Tuesday, July 07, 2009


Borderland Returns

Holy crap.

Holly Black shares the news that she and Ellen Kushner will be editing a revival of the Borderland shared world anthology series. Here's the quote from Publishers Lunch:
Holly Black and Ellen Kushner's WELCOME TO BORDERTOWN, a return to Terri Windling's groundbreaking urban fantasy shared world featuring new stories from many of the original writers including Emma Bull, Charles de Lint and Will Shetterly, as well as new works by writers who were inspired by the original series, including Cassandra Clare, Cory Doctorow, Kelly Link and more, to Mallory Loehr at Random House Children's, at auction, for publication in Summer 2011, by Barry Goldblatt at Barry Goldblatt Literary and Christopher Schelling at Ralph M. Vicinanza (NA).

(image ganked from BoingBoing)

I picked up the first of these within a week or two of its release in May, 1986, and snagged the second the minute it hit the shelves in October of that same year. I remember reading and rereading these all through that year, the last half of my sophomore year of high school and the first half of my junior year. I was obsessed with them, folks. Not until the first volume of Wild Cards came out in 1987 did something occupy the same sort of fanatical attention from me. These two anthologies were a revelation for a kid from suburban Texas, not only the way the authors contemporized fantasy and staked out new territory on the frontiers of the genre, but also in the countercultural setting through which the characters moved. It would be a few years until I ventured out into the wide, wide world and encountered people and places very much like those in the Borderland stories for myself, but reading those first two installments in the series served as my introduction to the idea that, just as the world of Faerie lived alongside the world of the mundane in Borderland, so there were parts of the real world that existed in parallel to the comfortable suburban existence I'd known for my first dozen and a half years.

I continued to follow the series through the subsequent installments (and followed cover artist Phil Hale, too, wherever he went), as the series moved from publisher to publisher, and spun off standalones like Emma Bull's Finder and Will Shetterly's Nevernever and Elsewhere. I've got them all in a place of honor here in my office, only a few feet away from where I'm sitting now.

When the rest of the Clockwork Storybook gang and I cooked up our own shared world, the city of San Cibola, I know that Bordertown was a proximate influence for me, and possibly for the others as well.

Inside me there's a sixteen year old who is incredibly stoked at the news that there'll be more Borderlands stories in the near future (and a thirty-eight-year-old who burns with jealousy that he's not going to be one of the writers involved... of course, he's still bummed not to be on the new Wild Cards team, too). I wish Ellen and Holly the best of luck with the new venture, and I'll be first in line to pick up a copy!

Anything that inspired you guys to do CWSB is good in my book, although I have to admit that I've never heard of Borderland before.

Sooo...Wild Cards was also good?
Radek, the Borderland anthos are well worth hunting down. As for Wild Cards, the answer is a definitive yes; those books were awesome. (I've picked up but not yet read the new installments from Tor, but with GRRM at the helm I can't imagine they aren't quality, as well.)
I'm pleased to see this shared world come back. I loved them at the time -- my experience was slightly different, because I knew Emma Bull and Will Shetterly from fandom and Minicons long before their fiction made it into print.

It's always fun to see who has been inspired/influenced by specific writers or series, and now this is one more on the list of Chris Roberson's alongside Phil Farmer and Michael Moorcock, I guess.
The Borderland influence is probably more obvious in the stuff I did for Clockwork Storybook, Stu, a decade or so ago, than it is in my more recent work, but if I ever get back to the story of Nick Falen and Susan Kururangi you'll see what I mean.

But definitely, the mix of influences is always a strange one, isn't it? There are equal parts Anne McCaffery, Piers Anthony, and Dragonlance in there somewhere, as well, though I usually forget about those.
I felt the same way. Both series blew me away. I was just discovering The Doors music at that time and that was the soundtrack to The Borderland
Thanks, Chris - this is just lovely. So good to know we made a difference. And never say never - if this book takes off, who knows where it will lead?
In that case, I definitely *won't* say never. The best of luck with the new incarnation of Borderland, Ellen!
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