Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Tales from the Border

Trotting back from Hadrian’s Wall, my horn sparkled with ideas. Mostly these are still shadows of ghosts in the torchlight, so it may be a while before I help my author put them into books. But many other muses have been inspired by borders because that's where some of the most interesting stories happen, being a place where two cultures clash - often violently. My author used to live on the Welsh border, and even today if you drive across it you will see road signs in two languages and find yourself in a different world where the towns have unpronounceable names and it rains a lot.

Here are a few of Katherine's favourite border books:

The Sterkarm Handshake – Susan Price
The Sterkarms live in the Scottish borders and are forever fighting rival clans. Their handshake is deadly, since they are left handed and can sink a blade between the ribs of their enemy while shaking hands with their right. This brilliant book travels in time between the violent age of the Sterkarms and our future, well worth checking out!

Sabriel – Garth Nix
Here the border is a patrolled wall across a fantasy land, separating the civilised Ancelstierre where Sabriel goes to school from the Old Kingdom where dark creatures roam. It's one of the most convincing fantasy worlds my author has read.

Stardust – Neil Gaiman
See my post on the film. The Wall here separates Victorian England from a magical land where fallen stars become young women.

The Divide – Elizabeth Kay
This is a line in Costa Rica where the waters that feed into the Pacific and Atlantic oceans separate. Fainting on it, like the hero Felix does, takes you into a different world. Dare you to go there and try...

And here's one of mine:

Spellfall – one of Katherine’s books.
The Boundary separating the land of Earthaven from our world opens once a year at Halloween, and UNICORNS LIVE THERE. You can win a signed copy of Spellfall by entering the competition on Katherine's website.

Let us know your favourite border stories.

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