December 05, 2017

Borderlands Opinionated Holiday Gift Guid

by Jude Feldman

I was delighted to see that most retailers this year actually waited until Thanksgiving was over before putting out their holiday decorations (or worse, turning up the holiday music)!  Last year, I swear, it seemed like a bunch of stores were moving in Christmas lights, menorahs, and New Year's noisemakers on July 5th, so I appreciate the restraint this time 'round.  However, winter is well and truly here now, and I'm personally thrilled that the gift-giving season has arrived, because there are just so many absolutely wonderful books to brighten the days of your friends and family.

We here present our usual Opinionated (and Digression-Filled) Gift Guide to help you out.  However, if you don't see something appropriate here, we're always happy to make custom suggestions for you or anyone in your life.  We'll even wrap 'em for you!  (A special note to those of you purchasing presents: we're glad to gift wrap upon request, although our typical caveats apply: first, if we're busy, you may have to wait a bit to have things wrapped, and, second, some staff members are MUCH better than others at it.  It is possible that your package may resemble a brightly wrapped Lovecraft-ian, batrachian, rugose, Thing of No Human Shape.  For some customers, this is not a problem . . ."better than I can do!," they say.  However, if you are concerned about our, ahem, abilities, we're also happy to just hand you the gift wrap, scissors and tape.)

Now, onward!

Let's start with a huge selection of signed books.  We're quite spoiled with all the marvelous local authors who have dropped by to sign their work recently, and we currently have signed books from Charlie Jane Anders, S.G. Browne, Gail Carriger, Richard Kadrey, Ellen Klages, Nick Mamatas, Seanan McGuire (no longer local, but still in our hearts and willing to sign books on the tailgate of the store's truck in a random parking lot in San Lorenzo in a giant rush, which surely looked like the world's strangest drug deal),  Christopher Moore,  Annalee Newitz, and many, many more!   Also, Marie Brennan and Becky Chambers be around in the next week or so, so feel free to request personalized copies -- we'll make it happen if we possibly can.

Upcoming Events

Sisters in Crime / Mystery Writers of America Northern California Holiday Party, Saturday, December 9th at 2:00 pm

Writers With Drinks (at the Make-Out Room, 3225 22nd St, San Francisco) with authors Becky Chambers, Alyssa Cole, David D. Levine, Dean Rader, Lauren Sanders and Danna Staaf, Saturday, December 9th at 6:30 pm

SF in SF (at the American Bookbinders' Museum, 355 Clementina St. San Francisco) with authors Ben Loory and Ken Scholes, Sunday, December 10th at 6:30 pm

Steve Ryfle, ISHIRO HONDA: A LIFE IN FILM, FROM GODZILLA TO KUROSAWA (Wesleyan, Hardcover, $32.95) Saturday, January 6th, 2018 at 3:00 pm

Seanan McGuire, BENEATH THE SUGAR SKY (Tor.com, Hardcover, $17.99)  Thursday, January 11th at 6:00 pm

Kate Elliott presents "Do Not Be Satisfied With Stories: Narrative Structure and Expectations" Friday, January 12th at 6:00 pm

Special Announcements

Help with Our New Building

As you're probably aware, we've just bought a 1902 building on Haight Street that will be the permanent home for Borderlands.  The place needs a fair amount of work and we're happy to accept help doing the work, if you'd like to give it.  You'll be working with a pretty fine group of people and you'll have a chance to learn a bunch about how buildings are put together and restored.  If that sounds interesting, please drop Alan a line at abeatts@borderlands-books.com or you can just reply to this email.

There's another sort of help we're looking for as well.  And, if you're a long-time SF resident, you might have what we need.  Alan and Zach (our historian) are looking for pictures of the south side of Haight Street between Masonic and Central.  The older the better but even shots from as short a time as five years ago would be very welcome.  We're putting together a history of the building and finding photographs has been surprisingly difficult.  If you've got something, please let Alan know.

Limited Edition 20th Anniversary Hoodie

We unveiled the special Borderlands Books 20th anniversary hoodie last month at our party, and we still have some left for sale.  They feature a lovely silk-screened design courtesy of sponsor Michelle Rapp, and will only be available for a limited time.  We're happy to ship them world-wide or you can stop by the shop to pick one up.  If you'd like one shipped, please call the shop during business hours toll-free at 888 893-4008 or you can email us to make arrangements.  The hoodies are $55 each, plus any shipping charges, and they are sized from small to XXXL.  One note about sizing -- they are quite a trim fit, and so you might want to go a size larger than usual unless you like your clothing snug.

Check out Alan modeling one here - https://borderlands-books.blogspot.com/2017/12/20th-anniversary-hoodie.html (There's also a bonus picture of a Sponsor wearing one of the first ones sold, positioned to dominate our fair city).

Building News

by Alan Beatts

Well, there's a lot in this month's newsletter, so I'm going to keep this short.  Don't worry though, I'll have much more news and information about our new building in the next newsletter.  But, here's the quick version.  The previous owner and occupant of the retail space has packed all his stuff and is out.  I've met both of the residential tenants, and they both seem like lovely people.  I've also met most of the neighbors, and they're equally nice.

So now we're really digging into getting the work done.  Weekend before last we removed the decades of ivy from the backyard and cleaned it up.  Turns out that, under a foot of leaves, mulch and dirt, there's a concrete pad that covers most of the yard.  One of our next outside jobs is going to be breaking that out and hauling it away.  Once that's done, we can start the hardscape (probably dry-laid brick), and then get working on the planters and plantings.  Our gardener and designer, Melinda Rose <http://botanikagardens.com/index.html>, and I will be working on the layout over the next few weeks.

Inside, it's demolition time.  Last weekend we took out the ill-advised acoustical ceiling and much of the drop ceiling as well.  There's still a bit more to go, but most of the "bones" of the building are visible,   and they look pretty good.  Beams are oversized by current standards, a full 2" thick, and old-growth, clear fir.  There don't seem to be any notable problems other than some fire damage in the stairway area (probably dating to 1973).  I still need to open up the walls in a couple of places to see what's there, but the building looks to be as solid as I thought it was.

I met with our architect, Kevin Short <https://kjs-arch.com>, today and he agrees with me that the place looks really good.  I'm still "learning" the building -- figuring out what was done, why and when (with a great deal of help from our historian, Zachary Harper).  I'm sure that there'll be some surprises as we go along (because there always are) but I don't think that there are going to be any bad ones.

The question that I'm asked the most is when we'll be moving.  Obviously we're not doing that until we've got all the work done at the place.  Since some of my plans include things like an ADA accessible restroom, refinishing the floors, and building all new bookshelves, the construction isn't going to be a fast process.  So, at this point, there are too many variables to make even an educated guess at how long the process will take.  That said, I'm hoping for a May opening but, please, don't hold me to that.

In closing, I want to thank all the people who have helped out with the work so far.  They are, in no particular order: Melinda, Eloise, Garrett, Jane, Laura, Claud, Russ, Colleen, Marie, Jay, Carl, April, Kestrel, Starling, Zach, Dave, Elizabeth, Emily, Ramon and, last but far from least, Salem and Jude.  Without their generous, cheerful, and profoundly aggressive help, I would still be standing in the middle of the backyard, knee deep in ivy, and cursing nature.

-- Alan Beatts

November Bestsellers

Hardcovers
1. Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson
2. Edgedancer by Brandon Sanderson
3. Artemis by Andy Weir
4. Arcanum Unbounded by Brandon Sanderson
5. La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman
6. Autonomous by Annalee Newitz
7. Six Months, Three Days, Five Others by Charlie Jane Anders
8. Name of the Wind Tenth Anniversary Edition by Patrick Rothfuss
9. Provenance by Ann Leckie
10. Strange Weather by Joe Hill

Trade Paperbacks
1. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
2. All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
3. The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu
4. Romancing the Werewolf by Gail Carriger
5. The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin
6. The Overneath by Peter S. Beagle
7. Tales of Falling and Flying by Ben Loory
8. Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey
9. Passing Strange by Ellen Klages
10. An Excess Male by Maggie Shen King

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. The Wrong Stars by Tim Pratt
2. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
3. Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
4. Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
5. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
6. Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
7. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
8. Who Fears Death? by Nnedi Okorafor
9. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
10. Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn

December News

*Overheard in the Store:
"If I never hear the phrase 'Cyber Monday' again, it will be way too soon."

"I have body piercings older than most of the cafe employees!"

"Okay, gluten-free, artisanal strippers, then."

*Overheard at Writers With Drinks:

"Our motto for 2018 is going to be 'Aftercare, Hydration, and Lots of Cuddles!'"

"I don't know which version of the Bible you prefer-- I like the Queen James version."

* We're sorry to hear of the death of wonderful author Julian May, who wrote well over 200 books.  She's best known among SF/F fans for her two series "Saga of the Plioscene Era" and "Galatic Milieu", as well as co-writing the first Trillium novel with authors Marion Zimmer Bradley and Andre Norton.  https://chicago.suntimes.com/entertainment/julian-may-who-weaved-worlds-in-sci-fi-fantasy-novels-dead-at-86/

* This article about the idea of robot rights is great.  There's no real conclusion, but there is a lot of food for thought about human rights and the potential abuse of created beings.  https://daily.jstor.org/do-we-have-moral-obligations-to-robots/

20th Anniversary Hoodie

We unveiled the special Borderlands Books 20th anniversary hoodie last month at our party, and we still have some left for sale.  They feature a lovely silk-screened design courtesy of sponsor Michelle Rapp, and will only be available for a limited time.

We're happy to ship them world-wide or you can stop by the shop to pick one up.  If you'd like one shipped, please call the shop during business hours toll-free at 888 893-4008 or you can email us to make arrangements.  The hoodies are $55 each, plus any shipping charges, and they are sized from small to XXXL.  One note about sizing -- they are quite a trim fit, and so you might want to go a size larger than usual unless you like your clothing snug.


  The best model we could find
(everybody else had the day off)


Borderlands Books, finally
prepared for urban domination
(after 20 years of practice)

November 13, 2017

So, You Bought a Building. Now What?

by Alan Beatts

You've probably heard the news already but, in case you missed the last couple of emails -- We managed to buy the building we were looking at on Haight Street!  This is a pretty huge accomplishment and I want to thank everyone who made it possible -- Borderlands' staff, our sponsors, all our customers who have supported us for 20 years, Dan Marshall and Lance Fulford (our realtors), and, most of all, the 49 people who lent the money that made it a reality. I'm more excited about where we're going to take Borderlands than I've been since I signed the lease for the cafe more than ten years ago.

The payment has been transferred already and escrow will close on the purchase on Tuesday, which will complete the transfer of ownership.  After that, the fun really starts.  But, it's going to be a slow start at first.  The previous owner of the building is also the owner of Recycled Records, the tenant in the retail space on the ground floor.  He's retiring, and is going to be packing up his inventory and shutting down his shop over the next couple of days.  Per the terms of the purchase contract, he has 15 days to leave the place "broom clean".  Until he's out, there isn't much work that can start (though, there are a few things I can get started on while he's still there -- basement and backyard clean up, specifically).

Once he's out, we'll be doing a bit of demolition.  The ceiling is on its last legs, and so we'll strip that down to the joists (those are the big pieces of framing that hold up the floors above).  We'll also pull up the old carpeting so that I can get a good look at the existing flooring.  Once that is done, we'll really be able to see what we've got to work with, as well as letting our structural engineer and architect take a look.  That part is very important since it will affect the next big job -- a soft-story retrofit.

Upcoming Events

Brandon Sanderson, OATHBRINGER (Tor, Hardcover, $34.99), Wednesday, November 15th at 6:00 pm

Meet Our New Building, Thursday, November 16th from 4:00 to 8:00 pm (at 1377 Haight Street at Masonic)

Borderlands 20th Anniversary Party, Saturday, November 18th, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm

SF in SF with authors Annalee Newitz and Robin Sloan (at the American Bookbinders Museum, 355 Clementina Street, San Francisco), Sunday, November 19th at 6:30 pm

Sisters in Crime / Mystery Writers of America Northern California Holiday Party, Saturday, December 9th at 2:00 pm

October Bestsellers

Hardcovers
1) La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman
2) Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne
3) Mistress of All Evil by Serena Valentino
4) Autonomous by Annalee Newitz
5) 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die by Loren Rhoads
6) Machine Learning by Hugh Howey
7) Provenance by Ann Leckie
8) Vallista by Steven Brust
9) It Devours! by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
10) Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

Trade Paperbacks
1) Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
2) All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
3) Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu edited by Ken Liu
4) Damn Fine Story by Chuck Wendig
5) Updraft by Fran Wilde
6) Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin
7) Passing Strange by Ellen Klages
8) Machine Learning by Hugh Howey
9) Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin
10) Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey

Paperbacks
1) Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
2) Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
3) Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
4) Excession by Iain M. Banks
5) Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn
6) Uploaded by Ferrett Steinmetz
7) Blade Runner (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?) by Philip K. Dick
8) The Gunslinger by Stephen King
9) Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
10) Old Man's War by John Scalzi