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Welcome to Bordertown
edited by Ellen Kusher and Holly Black

Discussed July 2012

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  1. Did you like the book?
  2. The Bordertown series was originally published in the '80s and '90s, with a thirteen year gap between the last anthology (The Essential Bordertown) and Welcome to Bordertown. Did you feel the 13 day/year gap within the context of the book itself worked?
    1. If you were a new reader, did you feel that Welcome to Bordertown worked well as an introduction to the series and world? Did you feel it gave enough information to help orient you?
    2. If you were an existing reader, did you feel that Welcome to Bordertown worked as a something welcoming to those already familiar with the setting?
    3. A common theme in Welcome to Bordertown is a character arriving to Bordertown for the first time. Did you like this theme or not?
  3. What was your favorite Welcome to Bordertown story? Why?
  4. What was your least favorite Welcome to Bordertown story? Why?
  5. Did you read the poetry?
  6. Many of the original Bordertown authors contributed to Welcome to Bordertown (Charles de Lint, Emma Bull, Will Shetterly, Ellen Kushner, Terri Windling, Steven Brust, Delia Sherman). How did you feel that their contributions compared to the new guard of writers?
  7. Several Welcome to Bordertown stories had LGBT content ("Our Stars, Our Selves," "Ours is the Prettiest," "We Do Not Come in Peace"). How did you feel about the characters and stories?
  8. Would you want to read more Bordertown material (either older anthologies or novels, or future anthologies/novels)?

Story synopses:

  • "Bordertown Basics" — A brief primer on the set-up and geography of Bordertown
  • Ellen Kushner and Terri Windling: "Welcome to Bordertown" — Jimmy goes in search of his fantasy-novel-loving sister Trish when the Border re-opens after 13 years, while Trish discovers the reality of life on the Border.
  • Cory Doctorow: "Shannon's Law" — Shannon Klod attempts to bring the internet to Bordertown... and through the Border into the Realm.
  • Catherynne M. Valente: "A Voice Like a Hole" — Runaway Fig wants to be a hero, not an extra.
  • Emma Bull: "Incunabulum" — Page loses his memory when crossing from the Realm to Bordertown, but is it worth regaining what he's lost?
  • Alaya Dawn Johnson: "A Prince of Thirteen Days" — Peya believes she's going to fall in love and lose her virginity in 13 days, with the help of a local statue.
  • Will Shetterly: "The Sages of Elsewhere" — Wolfboy discovers that the used book business isn't all it's cracked up to be.
  • Janni Lee Simner: "Crossings" — Miranda and Analise are looking to marry a vampire and a werewolf and find the reality of the Bordertown.
  • Sara Ryan (Writer) and Dylan Meconis (Illustrator): "Fair Trade" — When the court orders Abby to be given to the custody of her mother, it didn't understand that her mother lived in Bordertown.
  • Tim Pratt: "Our Stars, Our Selves" — Allie learns that wishing on a star isn't always a simple as it sounds.
  • Annette Curtis Klause: "Elf Blood" — Lizzie the vampire knows everything will be better if she can just drink some elf blood.
  • Nalo Hopkinson: "Ours Is the Prettiest" — Bordertown meets the Caribbean.
  • Christopher Barzak: "We Do Not Come in Peace" — Marius tries to help a young stray adjust to Bordertown, but ends up helping him a little too well.
  • Holly Black and Cassandra Clare: "The Rowan Gentleman" — A murder plunges Ashley into the mystery of the Rowan Gentleman.
  • Charles de Lint: "A Tangle of Green Men" — Joey Green loses meaning in his life without his wife and her dream of visiting Bordertown.


  • Patricia A. McKillip: "Cruel Sister"
  • Amal El-Mohtar: "Stairs in Her Hair"
  • Steven Brust: "Run Back Across the Border"
  • Jane Yolen: "Soulja Grrrl: A Long Line Rap"
  • Jane Yolen: "Night Song for a Halfie"
  • Delia Sherman: "The Wall"
  • Jane Yolen: "A Borderland Jump-Rope Rhyme"
  • Neil Gaiman: "The Song of the Song"

Bordertown Material:


  • Borderland edited by Terri Windling and Mark Alan Arnold (1986)
  • Bordertown edited by Terri Windling and Mark Alan Arnold (1986)
  • Life on the Border edited by Terri Windling (1991)
  • The Essential Bordertown: A Traveler's Guide to the Edge of Faerie edited by Terri Windling and Delia Sherman (1998)
  • Welcome to Bordertown edited by Holly Black and Ellen Kushner (2011)


  • Elsewhere by Will Shetterly (1991)
  • NeverNever by Will Shetterly (1993)
  • Finder by Emma Bull (1994)
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