About the creation of the Borderlands...Part 1
by Terri Windling
Back in the "leather and lace" Eighties (when Blondie, the Eurythmics, Culture Club, Cyndi Lauper and Prince were all struttin' their stuff on the newly created MTV), I was the Fantasy Editor for a publishing company in New York City. It was great time to be young and foot-loose on the streets of Manhattan--punk and folk music was in abundance; music videos weren't yet commercial and slick; and the Eighties sense of style meant I could wear my scruffy black leather right into the office without turning too many corporate heads. The fantasy field was growing by leaps and bounds, and I was delighted to be a part of it, working with the stories and novels of a talented group of new writers--Ellen Kushner, Charles de Lint, Emma Bull, Will Shetterly and Midori Snyder among them.
In addition to my regular editorial gig (at Ace Books), I was also doing some consulting work for New American Library at the time. One day the publisher of NAL expressed an interest in the new phenomenon of "shared-world" fantasy anthologies (pioneered by Robert Linn Asprin, creator of *Thieves' World*.) NAL commissioned me to create a shared-world anthology for teenage readers. I asked them if I might bring Mark Alan Arnold into the project--and they glady agreed, since he and I had just won the World Fantasy Award for our work as an editorial team. (The award was for an anthology called *Elsewhere*--not to be confused with the novel of that name Will Shetterly published some years later. The anthology, by the way, was named after a bookstore Mark used to own in Ohio. It seems fitting that a ghost of that store eventually found its way to Bordertown.)
I was torn between two ideas for the setting of this new series: creating a town in a border region between the human world and the faery world (an idea influenced by the recent re-reading of Lord Dunsany's *The King of Elfland's Daughter*) and something more modern and urban, reflecting the style, the buzz, the flash of Eighties music and street culture. Mark egged me on to suggest to NAL that these two ideas could actually be put together--wacky as that seemed at the time. I wanted a setting in which I could delve into my own experience of being a teenager--for I'd once been a runaway kid, and spent time homeless on the streets--thus a modern yet magical city would be the perfect background for the kind of tales I had in mind. It wasn't exactly what NAL had bargained for when they first asked me to create "Thieves' World for kids" -- but they were an open-minded bunch and gave me the go-ahead. Then it was time to sit down, grit my teeth, and confront the demons of my youth--the Bad Old Days of life on the streets. I had pushed those memories far into the past, but I knew I was going to need them now--those youthful emotions, fears and dreams all needed to be part of Bordertown, or else the book was just going to be a slick gimmick, riding the Thieves' World train.
|This site Copyright 1997
By Christian Colquhoun. The names Borderland, Bordertown,
and the names of characters are used with the permission
of the authors.
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