Dust jacket illustration by Vasily Polovtsev.
Bestiary illustrated by Eric Nyquist.
About the Book:
In the course of a career that has spanned more than three decades, Jeff VanderMeer has emerged as one of the most elegant, intelligent literary fantasists of the modern era. His best work bears comparison to such established masters as John Crowley and Ursula K. Le Guin, and he keeps getting better, book after book. In 2017, he followed his groundbreaking Southern Reach Trilogy with the powerful dystopian fantasy, Borne. In The Complete Borne, VanderMeer expands that novel’s original vision through supplementary narratives that enlarge our understanding of his astonishing fictional world.
The centerpiece of this collection is the original novel itself. Borne offers a portrait of a broken, toxic future dominated by three elements: the immense flying bear known as Mord, an elusive figure called simply the Magician, and the remnants of a once powerful organization called The Company. Into this dying world come Rachel, a woman who survives by scavenging food and discarded “biotech,” and Borne, a bizarre and protean figure unlike any you have ever encountered. Their evolving relationship forms the heart of the novel and leads to a conclusion you will never forget.
Borne is filled with strange, often misbegotten creatures, the products of unchecked Company experiments. In a heavily illustrated supplement called “Teem’s Bestiary,” we learn a great deal about the nature and history of such singular creatures as memory beetles, mudskippers, damsel flies and red salamanders. Of special note is the perhaps mythical creature known simply as “Strange Bird,” the title figure of the harrowing—and deeply affecting—novella that follows.
“Strange Bird” begins with the nameless bird’s escape from a sinister laboratory—the only home she has ever known—into a world of unaccustomed freedom. She is a purely innocent creature searching for love, a sense of purpose, and a place to call home. What she finds is something very different. Her journey through assorted hazards toward an unforeseen transformation has the feel of a tightly compressed epic. Like everything else in this volume, it is original, enthralling, and impossible to forget.
Taken individually, the pieces in this collection all offer their own self-contained pleasures. Taken together, they form a sort of narrative mosaic in which the whole truly is more than the sum of its dazzling parts. The Complete Borne takes us to a world that is grim, frequently frightening, and paradoxically beautiful. This is literary fantasy at its deepest and most developed. It doesn’t get better than this.
Lettered: 52 signed leatherbound copies, housed in a custom traycase
Limited: 500 signed numbered hardcover copies
Table of Contents:
- Borne (novel)
- Strange Bird (novella)
- The Situation (proto-Borne novelette)
- Teem’s Bestiary (illustrated)
From Publishers Weekly (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.”
From Booklist (Starred Review):
“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.”
From Kirkus Reviews (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.”
From Colson Whitehead:
“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.”
“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.”
Best of the Year Lists
- The Los Angeles Times
- The Boston Globe
- Financial Times
- Chicago Review of Books
- Huffington Post
- San Francisco Chronicle
- Book Riot
- National Post (Canada)
- Kirkus Reviews
- Publishers Weekly
- Eric Nyquist
- Jeff VanderMeer
- Deluxe Limited
- 488 pages
- United States
- In Print