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Fiction/Biography Profile
Rachel (Female), Survives as a scavenger in a destroyed city half destroyed by drought and conflict; finds Borne during a scavenging mission and takes him home; feels a connection and protectiveness to Borne
Wick (Male), Drug dealer, Rachel's partner; deals drugs which are administered through bugs
Borne (), A green blob that is neither plant nor animal; taken in by Rachel who taught him how to speak; when he eats he grows
Science fiction
Good vs. evil
Medical experimentation
Scientific experimentation
Corporate power
Drug dealers
Time Period
Large Cover Image
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  Library Journal Review

In the blighted landscape of a nameless city, Rachel is a scavenger who roams the land looking for useful biotech scraps, remnants of experiments done by the Company. She brings back her finds to her lover Wick, who was once an employee of the Company, before everything fell apart. On one excursion, Rachel discovers a lump that she cannot at first identify as plant, animal, or machine. She brings it home, names it Borne, and quickly grows attached. As Borne evolves into a seemingly sentient creature, he becomes a bone of contention between Rachel and Wick, who have differing opinions on Borne's nature and possible threat. VERDICT VanderMeer ("Southern Reach" trilogy; Finch) delivers a work of dystopian ecofiction that will appeal to fans of Margaret Atwood's "MaddAddam" trilogy, albeit with a weirder sensibility. The language is lush and playful, with surreal touches, such as the building-sized bear that wanders a ruined landscape, attacking the sparse human population.-MM © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly 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. In a future strewn with the cast-off experiments of an industrial laboratory known only as the Company, a scavenger named Rachel survives alongside her lover, Wick, a dealer of memory-altering beetles, with whom she takes shelter from the periodic ravages of a giant mutant bear named Mord. One day, caught in Mord's fur, Rachel finds the bizarre, shape-shifting creature "like a hybrid of sea anemone and squid" she calls Borne. Rachel adopts Borne and takes on its education over Wick's objections. But Borne proves a precocious student, experiencing more and more complex transformations, testing Rachel's loyalty as it undertakes a personal mission that threatens Rachel and Wick's fragile existence even as it brings painful truths to the surface-truths like Wick's mysterious past with the Company, the identity of the mercurial rival he calls the Magician, the origin of the feral children who roam the wasteland, and even the circumstances of Rachel's own interrupted childhood. 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 throughout Rachel and Wick's postapocalyptic journey into the Company's warped ruins, resulting in something more than just weird fiction: weird literature. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
<p> Named one of the most anticipated books of 2017 by The New York Times , The Huffington Post , Book Riot , Chicago Reader , The Week , and Publishers Weekly. <br> <br> "Am I a person?" Borne asked me. <br> "Yes, you are a person," I told him. "But like a person, you can be a weapon, too." </p> <p>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.</p> <p>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.</p> <p> "He was born , but I had borne him. " </p> <p>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.</p>
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