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"'Am I a person?' Borne asks Rachel. 'Yes, you are a person, ' Rachel tells him. 'But like a person, you can be a weapon, too.' In a ruined, nameless city of the future, Rachel makes her living as a scavenger. She finds a creature she names Borne entangled in the fur of Mord, a gigantic despotic bear that once prowled the corridors of a biotech firm, the Company, until he was experimented on, grew large, learned to fly, and broke free. Made insane by the company's torture of him, Mord terrorizes the city even as he provides sustenance for scavengers. At first, Borne looks like nothing at all--just a green lump that might be a discard from the Company, which, although severely damaged, is rumored to still make creatures and send them to far-distant places that have not yet suffered collapse. Borne reminds Rachel of the island nation of her birth, now long lost to rising seas. She feels an attachment that she resents: attachments are traps, and in this world any weakness can kill you. Yet when she takes Borne to her subterranean sanctuary, Rachel convinces her lover, Wick--a special kind of dealer--not to render down Borne as raw genetic material for the 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"-- Provided by publisher.
"From the author of the Southern Reach Trilogy comes a story about two humans, and two creatures. The humans are Rachel and Wick -- a scavenger and a drug dealer -- both with too many secrets and fears, ready with traps to be set and sprung. The creatures are Mord and Borne -- animal, perhaps plant, maybe company discard, biotech, cruel experiment, dinner, deity, or source of spare parts"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : MCD, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780374115241
Call Number: SF VANDERME
Characteristics: 323 pages ; 22 cm


From Library Staff

While scavenging to survive in the ruins of a once great city, a young woman named Rachel finds a lumpy green, sentient organism that may be the result of some sort of animal/plant hybrid experiment created by the Biotech company that used to operate in the city. As the organism grows and matures... Read More »

SFPL_danielay Mar 06, 2019

Jeff VanderMeer creates an engrossing post-apocalyptic world filled with abandoned biotech and different factions of survivors scavenging for a living in a destroyed city policed by a magician and a giant flying bear. If this sounds weird, it is and it only gets weirder when Rachel, the main char... Read More »

Borne is a great addition to dystopian literature because of its menacing descriptions of climate collapse. There’s also a flying bear and a strange shape-shifting sentient creature that/who is super compelling. You can also read the e-book short story A Strange Bird which is related to this book... Read More »

From the critics

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Mar 11, 2021

Desperate, scavenging humans vs biotech perversions in a polluted, destroyed Earth: no one writes with such visceral impact and attention to detail about the natural, and unnatural, worlds as Vandermeer. Yet it's love and friendship that provide the means to salvation. Interesting that "borne" is the past participle of "bear" - - so many layered meanings!

OPL_DavidD Dec 21, 2020

I love the way Weird Fiction can make the bizarre seem grounded. An emotionally affective and lyrical look at how people can both disappoint and come through for us in the backdrop of scavengers and monsters in a post-apocalyptic medical wasteland.

Jan 14, 2020

Slow and a little hard to read since there is really no context clues or even explanation throughout the story that explain what things are. Interesting back and fourth but half the time I was so confused on what the narrator was talking about I couldn't fully get into the book.

SFPL_danielay Mar 06, 2019

Jeff VanderMeer creates an engrossing post-apocalyptic world filled with abandoned biotech and different factions of survivors scavenging for a living in a destroyed city policed by a magician and a giant flying bear. If this sounds weird, it is and it only gets weirder when Rachel, the main character, comes across a strange plant-like creature. The creature, named Borne, starts growing, develops the ability to speak and think and could bring salvation or death and destruction to Rachel's world.

Aug 22, 2018

Weird is a good word to describe this book.
Borne takes places in the future in an unnamed city where humans are scavenging for food and struggling for survival after ‘a Company’ that was in control of the city created a biotech experiment that went wrong and destroyed most of the city. Some of the ideas and characters are certainly original and interesting, and I think Jeff VandeeMeer did a good job of writing in such a way that always kept me engaged and interested.
The story starts with Rachel (the narrator), finding a mysterious blob who she decides to name Borne. Realizing that he can speak and learn, Rachel tries to raise him like a human. The story is interesting during this part because while trying to teach Borne, Rachel learns a lot about herself and we also get to learn about the city and her past. But once Rachel realizes that Borne is more than just a blob, she kicks him out of where she is living and the focus of the book shifts from being on him to being on Rachel. I think the story stops being interesting after that. I think what really ruined this book for me was the ending. Borne did not end in the way I expected it to. Like for most stories, you want a resolution to all of the problems that happen. Borne doesn't really do that and it just sort of ends. It also feels a little rushed. So while this book wasn't awful or anything, I think that it could have been a lot better. I'd only reccomend this book if you're into the weird fiction genre. Otherwise, it's just too weird.

Mar 09, 2018


Feb 15, 2018

Once again, Vandermeer serves up a full portion of fear.
As with his earlier work (the Southern Reach trilogy with "Annihilation" coming out in film 2018), the aspect that drives the reader mad is how little we can see and know about the forces moving in the ruined world around; the writing will leave you looking over your shoulder wondering when the next deadly attack will fall, and if you will even see it coming.

samdog123 Feb 13, 2018

In a ruined futuristic city, live Rachel and Wick, both dealing with their own pasts. After 'The Company ' leaves the city to its fate, mechanical and biological creatures flourish-none more terrifying than Mord, a gigantic bear. Then Rachel finds a creature she names Borne. His relationship with Rachel is complicated and neither she or Wick can know what he will mean to their future. Wonderful writing and this book would make a great movie.

Feb 06, 2018

While well written, and an interesting premise, I had to return this book about halfway through: I couldn't take the violence and gore.

DPLjennyp Feb 06, 2018

A really interesting fresh take on a post-apocalyptic world. Reminiscent of Atwood's Oryx and Crake, but also different.

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Add Notices
Aug 12, 2018

Sexual Content: Sex scenes between Rachel and Wick though they aren't too explicit.

Aug 12, 2018

Coarse Language: Strong language.

Aug 12, 2018

Frightening or Intense Scenes: Contains some gory fight scenes between Mord and several different characters that may be scary or intense for some readers.


Add Age Suitability
Aug 12, 2018

Chinderixx thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over


Add a Quote
Aug 12, 2018

BORNE: "What's a dog?"
RACHEL: "You know what a dog is."
BORNE: "A dog is a meal on four paws."
RACHEL: Borne!"
BORNE: "You said that."
RACHEL: "You said it was a joke."


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