August 22, 2011
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Welcome To Bordertown

by Holly Black and Ellen Kushner, eds.

In 1986, Terri Windling put together a successful shared-worlds anthology, Borderland, about a strange city on the border between the world and faerie. This is the Tijuana of fantasy, a land of ruins and dreams where the music is hot, the drugs cheap, the girls are supernaturally pretty, a place where it’s easy to find a squat and easier to find trouble. After a 13-year hiatus, The Way to Bordertown is open once more. In Faerie, only 13 days have passed, which can be confusing when your kid brother shows up and he’s older than you are.

The noobs bring wonderful things from The World – mobile phones, wikipedia – which sometimes work on the Border and sometimes don’t. Cory Doctorow contributes a story here about setting up an ISP in a realm of unreliable electronics and the challenges of trying to route packets to Faerie, where no mortal can enter.

A core concern on the original stories was the then-famous Problem of Runaway Teenagers. Runaways are not much spoken of these days, perhaps because after Reagan and Bush 43 we’ve simply grown accustomed to them. The new volume has some fine stories, and some interesting poems (including nifty poems by Gaiman and McKillip) that really ought to be songs. No doubt, some fans are already getting out the spellboxes that power the guitar amps and laying down tracks.