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Borne by Jeff VanderMeer
  

Borne

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Finch, the last VanderMeer that I read, was referred to as ‘fungal noir’, a wonderful phrase. With that in mind Borne could be described as a post-apocalyptic thriller with squishy bits, or possible human drama with tentacles. Scavenger Rachel finds a squid-like plant and takes it home where, in true Little Shop of Horrors style, it grows. It is not a plant; it is not a child; it is Borne. In a ruined and decaying city where genetically engineered ‘biotech’ provides everything from security to medicines to rampaging monsters, Rachel attempts to raise and educate Borne and help him become a person. All she has to do is convince her secretive and paranoid lover, avoid the enigmatic magician, find enough food and salvaged scraps to survive and hide from the giant bear which is destroying the city. Told in a bold, clear voice, with humour, love and no small amount of graphic violence, Borne is a stunning book. Secrets, twists and unreliable memories keep Rachel and the reader on their toes, and the dilemma of raising a child who might be a monster, is compelling. In that sense this is truly a human drama of how far the bonds of love will stretch in adversity. Rachel is an excellent narrator and I really enjoyed her no-nonsense tone, upbeat despite the atrocities around her. A real survivor’s tale and a masterpiece of ‘squishy’ sci-fi which I really enjoyed. ~ Sarah Broadhurst

If you like Jeff VanderMeer you might also like to read books by China Mieville, Philip K Dick and Jeff Noon.

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

  • Catherine Bryce - 'A superb futuristic story and very creepy and very sad whilst being very exciting but keeps you riveted to the book from start to end.'
  • Jennifer Rainbow - 'An engrossing eye-popping story, completely original, you haven't read anything like this. From a flying bear to worms that diagnose your illness, I don't have words to justify how good this story is.'
  • Catherine Hogwood - 'A story that is as intriguing as it is captivating. What makes us human when the world has changed beyond what we can comprehend?'
  • Phylippa Smithson - 'It just seemed to wander vaguely at times but was worth the read.'
  • Angela Rhodes - 'Oh my goodness, what can I say about Borne? Apart from the fact that this has to be one of the best Science Fiction/Fantasy books I have read for a long, long time!'
  • Suzanne James - 'Into a city devastated byThe Company a small, strange creature is found.  What starts off childlike and wondrous soon becomes more sinister and nothing can be the same again...I was gripped by this dystopian world and Rachel's fight for survival there.'
  • Clare Topping - 'The author has the making of a weird and bizarre story.'

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Synopsis

Borne by Jeff VanderMeer

A novel that is simultaneously harrowing, dark, dangerous, funny and uplifting from the author of the Southern Reach trilogy Am I a person? Borne asks Rachel, in extremis. Yes, you are a person, Rachel tells him. But like a person, you can be a weapon, too. A ruined city of the future lives in fear of a despotic, gigantic flying bear, driven mad by the tortures inflicted on him by the Company, a mysterious biotech firm. A scavenger, Rachel, finds a creature entangled in his fur. She names it Borne. At first, Borne looks like nothing at all- a green lump that might be a discard from the Company. But he reminds Rachel of her homeland, an island nation long lost to rising seas, and she prevents her lover, Wick, from rendering down Borne as raw genetic material for the special kind of drugs he sells. But nothing is quite the way it seems: not the past, not the present, not the future. If Wick is hiding secrets, so is Rachel-and Borne most of all. What Rachel finds hidden deep within the Company will change everything and everyone. There, lost and forgotten things have lingered and grown. What they have grown into is mighty indeed.

Reviews

'Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach Trilogy was an ever-creeping map of the apocalypse; with Borne he continues his investigation into the malevolent grace of the world, and it's a thorough marvel.'
Colson Whitehead

Praise for the SOUTHERN REACH TRILOGY:

'I'm loving the Southern Reach Trilogy ... Creepy and fascinating'
Stephen King

'Hauntingly weird and brilliantly new ... These are contemporary masterpieces and career-defining novels'
Adam Robert, Books of the Year, Guardian

'This trilogy is a modern mycological masterpiece ... Remarkable ... Tense, eerie and unsettling ... VanderMeer writes much better prose than Poe ever did ... This is genuinely potent and dream-haunting writing. VanderMeer has arrived.'
Guardian

'A teeming science fiction that draws on Conrad and Lovecraft alike ... Annihilation shows signs of being the novel that will allow VanderMeer to break through to a new and larger audience'
Sunday Telegraph

'VanderMeer's novel is a psycho-geographical tour de force, channelling Ballard and Lovecraft to instil the reader with a deep, delicious unease'
Financial Times

'What a haunting book this is, lodging deep in the memory in similar fashion to otherworldly classics such as David Lindsay's A Voyage To Arcturus ... Annihilation is so disquietingly strange as to defy summarisation. Read it'
Daily Mail

'Astonishing, frightening, spectacular ... The imaginative daring and reach with which VanderMeer has invented and executed a concept such as Area X is breathtaking ... Powerful and echoing ... I hope the trilogy will come to be seen not only as the instant sci-fi classic it is, but also as Literature'
New Statesman

'Immersive, insightful and often deeply bloody creepy, this is a startlingly good novel ... A major work' ***** SFX Magazine

About the Author

Jeff VanderMeer

Jeff VanderMeer is an award-winning novelist and editor. His fiction has been translated into twenty languages and has appeared in the Library of America’s American Fantastic Tales and in multiple year’s-best anthologies. He writes nonfiction for the Washington Post, the New York Times Book Review, the Los Angeles Times, and the Guardian, among others. He grew up in the Fiji Islands and now lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with his wife.

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Book Info

Publication date

15th June 2017

Author

Jeff VanderMeer

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Author's Website

www.jeffvandermeer.com/

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Publisher

Fourth Estate Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

Format

Hardback
336 pages

Categories

Literary Fiction
Reading Groups
Science Fiction
eBook Favourites
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9780008159177

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