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Borderland: Where Magic Meets Rock & Roll (Borderlands Series) Mass Market Paperback – December 15, 1992
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Borderland (this volume) is an anthology of four pieces of short fiction by Steven R. Boyet, Terri Windling writing as Bellamy Bach, Charles De Lint and Ellen Kushner. As with Bordertown, which I read and reviewed out of order, each of the stories serves as a conceptually self-contained aspect of the shared world. The stories are unified by setting—Bordertown, the city nestled between the Elflands and the human World. Three of the four stories as further connected through the youth of their protagonists and their occurrence in Bordertown’s history. The first of the set, “Prodigy”, bucks the trend: its protagonist, a formerly famous musician named Scooter, is notably older than many of the other POV characters scattered amongst the stories, and the story itself is set in the early years of Bordertown, likely some ten or fifteen years at least before the following entries.
As with any multi-author anthology, the mix of voices and approaches means your mileage will vary. The nature of shared-world creations means that inevitably a reader will find installments somewhat uneven. Taken as a whole, I think the stories in this collection are more polished than those in Bordertown—these stories have greater clarity, more concision in their language, and better consistency of perspective.
This volume spends more time than Bordertown exploring the fuzzy borders of magic, embodied and otherwise. In “Prodigy,” a man’s musical talent becomes a literal form of magic which rages through Bordertown. “Gray” tells the story of a runaway girl with strange magical abilities who trades her human street gang for the friendship of a well-meaning if vapid elf girl. While Gray toys with the problematic position of halfies in Bordertown, Gray is revealed to be fully human (though still in possession of magic). “Stick” confronts the precarious lives of halfies more directly—when Stick, Bordertown’s resident martial artist/vigilante, saves a halfie girl from a gang bet down, she ends up saving him in turn with the help of Farrel Din (an elvish wizard) and the Horn Dance (a rock band). “Charis” takes us up the Hill, to where the dignitaries and wealthy live. Here we get a glimpse of interworld politics when Charis, the naive daughter of two human politicians, gets dragged into a complicated elfin plot.
I especially liked “Gray” and “Charis” in this volume. The two stories pair well together, actually, working as sort of mirror images of what elf-looking human teenage girls in this world might do and deal with. “Stick” is a bit…optimistic for my particular taste, I think. And “Prodigy” fell quite flat with me. In both “Stick” and “Prodigy” the characterization could have been stronger. “Prodigy” also felt overly long for the story it told. But all in all, this book serves as a very strong introduction to Bordertown.
Chances are, if you are willing to pay what these books cost, you already know what to expect. These books are amazing and timeless. I discovered Bordertown when I was twelve and my own children love them, too. In fact, my oldest confiscated all of my Bordertown books, which forced me to buy them again. If you haven't read them and the cost seems high, I would advise you to jump in. The Bordertown universe will suck you in, make you dream, and force you to fall in love with the characters.
These books are sometimes listed under different titles, so for anyone trying to complete a collection, or hoping to find an undiscovered treasure, the stories inside are:
Farrel Din: Introduction
Borderland emerged over a decade before her Merry Gentry (Faery) series.
The land of fairy returns, and its a messy reunification at best. The land between the normal human world and fairy is called "The Border" a place where one can easily become lost--or found. In the rements of evacuated cities from this rebirth the two worlds come together in Bordertown, where magic and technology don't always work. The town is teeming with the outcasts, run-aways and dreamers of both fairy and earth children.
The stories are fabulous rich in mythology, Aurthurian legend, and fairy tales. The characters are heartbreakingly real and flawed. I wish the series would continue.
Borderland is about a world like ours in which the Elves and their magic have returned to earth. Magic and technology both work sporadically in Bordertown (which lies at the heart of the Borderlands) where teenagers runaway to hang out in rock and roll clubs where fairie dust is a drug and music is magic.
The book is the first in an anthology series featuring such talents as Emma Bull and Charles de Lint.
After losing some of my interest in works of fantasy, this book reignited a spark in me like gasoline on a bbq pit. I haven't felt this way about a work of fantasy since Conan or Fahfrd and Greymouser. These books are nearly impossible to get ahold of but Essential Bordertwon is a new one coming out soon.
I cannot recommend this book and this series highly enough.
dear lovers of urban fantasy and faery lore,
.... is a place where magic and technology have formed an unstable alliance and to which teenagers runaway to find that thing that is missing in their lives. Alas, the elves are usually portrayed as being rather like spoiled rich kids, still we loved this series, although like most short story collections some stories appealed to us more than others. There are three other collections in this series, Bordertown: Where Magic Meets Rock & Roll,Life On The Border (Borderlands) and The Essential Bordertown (Borderlands), all of which we enjoyed. We also recommend the novels associated with it, Emma Bull's Finder: A Novel of the Borderlands, which while not as good as War for the Oaks: A Novel, nor a classic like that one, is still fun to read. Also, Will Shetterly's Elsewhere and Nevernever. We simply wished they'd write more in the series, and perhaps realize that not all elves are of the Unseelie variety.
the silver elves