An Evening at Borderlands

Holy crap, what a great time Mary and I had at Borderlands Books tonight. The placed was packed, and I mean packed — they had to wheel out some of the bookselves to fit in all the people who were there — and the audience was just fabulous, and totally into it. Mary and I performed a couple of pieces together, and then each of us read individual pieces, and then we finished up with with a bit of science fiction comedy improv which was a big ol’ hit, if I do say so myself. Seriously, I think it’s the most fun I’ve had at a reading, and I usually have a lot of fun. I’m still riding the high from it.

To everyone who showed up tonight, thanks so much for coming out; you really helped make tonight a truly fantastic time. And especially thanks to Mary Robinette Kowal, who is a spectacular person to share an event with. I can’t say enough about how much damn fun it is to work with her. It wouldn’t have been half as much fun if it had just been me.

Man! What fun. And now I’m going to sleep. Which is good too.

36 Comments on “An Evening at Borderlands”

  1. Mary Robinette Kowal – Mary Robinette Kowal is the author of SHADES OF MILK AND HONEY (Tor 2010) & won the 2008 Campbell Award for Best New Writer. She is also a professional puppeteer.
    Mary Robinette Kowal

    Most. Fun. Ever.

    And I see we’re both up blogging about it.

  2. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang in Chang in Chang in Chang

    Hey, I see VPXII Homeboy Anthony Ha in there!

  3. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang in Chang in Chang in Chang

    Awesome! Sorry I couldna make it. Maybe next time do the East Coast? I miss your shiny bald head.

  4. That photo, it should be noted, reflects no more than 2/3 of the crowd that showed up. If my friends hadn’t saved me a seat (I think they told people “do you really want lawyer cooties?!”), I’d have had to sit on the floor, and I got there EARLY.

  5. I sent my brother, but i don’t know if he showed up. I don’t really see him in the photo.

  6. Yay! I am famous on the internet! (Which means I am recognizable in the photo.) Thanks so much for a wonderful time. I look forward to hearing more about Lubricant Girl :)

  7. I ended standing in the back most of the time but it was well worth the strained neck and ears. My favorite part was the Q&A’s. Very funny. I even got my book signed. Thank You both and Thank you borderland books. See ya next time. SF, Bay Area love the Scalzi!

  8. Well, if I was a bit taller, I’d be in the photo :-) (I’m directly behind the guy in the second row with something green on his shirt).

    It was great fun, thanks so much John and Mary! Please come back to the Bay Area soon…

    And now, time to go read my newly acquired, and autographed, copy of Agent to the Stars, and see how it is different from the previous version.

  9. Sweet…
    Im totally in the picture!

    And the reading and improv was great! Way to much fun to be having at a bookstore!

    Thanks!

  10. 1) No where near CA
    2) I might know who the 5th Cylon is. But think the end part was a ruse.
    3) Bad night to pick do this when Battlestar starts again!

  11. I can see my hat from here! (that’s me in the felt porkpie in the back row of seats)

    Thanks John & Mary. I had was tons of fun, and my 11-year-old, Hannah, loved it too, despite the fact that it was longish for a kid and some of the jokes went over her head. The improv was as good as John’s super-being interviews, if only there were a Science Fiction radio station you could sell it too…

  12. I was a little bit late due to parking issues, but I had a great time. Thanks for traveling out our way to the west coast.

  13. It was quite the show and definitely worth the trek up into the Mission; this was not at all an ordinary reading. You both work well together.

    I took many pictures but someone moves around a lot when he’s in front of an audience so I only posted two: Scalzi and Kowal.

    Thanks again for visiting us here in the Bay Area. Stop in anytime. Call first.

  14. Kevin and others with parking issues – I find when going to Borderlands (or other places in the Mission), it’s easiest to park at the Civic Center parking lot (the one underground), walk to the Civic Center BART station, and then head to 24th and Mission.

    It struck me later that we were all not far from Good Vibes, which is, of course, the secret superhero base of Lubricant Girl.

  15. Mary Robinette Kowal – Mary Robinette Kowal is the author of SHADES OF MILK AND HONEY (Tor 2010) & won the 2008 Campbell Award for Best New Writer. She is also a professional puppeteer.
    Mary Robinette Kowal

    I should note that John actually spelled it LubricantGrrl, but my enunciation wasn’t up to the double R.

  16. Dude, I’m like totally famous now, I’ve got a picture on the Whatever. I’m the fat guy in the front row with the Giants cap. I did my very best not to be annoying as I snapped a 135 pictures (some of which are not blurry). I think I did alri…I mean, all right. I had a blast!

  17. We had a good time, even my friend on the painkillers from a car accident earlier in the day.
    Hey, thats me in the black Oakland t-shirt!
    Most rowdy fun I have had in a bookstore.

  18. I am soooo in the picture (right behind the guy in the baseball cap), which means, of course, that it is posted on my facebook page with a giant Squeeee! under it. (That’s a happy squee, just to say). Twas a very fun night!

  19. Way too far in the back to be seen there. Silly Parking issues. But so glad I got to see you, Mythago, Punning Pundit, and all the other friends who may or may not have commented above. Was a blast.

  20. That looks like a riot! Crazy. I was in a bar in Manhattan with Mary last month, and now I’m in England n’ she’s on the Whatever/in California. Next thing you know we’ll all be in Canada! (oh, wait…)

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