Jeff VanderMeer

Book Cover

“Am I a person?” Borne asks Rachel, in extremis.

“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.

Praise for Jeff VanderMeer's Borne:

“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. . . . The novel’s scope is of human dimensions, despite its nonhuman title character. But VanderMeer’s take on the postapocalyptic fantasy is not without subversive ambition. . . . The novel 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. And that the best thing about human nature might just be its unwillingness to surrender to the worst side of itself.” —The New Yorker

“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. . . . 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

“[A]n atmospheric and decidedly dark fable for our time . . . 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 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."—Booklist, starred 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, the National Book Award winning author of The Underground Railroad

“[U]ndeniably imaginative . . . marvelous and tantalizing . . . Magnificently realized” —Library Journal

Praise for Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy:

"I'm loving the Southern Reach trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer. Creepy and fascinating." —Stephen King

“The three weirdest books I read last year were all by the same writer. His name is Jeff VanderMeer, he’s from Tallahassee, Florida, and he’s the King of Weird Fiction. . . . All that said, last year, he transcended ‘weird.’ He wrote three books—the Southern Reach trilogy—so arresting, unsettling, and unforgettable that even non-weird readers read and loved them. . . . They imagine nature, both human and wild, in a new way. And they take a surprising approach to language: in addition to being confounding science-fiction novels, they are fractured, lyrical love letters to Florida’s mossy northern coast. . . . The books, in other words, touch on all sorts of interesting subjects, and evoke many modern problems. Even so, topical resonance alone can’t account for their appeal.” —The New Yorker

"[P]ure reading pleasure . . . the real accomplishment of these books lies less in their well-designed plots than in VanderMeer's incredibly evocative, naturalist eye. . . . VanderMeer's language is precise, metaphorical but rigorous . . . [the characters] are so thoroughly imagined they sometimes bent this reader's experience with reality . . . VanderMeer has created an immersive and wonderfully realized world" —The New York Times Book Review

"[Authority] strengthens and develops the narrative arc while remaining fully coherent on its own, revealing more and more secrets about Area X all the while. VanderMeer's masterful command of the plot, his cast of characters, and the increasingly desperate situation will leave the reader desperate for the final volume in the trilogy." —Publishers Weekly, starred review

"The series is less about a straight throughline of plot and more about constructing a fully realized portrait of peculiar, often alienated people and the odd landscapes they inhabit, both inside and outside of their skulls; and this the author has decidedly achieved." —Kirkus, starred review

". . . the books, for all their Baudrillardian knottiness, are big fun to read . . . the most uncompromising—yet most rewarding—genre series I've read in quite some time" —Slate

"If the guys who wrote Lost had brought H.P. Lovecraft into the room as a script doctor in the first season, the Southern Reach trilogy is what they would've come up with." —NPR Books

"If you start reading [the Southern Reach trilogy], you will read right through in short order. You may also have nightmares. . . . VanderMeer writes much better prose than Poe ever did . . . This is genuinely potent and dream-haunting writing. VanderMeer has arrived." —The Guardian

"VanderMeer's handle on the supernatural gives his writing a unique,
dream-like texture, turning the office politics of the Southern Reach's surreal bureaucracy into a story with all kinds of vague and hallucinatory undertones." —Toronto Star

"[T]ruly compelling" —Entertainment Weekly

"VanderMeer's mind-bending story is written with the pace and intensity of a thriller, and it's vastly entertaining." —The Times (UK)

"Authority's every inch as sinister and suggestive as its successful predecessor. . . . a marvellous manifestation of the same sense of impending dread that made Annihilation so special. In every other respect, however, the insidious second volume of the Southern Reach turns the series on its head, to unforgettable effect." —Tor.com

"VanderMeer's writing continues to demonstrate the deceptive lucidity of a fever dream" —The Seattle Times

Related media links:

"From Annihilation to Acceptance: A Writer’s Surreal Journey" in The Atlantic

"The Weird Thoreau" in The New Yorker

"The Illusions of Control: Jeff VanderMeer's extraordinary Southern Reach Trilogy" in Slate

Publication Date: April 25 2017
Page extent: 336 (hc)

World rights (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Film rights (Paramount Pictures and Scott Rudin Productions) 

Jeff VanderMeer

Photo Credit: Kyle Cassidy

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.