Bordertown: where the human and faerie worlds intersect, a place populated by runaways and the lost, powered by an unreliable mix of magic and technology.
Thirteen years ago, the way to this shared world was closed after four anthologies (The Essential Bordertown, 1998, etc.) and three novels (Elsewhere, 1991, etc.). Now, Kushner (one of the original contributors) and Black (who grew up reading the original tales) have reopened the way, and once again teens uncomfortable in the world—or just looking for excellent fantasy fiction—can escape to it. This is punk-rock, DIY fantasy, full of harsh reality and incandescent magic. “Noobs” will be quickly acclimated by the introductory “Bordertown Basics,” an irreverent tour-guide’s view with everything the visitor needs to know. Many of the stories echo with loss and discomfort; standouts include “Crossings” by Janni Lee Simner, a chilling look at the difference between dreams and reality, and “A Tangle of Green Men,” Charles De Lint’s heartbreaking examination of love, loss and life. Poems and songs (from Patricia A. McKillip, Neil Gaiman and Jane Yolen, among others) balance the fiction, and if some of the songs don’t play so great to tone-deaf readers, they still bring the importance of music home. A few stories fall a little flat, but these tiny flaws don’t detract from a masterful anthology.Here’s to another generation finding comfort and inspiration on the border. (introductions, author notes) (Fantasy/anthology. 13 & up)