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Events and News from Borderlands Books

November, 2008

Chapter One - Event Information, News, and Special Features

Alma Alexander, SPELLSPAM, (Harper, Hardcover, $17.99), Saturday, November 15th at 3:00 pm

Ellen Klages and Geoff Ryman are guests of SF in SF at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building, 582 Market Street, Saturday, November 15th at 7:00 pm

Borderlands Books 11th Anniversary Sale, Sunday, November 16th from 12:00 - 8:00 pm (changed from November 9th)

(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 at the Con

This is a feature that appears periodically, 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.  In this issue we share the newest "overheards" from the World Fantasy Convention in Calgary.  Thanks to Alan Beatts and Rina Weisman for their help in collecting quotes.

"Facebook is, like, mostly for 15-year-olds who can't talk to each other but really want to mate."

"The fake fur covers on the manuscript were a dead giveaway."

"'Crazy' is the new black."

"No, really, you're very entertaining when you're drunk."

"My theme for the con was 'Get Therapy!'"

"I saw the Moody Blues recently.  All of those chubby sixty-something year-old hippies smoking pot were kind of depressing."
"Yeah, and then there was the audience!"

"But freeloading is a lot of fun."

"I had to drive 30 miles to find a coffee shop to write in!  Every Starbucks between the Pacific Ocean and the [Interstate] 5 Freeway is packed full of screenwriters."

"THE LOVELY BONES is the feel-good rape/murder novel of the year."

Special Feature

*Thanks to customer Christopher Hsiang for the following review of AGENT TO THE STARS by John Scalzi (Tor, Trade Paperback, $14.95).  We're looking forward to even more reviews from Chris.*

At last, after all the waiting, it happens: the faint signals from an alien civilization have been detected. The whole planet is thrilled and inspired by the revelation: "We Are Not Alone!" The entire globe's science and technology are kicked into high-gear, launching an expedition to the new-found neighbors. They convert an asteroid into a generation ark, fill it with the best and the brightest, and cast them off for the long voyage across the void. After many lonely decades the ship finally reaches that Little Blue Marble, stealthily inserts itself in orbit, and hunkers down to learn from the various entertainment and news broadcasts from the planet Earth.
A bunch of blobs loafing about watching teevee-- sounds a lot like us, right? No, not really, they are literally blobs. These explorers, the Yherajk, are translucent, gelatinous masses of undifferentiated cells who communicate amongst themselves by aerially transmitted long chain organic molecules. In the words of Joshua, the main representative of the Yherajk:"We look like snot, and we smell like dead fish. . . We have seen The Blob, and it is us." After studying our media concerning aliens they realize that if they were to land at the White House, humanity's first reaction would be to find a cigar-chomping action-hero to punch them in the face (or similar surface area). This is a major image problem. They need help. They go to the true leaders of human culture, Hollywood, and look for an agent to represent them.
AGENT TO THE STARS was John Scalzi's first novel, written way back in 1997. He distributed it online with some success, then got it published as a hardcover through Subterranean Press with a mere 1,500 copies printed. [Editor's note: BIZ AGENT TO THE STARS was Scalzi's second published novel.  He made it available online for free in 1999.  It was released in print form by Sub Press in 2005.] Since then he has written several non-fiction books for the Rough Guide series, maintained "one of the oldest and widely read blogs on the Internet" called Whatever, committed some questionable acts with bacon, and written five very well-received science fiction novels. In the OLD MAN'S WAR series he turned an homage to Heinlein's STARSHIP TROOPERS  on its ear by suggesting that maybe a Human Imperialist war against the rest of the galaxy's species would be a less than good idea. In THE ANDROID'S DREAM there is near-perfect balance between uproarious slapstick silliness and heartfelt deep thought. His next book,THE HIGH CASTLE, is set in the same universe as THE ANDROID'S DREAM and due out in the Fall of '09, so we can expect more adventurous space-comic opera to come. Scalzi is a hot, new(ish), popular writer and deservedly so. He may in time garner the adoration and reverence SF fans bestow upon that master of absurd truth, Douglas Adams. Yeah, I said it; he is Hitchhiker's good and may get better. Now you have a chance to check out his remarkably good first novel.

Once you get past any preconceptions, the weird Yherajk are quite charming and likable, as is the tale's protagonist Tom Stein who belongs to one of Earth's most reviled professions: the Hollywood Agent. Tom is a hot new talent in the Game and will do anything; hustle, wheedle, prevaricate, and just outright lie to get the best deal for his clients. That roster of talent includes all the oft-parodied show-biz types: the Airhead Actor and Actress, the Overbearing Stage Mother, and the Diva Bitch From Hell. All of them, along with the Sleazy Tabloid Reporter, are deftly elevated from two-dimensional caricatures into believable and (mostly) sympathetic characters with an economy of language that takes the breath away from this long-winded reviewer. At first Tom's wacky exploits in La-La Land seem to take precedence to his mission of cosmic importance for his newest client. Is humanity's First Contact taking a backseat to Tom's 10%? Just sit back and enjoy the sunny ride beneath rat-infested palm trees though a very sharp satire of the Industry. Rest assured all the apparent loose ends in this complex madcap plot are tied up by the exciting conclusion. But this is more than light-hearted parody and side-splitting gags. Scalzi weaves biting social commentary and weighty ethical conundrums with sobering meditations on grief and loss from the small and personal to a planet-wide and historical scale. Witty, perceptive and never dull, AGENT TO THE STARS is a fast read but ultimately satisfying on many levels.
Along with the humor and sensitivity I noticed other emergent hallmarks of Scalzian prose. You may recognize scenes of Important Ceremonies going awry; strange beings who communicate by smell or who can share consciousness; ordinary humans (more or less) chosen as Symbols of Great Cultural Significance who still deal with the mundane aspects of life, "Hey, Mr. big-shot Messiah, now it's time to mow the lawn!"; oh, and fart jokes, lots of them. This isn't a complaint, mind you. All the greatest Grand Masters of the field have used their own themes and motifs repeatedly with great effect. Just sayin': Scalzi, I'm watching you -- and I like what I see. He also, in his acknowledgments, always thanks not just the usual suspects but also the cover illustrator, design team, and copy editor. Now that is just pure class.
My only real criticism is so nerdishly geeky I should never ever speak of it at all. Okay, it goes like this: if the Yherajk native language uses only scent, why do they have names and vocabulary so difficult for us to pronounce vocally? Wouldn't they call themselves "the People" or "the Fluid Ones"? Are they just screwing with us? But I digress.
If ever filmed, AGENT TO THE STARS will play more like a classic screwball comedy than "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" or "Independence Day" and I am thankful for the difference. The aliens bring neither the threat of enslavement nor a message of galactic peace; they just want to get to know us and maybe hang out over some pizza. There have been some complaints recently that science fiction has been overrun with dystopian futures and overall pessimism. Looking around the world today I can see where this influence might be coming from. I don't know if utopia is even possible, but humor is important to humanity. We will all need a good giggle as we queue up for Soylent Mauve in our matching paper jumpsuits. In all his of his work, John Scalzi cannot keep from being wickedly funny. It's just his nature. Scalzi's worlds may not be perfect but in them a handful of sarcastic smart-asses with their hearts in the right place can always save the day, at least until the next screw-up. If that isn't optimism, I don't know what is.

- Christopher Hsiang


*Cafe Blog
The Borderlands Cafe blog is live!  Revel in some truly terrifying photos of the space as it used to be, and watch our progress! <>

*Scathingly Funny Fantasy Books Retitled with PhotoShop:
(Warning, do not try to drink anything while examining this link.)

*World Fantasy Award Winners
Winners of the World Fantasy Awards were announced in Calgary last weekend.  The award for Best Novel went to YSABEL by Guy Gavriel Kay.  We offer congratulations to all the winners.  Complete list of nominees and winners here: <>

*Book Cover Poster Giveaway
Come and getcher posters!  We have a bunch of book cover posters to give away to local customers. (Sorry, I really can't ship them.)  Here's the deal: one to a customer, first email to reserve the poster gets it, and ya gotta pick 'em up by November 22nd.  It's fine to state a second preference, too. We've got: Barth Anderson THE MAGICIAN AND THE FOOL; Kelley Armstrong THE SUMMONING; Kage Baker THE HOUSE OF THE STAG; Greg Bear THE CITY AT THE END OF TIME; Steven Erikson TOLL THE HOUNDS; David Farland THE WYRMLING HORDE; Peter F. Hamilton THE DREAMING VOID; Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson PAUL OF DUNE;  Jay Lake ESCAPEMENT;  Brandon Sanderson THE HERO OF AGES; S.M. Stirling, THE SCOURGE OF GOD; Harry Turtledove THE MAN WITH THE IRON HEART; and David Weber BY SCHISM RENT ASUNDER.

Fox 2000 has acquired rights to the 1974 novel THE FOREVER WAR by Joe Haldeman, and "Ridley Scott is planning to make it into his first
science fiction film since he delivered back-to-back classics with Blade
Runner and Alien," Variety reported. "Scott intended to follow those films with THE FOREVER WAR, but rights complications delayed his plans for more than two decades. 'I first pursued FOREVER WAR 25 years ago, and the book has only grown more timely and relevant since,' said Scott. 'It's a science-fiction epic, a bit of THE ODYSSEY by way of BLADE RUNNER, built upon a brilliant, disorienting premise.'"  Read the complete announcement here: <>

*Interview with Del Howison, owner of Dark Delicacies
Blogcritics Magazine has done an interview with Del Howison that's very illuminating.  Enjoy it here: <>

*Examiner Book-and-Alcohol Pairings
An amusing article to assist you in choosing the right alcoholic beverage to accompany your book.  Includes several genre options!

*Interview with Neal Stephenson
In the following lengthy interview with Neal Stephenson, the best-selling author recalls an anecdote that occurred at Borderlands:

*We are sorry to report the death of best-selling author Michael Crichton.  Link to the New York Times obituary here:

Cafe News

I.  Am.  So.  Tired.

But, the work is going along really well.  In the past month, I've completed --

1)  All the framing work (with major help from my brother Joe).
2)  Prep for the tile installation (and _that_ was miserable.  Working a circular saw on its side to trim down floor joists (big wood things) while blasting a fine spray of charcoal dust into my nostrils.  The side effects are better not imagined and I'm sure not going to discuss them.  It was ugly).
3)  The rough electrical (where I was working alongside electrician par excellance Tom Doyle of Doyle Electric.
4)  And more cleaning, sorting, shopping, and so on that I like to think about . . . plus a little bit of cement work for flavor.

The highly-trained, crack team of commando plumbers, headed by Arjan Bock of ABP, deployed at the same time that the framing and electrical were going on (not a common occurrence, since plumbers and electricians are natural enemies -- I mean, think about it, electricians play around with high voltage and plumbers sometimes shoot jets of (highly conductive) water across the room -- bad combination, that).

The long and the short of it is this - I'm the proud possessor of two passed inspections (plumbing and electrical) and the framing inspection is next week.  Once I pass that and get one or two pesky things out of the way, it's time to call the drywall guys so they can cover up all my (and other's) hard work.  While they're at it, I'll be sitting in a lawn chair and sipping a cocktail . . . Not.  

I still need to repair the floor (which will be even nicer than the one in the bookstore but is going to take a lot of work to get there) and there are also all those pesky details like finding vendors for our supplies and applying for a license from the city to operate.

If you want to see pictures, go to and check out the blog.

- Alan "I'm not a contractor, I just found this hammer" Beatts

From The Office

Just Stop!

A few months ago I was chatting with some friends about those series where one should just stop part-way through.  It's not surprising that this happens to some sequences of novels.  Most fiction work is subject to "Jumping the Shark," whether it be novel series, television programs, or movie franchises.  (As an aside, that term was coined about the old TV show, "Happy Days," about which there is almost universal agreement that the point when the show became unwatchable was when one of the major characters actually jumped a shark . . . while on water skies . . . wearing, fer' gods' sake, a leather jacket and shorts).

What surprised me was the almost universal agreement among those present (which included two editors, two publishers, three booksellers, and several readers).  For your amusement let me present some of our conclusions.

The Dune series by Frank Herbert - Stop at the first book, Dune.  If you really loved it, you may read the second, Dune Messiah.  But stop there.

The Amber books by Roger Zelazny - The first set, one through five (Nine Princes in Amber to The Courts of Chaos), are excellent.  Don't even bother reading the second five (The Trumps of Doom to The Prince of Chaos).

The Ender books by Orson Scott Card - Read the first one, Ender's Game.  Then, please, please, please do stop.  Skip wwaaayyy ahead and read Ender's Shadow.  Then stop for good.  And while you're at it, you might want to skip the rest of his work entirely.

The Anita Blake series by Laurel Hamilton - They continue to deliver all the way up to Obsidian Butterfly, which is volume 9.  After that, stop (unless, of course, you like porn, porn, porn, with a side of porn.  But in that case, my I suggest Penthouse's Forum magazine?  It's much cheaper and comes out every month.)

The Thomas Covenant trilogy of trilogies by Steven Donaldson.  Read the first three (Lord Foul's Bane, The Illearth War, and The Power That Preserves) then stop.  Not only are the later books inferior but they spoil your appreciation of the central character because they remove his only admirable trait.

The Xanth novels by Piers Anthony - Read the first three.  They're really quite clever and funny.  But then the jokes run out, the puns become onerous, and they just aren't _good_ anymore.  But, wow, have they gone on . . . and on . . . and on (Anthony is up to number 29 now . . . and people still buy them . . . wonders will _never_ cease).

In closing let me note two things.  First, the series on this list are notable because they start out really quite well (hell, Dune is one of the great classics of our field) and _then_ decline.  If I were listing series that started bad and got worse this article would go on forever.  Second, I'm being a bit mean for the sake of humor.  If you as a reader liked, oh, let's say, Xanth #25 -- good for you.  Believe me, I read some complete crap for fun and I love it.  Our genre is all about entertainment and, if you're being entertained by a book instead of the idiot-box, you're _way_ ahead of the majority of the population.

- Alan Beatts

Top Sellers At Borderlands

1. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
2. The Steel Remains by Richard K. Morgan (UK)
3. The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
4. Nation by Terry Pratchett
5. Anathem by Neal Stehenson
6. Temporal Void by Peter F. Hamilton (UK)
7. Return of the Crimson Guard by Ian Cameron Esslemont (UK)
8. White Sands, Red Menace by Ellen Klages
9. Leather Maiden by Joe R. Lansdale
10. A Lion Among Men by Gregory Maguire tie with
         Half a Crown by Jo Walton

Mass Market:
1. Halting State by Charles Stross
2. Making Money by Terry Pratchett
3. The City, Not Long After by Pat Murphy
4. The Last Colony by John Scalzi
5. Extraordinary Engines edited by Nick Gevers
6. Dragonhaven by Robin McKinley
7. The Merchants' War by Charles Stross
8. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
9. Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan
10. Necropath by Eric Brown

Trade Paperback:
1. Steampunk edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer
2. Shadow of the Scorpion by Neal Asher
3. The Living Dead edited by John Joseph Adams
4. Toll the Hounds by Steven Erikson
5. The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages

Notes From a DVD Geek

It’s not quite the Christmas season yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start looking for gifts, or for things to put on your list.  Here’s some stuff that might appeal to a genre movie buff.

First up is the giant pink Jedi in the living room:  Love ‘em or hate em, the "Star Wars" prequel trilogy has been out on DVD for some time, and if you’ve just been avoiding them altogether, now is your chance to get all three movies in one.  This special edition package contains all the bonus material from the previous releases, and has a documentary that hasn’t been previously released.  If you are going to own it, this may be the way to go.

Following on the heels of this is the computer animated "Star Wars: Clone Wars" movie, which covers the events between the 2nd and 3rd prequel movies.  This one looks pretty, and features the ultimate badass, Christopher Lee as the voice of Count Dooku.  It’s pretty much worth watching,  if only in order to hear Lee chew up the audio and CGI scenery.

Speaking of wonderfully flawed eye candy, "Hellboy 2: The Golden Army," directed by Guillermo del Toro, is making its way to DVD.  This one has all the gruff Ron Perlman action you can shake a stick at, a Danny Elfman score and of course, a Moody Albino Elf-prince.  Worth seeing at least once or twice.

One movie hitting DVD in November you should not miss is the new movie from Minami Kawasaki ("The Calamari Wrestler" and "Kani Goalkeeper").  It is called "Executive Koala".  Imagine the visual stylings of "Kung Fu Hustle," directed by David Lynch, telling the story of an anthroporphic koala/salary man in the seedy jungles of Japanese office life.  Okay? You got that in your head?  Now make it ten times more weird.  Don’t miss this one.

Another absolutely weird film from Japan is Takashi Mike’s "Happiness of the Katakuris".  This movie features a hotel where the guests keep dying before they can check out, claymation, and several musical numbers.  Very different from his horror material, but equally strange.  Think "Wallace and Grommit" meet "Motel Hell". . . except Mike makes it weird. . .

The really important movie from Japan hitting DVD this month is "The Girl Who Leapt Through Time," directed by Mamoru Hosoda.  It is an animated adventure/drama about a girl who discovers she has the power to go back in time.  Miyazaki fans should not miss this one, as it is right up your alley, and as powerful as anything the old master produced. And I don’t say that lightly.  I know I’m setting the bar pretty high, but this movie is pretty damn special.

And, from the vaults of Classic American Television, I give you "The Night Gallery," finally available on DVD.  Season One is already out, and Season Two comes out this month.  Season Two has a special place in my heart because the 19th episode is the adaptation of Manley Wade Wellman’s “The Devil is Not Mocked” which features Nazis and Dracula.  Nuff said.

Till next month . . . .

- Jeremy Lassen

Book Club Info

The Gay Men's Book Club will meet on Sunday, November 9th, at 5 pm to discuss OTHERLAND: CITY OF GOLDEN SHADOW by Tad Williams.  Please contact the group leader, Christopher Rodriguez, at, for more information.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club will meet on Sunday, November 16th, at 6 pm to discuss SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.  The book for January is OLD MAN'S WAR by John Scalzi.  Please contact Jude at for more information.

Upcoming Event Details

Alma Alexander, SPELLSPAM, (Harper, Hardcover, $17.99), Saturday, November 15th at 3:00 pm - From the author's site: "What do you get when ordinary e-mail spam becomes infused with magic? Spellspam—and it’s not supposed to exist. As far as Thea Winthrop and her friends know, computers are completely magically inert, making them ideal vehicles for storing magic spells, not casting them. But all that seems to have changed as students at Wandless Academy find themselves the victim of practical jokes—with magical consequences—simply by opening an e-mail.
Now the spellspams are getting worse, and it’s possible there’s someone behind them who is not just bent on stirring up trouble but has a much scarier and more far-reaching agenda. Until now, Thea herself has been the only person she’s even heard of who can reach through the computer using magic. But Thea's match is out there, and even her friends can’t help her track down the source of the spellspam before it gets much, much worse.
This sequel to GIFT OF THE UNMAGE ups the ante on a fantasy world that is rich and nuanced, like our own, but with a core of wildly original magic."  Meet the popular author of THE SECRETS OF JEN-SHEI at Borderlands!

Ellen Klages and Geoff Ryman are guests of SF in SF at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building, 582 Market Street, Saturday, November 15th at 7:00 pm - We are very excited to help SF in SF welcome these distinguished guests, one from right in the neighborhood, and one from over the ocean!  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 event) 415-572-1015.  Questions? Email

Borderlands Books 11th Anniversary Sale, Sunday, November 16th from 12:00 - 8:00 pm (changed from November 9th) - Celebrate 11 years of Borderlands with us!  We only have two sales a year, and this is the big one: buy any two used books and get a third one of equal or lesser value for free.  Collectable books are not included in this deal, but they will be 10% off all day long, and finally, everything else in the store will be 20% off (artwork, employees, and cats excluded, sorry)!  The sale will only run for one day, and this sale only happens once a year, so mark your calendars for Sunday, November 16th.  THANK YOU all for your support.

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

THE SHADOW OF THE SCORPION by Neal Asher (Night Shade Books, Trade Paperback, $14.95) - From Night Shade: "Ian Cormac's early years!  Raised to adulthood during the end of the war between the human Polity and a vicious alien race, the Prador, Ian Cormac is haunted by childhood memories of a sinister scorpion-shaped war drone and the burden of losses he doesn't remember.
Cormac signs up with Earth Central Security and is sent out to help restore and maintain order on worlds devastated by the war. There he discovers that though the Prador remain as murderous as ever, they are not anywhere near as treacherous or dangerous as some of his fellow humans, some closer to him than he would like.
Amidst the ruins left by wartime genocides, Cormac will discover in himself a cold capacity for violence and learn some horrible truths about his own past while trying to stay alive on his course of vengeance." Recommended by Alan.

BACKUP by Jim Butcher (Subterranean Press, Hardcover, $20.00) - From Subterranean Press: "'Let's get something clear right up front.
I'm not Harry Dresden.  Harry's a wizard. A genuine, honest-to-goodness wizard. He's Gandalf on crack and an IV of Red Bull, with a big leather coat and a .44 revolver in his pocket. He'll spit in the eye of gods and demons alike if he thinks it needs to be done, and to hell with the consequences--and yet somehow my little brother manages to remain a decent human being.  I'll be damned if I know how.  But then, I'll be damned regardless.  My name is Thomas Raith, and I'm a monster.'
So begins 'Backup' a twelve thousand word novelette set in Jim Butcher's ultra-popular Dresden Files series. This time Harry's in trouble he knows nothing about, and it's up to his big brother Thomas to track him down and solve those little life-threatening difficulties without his little brother even noticing."

THE WALL OF AMERICA by Thomas Disch (Tachyon Publications, Trade Paperback, $14.95) - From Tachyon: "Following the breakout novel, THE WORD OF GOD, these surreal, satiric stories pay a mesmerizing visit to the shadowy zone that lies between everyday life as we now know it and a perilous near future that is frighteningly tangible. In "The Wall of America," the Department of Homeland Security has put up a border wall between the U.S. and Canada. But the NEA has plans for the wall as well, turning it into the world’s largest art gallery. After the Rapture, working-class life for "A Family of the Post-Apocalypse" is not as different as one might imagine, despite the occasional plague of biker-gang locusts. Between addiction and art is "Ringtime," where a criminal is trapped in a recursive compulsion to visit other people’s memories while he is forced to record his own for an eager audience. A Somali schoolgirl living in post-WWIII Minneapolis goes on a bloody crusade to rid her town of a familiar predator, one who might just be a monster, in "White Man." Vivid, starkly imagined, and strikingly articulate, this disquieting collection is a journey that skillfully straddles the line between playful absurdity and pointed irony."

THE SNOW IMAGE AND OTHER STORIES OF THE SUPERNATURAL by Nathaniel Hawthorne (Tartarus Press, Limited Edition (300 copies) Hardcover, $65.00) - From Tartarus Press: "This volume presents the best of Nathaniel Hawthorne's short supernatural fiction in thirty-three stories from 'The Hollow of the Three Hills' (1830) to 'The Ghost of Doctor Harris' (1856). One of the giants of nineteenth-century American literature -- author of the classic novel THE SCARLET LETTER -- Hawthorne was brought up in Puritan New England. His strictly supervised childhood and vivid imagination created his lifelong fixation with the 'unpardonable sin', the darkness of the human mind and the uncertain shadowlands of the soul."

FAST SHIPS, BLACK SAILS edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer (Night Shade Books, Trade Paperback, $14.95) - From Night Shade: "Swashbuckling from the past into the future and space itself, FAST SHIPS, BLACK SAILS . . . presents an incredibly entertaining volume of original stories guaranteed to make you walk and talk like a pirate.  Come along for the voyage with bestselling authors Naomi Novik, Garth Nix, Carrie Vaughn, Dave Freer, Michael Moorcock, and Eric Flint, as well as such other stellar talents as Kage Baker, Sarah Monette, Elizabeth Bear, Steve Aylett, and Conrad Williams--all offering up a veritable treasure chest of piratical adventure, the likes of which has never been seen in the four corners of the Earth. Highlights include a brand-new Garth Nix Sir Hereward & Mr. Fitz novella, as the two clever ne'er-do-wells storm the sea-gates of the scholar-pirates of Sarkoe.  If ever you had a yearning for adventure on the high seas, now's the time to indulge it, with FAST SHIPS, BLACK SAILS. You'll return with a sword shoved through your sash, booty in a safe harbor, and beer on your breath. We promise." Recommended by Jude.

New and Notable

SWALLOWING DARKNESS - MERRY GENTRY VOL. 7 by Laurell K. Hamilton (Ballantine, Hardcover, $26.00)

THE TEMPORAL VOID - VOID TRILOGY VOL. 2 by Peter F. Hamilton (Pan Macmillan, Hardcover, $34.10) - We have just a few signed copies of the British first edition.  Reserve yours quickly, because they're going fast!

PRETTY MONSTERS by Kelly Link, illustrated by Shaun Tan (Viking, Hardcover, $19.99) - Kelly Link's site tells us that PRETTY MONSTERS contains: "Nine short Stories, and a phone booth in Las Vegas; Aliens; Unhelpful wizards; Possibly carnivorous sofas; A handbag with a village inside it; Tennessee Fainting Goats; Dueling librarians; A statue of George Washington, A boy named Onion; Pirates; An undead babysitter; A nationally-ranked soccer player;  Shapeshifters; An unexpected campfire guest -- And drawings by SHAUN TAN".  Really, how can you resist?  Recommended by Jude.

A LION AMONG MEN by Gregory Maguire (William Morrow, Hardcover, $26.95) - The third in Maguire's re-imagined OZ series tells the story of the dreadfully misunderstood Cowardly Lion, both before and after his adventures with Dorothy.

THE QUIET WAR by Paul McAuley (Gollancz, Trade Paperback, $23.72) -  THE QUIET WAR finds Paul McAuley returning to his roots with the first volume of a new space opera!


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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