Jeff VanderMeer's Borne is an astonishingly beautiful book about relationships, survival, and attachment in a world racked by climate change and flooded with refugees. Set in a ruined, post-apocalyptic city which has been decimated by the “Company” and its biotech creations, it's one of the most moving and intensely human books I've read this year. It also includes a gigantic, lethal flying bear named Mord. As he demonstrated in his earlier work, VanderMeer is remarkable at crossing genre lines to create gorgeously literary speculative fiction, or surreally beautiful sci-fi. Recommended By Jill O., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Named one of the best books of 2017 by The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, PopSugar, Financial Times, Chicago Review of Books, Huffington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Thrillist, Book Riot, National Post (Canada), Kirkus and Publishers Weekly
"Am I a person?" Borne asked me.
"Yes, you are a person," I told him. "But like a person, you can be a weapon, too."
In Borne, a young woman named Rachel survives as a scavenger in a ruined city half destroyed by drought and conflict. The city is dangerous, littered with discarded experiments from the Company — a biotech firm now derelict — and punished by the unpredictable predations of a giant bear. Rachel ekes out an existence in the shelter of a run-down sanctuary she shares with her partner, Wick, who deals his own homegrown psychoactive biotech.
One day, Rachel finds Borne during a scavenging mission and takes him home. Borne as salvage is little more than a green lump — plant or animal? — but exudes a strange charisma. Borne reminds Rachel of the marine life from the island nation of her birth, now lost to rising seas. There is an attachment she resents: in this world any weakness can kill you. Yet, against her instincts — and definitely against Wick's wishes — Rachel keeps Borne. She cannot help herself. Borne, learning to speak, learning about the world, is fun to be with, and in a world so broken that innocence is a precious thing. For Borne makes Rachel see beauty in the desolation around her. She begins to feel a protectiveness she can ill afford.
"He was born, but I had borne him."
But as Borne grows, he begins to threaten the balance of power in the city and to put the security of her sanctuary with Wick at risk. For the Company, it seems, may not be truly dead, and new enemies are creeping in. What Borne will lay bare to Rachel as he changes is how precarious her existence has been, and how dependent on subterfuge and secrets. In the aftermath, nothing may ever be the same.
"A triumph of science fiction . . . Borne will dazzle you with its wonders and horrors, revealing itself as another piece of the puzzle, a reflection on the terror and beauty of being alive." Electric Literature
"VanderMeer's apocalyptic vision, with its mix of absurdity, horror, and grace, can't be mistaken for that of anyone else. Inventive, engrossing, and heartbreaking, Borne finds [VanderMeer] at a high point of creative accomplishment." San Francisco Chronicle
"Borne is VanderMeer's trans-species rumination on the theme of parenting . . . [Borne] insists that to live in an age of gods and sorcerers is to know that you, a mere person, might be crushed by indifferent forces at a moment's notice, then quickly forgotten." The New Yorker
"Borne, the latest novel from New Weird author Jeff VanderMeer, is a story of loving self-sacrifice, hallucinatory beauty, and poisonous trust...Heady delights only add to the engrossing richness of Borne. The main attraction is a tale of mothers and monsters — and of how we make each other with our love." The Washington Post
"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
About the Author
Jeff VanderMeer is an award-winning novelist and editor, and the author most recently of the New York Times bestselling Southern Reach Trilogy. His fiction has been translated into twenty languages and has appeared in the Library of America’s American Fantastic Tales and multiple year’s-best anthologies. He grew up in the Fiji Islands and now lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with his wife.