The Strange Bird expands and weaves deeply into the world of Jeff VanderMeer's “thorough marvel” of a novel, Borne.
August 1, 2017
a companion story to Borne
The Strange Bird is a new kind of creature, built in a laboratory—she is part bird, part human, part many other things. But now the lab in which she was created is under siege and the scientists have turned on their animal creations. Flying through tunnels, dodging bullets, and changing her colors and patterning to avoid capture, the Strange Bird manages to escape.
But she cannot just soar in peace above the earth. The sky itself is full of wildlife that rejects her as one of their own, and also full of technology—satellites and drones and other detritus of the human civilization below that has all but destroyed itself. And the farther she flies, the deeper she finds herself in the orbit of the Company, a collapsed biotech firm that has populated the world with experiments both failed and successful that have outlived the corporation itself: a pack of networked foxes, a giant predatory bear. But of the many creatures she encounters with whom she bears some kind of kinship, it is the humans—all of them now simply scrambling to survive—who are the most insidious, who still see her as simply something to possess, to capture, to trade, to exploit. Never to understand, never to welcome home.
With The Strange Bird, Jeff VanderMeer has done more than add another layer, a new chapter, to his celebrated novel Borne. He has created a whole new perspective on the world inhabited by Rachel and Wick, the Magician, Mord, and Borne—a view from above, of course, but also a view from deep inside the mind of a new kind of creature who will fight and suffer and live for the tenuous future of this world.
Jeff VanderMeer’s New York Times bestselling Southern Reach trilogy has been translated into over 30 languages and made Entertainment Weekly’s Top 10 list. The first novel, Annihilation, won the Nebula Award and Shirley Jackson Award, was shortlisted for a half dozen more, and has been made into a movie to be released by Paramount Pictures in 2018. His new novel, Borne, is the first release from Farrar, Straus and Giroux’s new MCD imprint. The novel has also been optioned by Paramount. The New Yorker has called Jeff “the weird Thoreau” and he frequently speaks about issues related to climate change and storytelling, including at DePaul, MIT, and Vanderbilt. His nonfiction appears in the New York Times, the Atlantic, the Los Angeles Times, and many more. With his wife Ann VanderMeer he has edited many fiction anthologies, including The Big Book of Science Fiction. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida.
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