Dystopian literature frightens, excites readers

Patrick Briotte- Staff Writer

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Literary fans of dystopian themes have something new to look forward to. Pennsylvania-born writer Jeff VanderMeer has published a new written work revolving around a world that has fallen to ruin through the forces of the supernatural and incredible technology. Published on April 25 of 2017, dark humor and quick action depicts the end of society in an almost cheerful way as seen through the eyes of someone living day to day and on their own terms. Following the narrator, a girl named Rachel, VanderMeer takes the reader by the hand to show a world where everything you thought you knew about society and order means almost nothing.

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The setting is a nameless city to draw upon the idea that this is a story that can take place anywhere in the world, creating a sense of unease mixed with intrigue right off the bat. The title “Borne” is derived from the character who is acting as the hero of the story, described as an enigmatic chimera who is being raised by the narrator and is discovering what it means to be human in mind and body. The struggles with finding purpose behind an existence that is not natural as many people would describe it. Borne himself is as much a living weapon as he is a living being, early statements and dialogue being made in as blunt a manner as one would expect from children. Tension begins to set in as Borne grows and begins to understand he isn’t limited by the boundaries of humanity. Learning by books and instruction is passed up in favor of the absorption of innocent people to gain the knowledge they have.

Despite operating on what many would consider a dark and familiar path when it comes to any story structured around the end of the world, VanderMeer brings new life to the genre by joining comedy, tragedy and the determination found in the human spirit to keep moving forward, despite numerous hardships that may be encountered. “Borne” gives the readers a sense of very dry self-awareness, touching each trope that can be found in an apocalyptic story, but being bound to none of them to keep the reader engaged and interested. VanderMeer’s atmospheric writing is at its peak once again in “Borne’” with each scene dripping with atmosphere. A dark, cramped space clearly conveys the symptoms felt by an individual suffering from claustrophobia, and a hopeless situation has the sense of numbness associated with being out of options in a situation where action is needed, but there is no clear path to take.

Through taking the apocalypse literary genre and giving it a fresh breath of air, as well as tackling family structure and the human search for identity in a world that offers no answers and only raises more questions, “Borne” is a deeply involving story that will keep readers hooked from start to finish, hungry for more.

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