Book review: Borne, by Jeff VanderMeer

BorneBorne by Jeff VanderMeer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A scavenger, a squidlike biotech lifeform, and a flying bear walk into a bar…

Borne is exceptionally subtle on a prose level. I kept having to catch myself and re-read sentences because there was SO MUCH going on in deceptively simply constructed descriptions and dialogue.

The novel is from the POV of Rachel, a scavenger in a post-disaster/apocalypse/biotech Major Problem world caused at some point by The Company, and Borne, her name for an innocuous looking sentient cross between a squid and an eggplant with a penchant for wordplay that she originally scavenged off of a flying bear named Mord, who is fighting a turf war with The Magician for dominion over the destroyed city where Rachel scavenges.

Rachel initially sees Borne as a project, or a childlike creature to raise. This is a problematic assessment.
Borne examines what makes us human, and what does not. Who draws the line? Who makes the choices, the most important of which is: Nice, or Not Nice.

I won’t say whether I think Borne himself as a character is Nice, or Not Nice. I will say, though, that this is definitely a Nice novel.

View all my reviews


About Lynne M. Thomas

Lynne M. Thomas is a Hugo Award winning editor and podcaster. In her day job, she is the Head of Distinctive Collections and Curator of Rare Books and Special Collections at Northern Illinois University.
This entry was posted in reading and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s