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The Essential Bordertown (Borderland #4)

4.28  ·  Rating Details ·  811 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
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 work ...more
Kindle Edition
Published 1999 by New York : Tor, (first published 1998)
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Posted at Shelf Inflicted

This is a fun and satisfying collection of stories about runaways. Some are running to something or away from something. Some are human, some halfie, and others are elves, or True Bloods, as they call themselves.

Bordertown is a city between the Human World and The True and Only Realm that is inhabited by the Fae folk. Elvin magic does not work in the World and technology does not work in the Realm. Both work in Bordertown inconsistently and with interesting effects.

Althea Ann
May 02, 2016 Althea Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read in 1999, not reviewed at the time.

Re-read 5/2016:
“Socks” by Delia Sherman
At a flophouse where a group of misfit kids, including one girl known derisively as 'Socks,' has found a degree of safety and protection, a new girl comes into the fold. Tough-talking and damaged, she's full of unlikely stories about her mother being a runaway princess of Elfland. But more of her tales might be true than one might guess, and she could help Socks heal, in more ways than one.

I found this a bit more heav
Sep 07, 2014 Nicky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having just finished this book, I feel as though I’ve come home from a week spent walking the wild, gritty streets of Bordertown. The memories of madness, desperation, beauty, grime, and magic still cling to me, and I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to easily shake them off. Thirteen authors take the reader’s hand in this urban fantasy collection, lead the reader to the city limits and thrust them into a world of street kids, rock and roll, elves, enchantment, dreams and disappointments. The ...more
Jun 13, 2011 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting anthology of short stories based on Terri Windling's Bordertown. To sum up, Faerie/Arcadia/whathaveyou pops back into the real world. That doesn't work so well, so instead a magic Berlin Wall of sorts is put up, so ne'er will Earth and Faerie meet again. Except for Bordertown, which is basically stuck in the middle where humans and faeries, technology and magic, mix up, sometimes well, oftentimes not. This was my first foray into Bordertown, and I liked the setting; Bordertown has ...more
Another Borderland anthology. This one didn't stick in my mind the way that Bordertown did, but going back through it once I started reading the first story I discovered that I had read it before. And then it turns out that the stories I liked the best weren't any of the stories that I remembered.

My favorite part of the book wasn't any of the stories at all, it was the Guide to Bordertown segments inserted between the stories written from the perspective of a bunch of Bordertown kids. As such,
R. C.
I like it. I will wish I had it next time I am on an airplane or a beach. I will perpetually wish I had it when I was twelve. But I am not in any of those places. And I need to read more important things.
I just love Bordertown, both the concept of the writing in a shared universe and the place and its stories themselves. While it may not appeal to fans of classic sword-and-sorcery fantasy epics, I think the whole runaways/punk/unreliable-magic is both ingenious and endlessly entertaining, albeit somewhat in the charcoal grey part of the emotional spectrum.

This one, which provides a nice guide that will elucidate only enough to tease if you're not already familiar with Bordertown conventions, nic
Aspen Junge
One of the earlier shared-world urban fantasy books. Bordertown is populated with all sorts from the World (humans) and the Realm (elves) in an uneasy co-existence. The Bordertown stories focus on the romantics and runaways who find their way to live as best they can.
I felt that this book started out much stronger than it ended. It was a very neat idea; a guidebook to the Bordertown between the human world and the elven world, interspersed with short stories about various aspects of life in this mythical town. The concept itself is fascinating and there is some pretty impressive world building, just because there were so many authors involved. The stories started off very well, and I sped through most of the book in a day. The last few stories stopped holdin ...more
Jul 03, 2008 Owen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection is right up there with Lost Souls at the top of my guilty pleasures list. Unrelentingly "twee" tales of adventurous kids running away to the glittery 24/7 RenFair that is Bordertown with dreams of being rock stars and hanging out with elves, only to find themselves stumbling around like clueless noobs while struggling to find a place to fit in in a town full of misfits. Taking the same "shared world" approach as the Thieve's World series, the Bordertown stories are more fun and ...more
This is an anthology of stories set in Bordertown, a gritty city perched between the modern human world and the Realms of Faerie. Interspersed with short stories by such favorites as Charles de Lint, Midori Snyder, and Ellen Kushner are exerpts from a "traveller's guide" to Bordertown, detailing where to find good eats and how to avoid offending the Truebloods (elves to you and me). Like all anthologies, there are stories that are better than others, but overall it's a real gem and a hell of a l ...more
Hannah Laurel Overstreet
The Essential Bordertown, as with all the Bordertown anthologies, is an incredible new kind of teen urban fantasy. It deals with all the well-known “teenage problems” – particularly cultural identity – in a magical, energetic way by turning them into wonderfully plotted metaphors that are both entertaining and insightful. That said, Bordertown is more than a series of self-help essays in fantasy short-story format. Bordertown, in its own way, represents a bit of a movement in teen fantasy, which ...more
Sep 06, 2012 Andree rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
I liked the concept surrounding this book. Basically the Fairyland has returned, and with it the elves. And the book is stories about the border between elves and humans. It leads to some interesting stuff about racism, and both magic and technology only work about half the time, which can also lead to fun. But mostly these are all character stories. None of them are bad, but I also wouldn't say they're particularly amazing either, as a group. Entertaining, but not amazing.
Jan 05, 2014 Ivy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love all the Bordertown stories, but this is an exceptionally well-done collection. I like the layout of the book as a guidebook and the connection between the introduction segments and the short stories. All of the characters are interesting and the stories layer on top of each other well. Despite some of the hardships and tragedies that the book highlights as part of Bordertown, you can still feel the romance and wonder that are part of this world, too.
Feb 17, 2008 Jenny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was a fabulous collection. It reads like a travel guide for a place called Borderland. Chapters about where to stay, where to see live music, and how to get to Borderland are followed by stories that match up with the previous chapter. I especially love the part that this is a land that was made up by someone, but that has inspired so many author's to write their own stories from the perspective of any they can think of in this city of characters.
Jul 22, 2016 Bree rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this world, and the way this anthology is put together (the guidebook sections are, I think, a stroke of genius), and the way everything dovetails. It's just fabulous. I've actually owned two copies, because after spending years in my backpack the paperback copy eventually looked too miserable for me to subject it to further indignities. I managed to lay hands on a hardback, which I've been kinder to (not needing to tote a backpack around helps).
May 30, 2013 Bobby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Forget where I heard about this but the idea of elves meet the real world sounded more interesting than the execution. The setting is a somewhat derelict town of drifters and gangs that borders the human technology world and the elven magical world, where neither magic nor technology work reliably. The theme that was repeated too much was about outcasts running here to fit in with all the others, the message obviously being about runaways and the homeless.
I love the Bordertown books, but this is my least favourite. I could never quite put my finger on why - I like the travel-guide sections between the stories, the stories themselves are hit or miss, but that's normal for anthologies, and there are some interesting characters.

Then I read an Amazon review (I think) that referred to this volume as "gentrified", and realized, by Jove, that's it exactly. It somehow feels gentrified.

Dec 24, 2010 Joy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: urban-fantasy
A wonderful collection of fantasy authors who all work off the same premise. The world of the Fae has bumped up against our own world and created a no-man's (or elf's) land where magic and technology only sometimes works and often goes wrong. Also the two races only sometime get along. Great stories about run-away teens and bad ass Fae with attitudes. Not your high minded Tolkien elves in this town and half breeds better hide.
Collections of short stories generally aren't my thing, but this book has been on my radar for a long time, so it was time to read it. I really enjoyed the different stories being tied together by location. Most of the shorter stories I wanted to be longer, and most of the longer stories I thought dragged on a little too long. Over all I am glad I read this book, but it was a bit of a disappointment.
Jun 21, 2012 extrapulp rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
A fairly even collection - and some new authors to explore. The punctuating definitions and explanations of Bordertown grew thin as the book progressed and became completely unnecessary by the close of the book - but just skip over those and delve into the stories. They give you a better definition of Bordertown through your own imagination without beating you over the head.
Aug 21, 2010 Estara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010
The short stories are always a fun mix - reminding me of nothing so much as War for the Oaks but obviously not novel length. They're rarely totally sad, which I heartily approve of and Bordertown is at least as well developed as Lint's Newford - considering the anthologies always have multiple authors that's saying something.

Good author selection, too!
Mar 30, 2016 Darin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was disappointed with this installment of the Borderland series. Gone were my favorite characters from the original books and gone were any memorable new characters. I was hoping for more adventures of the bands, gang members, runaways, and artists from the originals. Not only those things but I felt it didn't have the same "magic" or feel.
Jul 12, 2016 Morgan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not another book like it.
Mar 13, 2012 Dana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm so sad I didn't discover Bordertown when it first came out. I love it so much now, I can only imagine how much I would have adored it then. (And I find it really frustrating that I can't get the ones that came before this one because they're out of print.)
Nov 29, 2014 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Collection of short stories regarding bordertown, on the edge of the real world and fairy. Love the different tales of the misfits that inhabit this town. If you like the original bordertown, you will definitely like this one too. Multiple authors.
Love the setting of these short stories and appreciate the anarchic mature of Bordertown. Some appeal more than others which makes the book hard to rate but would gladly continue reading any more anthologies set here.
Nov 06, 2009 Katya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my perfect escapism book. A city where humans live alongside elves and magic runs rampant through the strains of rock 'n roll. Urban fantasy doesn't get much better than this.
May 12, 2013 Vendela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
i want to run away to bordertown. that's it, that's my entire review.

(not really, but that's as coherent as i can manage to be right now. fuck, this world-building is amazing.)
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Give back to an author you love -- help Terri Windling! 1 5 Nov 27, 2011 11:44PM  
  • Nevernever
  • Welcome to Bordertown (Borderland, #5)
  • Finder (Borderlands)
  • The Coyote Road: Trickster Tales
  • The Last Hot Time
  • The Ivory and the Horn (Newford, #3)
  • The Modern Fae's Guide to Surviving Humanity
  • The Urban Fantasy Anthology
  • Firebirds: An Anthology of Original Fantasy and Science Fiction
  • The Fair Folk
Terri Windling is an American editor, artist, essayist, and the author of books for both children and adults. Windling has won nine World Fantasy Awards, the Mythopoeic Award, the Bram Stoker Award, and her collection The Armless Maiden appeared on the short-list for the James Tiptree, Jr. Award. She was also honored with SFWA's Soltice Award in 2010, a life achievement award for "significant cont ...more
More about Terri Windling...

Other Books in the Series

Borderland (8 books)
  • Borderland (Borderland, #1)
  • Bordertown (Borderland, #2)
  • Life on the Border  (Borderland, #3)
  • Welcome to Bordertown (Borderland, #5)
  • Elsewhere (Borderlands, #1)
  • Nevernever
  • Finder (Borderlands)

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