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Sound Cue: County Hell Fairgrounds, Please...
Emma Bull
It's interesting to see what a unique talent can do with characters and material originally created for one of the "shared universe" anthology series that no longer plague us quite so much as was the case a few years back. (Though "Borderlands", along with the "Liavek" books -- featuring pretty much the same crew of authors -- were among the Very Best of the breed...)

All of the important elements of Bordertown are here -- the "Cat Street Crier", the Dancing Ferret, the Mad River, Ho Street, and so on -- but it is still uniquely Bull's imagination and her story, and hers alone.

Other reviewers have gone into the What Happens Next aspects -- i'd like to touch on some of the Why It's Interesting When It Happens.

Orient, Tick Tick and Sonny Rico and all of the other characters who get mixed into this wind up *changed*. I mean *really* changed -- some die, some have to live with those deaths and some never really understand what the hell is going on.

One of Johnny Cash's recent songs refers to "a long walk in a cold rain" -- and that's what Orient and company set out on -- this is an almost classic trip " ... down these mean streets ... [by] ... a man who is not himself mean ..."

You will not be indifferent to the fates of Orient and friends, as we all too often find ourselves indifferent to those of the "heroes" in all too many recent works of boilerplate conanistic "heroic fantasy". As a matter of fact, if you are not careful, you may care just a bit too much and could suffer for it... but even that is worth it and part of a truly memorable reading experience.

"How does he make his hands do that?" "Too much Fairport Convention in his youth..."