changed to Thusday, September 25th at 7:00 PM due to delay in publication schedule)

SF in SF presents free movies "The Princess Bride" and "Ghostbusters" at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building, 582 Market Street, Wednesday, September 10th at 7:00 pm - 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 fifteen-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

Kevin J. Anderson and Brian Herbert, PAUL OF DUNE (Tor, Hardcover, $27.95) Monday, September 22nd at 7:00 pm - From Tor: "Last year, millions of fans finally witnessed the stunning conclusion to Frank Herbert’s classic DUNE saga with the New York Times bestseller Sandworms of Dune (Tor 2007.)  Written by the dynamic writing duo, Brian Herbert, Frank Herbert’s son, and Kevin J. Anderson, Sandworms of Dune answered a myriad of burning questions and brought to an end a literary tour-de-force that has endured for over 40 years.  But many unanswered questions remain, including what happened during the twelve-year period from Frank Herbert’s Dune to Dune Messiah.  Fans have also long been intrigued with the enigmatic Paul Muad’Dib, the heir to the House of Atreides.  Now, Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson answer these questions and chronicle Paul’s younger years in PAUL OF DUNE.

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

BEYOND THE VEIL - A LOVECRAFT RETROSPECTIVE: ARTISTS INSPIRED BY H.P. LOVECRAFT (Centipede Press, Oversized Limited Edition (100 copies) Hardcover, $395.00) - From Centipede: “This huge tome features over forty artists including JK Potter, HR Giger, Raymond Bayless, Ian Miller, Virgil Finlay, Lee Brown Coye, Rowena Morrill, Bob Eggleton, Allen Koszowski, Mike Mignola, Howard V. Brown, Michael Whelan, Tim White, John Coulthart, John Holmes, Harry O. Morris, Murray Tinkelman, Gabriel, Don Punchatz, Helmut Wenske, John Stewart, Thomas Ligotti and John Jude Palencar, and dozens of others.
The field has never seen an art book like this -- indeed, it is an art anthology unlike anything ever published before. Many of these works have never before seen publication. Many are printed as special multi-page fold-outs, and several have detail views. The book is filled with four color artwork throughout, all of it printed full page on rich black backgrounds. A special thumbnail gallery allows you to overview the entire contents of this 400-page book at a glance, with notations on artist, work title, publication information, size, and location, when known.  H.P. Lovecraft fans will simply have to have this book. Because of its sheer size and scope, this book will never be reprinted and will sell out very quickly. Twenty years down the road people will be paying huge prices for this book because of its scope and the quality of reproductions. This is the H.P. Lovecraft fan's dream come true. Don't miss it!”

WHAT THE MOUSE FOUND by Charles De Lint (Subterranean Press, Signed and Numbered Limited Edition (400 copies) Hardcover, $45.00) -  This special collection gathers for the first time a number of obscure and unpublished children's stories by master storyteller Charles de Lint, each story featuring a brand new illustration.  Table of Contents:, "What the Mouse Found", "Oakey Bedokey", "Gnomin' in the Gloamin", "Tip & the Lion", and "Maple Sugar".

SLIVERS OF BONE by Ray Garton (Cemetery Dance, Signed Limited Edition (1000 copies) Hardcover, $40.00) - Slivers of Bone is the first full-length collection from Ray Garton in almost a decade!  Featuring over 500 pages of dark fiction (including two new novellas that weigh in at 100 pages of never-before-read fiction!), as well as classic and hard-to-find reprints, this is a lengthy and stunning collection of horror and dark suspense!  Contents - The Guy Down The Street, Second Opinion, Website, The Homeless Couple, 411, Monsters, Hair of the Dog, Punishments, Weird Gig, The Other Man, The Picture of Health, Screams at the Gateway to Fame and Myiasis.

ROPE TRICK by Mark P. Henderson (Ash-Tree, Limited Edition (400 copies) Hardcover, $49.00) - A house with a sinister history; dark shadows; creaking doors; thunderstorms; disappearing corpses; tombs with cryptic inscriptions; mysterious, half-seen figures. There are those who assert that a good supernatural tale must include at least one of these stereotypical trappings, but Mark P. Henderson would beg to differ. He accepted the challenge of writing a supernatural tale which would not feature any of these clichés, but which would still be creepy and sinister. The resulting story was 'Rope Trick', published in the award-winning Ash-Tree Press anthology Acquainted With The Night, and described by one reviewer as 'profoundly unsettling'.  All of the stories in Rope Trick: Thirteen Strange Tales could be described as unsettling. Eschewing the clichés and conventions of the genre, Henderson has created stories which explore the interactions not only between people and places, but between the histories that make up those people and places. His characters are, for the most part, ordinary people caught up in extraordinary circumstances who, being only human, attempt to apply reason to observations and events which defy all attempts at rationalization, only to find their attempts unsatisfactory at best, and fatal at worst.  Contents - An Incident in Drereton, Crooker, East Norham, De Profundis, Rope Trick, The Well Dresser, Period Instruments, Disappearing Act, Return Ticket, Ticking, Rome Will Rise Again, Genius Loci, What Became of April.

WRECK OF THE GODSPEED AND OTHER STORIES by James Patrick Kelly (Golden Gryphon, Hardcover, $24.95) - For thirty years James Patrick Kelly has been writing award-nominated and -winning short fiction, and these thirteen stories of his recent work are of the high quality and cutting style that is synonymous with him. In Nebula-winner “Burn” a supposedly idyllic world comes to grip with environmental responsibility and environmental terrorists, coupled with the personal decisions that are never clear or easy. In “Men Are Trouble,” nominated for the Nebula award, “devils” have eliminated men from Earth and “seed” woman for procreation; the story revolves around the search for a missing person and the discovery of an underground that is seeking to reestablish the “way things were.” In the Hugo-nominated “The Best Christmas Ever” mechanicals must keep the last man on Earth happy, and do so by throwing him the best, and possibly last, Christmas ever. In the Hugo-nominated, morality tale “Bernardo’s House” we meet a high-tech house and artificial woman, controlled by an AI, pining away awaiting the return of Bernardo—that is, until someone does visit. A HAL-like interstellar ship and a colorful group of pilgrims seek new worlds to explore in “The Wreck of the Godspeed,” but is the ship’s AI acting a bit strange? Is the AI going insane, or is something unique happening? The man who killed the last mammoth; will he be remembered as the hero, with “Luck”? To what extent will TV programs of the future go to get ratings? Ask the sentient “The Leila Torn Show.” In “The Dark Side of Town” the problems and temptations of a happy virtual reality versus a dismal real life are examined. What would life be like if one had to pass a test before one could become a “Mother”? A colony ship’s captain is behaving weirdly on “Dividing the Sustain,” and the ship needs a fully functional captain. Where is he, and how will he make his appearance? The Garden of Eden story is retold from the serpent’s view, in “Serpent.” What hath God wrought? Where is “The Edge of Nowhere” and what is past nowhere? “The Ice is Singing” in harmony? Does it sing to you? This collection of Kelly’s recent work provides the reader with new insights into the human psyche, as well as some of the best speculative SF fiction available.

DOGS by Nancy Kress (Tachyon Publications, Trade Paperback, $14.95) - Ex-FBI agent Tessa Sanderson has moved to Tyler, the sleepy Maryland town where she is trying to forget the tragedy of her husband’s death. But her peaceful new life will be shattered, as her new neighbors are suddenly and viciously attacked by their own beloved dogs. The CDC quickly determines that the dogs are infected with a mutated flu triggering the aggression center of their brains; the virus is highly transmissible and there is no known cure. While the feds ruthlessly enact a secret emergency quarantine, suspicious locals prepare to protect their pets by any means necessary. Tyler is ready for war. While struggling to assist the enigmatic Animal Control officer Jess Langstrom, Sanderson is protecting two dark secrets: she is the widow of an Arab who roused the suspicions of her FBI colleagues, and someone is sending her threatening emails in Arabic claiming responsibility for the virus. Already a suspect and running out of time, Tessa Sanderson must go deep undercover in order to expose a deadly conspiracy.

New and Notable

THE SUMMONING by Kelley Armstrong (Harper, Hardcover, $17.99) - Armstrong's first book for young adults is a strong one.  "Chloe Saunders sees dead people.  Yes, like in the films.  The problem is, in real life saying you see ghosts gets you a one-way ticket to the psych ward.  And at 15, all Chloe wants to do is fit in at school and maybe get a boy to notice her.  But when a particularly violent ghost haunts her, she gets noticed for all the wrong reasons.  Her seemingly crazed behavior earns her a trip to Lyle House, a centre for 'disturbed teens'.  At first Chloe is determined to keep her head down.  But then her roommate disappears after confessing she has a poltergeist, and some of the other patients also seem to be manifesting paranormal behavior.  Could that be a coincidence? Or is Lyle House not quite what it seems. . . .?" This novel is paced so quickly and is so enjoyable to read that I happily overlooked the few plot inconsistencies that I noticed.  Recommended by Jude.

TOLL THE HOUNDS - THE MALAZAN BOOK OF THE FALLEN VOL. 8 by Steven Erikson (Bantam UK, Hardcover, $39.82) FINALLY!  Here are import copies for those of you who cannot wait for the simultaneous September release of both the US Hardcover and Trade Paperback.

THE COMPLETE BOOKS OF CHARLES FORT by Charles Fort (Dover, Trade Paperback, $32.95) Now here's a cool new arrival!  Complete texts of The Book of the Damned, Lo!, Wild Talents, and New Lands in one volume.

THE ACCIDENTAL TIME MACHINE by Joe Haldeman (Ace, Mass Market, $7.99) - Haldeman always delivers.  I haven't read it yet but I'm going to.  Recommended by Alan.

SOUL OF FIRE by Sarah A. Hoyt (Bantam, Mass Market, $6.99)

RED SEAS UNDER RED SKIES by Scott Lynch (Bantam, Mass Market, $6.99) - This followup to THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA has even more clever repartee, derring-do, close escapes and high adventure.  So much, in fact, that the book seems a little scattered, like it has too many simultaneous plots crammed into too short a book; the biggest heist ever, high-stakes gamblers, pirates, poisons and more.  However, it is still _well_ worth your time.  Recommended by Jude.

A COMPANION TO WOLVES by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear (Tor, Mass Market, $6.99)

VICTORY OF EAGLES by Naomi Novik (Del Rey, Hardcover, $25.00) - A very nicely crafted fifth installment in the Temeraire series.  William Laurence, the dragon Temeraire's Captain and friend, when last we met him was in serious trouble with the authorities and, as the novel opens, he's still in a very bad position.  I won't give any spoilers but it will have to suffice to say that the final resolution is well done and leaves prices paid and a new chapter in Temeraire and Laurence's lives about to open.  Recommended by Alan.

THE LAST COLONY by John Scalzi (Tor, Mass Market, $7.99) - The paperback of Scalzi's fourth novel and the third set in the world of Old Man's War.  Overall I liked this one slightly less that his first novel but I thought it was better than Ghost Brigades.  That said, all of Scalzi's work has been stellar and I highly recommend this one.  And, look out for the forth and final (?) novel set in this world, ZOE'S TALE, which will be out this month.  Recommended by Alan.

Special Feature

Editor's Note - Thanks to customer Chris Hsiang for the following enthusiastic review of Neal Stephenson's forthcoming ANATHEM (William Morrow, Hardcover, $29.95).  Borderlands will have signed copies of this title available once the book is released, September 9th, 2008.

ANATHEM, a review

The irreverent polymath Neal Stephenson is the author of the popular novels Snow Crash and The Diamond Age.  He has a devoted following of readers attracted to his exciting cerebral explorations of science and society with a witty rock'n'roll edge.  His last two projects, Cryptonomicon and The Baroque Cycle trilogy, were seen by some to be historical fiction with only a few science fiction elements.  His latest novel, Anathem, is more firmly planted in the science fiction genre, being the first of his books set on another planet.

Human civilization on the alien world Arbre has a seven-thousand year history punctuated by cycles of collapse and rebuilding.  At the novel's beginning technological development seems to be very near our own but with some remnants of much more sophisticated science millennia old.  Our narrator Erasmas, or Raz to his friends, is a young member of a cloistered monastic order of men and women dedicated to understating the Universe through rational thought and scientific method.  The brothers and sisters, or "fraas" and "suurs," of his order have been chosen to stop a potentially devastating threat to their world.  At first glance one might suppose this book to be like The Name of the Rose in space, but this would be an error.  Anathem  is not as fast-paced as Umberto Eco's novel (!) and, very significantly, the members of Erasmas' order are not religious.  In fact they view any spirituality or mysticism with great distaste and suspicion.

The "Cartasian Discipline" developed from something very similar to Pythagoreanism which enjoyed a healthy following in our world until the Second Century CE. This reviewer has spent a few late-night bull sessions wondering what would have happened to Western civilization if instead of Christianity it was shaped by a bunch of people who were Really Into Triangles.  Apparently Neal Stephenson has had similar musings.  Life within the walls of these scientific monasteries resembles a university with eager hip students engaged in constant dialogue with their eccentric ivy-covered professors.  Indeed the first third of the book is mostly a steady stream of intense academic arguments.  I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know and admire Raz and his young friends while being immersed in the the rich and meticulously developed cultural history of Arbre.  It's a bit like the Encyclopedia Brittanica written as a coming-of-age story.

Like all Stephenson's previous novels this book is packed with a wide variety of scientific and philosophical concepts.  Some readers might be turned off by his long esoteric passages about Platonic mathematics or quantum physics. To correct this he has moved three of the longer lectures to the back of the book.  These appendices, or  "calca" as he has dubbed them, are quite entertaining and educational but the story can be enjoyed without them.  It's still a very dense read but those of us who already love Stephenson's work know there will be plenty of action and humor.  You will thrill to scenes of rotary-winged aircraft, mountaineering, bad cell phone manners, martial arts, spacecraft, huge earth-shattering kabooms and the frustration that comes from three -thousand-year-old folding tables.

Another sticking point with Stephenson's novels has been his endings.  I have been a big fan of his ever since I read The Big U in '86 but have always been disappointed by his vague and frankly unsatisfying denouement in each of his books.  It may be after all the detailed world-building he lavishes upon his writing he simply doesn't want the story to end.  I know I didn't hurry to the last page; the ride along the way was too much fun. The end of Anathem works better than his previous books so he is still learning and improving.  We can certainly expect further excellence from this mad genius.

Neal Stephenson is like your very favorite teacher.  You learn everything you'd ever need about a subject from his thoroughly engaging manner.  Then he shows you concepts you never suspected and leaves you hungry to learn even more.  At over 900 pages Anathem can be intimidating, but I strongly recommend you immerse yourself in the world of Arbre.  As you finish you'll look around and realize the universe is much bigger than you realized.  Which is fine because your mind has expanded as well.

-- Chris Hsiang

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

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