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Welcome to Bordertown: New Stories and Poems of the Borderlands Hardcover – May 24, 2011
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Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2011:
"This is punk-rock, DIY fantasy, full of harsh reality and incandescent magic...a masterful anthology."
Starred Review, School Library Journal, June 2011:
"It’s easy to be transported by each entry’s rich details and compelling characters, but this page-turner’s biggest success is in how veteran authors simultaneously address the themes through traditional fantasy tropes and current reality."
About the Author
HOLLY BLACK is the author of bestselling contemporary fantasy books for kids and teens. Some of her titles include The Spiderwick Chronicles, The Modern Faerie Tale series, The Good Neighbors graphic novel trilogy, and her new Curse Workers series, which begins with White Cat. She has been a finalist for both the Mythopoeic Award and Eisner Award, and the recipient of the Andre Norton Award.
ELLEN KUSHNER's award-winning novels include the “mannerpunk” cult classic Swordspoint, The Privilege of the Sword, and Thomas the Rhymer. Kushner’s children’s story, The Golden Dreydl: A Klezmer ‘Nutcracker’, has been produced as a CD (with Shirim Klezmer Orchestra), a chapter book, and onstage by New York’s Vital Theatre. She is known to national public radio audiences as the longtime host of public radio's weekly program Sound & Spirit. She lives in New York City.
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Thirteen years ago, Bordertown vanished from the mortal world. No one knows how or why, but when it reappeared, only thirteen days had passed for those inside.
In Terri Windling and Ellen Kushner's opening novella, teenage "fixer" Jim arrives there to find his sister Trish, who ran away to live in Bordertown. But Trish has learned that even magical places have their hardships, even as she befriends a grad student named Anush, whose studies went horribly awry when he was cursed by a cruel elf lady.
Some of these stories are by longtime Borderland contributers. Emma Bull's "Incunabulum" is the tale of a young Blood who lost his memory, and must now forge a new one, and Will Shetterly's "The Seven Sages of Elsewhere" is a feud between two bookstores over a rare, magical tome.
But many of these authors are new to Bordertown anthologies -- Cory Doctorow, Catherynne Valente, Janni Lee Simner, Christopher Barzak, Annette Curtis Klause, Tim Pratt, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Holly Black and Cassandra Clare.
Their stories include a technonerd bringing modern tech to Bordertown, a runaway named Fig who doesn't believe in magic, a girl who falls in love with a statue, a pair of best friends in search of werewolves and vampires, a musician stalked by a lonely love-talker, an artist cursed with blood magic, a gang of Caribbean lesbians haunted by love and magic, a failed musician's relationship with a boy-terrorist, deception and death at a tiny theatre, and a grief-stricken young man looking for his true love.
And then there are poems and songs, such as Jane Yolen's lullaby, and Amal El-Mohtar's delicately surreal poem. Not to mention Neil Gaiman's odd, lilting poem and Patricia McKillip's lush ballad of two sisters.
The 21st century has sapped none of Bordertown's eerie charm -- it's still full of ragged teens, rock concerts, silver-haired elves and odd twists that take people's lives where they never could have expected. And while it shows us that magic and the fantastical will always be alluring, it also has its hidden dangers and sorrows.
This is probably one of the best anthologies I have ever read. While the authors have their own individual quirks, the same silver threads run through almost all of the stories -- a mixture of moonlit magic and grimy, rambunctious urban reality. And they come up with some truly enchanting characters, some of whom are not what they seem. Some are destined to stay in Bordertown, and some merely need the magical to set them on their path.
"Welcome to Bordertown" is a welcome return to one of the classic realms of urban fantasy -- and it's no less enchanting after a wait of thirteen years.
"We're all misfits here. That's why I started this squat. For people like us who don't fit anywhere else. Halfies and homos and hopeless romantics, the outcast and outrageous and terminally weird." (p.69)
"Youth is half of what anyone who comes to this city needs in order to make a way. The rest is a blend of luck, skill, and a friendly disposition."(p.399)
"Welcome to Bordertown" by Ellen Kushner & Terri Windling sets up the premise for this anthology of short stories in this wonderful shard universe. Bordertown has been inaccessible to the World for thirteen years, but in Bordertown it's been thirteen days.
"The Sages of Elsewhere" by Will Shetterly is about Wolfboy, the bookstore he and Sparks now own, and why he remakes it into a lending library.
"Crossings" by Janni Lee Simner is about two best friends who go to Bordetown to find a vampire and werewolf.
Allie Land comes to B-town to become a famous musician and meets an astronomer who's become an astrologer and an unnoticed boy who has become an elf in "Our Stars, Our Selves" by Tim Pratt.
I hope Annette Curtis Klause will write more about the unwilling vampire Lizzie and her elf friend Moss in "Elf Blood."
"We Do Not Come in Peace" by Christopher Barzak is about Marius who came to B-town aways back, had a successful music career but the Music left him when the Way closed.
"The Rowan Gentleman" by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare is about 20 masked men and women who operate out of the Magic Lantern theater which depending on how the magic is flowing is either a movie theater or live theater--and who help out humans and halfies in trouble.
"A Tangle of Green Men" by Charles de Lint isn't about any recurring characters I remember and most of it takes place outside of Bordertown. And that's fine, because some adventures are about the journey. Upon getting out of juvie, Tia Luba sends Joey from the rez to his uncle in Baltimore who works on a crew setting up conventions. He's setting up Faerie Con when he meets and falls in love with Juliana - and gets involved with her family. Eventually, Joey winds up in Bordertown. I would love to read more of his story. And Bordertown, I don't want it going away from the World again! I loved this book, I've been away too long!