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Events and News from Borderlands Books

December, 2009

Chapter One - Event Information, News, and Special Features

Mission Holiday Block Party, Friday, December 11th from 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Borderlands Holiday Potluck, Thursday, December 17th from 6:00 - 8:00 pm

Scott Sigler, THE ROOKIE, (Dark Overlord Press, Signed and Numbered Limited Edition (3000 copies) Hardcover, $34.95) - Saturday, January 9th at 3:00 pm

Jeff Carlson, PLAGUE ZONE (Ace, Mass Market, $7.99) - Saturday, January 16th at 3:00 pm

SF in SF (at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building, 582 Market Street) presents authors Jeff Carlson and Nancy Etchemendy, Saturday, January 16th at 7:00 pm

Mike Oliveri, THE PACK: WINTER KILL (EvilEye Books, Trade Paperback, Price TBA) - Sunday, January 17th at 3:00 pm

(for more information check the end of this section)

Borderlands has an "event hiatus" between Thanksgiving and New Year's, but stay tuned, because we already have some great events lined up for next year, including a panel discussion on Marion Zimmer Bradley with Diana Paxson and Deborah J. Ross, and readings with Terry Bisson, Robin Hobb, Connie Willis, and many others! 

Cafe Announcements

If you missed the news last month, Borderlands Cafe is finally going live this month! We open to the public December 18th, but you'll have a chance to get a sneak preview at our Holiday Potluck on Thursday, December 17th from 6:00 - 8:00 pm. We do hope you'll join us as we try something totally new, hopefully maintaining the high standards, hospitality and level of service that you've come to expect from the bookstore.

You can help furnish the cafe! We want Borderlands Cafe to be a welcoming, homey place, and what better way to make that happen than to have stuff from all of our homes in it? If you have good condition wooden tables or chairs (wood only, please -- no metal or glass) that you'd like to donate, we can probably use 'em. (We can't, however, use chairs with fabric upholstery. If they have any kind of cushion on 'em, the cushion needs to be nonporous; i.e. leather or vinyl.) I seriously doubt that anyone has them lying around to give away, but if you happen to have a good-condition leather club chair that you don't want, we've got a spot for it in the Cafe. If you've got stuff that fits the above descriptions that you might like to donate, snap and send us a quick photo -- if we think it'll work, we'll be happy to come and pick it up.


*Correction: Your Editor would like to humbly apologize for mistakenly crediting Charlie Jane Anders with writing the blog entry on hating Star Trek that was actually penned by Charlie Stross last month.  I'm sorry, folks -- I don't blow it very often: the last time was mixing up two book reviews so that I described one of David Drake's grimmer books as being hysterically funny -- but there's really no excuse for that kind of carelessness.  I've already apologized directly to both Charlies, but thought it should go out publicly, too.

*In happier news, if you're looking for a friendly way to introduce your little one to the mythology of Lovecraft's Old Ones, look no further than the adorable, animated Lil' Cthulhu!  (It really IS child-friendly, especially if your kids are a little weird.) <>.  Thanks to Scott Sterling for pointing this one out - glad I wasn't trying to drink tea and watch it at the same time!

*We're happy to report that author Jay Lake came through his most recent cancer surgery excellently and has come home from the hospital.   For frequent updates on Jay's progress, you can follow Shannon Page's blog: <>

*The collaborative audiobook HEARTS, KEYS AND PUPPETRY, penned by "Neil Gaiman and the Twitterverse," is available to download for free here: <>

*Borderlands is offering our customary free gift wrapping for the holidays, but it comes with a caveat: we'll do our absolute best, but some of us are better at wrapping than others, and it is vaguely possible that your package may come out to be "of no human shape". 

*It seems too good to be true, but is actually looking for bloggers to hire (and pay!) for blogging about "MMO Games, LARP & Ren Faires, Tabletop and Collectible Card Games, Tabletop Wargames, PC & Console Games, Comics/Graphic Novels, Cosplay/Memorabilia, and Indie Music & Film".  Think you've got what it takes?  Fill out the application here:<>

*Thanks to author Simon Wood for sending the following: "Simon Wood's second novella under his horror pen name Simon Janus is out. ROAD RASH is featured in the 4-story anthology BUTCHER SHOP QUARTET 2.   It features a bank robber on the run who steals a car from the scene of a fatal car accident and he picks up more than just a damaged vehicle.  The book also features stories by Greggard Penance, Rick J. Brown, Vince Churchill and R. Lenard Brown."

*We are sorry to report the death of beloved fantasist Robert Holdstock, who passed away November 29th at the age of 61.  The Guardian UK has a good obituary here: <>

*If you missed the event at Borderlands, you can watch Deborah Beale and Tad Williams talk about the business of writing on video!  Filmed in the store October 3rd, 2009. <> Additional video where Deborah and Tad talk about the process of becoming a writer: <>.

*I know that some of you just can't get enough cute cat pictures.  Thanks to pipercat99 for posting the following on Flickr: <> and <>.  (You may also note the horrendous hole in the bookstore's ceiling from plumbing issues that managed to make it into both photos!  It's fixed now.)

*FYI, the Cafe will be open 8:00 am - 9:00 pm seven days a week.  We'll be closing early (at 6:00 pm on Christmas and New Year's Eves,) and we'll be closed for Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

*Don't miss the big Recession Used Book Sale in the Cafe in the next few weeks!  Until we get our magazine stock in, used books in the cafe will be $.50 each including tax, or twelve books for $5, or twenty-five books for $12 including tax!

*A bit more silliness, and perhaps a great holiday gift: a Tauntaun sleeping bag! <>

Holiday Gift Guide

(Thanks to Salem Evans for major assistance in compiling this year's Gift Guide while I ran around doing cafe stuff! - Ed.)

*Zombies, zombies, zombies
For the zombie enthusiast on your list, the penultimate survival guide now comes in three great flavors:
a) Original (THE ZOMBIE SURVIVAL GUIDE by Max Brooks, Three Rivers Press Trade Paperback $14.95)
b) Flashcards (THE ZOMBIE SURVIVAL GUIDE DECK by Max Brooks, Potter Style, $13.95 - Instructional deck of 50 cards: vital lists, tips and diagrams with even more illustrations than the original book!)
c) Novel (WORLD WAR Z: AN ORAL HISTORY OF THE ZOMBIE WAR by Max Brooks, Three Rivers Press,  Trade Paperback, $14.95 and Hardcover, $24.95)   If you or the folks on your list can't get enough zombies, there's also a lovely new hardcover gift edition of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith, available.  It's called THE DELUXE HEIRLOOM EDITION (Chronicle Books, Hardcover, $24.95). Additionally, we've got something we can _guarantee_ they don't already have - the "My Zombie Pinup Calendar 2010 - Where beauty eats BRAAAIIINNNNSSS," which is exactly what it sounds like; sexy undead girls in cute risque' outfits, published by good ol' local folks. (, $19.99).  The publisher's website says "We dug up the idea of the 1950's vintage pin-up calendar and hit it over the head with a shovel"!

*As I do every year, I'm  recommending hardcover volumes of well-loved classics for your gift-giving pleasure.  We've got nice hardcover editions of DUNE by Frank Herbert (Ace, $29.95),  THE MISTS OF AVALON by Marion Zimmer Bradley (Del Rey, $30.00), THE PRINCESS BRIDE by William Goldman (Ballantine, $24.95), GOOD OMENS by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (William Morrow, $29.95), and many, many others.

*Ah, media!  We've got lots of TWILIGHT and its successors by Stephanie Meyer, a nice box set of the first three books in the Percy Jackson series (the first book has just been made into an eponymous movie called THE LIGHTNING THIEF), and, of course, WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE by Maurice Sendak (Harper, Hardcover, $17.95) a timeless favorite.  We also have the excellent new NightShade Books anthology IMPROBABLE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES edited by John Joseph Adams (Trade Paperback, $15.95), and, no, that's absolutely not meant to be Jude Law on the cover!  We can represent the "Weird Tales" side of Holmes, too, with GASLIGHT GROTESQUE: NIGHTMARE TALES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES edited by J.R. Campbell and Charles Prepolec (EDGE, Trade Paperback, $16.95).

Speaking of calendars, we have lots of personal day calendars and wall calendars, with a theme for absolutely anyone:  from fine art by Michael Parkes to Bunny Suicides, from Escher to Roald Dahl, from Giger to Breaking Bad News With Baby Animals, from Dr. Suess to Unicorns and oh-so-many more!  Over 50 to choose from.  Calendars range in price from $7.99 to $19.99.

Everything from simple geometric designs to dragons, skulls, and scorpions. Rings range in price from $4.99 - $24.00.

*Edward Gorey
We have a wide array of Gorey merchandise in the store. A few examples include:
a) GOREY'S DRACULA: A TOY THEATRE (Pomegranate, $24.95) - Paper dolls for grownups, (or especially morbid children) based on Gorey's 1970's design for the staged "Dracula".
b) EDWARD GOREY: THE NEW POSTER BOOK (Pomegranate, Oversized Softcover, $19.95) - a collection of some of his most well known illustrations
c) The ever-popular and enduring GASHLYCRUMB TINIES (Harcourt, Small Hardcover, $10.00) - "A is for Amy, who fell down the stairs / B is for Basil, assaulted by bears. . ."
Additionally, we have all of the AMPHIGOREY collections and lots and lots of the individual books, including my all-time favorite, THE CURIOUS SOFA (Harcourt, Small Hardcover, $10.00) which claims to be "a pornographic work by Ogdred Weary" -- actually just suggestive and very funny and not pornographic at all.

*FAMOUS LAST WORDS: FOND FAREWELLS, DEATHBED DIATRIBES AND EXCLAMATIONS UPON EXPIRATION edited by Ray Robinson (Workman, Small Hardcover, $9.95) - This book puts famous last words and the last words of the famous into context. It runs the gamut from weird and irreverent to honestly touching.

*THE POP-UP BOOK OF PHOBIAS by Gary Greenberg and Balvis Rubess (William Morrow and Co., Oversized Hardcover, $29.95) - Guaranteed to get you out of baby-sitting for the rest of your life.  We also carry THE POP-UP BOOK OF NIGHTMARES.  

There are still some hand-made steampunk clocks (made with found wood and weird dials and, in one specially memorable case, an enormous flat hard drive and bits of church organ) from local Black Heart Industries left! For an extra special gift, or for the geek who has everything.

*Speaking of steampunk, it's everywhere now - steampunk is the new zombies!  If you want to be right on top of the trend, pick up BONESHAKER by Cherie Priest (Tor, Trade Paperback,  $15.99) LEVIATHAN by Scott Westerfeld (Simon Pulse, Hardcover, $19.99), BOILERPLATE: HISTORY'S MECHANICAL MARVEL by Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett (Abrams, Oversized Hardcover, $24.95), MAINSPRING by Jay Lake (Tor, Mass Market, $7.99), SOULLESS by Gail Carriger (Orbit, Mass Market, $7.99) or the original STEAMPUNK anthology edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer (Tachyon Publications, Trade Paperback, $14.95).

*Imported wooden boxes
Sizes range from a deck of cards up to small chests with designs including Celtic knots, metalwork, and pentacles.  Recommended for almost anyone.  Prices range from $5.00 to $48.00)

*XKCD book by Randall Munroe (breadpig, Other Softcover, $18.00) -
Good not only for fans of the comic, but for newcomers as well. This book includes extra doodlings and ponderings of the author alongside the mouse-over text from the website.

Tired of glitter-encrusted snowmen and trees? Try writing your Christmas missive on one of these awesome sci-fi postcards. Taken from retro covers of magazines and pulp novels, perennial favorites include "The Gods Hate Kansas" and "Sin In Space"! $1 each.

*THE BLADE ITSELF by Joe Abercrombie (Pyr, Trade Paperback, $15.98) - Are you (or someone dear to you) frustrated with waiting for the next SONG OF ICE AND FIRE book?  Do you (or they) like fantasy hugely bloody, with a thread of dark humor?  This is our recommendation; a trilogy that's actually finished, with an additional book (BEST SERVED COLD, the start of a new series) that stands just fine on its own and is one of my favorite titles from 2009.

*AMERICAN FANTASTIC TALES edited by Peter Straub) (Library of America, 2 hardcover volumes in slipcase, $70.00) - From the Library of America website: "From its beginning, American literature teems with tales of horror, hauntings, terrifying obsessions and gruesome incursions, of the uncanny ways in which ordinary reality can be breached and subverted by the unknown and the irrational. In the tales of Poe, and Hawthorne, and their literary successors, the bright prospects of the New World face an uneasy reckoning with the forces of darkness. As this pathbreaking two-volume anthology demonstrates, it is a tradition with many unexpected detours and hidden chambers, and one that continues to evolve, finding new forms and new themes."  I strongly recommend this amazing (and gorgeously packaged) collection.  One volume covers "From Poe to the Pulps" and the other covers "The 1940's Until Now".

And, as always, we're glad to help make suggestions, and we have gift certificates if you're just not sure.  We can also arrange for gift credits -- essentially gift certificates that you can give to out-of-town folks to be used for mail orders -- if some of the genre fans in your life live remotely.

Happy holidays to you, from all of us!

Overheard in the Store

Okay, so normally this section is called "Overheard at the Con," and we only print it when we attend conventions & overhear things at them.  Well, you guys are just so gosh-darn quotable that we'll be expanding the section to include funny, out-of-context things we occasionally overhear at the store, too.  (And no fair oh-so-casually dropping funny quotes just so we'll include them in the newsletter!)

"I don't know, it was disturbing - there's just something about Lolita with a whip."

"My parents are FedEx-ing smoked turkey and green-beans to the bookstore for me.  Can you sign for that?"

"This poem is about "Gilligan's Island".  Then The Skipper starts tearing peoples' legs off."

"Build a man a fire and you've kept him warm for the night; light a man on fire and you've kept him warm for the rest of his life."

"Sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from malice."

Cafe News

We're almost there.  As of right now the staff is hired and training is scheduled.  After a few visits from the maintenance guys the refrigerators are holding the correct temperatures.  The furniture is all in (or at least most of it -- we're still scouring CraigsList for a few tables, stools and chairs).  All the suppliers are set and most of them have our initial orders.  Tomorrow our roaster is going to do the espresso (it seemed early to me but he explained that espresso needs to "rest" after being roasted for a few days because otherwise it gets "gassy" -- coffee is weird) and he's going to do the coffee on Monday and hand deliver it to us (he's based in Santa Rosa).

Thus far there have only been two unpleasant surprises.  I've been calling the Health Inspector for two days and he hasn't gotten back to me.  I don't know what's going on and I'm going to try to find out tomorrow.  I'm concerned that he might have been laid-off or something and no one told me.  Anyway, that's a big concern since we have to get out final clearance to open and, if we don't have it by the 18th, we can not open.  But I'm sure I'll be able to get it worked out.  I hope . . . a lot.

The other thing is that our magazine distributor isn't going to be able to have stock to us in time for the opening.  We might have a little bit of stuff but most of it will be late.  But there's an upside to that -- at least for our customers.  For years I used to do big paperback book buys.  I'd go to someone's house and take all the books they wanted to sell for a flat price.  I stopped doing that when the backed up stock started to take up too much room and I realized that it was going to take a _long_ time to sell all of it.  But now I've got a bunch of room where the magazines are going to go in the cafe and nothing to put there.  So we're going to have the Big Holiday Recession-Beating Sale.  All those books are going to be in the cafe when we open and they're all going to be on sale in a big way.

50 cents each, no tax. 

And, twelve for $5 and twenty-five for $10, also no tax.

How can I do that?  Well, there are a couple of things.  1)  I paid quite low prices for them to start off with, 2) we haven't taken the time to inventory them, which saves time and therefore money, 3) and they're not in the bookstore, and so they're not taking up book space.  So, I can let them go for cheap.

Before I go and start looking through supplier catalogs again, there's another thing I wanted to pass along.  We're doing pretty well for plates and stuff like that at the cafe but we could really use some platters and bigger plates (i.e. stuff that's bigger than 10" in the smallest dimension).  I could go to some supply place and get them there but I'd like to have an eclectic mix of stuff as well as liking the idea of having our customers be part of gathering the cafe appointments.  So, if you've got a platter or big plate sitting in the back of your kitchen cupboard that you don't want to hang onto any more (perhaps the one with the repeating pattern of dyspeptic fox hunters on it that you great Aunt Ira-May gave you for Groundhog Day?), bring it down to the store and we'll give you a few bucks for it, or we'll give you some free coffee or something.  Patterns are cool and so are bright, solid colors, but the best ones are illustrated in some way (and, BTW, if someone does have that fox-hunting one that I described, I want it in a big way!).  Bring 'em down anytime and show 'em to Jude or I.  If we're both busy, you can leave it at the counter with your name and address and we'll send you something nice in the mail.

That's about it.  And this is probably the last cafe update I'll write.  We'll be getting the cafe web site up soon, along with a blog and Twitter feed and once that's done, all the cafe news will be there.  Thanks for coming along for the ride and for all the good wishes and help over the years.  I hope to see many of you at the pot-luck on the 17th and then over the days to come at the cafe.

Oh, and one last thing -- the hours are going to be eight in the morning 'til nine in the evening, to start.  In a few months I hope to extend those hours even more.


From The Office

I have a confession to make -- I like Frank Capra movies.  Including "It's A Wonderful Life".  I hope Connie Wills will forgive me for it.  But, despite liking his films, I _hate_ it when I sound like a supporting character in one. And yet . . . .

As you probably have heard ('til you're sick of it, I'll bet), I'm in the final throes of opening the cafe next door to the bookstore.  It's been a long trip (over three years in progress) and the last year or so has been a hellish amount of work.  But, any three weeks of that time was a picnic compared to what the last three weeks have been like (just as a 'fer example -- on Saturday I got to work around eleven in the morning and I went home at eight the following morning).

Two days ago I got a note from my nephew.  I adore him (and his sister) and I've known both of them since they were born.  They're living in Japan right now with my brother and my sister-in-law so I haven't seen them in almost exactly a year.  But, they're going to be out here for the holidays.  In fact, they arrive on the 18th.  Anyway, my nephew wrote me two days ago and asked if I could take him and his sister to Dickens Christmas Fair, where we've gone for the last two years running.  Today I wrote him back and said that I didn't know.  The only days I could take them would be the 19th or the 20th.  Those are the second and third days that the cafe will be open.

I told him I wasn't sure if I could do it but I'd try.  He took it well and said that was fine.

Tonight I was thinking about it though and it wasn't comfortable.  Gods know that I've put a lot of work into getting this business started and it's not a good idea to be absent the first weekend that it's open.  But still . . . .  As a young man I was very sure that "the job" was the most important thing and people were very much secondary.  When I look back on that man, I don't like him very much and I'm grateful that I'm not him anymore.  In time, I started to believe that people were more important than that and even later, I began to think that people mattered more than just about anything else.  To me now, when it all comes down to it, people are the _only_ thing that matters.  But it can be so easy to forget that, especially when my life is busy.

I'm taking my nephew to Dickens Fair.

I wish all of you a happy and peaceful holiday spent with people who matter to you and I hope that the New Year brings you all you hope for.  Thank you for a great year and for your continuing support of Borderlands Books.  We couldn't do it without you and moreover, without you, there wouldn't be any reason _to_ do it.

Warm Regards and Best Wishes,
Alan Beatts

New Media Update

Last month I said that I hoped to have a Buyer's Guide to give you this month but recent events (see below) have made it a short list.  When it really gets down to it and despite all the manufacturers who have announced readers in the past two months, there are really only two choices -- Amazon's Kindle and the Sony line-up of eReaders.  The Nook from Barnes and Noble looked promising but, unless you ordered one already, you're not going to be able to get one in time for the holidays (they're sold out 'til January and perhaps later).

For people who've been reading my comments for a while, you know what I'm going to say . . . get the Sony if you want a reader or if you're planning on giving one as a gift.  Amazon's tightly controlled supply chain (they don't really want you buying your ebooks from anyone else - though there are workarounds for that), their copy protection model, and their demonstrated willingness to remotely delete your books, make them the guy with horns and a pitchfork in the ebook world.  Sony, on the other hand, is willing to work with anyone (you might see their readers in your local indie bookstore this season) and openness to multiple formats (they support what is becoming the industry standard format, ePub) gives them a shiny little halo in my book.  Sony's three readers, the Pocket, Touch, and Daily Edition give a nice range of features and prices.  The thumbnail description of each is --
Pocket ($199) - Cheaper, small and light
Touch ($299) - Bigger and a nicer user experience (it has a touch screen)
Daily ($399) - Wireless download of content if that's what you're looking for.

All three feel much better in the hand than the Kindle as well.

But perhaps the best gift suggestion is that you should wait.  There are going to be a _bunch_ of new readers out in the next six months and many of them will have a bigger and better range of features than anything on the market right now.  Someone compared buying an ebook reader right now to buying a personal digital assistant a few years ago back when they were just on the edge of including cell phone functionality in them as a matter of course.  And I agree with that assessment completely.  Wait six months or a year and the current crop of readers will look _very_ first generation and pretty lame.

And now, on to the company-specific updates.

Amazon -- Still will not say how many Kindles they've sold but they will say that it's their bestselling item across all categories.  They're also trying, a bit late as usual, to deal with the push-back from universities about the problems with the blind using their device.  Many Universities have refused to use Kindles or have sent them back because they cannot be operated by the sight-impaired without assistance.  Granted this is a problem with normal books but, in the case of the Kindle, it's avoidable and so the Unis are pissed.  Amazon has just promised a software update in the summer to fix this issue.

The Hearst Corporation -- Say this for the magazine and news companies, they can give the music industry lessons on ruthlessness and willingness to move fast.  Hearst is working on something they're calling "Skiff" which incorporates both a piece of reader hardware _and_ a virtual storefront.  There are a few things about it which are pretty interesting, such as: despite the hardware element, it will target a variety of devices; it's been in the works for at least 2 years and there's a device getting ready to hit the street; and it's geared to provide a more familiar and visually appealing format than is currently available.  And, they have a multiple-year agreement with Sprint (whom Amazon jilted a few months ago as their wireless provider) to provide the wireless service for content (plus Sprint will sell the readers in their store).  It's an interesting idea and might work, if they can nail the user experience and make it significantly better than the alternatives.

But that's not all they're working on.  They're also part of a consortium of other publishers consisting of Hearst, Conde Nast, Meredith, Time Inc, and News Corp. (BTW -- News Corp. and Hearst, on a very basic level, hate each other with a passion that only newspapermen can feel).  Said group's goals are --
1) Be ready for full-color devices with an application that renders publications "in beautiful form" and in "recognizable" form.
2) Develop a platform that can enable that across multiple devices, operating systems and screens.
3) Develop a common digital storefront where consumers can easily make purchases and get universal access on any device as they buy digital products from their publisher.
4) Work with advertisers to codevelop new advertising forms that John Squires, the temporary head of the group, expects will be more immersive with the power of digital delivery. "This has the potential to be a new and vastly important branding medium for advertisers, particularly with larger screen devices," he says.  And I think he's right.

Wow, when those publishers are willing to work together, they've got to be scared in the "we must hang together or we will all hang separately" sort of way.

Barnes and Noble --  Their Nook has gotten some very nice reviews but, like the Kindle when it came out, not many people are going to be able to get one for Christmas 'cause they're all sold out.  I wonder if it'll take as long to get them back in stock as it did Amazon?  Aside from that, there's no new word on the suit that they're facing from the company that they (probably) stole the design for the Nook from.  Observers are suggesting that Spring Design (the injured party) is waiting for B&N to build up the sales numbers, which will increase the damages that Spring might collect.  We'll see.

Aluratek -- This not-too-terribly-well-known consumer electronics company has reached a new low for eBook reader pricing - $179, beating out Sony by $20.  But it comes with a cost.  The Libre eBook Reader PRO (their caps, not mine) uses a black and white LCD display instead of the more standard eInk display.  That makes for a cheaper device that lacks the weird and slow switch-to-negative-and-then-reload page turn effect of eInk but uses more power (it's only rated for 24 hours of use, which isn't bad but is probably inflated) and isn't as easy on the eyes.  It uses an SD card for date storage and will support up to 32 gig sizes so you can carry around a lot of books on it (though it only ships with a 2 gig card).  Thing is, why so expensive?  The eInk display used in most readers is a big chunk of the cost and so without it, I would think they could price this one even lower.

Apple -- Just today two bits of news came out about Apple.  It's looking like they're placing orders with suppliers for the bits-and-bobs that will make up their Tablet device.  Usual manufacturing and distribution times suggest that it'll be out sometime in March or more likely April.  More importantly for eBooks, it seems that Apple has been talking to publishers about getting their eBook content (this despite Steve Job's disparaging comments about how "nobody reads anymore") and they've been offering a better deal than Amazon (i.e. Amazon tends to split the sales income 50/50 with the publishers whereas Apple is asking for only a 30% cut).  And just think -- Apple has an even better online distribution model than Amazon in the iTunes and the App Store.  This is going to be interesting (and possibly deeply painful for bookstores).

That's it for the roundup.  Not much action this month and next month will probably be quiet as well but February should be interesting.

-Alan Beatts

Top Sellers At Borderlands

1. The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
2. Makers by Cory Doctorow
3. Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman
4. Green by Jay Lake
5. Silver Mage by Katharine Kerr
6. Canticle by Ken Scholes
7. Transition by Iain M. Banks tie with
    American Fantastic Tales 2-Volume Boxed Set edited by Peter Straub
8. Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett
9. The Dragons of Ordinary Farm by Deborah Beale and Tad Williams
10. The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi tie with
      Mariposa by Greg Bear

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. Soulless by Gail Carriger
2. Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
3. Heart of Veridon by Tim Akers
4. Dragons of Babel by Michael Swanwick
5. The Gabble and Other Stories by Neal Asher
6. Dog Days by John Levitt
7. Lord-Protector's Daughter by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
8. Fade Out by Rachel Caine
9. Anathem by Neal Stephenson
10. Lamentation by Ken Scholes

Trade Paperbacks
1. xkcd Volume 0 by Randall Munroe
2. Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
3. Interfictions 2 edited by Christopher Barzak and Delia Sherman
4. Booklife by Jeff VanderMeer
5. Lovecraft Unbound edited by Ellen Datlow

Notes From a DVD Geek

Happy holidays, DVD fans.  I'd like to recommend some gift ideas for the movie geeks you may be buying presents for.  Let's start off with some classics that have really nice editions available.

With James Cameron's latest opus storming theaters this holiday season, I thought the original Cameron masterpiece, "The Abyss," should get some play.  There is a beautiful edition out right now, that has both the theatrical and the extended Director's Cut, along with a ton of extras.  If your secret-Santa buddy is more action-oriented, it's hard to go wrong with Cameron's "Aliens". . . which of course has a beautiful 2 disk collectors edition that has both the theatrical and extended cuts of the movie.  Or, if you just want to go whole hog, there's always the 9 disk "Alien" Quadrology.

Sticking with SF classics, I wanted to point out that Borderlands still has one of the limited edition, 5-disc "Blade Runner" suitcase editions, containing a ridiculous number of cuts of the movie, as well as a bunch of crazy-ass (Origami unicorn?  Flying police car?!?) pieces of "Blade Runner" themed plastic-gack.  This is truly the edition the hard core "Blade Runner" fan in your life has been calling out for.  This suitcase edition comes with the original "workprint" version of the movie that features a DIFFERENT voice-over from the original theatrical edition. So yeah.  Gotta have it.

Moving back to the realm of recent SF, the current "collector's edition" of "Serenity" is a nice gift for the Joss Wheadon fan in your life who is mourning the cancellation of Doll House.  If just one movie won't make up for the loss of a Wheadon tv series, I recommend picking up the "Buffy" complete series package.  All seven seasons in one box.  It takes up a lot less room then all those individual seasons, and has a bunch of bonus features not found in the single-season packs.  So if your Wheadon fan really needs something awesome this Christmas, "Buffy".  Always "Buffy".

For the Harry Potter fans who just can't get enough, there's a series of 4 disk ultimate editions of the first two movies coming out in December. . . . The usual ton of extras plus. . . a copy of the book!  This may seem a bit redundant, but true fans know you can never have enough Potter.

Another awesome gift idea out there is the "Family Guy 'Star Wars'" episodes.  There's a Blue Harvest/Something Something Something Darkside double pack, that collects both of the amazing "Family Guy" spoof episodes in one package.  This is a great fit for any "Star Wars" fan, or "Family Guy" fan, or any combination of the two.

For the hard core Euro-trash horror fan. . . you can not go wrong with The Blind Dead Collection ("Tombs of the Blind Dead"/"The Ghost Galleon"/"Return of the Evil Dead"/"Night of the Seagulls"/ from director Amando De Ossorio). . . all in one coffin-shaped package!  Nothing says "I love you" like "The Blind Dead".

Another classic for the horror movie fan in your life is the 9 movie Val Lewton box set.  Val Lewton was a legendary producer at RKO studios, and the low budget "thrillers" he produced ("Cat People" / "The Curse of the Cat People" / "I Walked with a Zombie" / "The Body Snatcher" / "Isle of the Dead" / "Bedlam" / "The Leopard Man" / "The Ghost Ship" / "The Seventh Victim"), are legendary.  This set also includes a documentary, "Shadows in the Dark," which covers Lewton's career and influence.  This will be appreciated by anyone who loves classic horror movies.

For those who like their horror with a more modern flair, you might consider the Dark Castle Collection box set.  This production company was named after William Castle, and this DVD set includes "The House on Haunted Hill," "Thirteen Ghosts," "Ghost Ship," "Gothika," and "House of Wax".  Several of these were amazingly good, and all of them were far more entertaining then one would have expected. Highlights definitely include "The House on Haunted Hill" and "Gothika".  Even "House of Wax" works if you imagine it as a kind of twisted homage to Dario Argento -- it doesn't have to make sense, it just has to look incredibly weird, and compelling!

For the anime fans on your list, I recommend looking at various complete series sets that exist.  "Ramna 1/2" is available in season sets, and the first couple seasons are hilarious.  "Gunslinger Girls" is an excellent example of the "little girls who kick ass and have existential angst" sub-sub-genre.  Another great example for this sub-genre is "Elfen Lied".  Instead of secret government orphan assassins, we have secret government psychic weapon experts.

Finally, the best Christmas gifts are ALWAYS Studio Ghibli films. From "Totoro," to "Porko Rosso," to "Howl's Moving Castle," to everything in between.  There's a Hayao Miyazaki film for everyone.  Get one, or more, for folks on your Christmas list.  They will definitely thank you.

That's all I've got for now. I'm going to go watch "Pom Poko" again.  (I just love raccoons with giant testicles.) Happy Holidays!

-Jeremy Lassen

Book Club Info

The QSF&F Book Club will meet on Sunday, December 13th, at 5 pm to discuss FOREVER PEACE by Joe Haldeman.  The book for January is BONESHAKER by Cherie Priest.  Please contact the group leader, Christopher Rodriguez, at, for more information.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club will meet on Sunday, December 20th, at 6 pm to discuss END OF THE WORLD BLUES by Jon Courtenay Grimwood.  The book for January is THE SPARROW by Mary Doria Russell.  Please contact for more information.

Upcoming Event Details

Mission Holiday Block Party, Friday, December 11th from 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm - Join in the 2nd annual Mission Holiday Block Party, and enjoy an evening of strolling, shopping and eating locally!  Lots and lots of Mission area shops and restaurants (including Borderlands Books) are staying open late, and many are offering special discounts or other incentives to shop locally.  Oh, and cookies.  I expect there will be cookies.  Find details here: <>

Borderlands Holiday Potluck, Thursday, December 17th from 6:00 - 8:00 pm - Consider us an island of sanity (well, perhaps an oasis of quiet. . . the sanity part is debatable) in your busy holiday season. Join us for a very informal Potluck Party in the Cafe at 870 Valencia; coffee, espresso and cold drinks are on us, bring an edible tidbit if you feel like it, and check out the new cafe!  Enjoy a companionable few hours chatting, snacking, browsing, and petting the cat next door.  Doesn't that sound infinitely preferable to the normal office holiday party, where one of your co-workers will inevitably Xerox his or her butt? We thought so.

Scott Sigler, THE ROOKIE, (Dark Overlord Press, Signed and Numbered Limited Edition (3000 copies) Hardcover, $34.95) - Saturday, January 9th at 3:00 pm - Scott Sigler, local podcasting sensation, returns with a new novel!  The novel, according to Scott's website, is "Set in a lethal pro football league 700 years in the future, THE ROOKIE is a story that combines the intense gridiron action of 'Any Given Sunday' with the space opera style of 'Star Wars' and the criminal underworld of 'The Godfather.'  Aliens and humans alike play positions based on physiology, creating receivers that jump 25 feet into the air, linemen that bench-press 1,200 pounds, and linebackers that literally want to eat you. Organized crime runs every franchise, games are fixed and rival players are assassinated.   Follow the story of Quentin Barnes, a 19-year-old quarterback prodigy that has been raised all his life to hate, and kill, those aliens. Quentin must deal with his racism and learn to lead, or he'll wind up just another stat in the column marked 'killed on the field.'"  This novel was published by Scott's own Dark Overlord Press and limited to 3000 signed and numbered copies, so don't miss this opportunity to meet the Future Dark Overlord himself!

Jeff Carlson, PLAGUE ZONE (Ace, Mass Market, $7.99) - Saturday, January 16th at 3:00 pm - Meet local thriller wrier Jeff Carlson, and check out the slick and frightening third book in his PLAGUE series!  This book traces the tattered remains of nations battling in the aftermath of the nanotech plague that killed every living thing below a 10,00 foot elevation.  You can read an excerpt from PLAGUE ZONE here: <>

SF in SF (at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building, 582 Market Street) presents authors Jeff Carlson and Nancy Etchemendy, Saturday, January 16th at 7:00 pm - We are very excited 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 Children's 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

Mike Oliveri, THE PACK: WINTER KILL (Evileye Books, Trade Paperback, Price TBA) - Sunday, January 17th at 3:00 pm - Join us to meet Mike Oliveri and check out his ambitious new prose/graphic novel project with EvilEye Books: "'The Pack' is an offshoot of my fascination with the werewolf legends," said Mr. Oliveri. "The potential to explore the generational histories and clashes between the family members and the changing world just seems limitless. With my prose roots, I know the themes can be presented in a thrilling, narrative way. But werewolf stories are also so visually rich -especially in their violent attack and battle scenes - that I wanted to explore the graphic potential of my stories as well. With 'The Pack' series of fiction and graphic novels, I'll be able to explore facets of the werewolf mythos that have largely gone unexplored."

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

This section is shorter and more succinct than usual as this newsletter is quite long already! - ed.

SECOND LINE - TWO SHORT NOVELS OF LOVE AND COOKING IN NEW ORLEANS by Poppy Z. Brite (Small Beer Press, Trade Paperback, $16.00)

CLOUD AND ASHES by Greer Gilman (Small Beer Press, Hardcover, $26.00)

URBAN GOTHIC by Brian Keene (Bloodletting Press, Signed and Numbered Limited Edition (300 copies) Hardcover, $60.00)

SUPERGIRLS: FASHION, FEMINISM, FANTASY, AND THE HISTORY OF COMIC BOOK HEROINES by Mike Madrid (Exterminating Angel Press, Trade Paperback, $16.95)

THE SINGERS OF NEVYA by Louise Marley (Fairwood Press, Trade Paperback, $19.99)

THE LAST COLONY by John Scalzi (Subterranean Press, Signed and Numbered Limited Edition (400 copies) Hardcover, $60.00)

BOOKLIFE: STRATEGIES AND SURVIVAL TIPS FOR THE 21ST-CENTURY WRITER by Jeff VanderMeer (Tachyon Publications, Trade Paperback, $14.95)

New and Notable

HELL AND EARTH - THE PROMETHEAN AGE VOL. 4 by Elizabeth Bear (Roc, Mass Market, $7.99)

FIRST LORD'S FURY - CODEX ALERA VOL. 6 by Jim Butcher (Ace, Hardcover, $25.95)

THE DRAGON BOOK edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois (Ace, Hardcover, $24.95)

THE DEVIL'S ALPHABET by Daryl Gregory (Del Rey, Trade Paperback, $15.00)

UNLEASHED - DOG DAYS VOL. 3 by John Levitt (Ace, Mass Market, $7.99)

MARION ZIMMER BRADLEY'S SWORD OF AVALON by Diana L. Paxson (Roc, Hardcover, $24.95)

THE BOOK OF SECRETS by Chris Roberson (Angry Robot UK, Mass Market, $15.28)

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

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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