Click me to see what SinisterVisions can do for you!



Events and News from Borderlands Books

October, 2009

Chapter One - Event Information, News, and Special Features

Loren Rhoads, MORBID CURIOSITY CURES THE BLUES (Scribner, Trade Paperback, $14.99), Saturday, October 10th at 3:00 pm

SF in SF presents "Color Me SF: The Science Fiction Worlds of Octavia Butler and Carl Brandon" at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building (582 Market Street), Saturday, October 10th at 7:00 pm

Gail Carriger, SOULLESS (Orbit, Mass Market, $7.99), Sunday, October 11th at 3:00 pm

SF in SF hosts authors Eric Simons and Kim Stanley Robinson at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building (582 Market Street), Saturday, October 17th at 7:00 pm

LitQuake LitCrawl with authors John Levitt, Seanan McGuire, and Loren Rhoads, Saturday, October 17th from 7:15 - 8:15 pm

Kim Stanley Robinson, THE LUCKY STRIKE (PM Press, Trade Paperback, $12.00) & Terry Bisson, THE LEFT LEFT BEHIND (PM Press, Trade Paperback, $12.00), Saturday, October 24th at 3:00 pm

World Fantasy Convention Group Signing at Borderlands with over 20 distinguished authors and artists including David Drake, Kate Elliot, Graham Joyce, Patricia McKillip, Garth Nix, Ken Scholes, Michael Swanwick and many others!  Wednesday, October 28th from 6:30 - 8:00 pm

World Fantasy Convention at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, Thursday, October 29th - Sunday, November 1st

World Fantasy Convention Group Signing at Borderlands with over a dozen distinguished authors and editors including Paolo Bacigalupi, Ellen Datlow, Nina Kriki Hoffman, Cecelia Holland and Mary Robinette Kowal, Monday, November 2nd from 6:30 - 8:00 pm

Amelia Beamer, Delia Sherman, Anna Tambour, and Ray Vukcevich, INTERFICTIONS 2 (Small Beer Press, Trade Paperback, $16.00), Tuesday, November 3rd at 7:00 pm

Katharine Kerr, THE SILVER MAGE (DAW, Hardcover, $24.95), Saturday, November 7th at 3:00 pm

Greg Bear, MARIPOSA (Vanguard Press, Hardcover, $24.95), Saturday, November 14th at 5:00 pm

SF in SF hosts authors S.G. Browne and Jeff VanderMeer at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building (582 Market Street), Saturday, November 14th at 7:00 pm

(for more information check the end of this section)

Coming up in the fall, don't miss Greg Bear, Terry Bisson, Katharine Kerr, Kim Stanley Robinson and many others, plus two very very special events around the World Fantasy Convention that will bring oodles of authors including David Coe, Kate Elliot, L.E. Modesitt, Jr., Graham Joyce, Mary Robinette Kowal, Ellen Kushner, Diana Paxson, Ken Scholes, Delia Sherman, and Bill Willingham to the store.  Stay tuned!


We are excited to announce that Borderlands now has a publishing imprint, Red Snake Press!  Our first book is a collection from the incomparable Mick Farren; author, musician, poet, and gonzo journalist extraordinaire!  ZONES is a maelstrom of poetry, prose, articles, comics and more, and it even contains a previously unpublished Renquist story.  The trade paperback is $14.95, and the hardcover and e-books will be forthcoming.  You can order directly from us by emailing, or order from any reputable bookseller near you.

* xkcd Book:
Last month, Borderlands became the first bookstore in the world to stock the xkcd book, xkcd VOLUME 0.  Check out the publisher's blog for an adorable picture of Ash, some awfully flattering stuff about the store, and the opportunity to see Borderlands referred to as "a San Francisco geek institution"! <>

* Physical Cosmolgies: "The Shining"
Borderlands customer Kevin McLeod thought we all might enjoy his peek into Kubrick's "The Shining": <>

* Stolen Custom-Built Steampunk Gear:
Thomas Willeford, who builds one-of-a-kind steampunk stuff, had a very special piece (which was supposed to appear in a museum exhibition) stolen at DragonCon.  He's offering a reward for its return, no questions asked: <>

* Octavia Butler's papers:
"The papers of of Octavia Butler, the stereotype-shattering science fiction writer, will be added to the collection in the Huntington Library in San Marino, Calif., which also houses the  papers of Christopher Isherwood, Charles Bukowski and Jack London. . .." Read the full article from the LA Times here: <> and don't forget to check out SF in SF's LitQuake event, "Color Me SF: The Science Fiction Worlds of Octavia Butler and Carl Brandon" on October 10th at 7:00 pm, at the Variety Preview Room.  (See the event write-up below for more details.)

* Wet Work Coffee:
Phil Nutman, author of the zombie novel WET WORK, recently let us know that the Coffee Shop of Horrors will be debuting WET WORK Coffee ("Coffee That's a Shot to the Head") in October.  "'It started out as a running joke with the original owner of Coffee Shop of Horrors, but under the new ownership the coffee has become a reality,' Nutman said."  Read all the gory details here: <>.

* The British Fantasy Society held its annual convention in Nottingham, UK, over the weekend of September 18th-20th.  The British Fantasy Awards were presented at the convention, and the winner for Best Novel was Graham Joyce for MEMOIRS OF A MASTER FORGER.  For a complete list of the winners and videos from the awards ceremony, see: <>

From The Office

Several years ago I wrote a piece for this newsletter called "Those Responsible".  In it I disclosed the authors and artists who were instrumental in germinating my love for SF, fantasy and horror and who were, by extension, a big part of the reason that Borderlands exists.  But there was someone who I didn't mention who is probably equally responsible, if not for my love of SF then for the shape and tone that Borderlands took, pretty much from the day it opened.

I was first introduced to Spider Robinson by my best friend while in high school.  He told me about these stories that were set in a very odd bar and I thought that they sounded interesting.  He lent me a copy of Callahan's Cross Time Saloon.  I was hooked.  I went on to read everything that Robinson had written at the time.

The Callahan's Bar stories managed to capture a very essential element of our genre -- perhaps for the first time.  It is a conceit of SF fans that they, as a group, are smart, witty and socially adept.  In my experience, SF fans often don't live up to it but that doesn't mean that there isn't some justification for it (but that is a topic for a different article).  In the Callahan's stories, Robinson managed to capture those elements (brains, wit, and socialbility) of fandom and SF in general while subtracting the uncomfortable and flat-out embarrassing parts.

Robinson has written that he has been asked over and over where the "real" Callahan's is located.  Perhaps more so than any other fictional business, people want to go there.  The booze is inexpensive, the hours convivial, the staff friendly and clever, the conversation engaging, and pretty much everyone there is pleasant and decent.

Last night, as I sat down to write about Spider and his wife (and sometimes co-author), Jeanne, I realized something: if I had a model business in mind when I opened Borderlands it was Callahan's Bar.  On reflection, I don't think that I've even come close to living up to that idea (I'm not sure any business could) but I sure as hell don't think I've missed by a mile either.

Robinson's work has meant a great deal to me, as I said.  Not all of it is as happy and upbeat as the Callahan's stories.  NIGHT OF POWER is a very uncomfortable novel about a race war in New York City.  The protagonist in TELEMPATH begins the novel on a mission to kill a man and later cold-bloodly murders his father.  And, as I discovered a few weeks ago, MELANCHOLY ELEPHANTS is one of five stories that I _cannot_ read aloud without having to stop and cry.

His work has also meant a great deal to Borderlands.  I wouldn't call it a blueprint Callahan's Bar was a sketch of the business that I wanted to run.

And that's why I was so terrible sad when I heard that Spider's wife, Jeanna, has a very rare form of cancer and that the costs associated with her treatment have been enough of a burden that they are, in his words, "running on fumes financially".

I don't, as a rule, associate Borderlands with causes and I've never asked our customers for cash donations before.  But there's a first time for many things.  There's a donation box at the counter for the Robinsons -- I'd appreciate it if you'd make use of it.  You can also support them by buying Spider's books.  If you'd like more information, take a look at <> or <>


Cafe News

We're not open to the public yet but I can tell you when we will be.  On the 28th of October we're going to be hosting a _big_ signing with a number of authors who are in town for the World Fantasy Convention.  The plan was always to have the signing in the cafe (where else can I fit over 15 authors at the same time?) but, before I ran into reality (which sometimes bears a striking resemblance to a brick wall), the assumption was that the cafe would have been open for months by then.


But, one way or the other, it's going to be open for this event.  At least open in the door-unlocked, lights-on, letting-people-in sort of way.  Right now I have no idea whether we'll be serving food and drink . . . hell, right now I don't even know if letting people in will be strictly _legal_ . . . that all depends on my stamina over the next three weeks and the inspectors, but we will be open.  So, if you'd like to see what I've been working on for 13 months, come by for the event, it should be a blast.  And, perhaps by then, I actually know when we'll be open in the "we're open" sort of way.

- Alan Beatts

New Media Update

The response to my question in the last newsletter about interest in a column about ebooks and related stuff was unanimous and so, you asked for it and you've got it.  This will be the first one.  I'm going to start by doing updates divided by manufacturer and business but, when the month's news deserves general commentary (and I have something half-way clever to say), I'll put something at the beginning of the article.

Apple -- Their rumored tablet device continues to but just that, a rumor, but it's looking like they've been working on it for quite a few years.  None of the prototypes have gotten Steve Job's seal of approval so they haven't hit the street.  The current iteration is also lacking the "go ahead and make it" stamp from Jobs and so it still may never happen though, if I was going to bet, I'd bet that it's going to come out and sometime in the first half of next year.

If it does come out, there has been a fair amount of discussion between Apple and magazine publishers about possible electronic distribution of magazines.  That could be pretty important since, to do a magazine justice, you have to have a color display and Apple product is the only one that's close to distribution incorporating both an ebook form factor (i.e. smaller than a laptop and very thin) with a color display.  And just think about the advertising possibilities if this tablet has a wide-area (i.e. cell phone type) wireless connection -- interactive ads that allow direct purchase of products directly from the "magazine".

Amazon --  Not much good news for my favorite big-brother company.  They paid out a $150,000 settlement over their remote deletion of Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm which cost a student all his notes (which were deleted at the same time).  Most of the money will probably go to the lawyers but still, ouch!

Also, the response of students who have been using Amazon's large screen Kindle DX at schools around the country this year has been less than enthusiastic.  Comment like, "slow", "clunky", and "irritating" have been common as have student who've returned the (free) devices in favor of regular books.  One other, very practical, reason for the displeasure has been the comparative slowness of taking notes and highlighting on the Kindle as compared to a printed book.

Sony -- Relatively quiet on that front.  They've made some deals with electronic publishers like SmashWords and and Author Solutions who specialize in getting quasi-self-published work on the net and they're creating a "publisher portal" to make it easier for smaller publishers to get their books into Sony's store.  All this may pay off big time since the rush to build content for ebook readers and stores is just starting but, in the long run, it'll be critical for the success of reader manufacturers (the more content that works with your reader, the better chance someone will buy it) and ebook sellers (if you have the most and best content, the buyers will come to you first).

I talked to some people in the book business and found out something interesting -- you know all the smart moves that Sony has made in the past few months that I've complemented them on (i.e. getting readers into indi bookstores, making a reader with wireless, and moving to an open format (EPUB) from their old, proprietary one)?  Seems that most of those ideas came from the American Bookseller's Association not internally at Sony.  Which is kind of neat but also a little disturbing -- I know that ebook are coming but does it make sense for the ABA to speed their adoption (and the impact that they'll have on physical bookstores) in exchange for making sure that indi booksellers can get some of the profits?  Seems like a bit of a Devil's bargain to me.

iRex -- One of the pioneers in ebooks just announced their new ebook reader target at consumers.  The iRex DR800SG (no cute name here) has a bigger than usual screen at 8.1 inches (the Kindle is 6" and Sony's are 5, 6, and 7" depending on model), will sell for $399 and has both wireless (through Verizon's network) and a touch-screen (that only works with a stylus, unlike Sony's which will accept finger touch).  It's going to hit the street this month and will be sold at Best-Buy.

Best-Buy -- And speaking of them, they're training employees to sell ebook readers like crazy and have added a special area to all their more than 1000 stores to showcase the iRex and Sony Readers.  It's going to be interesting to see which wirelessly connected reader does best for the holidays -- the Sony Daily Edition or the iRex.  I'm betting on the Sony because of their reputation but I think that people are going to be happier with the iRex.  The bigger screen is nice but more importantly the Sony uses AT&T's wireless network and the iRex uses Verizon's.  If you know anyone who has an iPhone (or if you do), you'll know that they have problems with dropped calls, bad reception, and missed calls / messages.  The problem is not so much the phone but the network which seems to be overloaded by the sheer amount of data traffic that the iPhone generates.  And what network is that?  AT&T.

Barnes and Noble -- B&N are busy building their on-line ebook store, which has gotten a lot of attention after they did a big advertising push.  The catch was that, without a paired ereader, they got a lot of visits but few sales and not many return visits.  That will probably change since they are iRex's vendor of choice for the new DR800SG reader (see above).  In short, if you're buying books wirelessly with the iRex, you're going to be buying them from B&N, who's ebook sales should jump upwards once the holidays are here, people start buying the iRex reader in droves at Best Buy and need to download content.

That's about it except for one last thing - part of the bottleneck with ebook availability is the process of converting the files into the right format.  It can be slow, expensive, and generally a pain.  But perhaps not for EPUB format anymore.  DNAML has just released Pdf to ePub, a $99 piece of software that, in theory, allows simple conversion from PDF to EPUB format.  And, since PDF is the default format for much of publishing now, this may mean that it just got much simpler to be an electronic publisher.

-- Alan Beatts

Top Sellers At Borderlands

1. Dust of Dreams by Steven Erikson
2. Transition by Iain M. Banks
3. Orbus by Neal Asher
4. The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
5. Galileo's Dream by Kim Stanley Robinson
6. Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie
7. Sword of the Lady by S.M. Stirling
8. Fledgling by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
9. Alchemaster's Apprentice by Walter Moers
10. Winds of Dune by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
2. Anathem by Neal Stephenson
3. Naming of the Beasts by Mike Carey
4. Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs
5. Soulless by Gail Carriger
6. Scourge of God by S.M. Stirling
7. Trick of the Light by Rob Thurman
8. Implied Spaces by Walter John Williams
9. Very Hard Choices by Spider Robinson
10. The Dragon Never Sleeps by Glen Cook

Trade Paperbacks
1. Taste of Tenderloin by Gene O'Neill
2. Ice Song by Kirsten Imani Kasai
3. Doc Good's Traveling Show by Gene O'Neill
4. Madness of Flowers by Jay Lake
5. Quiet War by Paul McAuley tie with
    Mall of Cthulhu by Seamus Cooper

Notes From a DVD Geek

Welcome to October, my favorite month of the year.  Mainly because ALL of the horror movies, good, bad and terrible, make their way to home video around this time of the year.

First up is a special edition reissue of the classic horror movie from the late 80's. . . "The Gate".  This disk features commentary, and a couple of mini-documentaries, and a really nice transfer of this classic "there's a big hole in my back yard and it leads to hell" movie, which featured some incredible stop-motion effects that are still very effective today.  If you never saw this one, pick it up now.  If you remember the movie fondly. . . pick it up and watch it again, because it does stand the test of time, and is just as awesome as you remember.

Next I wanted to talk about some of the forthcoming releases from Sam Rami's home video label, Ghost House Underground.  Consider this label to be somewhere between the "Danger After Dark" label, and the "Dark Castle" label.

One of the new releases from Ghost House is a contemporary British horror film by director/writer Tom Shankland, called "Children".  Shankland's first movie was a gory yet effective serial killer/police thriller called "Waz".  This time out, he's got a bunch of kids and teenagers running around a lake.  Bad things start happening, and the parents and kids start blaming each other, as seeming accidents descend into overt violence.  "Children" is filled with a lot of subtle scares and a very effective sense of foreboding, which contrast effectively with its outbursts of sudden ferocity.

Another by-the-numbers-but-effective-in-its-own right thriller is "The Thaw".  This one stars Val Kilmer, putting on his best "Kurt Russell from 'The Thing'" performance.  A parasite is unearthed in a glacier that infects and kills its hosts, but not before releasing a swarm of flying, burrowing baby parasites that spread through the scientific camp like wildfire.

Another effective bit of mayhem is "Offspring".  Yes . . . the same "Offspring" as Jack Ketchum's splatterpunk classic novel.  Feral cannibals terrorize folks in a remote New England town.  Sure, it's a bit like "The Hills Have Eyes," except in New England, instead of the desert southwest.  But it's based on Ketchum's very smart novel, and even has (I think it was him anyway) a cameo appearance by Ketchum himself.   Good stuff.

"Blair Witch" co-director Eduardo Sanchez delivers something that looks like a modern, slightly better-scripted version of Fulci's "City of the Living Dead".  Lots of fast moving demons/sprits of the dead/guys in white body paint chasing our protagonists around.  Lots of fake blood.  Lots of screaming.  Good stuff that should not be missed this October.  Because of the miracles of modern filmmaking, I suspect that this film was probably made with a SMALLER budget then Fulci's "City of the Living Dead" . . . but in this case, the filmmakers didn't run out of money at the end and have to just kind of fake an ending.

Those are the four that are coming out in October, but an earlier Ghost House film that I failed to mention was "Dance of the Dead".  Take your standard teem dramady about geeks who can't get dates for the prom, and add zombies.  All those dumb high-school cliches who never watch zombie films?  Yeah . . . they get their asses kicked.  But the "sci-fi" club?  They know how to kick zombie ass. This is director Gregg Bishop's second feature film, and has a better budget than his first effort "The Other Side," which even despite its small budget was really well done.

Leaving Ghost House Underground, I have to point out the latest Lance Henrickson direct to video extravaganza.  "The Seamstress" sets up an urban legend come to life . . . the murderous spirit of a . . . yes . . . seamstress, who weaves (ugh, sorry) a bloody path across the small town where she died, oh so many years ago.  I know. It's nothing we haven't seen before.  But it has Lance Henrickson chewing the scenery.  If you need some Halloween cheese . . . this is the place to go.

Moving from your normal Halloween slashers to the "Hot damn!  I've been waiting for that film to hit DVD for years!" category of film, comes Richard Stanely's "Hardware". This post-apocalyptic killer android movie sports one of the best movie soundtracks since "Return of the Living Dead" (PIL, Ministry, Iggy Pop, etc.) as well as a "Greek chorus" provided by a joke-cracking radio dj, played by Iggy Pop.  Damn.  This is one of the greatest movies ever.  It is hot and sexy, and dusty and crazy, and . . . oh yeah.  It features an under-siege/final fight sequence that is legendary.  I'm getting chills, just waiting for this one to arrive.  I can finally toss out my laserdisc of this film, and enter the 21st century!

Finally . . . the live-action version of "Blood: The Last Vampire" hits DVD this month.  Bloody sword swinging half-vampire assassins, demons, and the undead. This movie is produced by Ronny Yu!  What's up, Ronny "Bride With White Hair" Yu!  Don't miss this one.

That's what my Halloween is looking like this year.  Be sure and email me some of your favorite movies (horror or otherwise) if I've missed them here in this column.

- Jeremy Lassen

Book Club Info

The QSF&F Book Club will meet on Sunday, October 11, at 5 pm to discuss FAERIE TALE by Raymond S. Feist.  Please contact the group leader, Christopher Rodriguez, at, for more information.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club will meet on Sunday, October 18th, at 6 pm to discuss FLOW MY TEARS, THE POLICEMAN SAID by Philip K. Dick.  The book for November 15th is THE DEMOLISHED MAN by Alfred Bester.  Please contact for more information.

Upcoming Event Details

Loren Rhoads, MORBID CURIOSITY CURES THE BLUES (Scribner, Trade Paperback, $14.99), Saturday, October 10th at 3:00 pm - Please join us in giving a warm welcome to Loren Rhoads, local author and editor extraordinaire and the brains, heart and muscle behind Morbid Curiosity Magazine for ten years.  MORBID CURIOSITY CURES THE BLUES is not so much a "best of" book as it is a broad sampling; how could you choose the best when it's all so good?  View the (incredibly cool) book trailer here, <> and don't miss this chance to meet emcee Loren and past "MC" contributors John Domeier, Seth Flagsberg, Katrina James, A.M. Muffaz, M. Parfitt, and Simon Wood.

SF in SF presents "Color Me SF: The Science Fiction Worlds of Octavia Butler and Carl Brandon" at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building (582 Market Street), Saturday, October 10th at 7:00 pm - Join the fine folks at SF in SF for a panel on Octavia Butler, one of science fiction's preeminent authors of color.  The evening will include readings, Q & A moderated by author Terry Bisson, and discussion on the Carl Brandon Society, "dedicated to addressing the representation of people of color in the fantastical genres."  Guests will include Jewelle Gomez and Claire Light. $5 admission; cash bar benefiting The Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Gail Carriger, SOULLESS (Orbit, Mass Market, $7.99), Sunday, October 11th at 3:00 pm - From the book cover: "Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she is being rudely attacked by a vampire to whom she has not been properly introduced!  Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire, and the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate. With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible.  Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?"  Join us to meet Gail and learn why we all adore this charming first novel of the Parasol Protectorate.  And there will be tea!

SF in SF hosts authors Eric Simons and Kim Stanley Robinson at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building (582 Market Street), Saturday, October 17th 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.  Terry Bisson will moderate. 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

LitQuake LitCrawl with authors John Levitt, Seanan McGuire, and Loren Rhoads, Saturday, October 17th from 7:15 - 8:15 pm - We are delighted to once again take part in one of the most exciting literary events in San Francisco - the LitCrawl!  This is a three-hour pub-crawl-style literary event with dozens of venues and hundreds of authors, all taking place right here in the Mission District.  This year we are happy to host local luminaries John Levitt (DOG DAYS; UNLEASHED), Seanan McGuire (ROSEMARY & RUE) and Loren Rhoads (MORBID CURIOSITY CURES THE BLUES).  Always crowded and fun!

Kim Stanley Robinson, THE LUCKY STRIKE (PM Press, Trade Paperback, $12.00) & Terry Bisson, THE LEFT LEFT BEHIND (PM Press, Trade Paperback, $12.00), Saturday, October 24th at 3:00 pm - We're thrilled to welcome these two outspoken authors to Borderlands to celebrate the premier of PM Press' Outspoken Author imprint!

World Fantasy Convention Group Signing at Borderlands with over 20 distinguished authors and artists including David Drake, Kate Elliot, Graham Joyce, Patricia McKillip, Garth Nix, Ken Scholes, Michael Swanwick and many others!  Wednesday, October 28th from 6:30 - 8:00 pm - Join us for a star-studded evening at Borderlands!  This huge group signing will include the authors mentioned above, as well as James Anderson, Carol Berg, Chaz Brenchley, Gail Carriger, David B. Coe, David Lunde, L.E. Modesitt, Jr., John Picacio, Barbara and Christopher Roden, Mark Sebanc, S.M. Stirling, Mark Van Name, Bill Willingham, Zoran Zivkoivc, and probably more!  Why would you want to be anywhere else?

World Fantasy Convention at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, Thursday, October 29th - Sunday, November 1st - Celebrate Edgar Allen Poe's 200th birthday at this professional convention.  As usual, Borderlands will have tables in the Dealers' Room.  For details on the convention, go to <>.

World Fantasy Convention Group Signing at Borderlands with over a dozen distinguished authors and editors including Paolo Bacigalupi, Ellen Datlow, Nina Kriki Hoffman, Cecelia Holland and Mary Robinette Kowal, Monday, November 2nd from 6:30 - 8:00 pm - Our second big group signing will include the authors listed above as well as Laird Barron, Marie Brennan, Lynn Ceasar, Nancy Etchemendy, Cody Goodfellow, Elaine Isaak, Nick Mamatas, Diana Paxson, Mark Teppo, Tony Richards, Michael Shea, John Skipp and probably more!  We are blessed with an abundance of authorial talent, so don't miss this chance to meet the whole gang at once.

Amelia Beamer, Delia Sherman, Anna Tambour, and Ray Vukcevich, INTERFICTIONS 2 (Small Beer Press, Trade Paperback, $16.00), Tuesday, November 3rd at 7:00 pm - INTERFICTIONS 1 was the brilliant first anthology from The Interstitial Arts Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the study, support, and promotion of interstitial art: literature, music, visual and performance art found in between categories and genres. INTERFICTIONS 2 meets the same standard of excellence, and we're delighted to host a reading with three of the contributors and one of the editors of this new volume!  What could be a better match for Borderlands than a collection celebrating art that crosses borders?

Katharine Kerr, THE SILVER MAGE (DAW, Hardcover, $24.95), Saturday, November 7th at 3:00 pm - We're pleased to welcome Ms. Kerr as she presents the final novel in the Silver Wyrm series (which is the fourth "act" in the novels of Deverry)!  From the book description: "The Horsekin are assembling along Prince Dar's northern border, and the Deverry alliance simply does not have the men and resources to prevent their enemies from moving into the wilderness areas known as the Ghostlands. But suddenly, the Dwrgi folk and the dragons come to Dar's aid, tipping the balance in their favor and offering Dar's people a chance to defeat the Horsekin once and for all."
Greg Bear, MARIPOSA (Vanguard Press, Hardcover, $24.95), Saturday, November 14th at 5:00 pm - From the press release: "Brilliantly imagined and utterly terrifying, Bear's new novel, MARIPOSA. . . is a superb cautionary tale about one of the greatest threats facing America today: The growing privatization of our military and national security institutions.  Combining cutting-edge science with events that dominate our headlines, Greg Bear again weaves a riveting near-future thriller so frighteningly believeable that it just might happen tomorrow."  Bear is one of hard science fiction's most prominent visionaries, so don't miss this chance to meet him!

SF in SF hosts authors S.G. Browne and Jeff VanderMeer at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building (582 Market Street), Saturday, November 14th at 7:00 pm - More details to follow.

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 IMPROBABLE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES edited by John Joseph Adams (Night Shade Books, Trade Paperback, $15.95) - From Night Shade Books: "Sherlock Holmes, the world's first - and most famous - consulting detective, came to the world's attention more than 120 years ago through Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novels and stories. But Conan Doyle didn't reveal all of the Great Detective's adventures. . .  Here are some of the best Holmes pastiches of the last 30 years, twenty-eight tales of mystery and the imagination detailing Holmes's further exploits, as told by many of today's greatest storytellers, including Stephen King, Anne Perry, Anthony Burgess, Neil Gaiman, Naomi Novik, Stephen Baxter, Tanith Lee, Michael Moorcock, and many more."

THE QUEEN OF AIR AND DARKNESS: THE SHORT FICTION OF POUL ANDERSON VOL. 2 by Poul Anderson (NESFA Press, Hardcover, $29.00) - Yet another lovely volume, with cover artwork by Tom Canty.

THE WOMEN OF NELL GWYNNE'S by Kage Baker (Subterranean Press, Limited Edition (1500 copies) Hardcover, $35.00) - Undercover operative London steampunk harlots?  By Kage Baker?  How much better does it get?  Recommended by Jude.

MAGIC MIRRORS by John Bellairs (NESFA Press, Hardcover, $25.00) - From NESFA: "MAGIC MIRRORS is a collection of the adult fantasy and humorous works of John Bellairs. This collection includes "The Face in the Frost," "The Dolphin Cross" (a previously unpublished fragment sequel to "The Face in the Frost"), "The Pedant and the Shuffly," and "Saint Fidgita and Other Parodies". The collection introduction is by Bruce Coville. There is also a special introduction to "The Dolphin Cross" by Ellen Kushner."  Recommended by Alan (especially "The Face in the Frost").

SHOP OF THE MECHANICAL INSECTS by Ray Bradbury (Subterranean Press, Limited Edition (500 copies) chapbook, $18.00) - From Subterranean Press: "Like the mechanical insects it so lovingly describes, this short, sharp gem of a story is haunting, beautiful, and infinitely strange. The accompanying illustrations by Dave McKean provide the perfect complement to Bradbury's evocative prose. The result of this inspired collaboration is that rarest of creations: a seamless, perfectly balanced marriage of image and word."

WAR AND SPACE: SELECTED STORIES OF LESTER DEL REY VOL. 1 by Lester del Rey (NESFA Press, Hardcover, $29.00) - Excellent collection with a striking cover by John Picacio.  The second volume, ROBOTS AND MAGIC, is due in February, 2010.

THE EVIL IN PEMBERLEY HOUSE by Philip Jose Farmer and Win Scott Eckert (Subterranean Press, Hardcover, $40.00) - From Subterranean Press: "THE EVIL IN PEMBERLEY HOUSE, an addition to the Wold Newton cycle, plays with the Gothic horror tradition. Patricia Wildman, the daughter of the world-renowned adventurer and crimefighter of the 1930s and 1940s, Dr. James Clarke "Doc" Wildman, is all alone in the world when she inherits the family estate in Derbyshire, England - old, dark, and supposedly haunted.  But Farmer, characteristically, turns convention on its ear. Is the ghost real, or a clever sham? In Patricia Wildman, Farmer creates an introspective character who struggles to reconcile the supernatural with her rational scientific upbringing, while also attempting to work through unresolved feelings about her late parents. He sets the action at Pemberley from Jane Austen's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE and ingrains the various mysteries in the canon of the Sherlock Holmes stories."

ZONES OF CHAOS by Mick Farren (Red Snake Press, Trade Paperback, $14.95) - We've very pleased to announce the debut of Red Snake Press, Borderlands Books' publishing imprint.  Our first title is ZONES OF CHAOS, a collection of Mick Farren's articles, lyrics, poetry, prose, and commentary.  Mick Farren is an English author, journalist and singer who has published 23 novels including THE DNA COWBOYS TRILOGY (THE QUEST OF THE DNA COWBOYS, THE SYNAPTIC MANHUNT and THE NEURAL ATROCITY) and, more recently, The Victor Renquist Quartet (THE TIME OF FEASTING, DARKLOST, MORE THAN MORTAL and UNDERLAND) for Tor books.  In addition to his impressive genre credentials, Farren has a rich and fascinating history as an activist, musician, underground comics and countercultural figure.  ZONES OF CHAOS will be published in trade paperback and hardcover, and look for more Red Snake titles in the future. (Sorry, Red Snake Press does not accept unsolicited manuscripts.)

THE COLLECTED CAPTAIN FUTURE STORIES VOL. 1 by Edmond Hamilton (Haffner Press, Hardcover, $40.00) - Breathless early science fiction in all its awesome pulpy glory!

THE MADNESS OF FLOWERS by Jay Lake (Night Shade Books, Trade Paperback, $14.95) - From  Night Shade Books: "The battle has been fought and won, and all have been transformed by the struggle. Imago of Lockwood has become Lord Mayor of the City Imperishable, though at a price beyond his wildest imagination. Bijaz the Dwarf has been imbued with a godlike power and a responsibility he scarcely understands. And Jason the Factor, resurrected from death at the hands of his sister, the Tokhari sandwalker Kalliope, has become the sula ma-jieni na-dia, the fabled Dead Man of Winter.  When a beautiful mountebank named Ashkoliiz arrives in the City Imperishable, accompanied by a group of mercenary Northmen and an exotic and terrible ice bear, the mood of the City turns strange. Amid much pomp and showmanship, Ashkoliiz offers to lead an expedition to uncover the lost tomb of the Imperator Terminus, stirring up the mob with promises of treasure and imperial power. . .  but what will her quest unleash?" Do not miss this new tale of rabble-rousing dwarves, deadly political intrigue, adventure and war!

xkcd: volume 0 by Randall Munroe (Breadpig, Oversized Softcover, $18.00) - Have you ever wondered just how you'd get your xkcd fix if the power went out for longer than your computer battery's life-span?  Well wonder no more, intrepid geeks!  The paper version of xkcd is here to fill your life with romance, sarcasm, math and language -- and the occasional kitty. (Just walk into Borderlands and hang out with Ripley for a while to see proof positive of this xkcd strip!: <>)  And, if you didn't have enough reasons to buy the book, it is published by Alexis from Breadpig, who is a neighbor of Borderlands. and a portion of the proceeds from the books go to build a school in Laos through the charity Room to Read.  Never has so much sarcasm done so much good for so many people!  Recommended by Jude and Alan.

STRANGE MAGIC by Gord Rollo (Dark Regions, Signed, Limited Edition (100 copies) Hardcover, $45.00) - From Dark Regions: "Wilson Kemp is a man living a lie in Billington, Pennsylvania. He's been in hiding for a long time, running from a terrible secret that has forced him to change his name, move to this small secluded town and abandon what had once been a stellar career. Once, he'd been a highly talented escape artist on the brink of fame and fortune, but now he's a broken down alcoholic scared of his own shadow. Mind you, he has good reason to be scared because his worst fear has finally caught up with him, and the sleepy little town of Billington is about to be declared a war zone.  With the aid of a malevolent evil entity trapped within an old wooden trunk, a stranger from Wilson's past has hunted him down; an insane fellow magician who will stop at nothing to get his twisted, bloody revenge. To survive, Wilson will have to conquer his own inner demons to fight his old enemy in a battle that will lead to the gates of death and beyond. To live, Wilson will have to accomplish the greatest magic trick of all time: escaping from the dark pit of Hell . . ."

TRIPS 1972-73 - THE COLLECTED STORIES OF ROBERT SILVERBERG VOL. 4 by Robert Silverberg (Subterranean Press, Hardcover, $35.00) - Robert Silverberg, from the introduction to TRIPS 1972-73: "The stories here, all of them written between March of 1972 and November of 1973, mark a critical turning point in my career. Those who know the three earlier volumes have traced my evolution from a capable journeyman, very young and as much concerned with paying the rent as he was to advancing the state of the art, into a serious, dedicated craftsman now seeking to leave his mark on science fiction in some significant way. Throughout the decade of the 1960s I had attempted to grow and evolve within the field of writing I loved -- building on the best that went before me, the work of Theodore Sturgeon and James Blish and Cyril Kornbluth and Jack Vance and Philip K. Dick and half a dozen others whose great stories had been beacons beckoning me onward -- and then, as I reached my own maturity, now trying to bring science fiction along with me into a new realm of development, hauling it along even farther out of its pulp-magazine origins toward what I regarded as a more resonant and evocative kind of visionary storytelling."

New and Notable

FROSTBITTEN: WOMEN OF THE OTHERWORLD VOL. 10 by Kelley Armstrong (Bantam, Hardcover, $26.00)

ORBUS by Neal Asher (Tor UK, Hardcover, $31.26) - The third "Spatterjay" book isn't actually set on one of the nastiest planets in SF but travel far off-world to the border between the Pality and the Prador Third Kingdom where we get all sort of background on the Prador, the war, and it's aftermath -- threaded throughout a crazed, violent romp in classic Asher style.  It's a nice return to a smaller scale story after the Polity-shaking events of LINE WAR.  Recommended by Alan.

THE YEAR OF THE FLOOD by Margaret Atwood (Nan A. Talese, Hardcover, $26.95) - Sasha, one of our regular customers with whom I love to talk books, tells me that this follow-up to ORYX AND CRAKE is "_extremely_ Margaret Atwood".  Sasha says the book is good but uncomfortable to read.  I'm looking forward to checking it out.

THE COMPLETE STORIES OF J.G. BALLARD by J.G. Ballard (Norton, Hardcover, $35.00) - Over 1200 pages of Ballard-ian goodness!  The same text as the 2001 British edition without the super-fragile pages and the charming but ill-considered delicate white dustjacket.

TRANSITION by Iain M. Banks (Orbit, Hardcover, $25.99) - Author Annalee Newitz, longtime customer and one of's founders and guiding lights, says TRANSITION "will jelly your brains with brilliant weirdness.  Banks turns political world-building on its head in this exciting tale of an Earth-based multiverse in turmoil, where dimension-hopping assassins jockey for power". Having religiously read almost all of Banks' fiction (and the hugely entertaining nonfiction book RAW SPIRIT, which is nominally about Scotch but just as much about fast cars and how awful the Bush regime was) I absolutely believe her, though I've shamefully not had a chance to read TRANSITION yet.  Read Annalee's review here. . .warning, spoilers! :<>.  I'll be getting to this one Real Soon Now, and I advise you to do the same.

THE NAMING OF THE BEASTS by Mike Carey (Orbit UK, Mass Market, $15.04) Mike Carey's Felix Castor books are my very favorite "paranormal detective-ish" novels.  Castor is not a detective, of course, he's a freelance exorcist, but he embodies all of the classic noir private eye conceits: wisecracking, down on his luck, bad with romance, likely to get beat up, etc.  I found the fourth entry in this series surprisingly dark, and it looks as though this fifth installment is continuing in that vein as Castor tries to free his friend Rafi from his entanglement with the demon Asmodeus.  There are so many things to like about this series; the intelligence, the creativity of the writing, the dark, dead-pan humor, the true-to-life characters . . . highly recommended by Jude and Cary.

SOULLESS by Gail Carriger (Orbit, Mass Market, $7.99) - Taste is a funny thing.  Last month Cary and I were insisting that everyone read BEST SERVED COLD by Joe Abercrombie, an incredible, blackly funny revenge fantasy novel that reads like you crossed George R.R. Martin with Sergio Leone.  This month we're insisting that everyone read SOULLESS by Gail Carriger, which, although it couldn't be further from Abercrombie in both body count and subject matter, you MUST read.  SOULLESS is a Victorian comedy of manners with werewolves and vampires and zeppelins and treacle tarts and positively horrifying hats.  I cannot remember the last time I enjoyed a debut novel so much.  Recommended by Cary, Chris and Jude.  Meet the author (and have some lovely tea) at Borderlands Sunday October 11th at 3:00 pm.

THE OTHER LANDS - WAR WITH THE MEIN VOL. 2 by David Anthony Durham (Doubleday, Hardcover, $28.00) - At this year's WorldCon in Montreal I had the pleasure of meeting David Anthony Durham (shortly before he won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer).  Mr. Durham was on a panel with Patrick Rothfuss, Guy Gavriel Kay, Marc Gascoigne and Ellen Kushner (who I think "crashed" the panel, to great effect).  The panel was called "Knights Who Say ****!", and it was about formal diction in fantasy vs. the more informal and even colloquial language that is getting to be more common.  The panel was also, on some level, a bit of a class argument, with the discussion at points seeming to be about whether authors should maintain a lofty and even academic tone & challenge their readers (and possibly risk losing them), or whether it was okay or desirable to speak in an informal manner that will engage readers more readily.  (It was a thoroughly enjoyable panel, although in my geekiest fantasies we'll have a reprise of it that includes Richard Morgan and Joe Abercrombie.) But where was I?  Oh yes, David Anthony Durham, whom you should read.

ODD AND THE FROST GIANTS by Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins, Hardcover, $14.99) - Adventures in ancient Norway with Neil Gaiman and a plucky 12-year-old hero named Odd?  Count me in!

BOILERPLATE: HISTORY'S MECHANICAL MARVEL by Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett (Abrams, Hardcover, $24.95) - Any of our employees will tell you that it's been a long, hugely busy last several months, which is good.  However, it does lead to embarrassing situations sometimes, as amply demonstrated by BOILERPLATE.  The text on the back of the book says "Meet Boilerplate, the world's first robot soldier - not in a present-day military lab or a science-fiction movie, but in the past, during one of the most fascinating periods of U.S. history. Designed by Professor Archibald Campion in 1893 as a prototype, for the self-proclaimed purpose of "preventing the deaths of men in the conflicts of nations," Boilerplate charged into combat alongside such notables as Teddy Roosevelt and Lawrence of Arabia. Campion and his robot also circled the planet with the U.S. Navy, trekked to the South Pole, made silent movies, and hobnobbed with the likes of Mark Twain and Nikola Tesla."  I'm ashamed to say (or perhaps it is just a credit to the book!) that it took me almost another paragraph to realize that BOILERPLATE is fictional.  It's sort of a robot "Zelig," with the illustrious mechanical wonder inserted into illustrations and paintings and cartoons and etc.  I really don't know what to say about this book except that it's extraordinary and certainly worth a look.

HELLBOUND HEARTS edited by Paul Kane (Pocket, Trade Paperback, $16.00) - A collection of stories inspired by Clive Barker's THE HELLBOUND HEART, with works by Kelley Armstrong, Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean, Christopher Golden and Mike Mignola.  It looks like Clive Barker did the cover as well as providing the introduction.

THE WAND IN THE WORD: CONVERSATIONS WITH WRITERS OF FANTASY by Leonard S. Marcus (Candlewick, Hardcover, $19.99) - Interviews with 13 masters of the genre including Lloyd Alexander, Diana Wynne Jones, Madeline L'Engel, Garth Nix, Terry Pratchett and Philip Pullman.

HER FEARFUL SYMMETRY by Audrey Niffenegger (Scribner, Hardcover, $26.99) - New novel from the author of THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE that takes place in and around Highgate Cemetery in London.

THE VAMPIRE ARCHIVES - THE MOST COMPLETE VOLUME OF VAMPIRE TALES EVER PUBLISHED edited by Otto Penzler (Vintage, Trade Paperback, $25.00) -  I thought they might be exaggerating until I got a look at the onionskin paper and the tiny point size of the font in this massive tome.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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