Who wouldn't want to visit Bordertown? It's like Oz, except a lot grungier, much more dangerous, and with much better music. -- From Michael Jones' review of the Bordetown series.

For my summer reading pleasure, I've decided to do a re-reading of all of the Bordertown short stories, novels, and travel guide material in the order that they were published. Now understand that it'll a costly undertaking if you decide now to collect all of them as the first three anthologies, Borderland, Bordertown, and particularly Life On The Border, are increasingly difficult to find at a reasonable cost. A one volume collection of all the short fiction would be a lovely thing indeed!

In case you are not familiar with this stellar series, here is Michael's lead-off to the Michael Jones' review:

Once upon a time, in a far off land much like our own, there was magic. Then, one day, it was gone, and the world was a much drearier place for it. But we coped.

Then the magic returned, and the world was changed forever. Once again, the lands of Faerie bordered the lands of Man, and in the middle, there arose Bordertown, from the ashes of an unnamed mortal city. It was a place of magic, music, excitement, hope, dreams, energy, death, despair, hopelessness, nightmares, heroes and villains, men and monsters, and above all, people. A living, thriving town full of unpredictable wonders and untamable shadows. The bastard child of Haight-Ashbury and SoHo and Hollywood, the black sheep cousin of Underhill and Arcadia and Tir Na'Nog, the seductive and disreputable and scandalous older cousin your parents always told you to stay away from.

It was the very first of the true urban fantasy series, and arguably it is still the best of the many that now exist that are a shared universe. I have re-read parts of the series, particularly Finder and the Life on The Border anthology, many, many times, and after all these years, I remain impressed as to how talented each and every writer was at playing in this universe.

Of course, the Green Man Library has copies of them though even those are more than a bit tattered due to being read over and over again by staff and visitors here alike, so I'm reading my personal copies and no, you can't borrow them!

If you don't have the time or inclination to read the whole series, you still should read Emma Bull's Finder novel as it really is a great fantasy novel that sums up the series nicely in all its richness, and even the hardcover edition is still quite affordable. For anthologies, the last anthology, The Essential Bordertown serves as an excellent introduction for anyone new to this series and is also quite reasonably priced. Together, they will give you a good look at the series.

Finder which is, in my opinion, one of the best novels in any genre ever written has some very nice bits such as this one -- 'I sliced strawberries with all my attention. They were particularly fine ones, large and white clear through without a hint of pink. (Wild Borderland strawberries are one of the Border's little jokes. They form bright red, and fade as they ripen. No strawberry has ever been so sweet.)' And The Essential Bordertown has, along with a number of superb short stories, a rough guide style look for newcomers to B-Town that's highly amusing with articles such as 'What to Eat -- A Tasteful Guide to Border Cuisine' and 'Culture Clash #1 -- A Human Guide to Elvin Etiquette'.

For a lot more information on this series, do visit The official Bordertown series site.

Yes, there will be a new Bordertown anthology, tentatively titled Welcome To Bordertown, as Ellen Kushner (who will be co-editing it with Holly Black) announces here!

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Words and Music

Kage Baker reading her
The Empress of Mars
novella

A reading from Peter S. Beagle's The Last Unicorn

Peter S. Beagle reading 'The Fifth Season', 'Marty and the Messenger', 'Mr. McCaslin', 'None But A Harper (Ibid.)', 'The Rock in the Park' and 'The Stickball Witch'

Excerpts from Peter S. Beagle's forthcoming novels, Here Be Dragons and Summerlong

Elizabeth Bear reads The Chains that You Refuse

Black 47's 'Liverpool Fantasy'

An excerpt from Paul Brandon's The Wild Reel novel

Tunes from Paul Brandon's old group, Rambling House and his new group, Sunas

Emma Bull and Will Shetterly's The War for The Oaks movie trailer

Nicholas Burbridge's 'Open House'

Cats Laughing's 'For It All'

Charles de Lint performing his 'Sam's Song'

Charles de Lint -- Some thoughts on his fiction

Gaelic Storm's 'Kiss Me'

Christopher Golden's 'The Deal'

The opening chapter of The Weaver and The Factory Maid, the first novel in Deborah Grabien's Haunted Ballad series.

An excerpt from Deborah Grabien's Rock & Roll Never Forgets -- A JP Kinkaid Mystery

'The Oak King March' (featuring Will Harmon and Zina Lee on fiddles and Pete Strickler on bouzouki), composed in honour of Peter S. Beagle

'The Winter Queen Reel' (played by Roger Landres), composed in honour of Jane Yolen

Chuck Lipsig on 'Star of Munster' variations

McDermott's 2 Hours' 'Fox on the Run'

Jennifer Stevenson's 'Solstice', plus a reading of 'Solstice' by Stevenson herself.

An excerpt from James Stoddard's 'The High House'

Tinker's Own performing 'The Tinker's Black Kettle', a jig by Charles de Lint from The Little Country

Vagabond Opera's 'Marlehe'

A Vasen tune for your enjoyment

Cathrynne Valente's 'The Surgeon's Wife'

Cathrynne Valente reading a selection titled 'The Tea Maid and The Tailor' from The Orphan's Tales

Robin Williamson's 'Five Denials on Merlin's Grave'

Interviews

Kage Baker

Peter S. Beagle

Steven Brust

Emma Bull and Emma Bull & Will Shetterly on the War for the Oaks screenplay

Tom Canty

Glen Cook

Ellen Datlow and Gavin Grant of YBFH

Charles de Lint in 1998 and 2006

Gardner Dozois

Brian, Wendy and Toby Froud

Neil Gaiman in 2004 and 2005

William Gibson

Christopher Golden

James Hetley

Michael Kaluta

Patricia McKillip

James Stoddard

Catherynne Valente

Gordon Van Gelder

Charles Vess

Terri Windling