Welcome to Bordertown (Borderland #5)

Back in the "leather and lace" eighties, I was the fantasy editor for a publishing company in New York City. It was a great time to be young and footloose on the streets of Manhattan—punk rock and folk music were everywhere; Blondie, the Eurythmics, Cyndi Lauper, and Prince were all strutting their stuff on the newly created MTV; and the eighties' sense of style meant I could wear my scruffy black leather into the office without turning too many heads. The fantasy field was growing by leaps and bounds, and I was right in the middle of it, working with authors I'd worshiped as a teen, and finding new ones to encourage and publish.

(Humans, take note: You can refer to the Realm as “Faerie” without causing offense, but do not make the mistake of referring to its citizens as “fairies”—unless you want to be punched.) Elfhaeme

I mean, there’s like a natural law, like the law of gravity. But you don’t go to jail for violating gravity, right?” She snorted. “No, usually you go to the hospital for trying to violate gravity.

I only laid the cobbles for the streets of Bordertown; it took all of us, an entire community, to bring the city to life. And that’s as it should be. Community, friendship, art: stirred together, they make a powerful magic. Used wisely, it can save your life. I know that it saved mine.

Reading about Bordertown was the first time I saw people like me in speculative fiction. Messed-up kids, making messsed-up choices. I couldn't be a magician's apprentice or a pig keeper who might or might not be a king's son or a princess with a prophecy hanging over my head. But I could, maybe, somehow, be part of a community of artists who loved magic.

We''re all misfits here,” he says, almost proudly. “That's why I started this squat, after all.  For people like us, who don't fit in anywhere else.  Halfies and homos and hopeless romantics, the outcast and outrageous and terminally weird.  That's where art comes from, Jimmy, my friend.  From our weirdnesses and our differences, from our manic fixations, our obsessions, our passions.  From all those wild and wacky things that make each of us unique.

What’s your name?” I ask. I’m expecting something different from what we usually get down here in Soho, newbie runaways styling themselves Shadesong or Spartacus or whatever. But