Monday, November 1, 2010

The triumphant return of BORDERTOWN!!

The best news of World Fantasy, hands-down, was the announcement by Holly Black and Ellen Kusher of a brand new Bordertown anthology, titled Welcome to Bordertown.

For those who may be reading this who haven't heard of them: Bordertown was a shared-world series created in 1985 by Terri Windling and Mark Arnold. This was the true precursor of the "Urban Fantasy" movement, a literary sub-genre where the familiar tropes of the fantasy story - elves, magic, glamours, and the power of love and music - intersected with a tough, gritty urban setting and fully developed, three-dimensional characters. They were also, interestingly, consciously targeted at both adult readers as well as what we'd now call "Young Adult" readers, all in a time well before the emergence of Harry Potter and the like, making the series doubly ground-breaking. As Holly Black eloquently said in a panel (and which I'm paraphrasing here): "...everyone writing Urban Fantasy owes a word of thanks to the Bordertown series".

I wholeheartedly agree.

My own history with Bordertown is very personal (buy me a few drinks at a conference sometime and I'm sure you can pry the whole, sordid story out of me), but suffice to say that I'm excited almost beyond the capacity for words that Ellen and Holly have somehow managed to rejuvenate the Bordertown franchise. I was lucky enough to get my grubby mitts on an advance reader copy of the collection (thank you, Holly!), and was thrilled to see stories from such B'town alum as Charles de Lint, Emma Bull, Will Shetterly, Jane Yolen and Terri Windling herself mixed with the work of amazing new writers who came after the series went dormant almost 13 years ago: Corey Doctorow; Catherynne M. Valente; Janni Lee Simner; Christopher Barzak; and others.

I’m reading the book now and will put up a review soon – check back here in a week or so. In the meantime, mark your calendars to remind yourself to look for Welcome to Bordertown in May of 2011 from Random House!


Annette said...

Thanks for the plug, Matt! It's great to read your enthusiastic post. I don't think you can be more excited than I am about this anthology, though--I'm one of the "and others." I wouldn't have dared to imagine that back in the day. *wide toothy grin* Here's a link to my blog about being part of the line-up where I reveal I am a total squealing fan-girl.

Annette Curtis Klause

Matt Cook said...

Thanks, Annette! Best of luck with the series, and don't worry about being thought a fan-gurl - I think my own, equally nerd-tastic response to Holly was equally bad. =)