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The Essential Bordertown [Paperback]

Terri Windling , Delia Sherman
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 8 1999 Borderlands (Book 4)
Bordertown. Once a normal American city, now a perilous nexus between the World and returned Elfland. From the banks of the addictive Mad River to the all-night clublands where young elves and humans fight and play, all the way up to glittering dragon's Tooth Hill, where high society seals itself away from the street--this is no city to trifle with.

Bordertown. A place of hidden magic, flamboyant artists, runaway teenagers, and pagan motorcycle gangs. The city you always knew was there.

Bordertown was created by Terri Windling, multiple World fantasy Award-winning editor, artist, and writer. Now thirteen of modern fantasy's finest writers return to Bordertown once again, to tell a new cycle of tales of the city. Here are Charles de Lint, Ellen Kushner, Patricia A. McKillip, Felicity Savage, Delia Sherman, Midori Snyder, Caroline Stevermer--and here is bestselling author Steven Brust with "When the Bow Breaks," chosen as a finalist for the Nebula Ward after the hardcover publication of this volume.

Bordertown. It's an attitude and a state of mind. It's elfin light and human sweat. It will never let you go.

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The Essential Bordertown + Welcome to Bordertown + Nevernever
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Product Description

From Amazon

Bordertown is the place where our world and the world of elves meet... but not just any kind of elves. These are hard-rocking, magic-flinging, motorcycle-riding elves who aren't entirely thrilled to be back in contact with lowly humans. Nevertheless, certain types of both elf and human are drawn to Bordertown, a place where magic and science coexist, and where neither works quite the way it's supposed to. Not everyone can find Bordertown, but those who do find it discover that it's a place where anything can happen, and where they can be anything they want to be. This collection of 13 stories continues the grand tradition of one of the most popular shared-world fantasy series of all time, and it also serves as an excellent introduction for anyone new to the border. --Craig E. Engler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Windling's fecund premise for the series of short-story collections and novels devoted to Bordertown (beginning with Bordertown and Borderland, both co-edited with Mark Alan Arnold, both published in 1986) involves the mingling of the mundane and the freakish that is the earmark of contemporary fantasy writing. These 13 stories share the same setting, place names and ambience. In Bordertown, teeming with runaways from both the human world and "The Realm," magic and science mitigate one another in strange ways. Here, spells are no more exotic than Kleenex. A guidebook written by editors Windling and Sherman is interspersed throughout the current text and is a perfect, hilarious counterfeit of the genuine item, with sly tips to the tourist for saving money and avoiding untoward enchantments. Stylistically, the stories range from Steven Brust's highly literate and exquisitely turned riverboat saga, "When the Bow Breaks," to Midori Snyder's straightforwardly sentimental coming-of-age story, "Dragon Child." More than a few shoot precipitously into undeserved conclusions, relying on sudden dramatic invention or some archetypal subtext insufficiently articulated, as if the authors had become habituated to Bordertown's facile spells. In Michael Korolenko's "Arcadia," a magical videographer's tale, the plot is heavy-handed and the resolution platitudinously tacked on. This is the exception, however; most of these pieces, even those that are more fantastic vignette than story, satisfy.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable teen fiction Oct. 3 2000
Format:Paperback
Most of the short stories in this collection have been written for teens, and older readers might find many of the stories a little trying.
Bordertown is a shared universe created for those people young enough or naive enough to imagine that being a homeless, unwashed, aspiring Artist automatically makes someone interesting. Nearly everyone in Bordertown, it seems, is a runaway, a musician, a member of the SCA, an elf, or [dear me] all of the above. Still, the stories are fun, and most of them are readable. "Argentine", by Ellen Steiber, I thought the best of the bunch: a wonderful love and redemption story set in Bordertown's El Barrio. Other notables include: "How Shannaro Tolkinson Lost and Found His Heart" by Felicity Savage, an amusing story that makes it known that B-Town and Faerie may not really be all they're cracked up to be; "When the Bow Breaks" by Steven Brust, which takes place not in Bordertown at all, but on the Mad River; and "Rag" by Caroline Stevermer, whose writing style quite reminded me of Tim Powers. If you can't stomach any of the other stories, at least give those four a try.
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Format:Paperback
Going by other reader reviews of this book, some fans of the series were disappointed by The Essential Bordertown--they felt the stories "just weren't the same" or something. Of course they weren't the same! It has a different character than other books in the series, but that's only to be expected from an anthology, and I enjoyed it immensely. One of its best features, to my mind, is the way "guidebook" excerpts are placed between the stories--for those unfamiliar with Bordertown, they provide excellent background material, and for fans, they're full of little jokes and references to familiar locations/people/events. They also make good transitions from one story to the next. The book contains 13 stories (how apropos) by Patricia A. McKillip, Midori Snyder, Delia Sherman, Donnard Sturgis, Ellen Kushner, Michael Korolenko, Elisabeth Kushner, Charles de Lint, Caroline Stevermer, Steven Brust, Ellen Steiber, Micole Sudberg, and Felicity Savage, of which four particularly struck me.
I loved Patricia A. McKillip's "Oak Hill" for many reasons, but one of them is that its protagonist reminded me of myself in junior high--a lonely girl with bad skin looking for magick. I particularly liked the fact that the girl has no terrible reason to come to Bordertown; she just wants something better--something more--than what she has. McKillip's prose is beautiful as ever, and the ending, though of course I won't give it away, is simple and powerful. "Dragon Child" by Midori Snyder is largely set in Dragontown, which has always been one of my favorite areas of Bordertown.
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Was this review helpful to you?
Format:Paperback
Going by other reader reviews of this book, some fans of the series were disappointed by The Essential Bordertown--they felt the stories "just weren't the same" or something. Of course they weren't the same! It has a different character than other books in the series, but that's only to be expected from an anthology, and I enjoyed it immensely. One of its best features, to my mind, is the way "guidebook" excerpts are placed between the stories--for those unfamiliar with Bordertown, they provide excellent background material, and for fans, they're full of little jokes and references to familiar locations/people/events. They also make good transitions from one story to the next. The book contains 13 stories (how apropos) by Patricia A. McKillip, Midori Snyder, Delia Sherman, Donnard Sturgis, Ellen Kushner, Michael Korolenko, Elisabeth Kushner, Charles de Lint, Caroline Stevermer, Steven Brust, Ellen Steiber, Micole Sudberg, and Felicity Savage, of which four particularly struck me.
I loved Patricia A. McKillip's "Oak Hill" for many reasons, but one of them is that its protagonist reminded me of myself in junior high--a lonely girl with bad skin looking for magick. I particularly liked the fact that the girl has no terrible reason to come to Bordertown; she just wants something better--something more--than what she has. McKillip's prose is beautiful as ever, and the ending, though of course I won't give it away, is simple and powerful. "Dragon Child" by Midori Snyder is largely set in Dragontown, which has always been one of my favorite areas of Bordertown.
Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars Totally cool book Dec 28 1998
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Well I read the two reviews below and then I read the book itself. I gotta vote along with Flagstaff Reader, not Chicago Reader, that this book is awesom and the best Border book yet. I think since Chicago Reader picked "Bordertown" and "Finder" as his/her personal favs of all the Borderland books then he/she is probably a big fan of Will Shetterly and Emma Bull's Borderland stories. Well, thats cool but Chicago Reader should realize that not all of us are. The Shetterly & Bull version of Bordertown is fine and fun but personally its a bit too "Miami Vice" for me (altho I thought "Elsewhere" was different and pretty cool) and its really nice to see the series move on past the 1980s and into the 1990s. I for one was really glad to see stories by Patricia McKillip, Midori Snyder and Ellen Kushner instead. Chicago Reader is mistaken if he/she thinks that "Bordertown" and "Finder" were the original Borderland books. Look at the older books in the series you'll see that the first book was called "Borderland" and Terri Windling, Mark Alan Arnold, Charles de Lint, Midori Snyder, Stephen Boyett and Ellen Kushner were the people who created the world of Bordertown. And then in the next book, called "Bordertown" ,Shetterly & Bull came into a world that had been created by other people and added some places and characters to it, and in the next book, "Life on the Border" Michael Koralenko, Craig Shaw Gardner, Cara Dalky joined up and all added their own nieghborhoods and characters to the town- which is what makes it so cool, there's plenty of room for everybody here! Read more ›
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a loser in the bunch
"Shared universe" collections are usually haphazard at best, but the essential Borderlands is brilliant all the way through. Read more
Published on Sept. 7 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Urban fantasy at its best
Not into sword and sorcery but secretly adore magic and faeries? Then this is the one for you. I have never seen a stronger "shared world" anthology, each story will stay... Read more
Published on Aug. 10 2003
3.0 out of 5 stars Didn't meet up to Expectations
I was dissapointed by this book. The other books in the Bordertown series were so incredible, that I, being the sort I am, expected this one to meet the same criteria. Read more
Published on July 17 2000 by KeroRocks
3.0 out of 5 stars Didn't meet up to Expectations
I was dissapointed by this book. The other books in the Bordertown series were so incredible, that I, being the sort I am, expected this one to meet the same criteria. Read more
Published on July 17 2000 by KeroRocks
4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, not great
A little precious and twee, but still worth reading. I had just read Emma Bull's Finder (set in the same universe), which is a good novel and has a lot of emotional depth. Read more
Published on July 24 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars suffering from a serious lack of sleep...
I just bought this book last night and stayed up all night to read it. I thoroughly enjoyed it, actually, I guess you can say I sucked the marrow out of it. Read more
Published on July 24 1999
1.0 out of 5 stars BUY THE ANTHOLOGIES INSTEAD....
Lack of imagination, thin characterizations and watery plots made the "Bordertown" series not at all to my personal cup of tea. Ms. Read more
Published on May 24 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars THE BEST ONE YET!
Chicago Reader(review below), I challenge you to a duel by pistols (no make that Border-magic) at dawn! You are wrong, wrong, wrong! Read more
Published on Nov. 12 1998
3.0 out of 5 stars Gentrification of Bordertown? Horrors!!
While it was a nice treat to stumble across this new collection at my local library, it turned out to be somewhat of a disappointment overall. Read more
Published on Oct. 26 1998
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