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Borne: A Novel Paperback – February 27, 2018

4.2 out of 5 stars 445 ratings

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Review

“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

"VanderMeer is that rare novelist who turns to nonhumans not to make them approximate us as much as possible but to make such approximation impossible. All of this is magnified a hundredfold in Borne . . . Here is the story about biotech that VanderMeer wants to tell, a vision of the nonhuman not as one fixed thing, one fixed destiny, but as either peaceful or catastrophic, by our side or out on a rampage as our behavior dictates--for these are our children, born of us and now to be borne in whatever shape or mess we have created." ―Wai Chee Dimock, The New York Times Book Review

“The conceptual elements in VanderMeer’s fiction are so striking that the firmness with which he cinches them to his characters’ lives is often overlooked . . . 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.” ―Laura Miller, 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." ―Nisi Shawl, The Washington Post

"Borne, Jeff VanderMeer's lyrical and harrowing new novel, may be the most beautifully written, and believable, post-apocalyptic tale in recent memory . . . [VanderMeer] outdoes himself in this visionary novel shimmering with as much inventiveness and deliriously unlikely, post-human optimism as Borne himself." ―Elizabeth Hand, Los Angeles Times

"Borne, the latest from sci-fi savant Jeff VanderMeer, begins innocently enough: Girl meets strange plantlike creature. But if you haven't read his haunting Southern Reach trilogy, prepare yourself--this is Walden gone horribly wrong." ―Esquire

"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." ―Michael Berry, San Francisco Chronicle

"Beautiful . . . VanderMeer's fiction is not preachy by any means. Rather, it probes the mysterious of different lifeforms and highlights our human ignorance at the life around us." ―Lincoln Michel, Vice

"VanderMeer’s follow-up to his acclaimed Southern Reach trilogy is fantastical and strange, but with a sincere heart beating at its core. " ―Jaime Green, Google Play

"Borne maintains a wry self-awareness that's rare in dystopias, making it the most necessary VanderMeer book yet." ―Charley Locke, Wired

"With Borne VanderMeer presents a parable about modern life, in these shaky days of roughshod industrialism, civilizational collapse, and looming planetary catastrophe . . . Think of Borne as a retelling of Steven Spielberg’s E.T, or the character arc of Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation. It’s the story of humanity making contact with something strange, alien, artificial, but yet possessed of a personality, a sense of humor, a drive to find love and friendship and community, to be a part of something―and to be respected―respected the way immigrants, refugees, the oppressed the world over have always wished to be respected." ―Brian Ted Jones, The Rumpus

"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." ―Matt E. Lewis, Electric Literature

"Just as VanderMeer subverted your expectations for each sequel to Annihilation, with Borne he’s written something completely different and unpredictable ― not just in terms of the story, but also with regards to language, structure, and point of view." ―Adam Morgan, Chicago Review of Books

"VanderMeer offers another conceptual cautionary tale of corporate greed, scientific hubris, and precarious survival . . . VanderMeer marries bildungsroman, domestic drama, love story, and survival thriller into one compelling, intelligent story centered not around the gee-whiz novelty of a flying bear but around complex, vulnerable characters struggling with what it means to be a person. VanderMeer's talent for immersive world-building and stunning imagery is on display in this weird, challenging, but always heartfelt novel." ―Krista Hutley, Booklist (starred review)

"Supremely literary, distinctly unusual . . . VanderMeer’s deep talent for worldbuilding takes him into realms more reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy's The Road than of the Shire. Superb.” ―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"VanderMeer, author of the acclaimed Southern Reach trilogy, has made a career out of eluding genre classifications, and with Borne he essentially invents a new one . . . Reading like a dispatch from a world lodged somewhere between science fiction, myth, and a video game, the textures of Borne shift as freely as those of the titular whatsit. What’s even more remarkable is the reservoirs of feeling that VanderMeer is able to tap into . . . resulting in something more than just weird fiction: weird literature.” ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)

About the Author

Jeff VanderMeer’s NYT-bestselling Southern Reach trilogy has been translated into over 35 languages. The first novel, Annihilation, won the Nebula Award and Shirley Jackson Award, and was made into a movie by Paramount in 2018. Recent works include Dead Astronauts, Borne (a finalist for the Arthur C. Clarke Award), and The Strange Bird. These novels, set in the Borne universe, are being developed for TV by AMC. Called “the weird Thoreau” by The New Yorker, VanderMeer frequently speaks about issues related to climate change and storytelling. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with his wife Ann, cat Neo, and a yard full of native plants.

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Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5
445 customer ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on January 15, 2018
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Top international reviews

J. Ang
3.0 out of 5 stars It’s Only Human
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 30, 2017
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Tom, on Kindle App.
4.0 out of 5 stars and although an excellent work it took a while to get away from ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 14, 2017
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Michael James
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible imagination
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 9, 2017
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Andrew Clayton
5.0 out of 5 stars Memory beetles for 2017
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 2, 2017
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Ana Faria
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 22, 2019
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Monkey
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved Borne
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 26, 2017
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Solaris
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice journey
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 2, 2017
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K.P.G.
5.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyed Annihilation so was eager to read this
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 23, 2018
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Mrs. A. Livingstone
4.0 out of 5 stars Odd but fascinating
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 17, 2017
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Average Sci Fi Guy
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 6, 2017
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Simono
5.0 out of 5 stars A love story in the ruins beneath an angry god
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 21, 2020
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Polymath
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 9, 2017
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AndyG
1.0 out of 5 stars Absolute Rubbish
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 20, 2020
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5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and absorbing
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 23, 2018
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davidestevens
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 4, 2018
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