Thursday, July 18, 2019

Sponsor Letter, June 17th 2019

Because of requests from several sponsors, we have begun to include our public events in our events listings.  Please note that general public events will be noted with a (PUBLIC) in the description.  And, to help us plan, please RSVP to any sponsor event that you are planning to attend, so that we might best accommodate y'all!

The shot-glass version:

(1) Saturday, June 22nd, 3:00 pm (PUBLIC) - Reading, signing and Q&A with Ferrett Steinmetz (THE SOL MAJESTIC) at Borderlands Books.

(2) Saturday, June 22nd, 7:00 pm - Sponsor Social at Borderlands Books.

(3) Saturday, July 20th, 7:00 pm - San Francisco Ghost Hunt Walking Tour.  Cost is $21.00, payable with your RSVP by July 12th.

(4) Saturday, August 3rd, 3:00 pm (PUBLIC) - Reading, signing and Q&A with Charlie Jane Anders, Meg Elison, Shaenon K. Garrity, and Richard Kadrey (WASTELANDS: THE NEW APOCALYPSE) at Borderlands Books.

(5) Tuesday, August 6th, at 6:00 pm (PUBLIC) - Reading, signing and Q&A with Gail Carriger (RETICENCE) at Borderlands Books.

(6) Saturday, August 10th at 3:00 pm (PUBLIC) - Reading, signing and Q&A with Michael Blumlein (LONGER) and Paul Park (A CITY MADE OF WORDS) at Borderlands Books.

(7) Saturday, August 10th, 9:30pm (recommend arrival at 8:30 to secure a table) -- Drinks with Dueling Pianos at Johnny Foley's.  $10 cover at the door.

(8) Saturday, September 14th, 7:00 pm -- Fall Sponsor Social at Borderlands Books.

(9) September 22nd, 12:00 noon -- Picnic and BBQ at Table #15 in Lindley Meadow, Golden Gate Park.

The Big-gulp version:

(1) Saturday, June 22nd, 3:00 pm (PUBLIC) - Reading, signing and Q&A with Ferrett Steinmetz (THE SOL MAJESTIC) at Borderlands Books - (This event is open to the general public, but sponsors may RSVP to reserve seats.)  The Sol Majestic is the most prestigious restaurant in the galaxy, located at Savor Station -- and 16-year-old Kenna comes to it starving, both physically and spiritually.  He's a member of a dying religion, and his parents have been dragging him from station to station as long as he can remember, seeking backing for their faith, the Inevitable Philosophy.  Kenna is pretty far overdue for finding his expected Inevitable Philosopy until he wins a free meal at the Sol Majestic, and its genius creator makes a project out of Kenna, changing everything.  Jude just won't shut up about how much she loves this book, which is about finding your guiding passion, the dignity of work, and so much more.  We definitely hope you'll join us to meet Ferrett Steinmetz and check out this fabulous new novel!

(2) Saturday, June 22nd, 7:00 pm - Sponsor Social at Borderlands Books.  This will be the first sponsor social ever in "just the bookstore"!  We hope you'll make time for our annual summertime soiree with yummy food, yummy conversation and especially yummy door prizes.  And, thanks to publishers Harper Collins and Tor, we've got some fantastic advance reading copies to give away!  Bring some food or drink to share and join us for a great time.

(3) Saturday, July 20, 2019, 7:00 p.m. -- San Francisco Ghost Hunt Walking Tour: From their website <>, "The original San Francisco Ghost Hunt Walking Tour, SF's first ghost tour, is a historical walking tour of the Pacific Heights neighborhood, one of the few neighborhoods to survive The Great Earthquake and Fire of 1906.  You'll walk a mile on tree-lined streets in a safe residential area with fine Victorian architecture.  You'll learn about real historic names of San Francisco -- how they lived, how they died, and the reports of their hauntings ever since.  We don't make it up.  We just report it.  You'll enjoy 90 minutes to 2 hours of guaranteed unearthly fun!"  Please RSVP with payment before July 12th so that we might give final numbers to our guide, who will meet us in front of the Healing Arts Center, 1801 Bush Street (corner of Bush and Octavia) under the tall trees.  You may pay in store or call with credit card information.  (We've done this walking tour before and had a fantastic time, and even some unexplained, goose-bump invoking occurrences!)

(4) Saturday, August 3rd, 3:00 pm (PUBLIC) - Charlie Jane Anders, Meg Elison, Shaenon K. Garrity, and Richard Kadrey, WASTELANDS: THE NEW APOCALYPSE at Borderlands Books - From editor John Joseph Adam's site: "In WASTELANDS: THE NEW APOCALYPSE, veteran anthology editor John Joseph Adams is once again our guide through the wastelands using his genre and editorial expertise to curate his finest collection of post-apocalyptic short fiction yet.  Whether the end comes via nuclear war, pandemic, climate change, or cosmological disaster, these stories explore the extraordinary trials and tribulations of those who survive." We're delighted to welcome four fabulous local authors who contributed to the anthology!  Charlie Jane and Shaenon have amazing reprints, and Richard and Meg's stories are original to this collection.  Don't miss this event; we know it's going to be magnificently apocalyptic!

(5) Tuesday, August 6th, at 6:00 pm (PUBLIC) - Reading, signing and Q&A with Gail Carriger (RETICENCE) at Borderlands Books - Details TK.

(6) Saturday, August 10th at 3:00 pm (PUBLIC) - Reading, signing and Q&A with Michael Blumlein (LONGER) and Paul Park (A CITY MADE OF WORDS) at Borderlands Books - Details TK.

(7)  Saturday, August 10th, 9:00pm (recommend arrival at 8:30 to secure a table) - Drinks with Dueling Pianos at Johnny Foley's, 243 O'Farrell St, San Francisco (b/t Cyril Magnin St & Powell St. at Union Square) $10 cover at the door.  We thought we'd try something a bit different this time 'round.  From their website: "Our entertainers will have you dancing, laughing and singing along to your favorite songs from every era.  You control the show!  Our typical audience brings together both tourists and locals alike, so you're sure to walk away with new friends, great stories and happy memories!!  Come join the fun!  We do not accept reservations for the room, as seating is limited.  To ensure your party is accommodated, we recommend you arrive as soon as the doors open to secure an area (usually an hour before show time).  Food menus are available, with a Full Bar offering a list of "lyrical" cocktails." <>

(8) Saturday, September 14th, 7:00 pm -- Fall Sponsor Social at Borderlands Books.  Join us for food, drink, and merriment as we talk about books, buy books, and maybe even win some free books in the raffle. . . . more details to come!

(9) September 22nd, 12:00 noon -- Picnic and BBQ at Table 15 in Lindley Meadow, Golden Gate Park.  Located near the western-most end of Lindley Meadow, join the crew of Borderlands as we soak up the (hopefully) warm San Francisco Fall sunshine and grill our favorite picnic treats.  We're actually leaving the store and venturing into the outside world for a potluck cookout in Golden Gate Park!  And, since it's September, it'll be the height of San Francisco summertime.  We've reserved table #15 (as close to the bathrooms as we could get!) at Lindley Meadow.  Directions are at the link below, but the TL;DR version is that Lindley Meadow is on the south side of JFK Drive, across from the 30th Avenue and Fulton Street entrance in Golden Gate Park. (At 30th Avenue and JFK, there is a sign for Lindley Meadow.) .
Bring something to put on the grill or something to share as a side; bring your picnic blanket and toys and games if you want them, and probably a jacket for possibly unpredictable summer weather.  Wine and beer are fine to bring but, please, no liquor and no glass, per the Park's request.  Friends and guests (including children) are super welcome, so please do bring 'em along.


What the Sponsors of Borderlands Mean To Me
by Jeremy Lassen

Some of you may see me around the store occasionally. My name is Jeremy Lassen, and I am a bookseller. I'm STILL a bookseller, because you, the sponsors, have allowed me to continue to be one. And that fact is a pretty big deal to me.

When I first moved to San Francisco, the first thing I did when I got here was buy a map, and figure out where Corona Heights was, and make a pilgrimage to that lonely crag in the center of The City, because I was a huge Fritz Leiber fan, and loved the novel Our Lady of Darkness.  But it wasn’t until I became a bookseller at Borderlands Books that I was able to connect with others who knew EXACTLY HOW COOL that pilgrimage was.

Working at Borderlands not only allowed me to find a like-minded tribe of people who shared my passion for books, but it also allowed me to discover new passions and new things to obsess over in the science fiction genre . . . .

One thing that happened to me while working at Borderlands was that I met my future business partner and, because of that meeting, I ended up becoming a science fiction editor and publisher (the details of that little adventure are for another time). Suffice it to say that my little obsession with the science fiction genre became a full-time job, and my entire sense of identity became entwined with my job as publisher. I was the face of Night Shade Books, and Night Shade was my face. During that time as a publisher, I still worked regularly at Borderlands, and that experience of working the bookstore counter week after week definitely influenced me, and helped me succeed as a publisher.

But this gratefulness for Borderlands and my long-running experience as a bookseller doesn't address how important the *sponsorship* program has been for me. This has been the setup, and I'm going to get to the *point*, but before I do, I'm going to take a little narrative detour, and share another anecdote from Borderlands, to help contextualize my feelings.

Very early in the history of Borderlands, a regular customer started showing up. He was socially awkward, and he often was challenged, from a hygienic standpoint. He was scruffy, to put it kindly.  But he was a book scout and a huge science fiction fan. He would walk across the city, and the entire Bay Area . . . and wherever public transit could take him. He would find books in free bins, and on discount racks, and in thrift stores, and he would buy up things that he knew had value to somebody, somewhere, and resell them to other bookstores, where he knew he could get a better price, and turn a profit.

He took his specialized knowledge of the industry and the genre, and he made a living off of it; turning trash into someone else's treasure.  He made most of his living from this book trade. Needless to say, he didn't make a great living. He lived in SRO hotels around the city and in the East Bay. But he always had stories about the different people he had met, as a book scout, and as a science fiction fan. He would often tell me about the times he met with and talked with Fritz Leiber, for example.  And he loved Ripley, our store cat. He would come in and sit with Ripley on his lap for hours, and he would always bring Ripley little treats.

After many years, this customer, who was getting older, moved away from the Bay Area to live with his brother. And not long after he moved away, Borderlands received a letter from him.  In the letter he shared that he had an inoperable brain tumor and that the doctor indicated that he had probably had the tumor for many years, and that the tumor had probably been affecting his behavior.  In the letter, he apologized for any inconvenience his behavior might have caused, and thanked the staff for their kindness, and for the opportunity to spend time with Ripley.

During the course of his life, when he didn't have much else, this man had Borderlands. In the letter, he told us that without Borderlands and Ripley, he would likely have died much sooner.  And I get choked up every time I think about Michael, who, while facing his imminent death, took time to express gratitude to those of us at Borderlands.  I feel lucky to have known him, and I am glad that I was able to be a part of his life when he needed people the most. And I am grateful that he shared his gratitude with us.

I bring up this story not to try and get you weepy-eyed. But to work up to admit that, in the wake of selling my publishing company . . . in the wake of losing that thing that had come to define me for over a decade . . . I was lost. Adrift. Extremely depressed. And one of the only things that gave me any kind of solace was that I still had this tenuous connection to the genre community. I was still a bookseller . . . .

(I'm going to be extremely blunt, and want to give a trigger warning.)

. . . if it weren't for the existence of my daughters, and the existence of Borderlands, and my connection to the store's shared community, I would have very likely committed suicide. I was in a very, very bad place. And was for a while.

Just as I was crawling out of that bad place, I was told that Borderlands was closing.  I heard about the impending closing long before any of the customers of Borderlands. I had to live with the knowledge that another huge part of my identity, and social safety net was going away. I soldiered on, and I sold books with a smile for four or five months, all the while mourning the store's impending death.

And then all you subscribers swooped in and saved the day. Not all superheroes wear capes. Some just put their money where their mouths (and hearts) are. And I am forever grateful. As it was for Michael, Borderlands was here for me, when I desperately needed it. And it was here for me, *when* I needed it most, because of you, the store sponsors.

I am in a much better place, emotionally, now. Please don't concern yourself with that.

But I wanted to take the opportunity to thank you - the sponsors - for your support of the store. You very rarely get an opportunity to know . . . to really *know* . . . what kind of impact you have on other people. I treasure the letter that Michael shared with us. I treasure the knowledge that I had an impact on his life.  I hope you will find something of value in the knowledge that your support of Borderlands was absolutely critical for me, personally, at a time in my life when Borderlands was what I needed.  Thank you for that.

by Alan Beatts

Jeremy Lassen was the first person I hired to work at Borderlands, way back in 1998.  Despite various careers, two children, and many intervening years, he still works with me.  Much of the essential shape of Borderlands was set by him in the early days, and he taught me more about books & publishing than anyone else in the world.  Which makes sense since he's the most experienced bookseller here (Jeremy started in 1994, Jude in 1996, and me in 1997 -- of course we're all just kids by the standards of "real" booksellers).

Much more than just being my longest serving employee, he's also one of my oldest and best friends.  This month he offered to write something for the sponsor note.  I'm very glad he did.

No comments:

Post a Comment