June 01, 2007

Notes from a DVD Geek

by Jeremy Lassen

Having just returned from the Feminist Science Fiction Convention in Madison Wisconsin, where they presented the James Tiptree, Jr. Award, I figured it was appropriate to lead off this column with a Tiptree-related item:  The Masters of Horror Season Two episode from Joe Dante is called "The Screwfly Solution," and is based on her short story of the same name.  For those of you who haven’t read it, it is included in the Tachyon collection HER SMOKE ROSE UP FOREVER, or you can check it out at SciFi.com’s “classics” archive:  <http://www.scifi.com/scifiction/classics/classics_archive/sheldon/sheldon1.html>.  There’s also a very useful bio and bibliography there.

Having just read the story, now you are ready to see the cinematic adaptation of this film, which is out on DVD this month.  It’s directed by Joe Dante, and stars Jason Priestly and Elliot Gould.  This one is pretty good.

Two years ago, in the first Masters of Horror Season, Joe Dante stirred conservative feathers with his zombie political allegory,  "Homecoming," which was also very good.  And just recently, a classic from his filmography was re-released: 1980's film of teen/monster mayhem, "Gremlins".  This one is in fact as good as you remember it being.

May Bestsellers

1. Brave New Words: The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction edited by Jeff Prucher
    Last Colony by John Scalzi
2. Ironside by Holly Black
3. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
4. Reaper's Gale by Steven Erikson
5. Brasyl by Ian McDonald
6. Mathematicians in Love by Rudy Rucker
7. World War Z by Max Brooks
    Nobody's Princess by Esther Friesner
8. Wizards edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois
9. Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon
10. Rude Mechanicals by Kage Baker

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi
2. The City, Not Long After by Pat Murphy
3. Old Man's War by John Scalzi
4. Tithe by Holly Black
5. Bonehunters by Steven Erikson
6. Light by M. John Harrison
7. Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan
8. Pushing Ice by Alastair Reynolds
9. Helix by Eric Brown
    Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner
    Red Lightning by John Varley
10. Beguilment by Lois McMaster Bujold
    Undead and Unpopular by Mary Janice Davidson

Trade Paperbacks
1. Reaper's Gale by Steven Erikson
2. Overclocked by Cory Doctorow
3. James Tiptree Memorial Award Anthology vol. 3 edited by Karen Joy Fowler, Pat Murphy, Debbie Notkin and Jeffrey D. Smith
    Snake Agent by Liz Williams
4. Portable Childhoods by Ellen Klages
5. Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow

Origin of the Bookstore, Part the Eighth - Inventory

For the next five months we'll be doing a special feature each month in honor of Borderlands' upcoming 10th Anniversary (November 3rd, 2007). We'll share some stories about what Borderlands is and how it got that way.

by Alan Beatts

Being obsessive-compulsive and reasonably technically apt has its upsides and its downsides.  Both sides were demonstrated during the first inventory at Borderlands.

When I decided to open the shop, one important part of my business plan was to sell books online.  Today, that's a pretty simple matter but at that time it was not.  In November of 1997, I had no idea how I was going to sell books online but I did know one thing -- if I was going to, I'd need an accurate database of all the books in the store.

So, in what was going to become my typical dammit-I'll-just-learn-it-myself business model, I decided to brush up on a program called FileMaker (which I had used years previously for databases in, it makes me blush to admit, . . . role-playing games) and set up an inventory myself.  It was easy to do, after all, what do you need to keep track of with books?  Title, author's name, cover price, selling price, cost, and that should do it.  Right?  Oh yeah, I figured that I'd better add the date it was published and if it's a first printing, since I guessed that there were some people who cared about that.  And, there was this ten digit number on a lot of these books, so I added that too.  But beyond that, what else should I need?

(Ten years later:  No, that's not quite enough.  At this point there are over 50 separate pieces of data we keep about used books.  And more than that for new books.)