The Mount
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The Mount

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  654 ratings  ·  94 reviews
Charley is an athlete. He wants to be painted crossing the finish line, in his racing silks, with a medal around his neck. But Charley isn't a runner. He is a human mount, the property of one of the alien invaders called Hoots. Charley hasn't seen his mother in years, and his father is hiding out in the mountains with the other Free Humans. The Hoots own the world, but the...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published March 17th 2005 by Firebird (first published August 1st 2002)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,812)
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Cindy
Such a funny little book. I bought the book partly because of the cover. I was expecting something more grim. Also, I'm labeling this one as YA, even though the publisher hasn't designated it that way. It would be excellent for someone learning English, or who struggles with reading. The story is told from the point-of-view of a pre-teen human "mount."

And no, not "mount" in a pervvy way! Imagine humans as a cross between a horse and a slave, and little alien creatures are perfectly physiologica...more
Daniel Roy
When I began reading this story of an alien race that has not just conquered us, but turned us into their personal mounts, I expected a heavy-handed metaphor about slavery and social dynamics. What I got instead was part allegory, but also a fully-realized SF world, complete with intricate mechanisms by which an alien invader managed to tame us as a species.

The most surprising and pleasant part of The Mount is how thorough the author is with her explanation of how humans could become mounts to a...more
Suz
When I finished this book, I picked up another to read, and just couldn't do it. The "message" in this book is really strong and it takes a bit to digest. Even better, I don't think there is a single message. This short book was written brilliantly, so you can see whatever you want in the relationships.

This story takes place in some future or alternate timeline. Through whatever means, there are aliens living on earth. Emshwiller did a fantastic job describing, not so much what they look like (s...more
Amanda
It doesn’t take much guess-work to figure out how this wound up on my TBR pile. It’s a rather obvious allegory for animal rights, although instead of apes enslaving people like in Planet of the Apes, it’s an alien species with cat-like ears and weak legs enslaving humans. The concept is a good one, but the execution fell short for me, which is sad, because I wanted to love it.

The structure of the book is problematic. The first chapter is from the perspective of an entirely random Hoot who we nev...more
Lisa Vegan
Feb 13, 2011 Lisa Vegan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes speculative fiction, particularly thought provoking stories
I read this for a Goodreads book club. I did not vote for it, but I’m so glad that it won. It’s a very, very fast read. I inhaled it over 2 days, and today, the day I finished it, is our last dry day for at least a week, but rather than enjoy the outdoors, I couldn’t tear myself away from this book.

It’s published as an adult book but I think it would be perfect for high school classroom reading too; it reads very much like a young adult book and its main protagonist is a young person.

This book m...more
Chris
At first, I hated this book, and even to the end I had to work to get past the premise. The book takes places on earth in a future where a small but highly intellegent race of alines (Hoots) have conquered and enslaved humanity. They use and treat humans exactly as we use horses -- the Hoots ride their Mounts by sitting on their shoulders, fitting the humans with bits, keeping them in stalls, feeding them apples and other fruit, and racing them for entertainment. This plays out as the least subt...more
Rob
...The Mount is clearly a science fiction novel but the focus is very much on psychology. The alien invasion is not the center of the story, there are no epic space battles or explorations of strange alien cultures. Readers looking for that type of science fiction will be disappointed. The novel is something of an allegory for slavery or oppression and can be interpreted or applied to many different situations. Some reviewers have suggested it comments on the way we treat animals ourselves for i...more
Gena
Beautiful and strange, full of longing, heartache, and aliens, as all young adult fiction should be.
Eric
I read this book because it promised to play out a recurring daydream of mine. It was somewhat satisfying in that regard, but the same concept could have gotten a much more sophisticated treatment by a better writer, or maybe if written from a different perspective.

The daydream/plot: What would happen if advanced aliens invaded or captured us and made us their beasts of burden and/or pets like we've done to horses, and there was nothing we could do about it because they were as much more advanc...more
Sarah
This is a very strange little book. I tried to explain it to a friend today and got bogged down. "It's set in a future in which small aliens have landed on Earth and decide to use humans as their steeds." She said it sounded like a somewhat kinkier version of V. So I tried to explain that the interesting difference here was that the events of the book take place quite some time after the landing, so that humans have become accustomed to their roles. That helped a little, although she was still s...more
Michael
I read Emshwiller's "The Mount" because it is our sci fi book club selection for April. The narrator in "The Mount" is a young human who has been bred to serve as a mount for the alien race called Hoots by the humans. Humans serve like horses for the aliens, providing them transport and also serving as racing animals for sport. The aliens feed the humans with propaganda, but also use brute force and bridals and bits to keep the humans in-line. "The Mount" is a unique and creative work of fiction...more
David Nix
Where to start? Mount is an unusual novel. Unusual premise, unusual story, unusual telling. Normally I can fall back to, "this story reminded me of such-and-such novel." But not in this case. First, the story is a telling of alien invasion. However, the face-melting aliens typically behind Earth invasions are missing, replaced by small, adorable invaders called Hoots whose technology and ability to overcome humans with the sound of their voices soon render Earth defeated. But not to worry! The a...more
culley

Aliens have invaded, humanity has been enslaved and we are being used as mounts. Wild humans have been breeding in the mountains and a revolution is starting. The main character is a sturdy 11 year old boy (shockingly similar to my son) who has been imprinted early to the child ruler-to-be of the aliens. Conveniently, the renegade father of this boy is running the revolution. As the story progresses, a lot of time is spent waffling through the mind of the boy as he ponders wether it is better to...more
Alissabeth
An amazing book - the best sort of sci-fi fable that refuses to go where I kept thinking it had to. Must read for anyone who loves a riveting quick read that has the depth to keep you thinking long after you've blazed through it.
Lanette
This was a fun book -- entertaining. But, it felt a little young, and it lacked a good climax. It was a very quick and easy read.
Damali
I don't even know what to say.
Chris White
Wow.

The Mount, by Carol Emshwiller, is freaking amazing.

Charley is a Seattle – he’s big and strong, and has beautiful posture. He’s so much better than a skinny little Tennessee. His bloodline is pure. And he’s been chosen, as the mount for The-Future-Leader-of-Us-All. He learns all the commands he needs to, so he doesn’t get lashed, he doesn’t need to wear a bit or a bridle. His handlers call him ‘Smiley’, because he smiles so much. He likes strawberries, and chocolates – and his handlers are...more
Wise_owl
An Astonishingly well written book that looks at a truly alien society, and indeed at a 'human' society made to us alien.

The Book relates a tale in some far future where the earth has been over-run by a species we call 'The Hoots'. The Hoots are a prey species, naturally aboreal, with senses vastly superior to our, and incredibly hand strength, if limited leg strength. In this future they have more or less 'domesticated' Humans as mounts and slaves.

The analogy with hourses is elaborate and well...more
Shirari Industries
Dec 03, 2010 Shirari Industries rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: antispeciesists, people who like horses, anticapitalists
Recommended to Shirari by: io9
The Mount is set in a scifi future in which humans have lost our top spot on the planet. Small aliens with superior technology have taken over and convinced us that serving them is now our best option. So the aliens ride on humans' shoulders, using training and tack to keep us in line, just as humans do with horses. The story focuses on one human and one alien who forge a special bond and help the others of both species to change this situation for the better. The protagonist's father, an "untra...more
Christopher Roberts
The premise of this book is so amazing that I wanted to love it, but it just didn't turn out that way.

Charley is a mount in a world where humans have been conquered by aliens and subjugated to them. Not only that, but he is a special mount since his rider is a young alien, called Hoots by the humans, who will be one day be the "ruler of us all."

Through Charley's narration the book gives us a look at both how animals are treated and slavery, through the eyes of someone who is a slave but has...more
Roddy Williams
‘Charley is an athlete. he wants to grow up to be the fastest runner in the world, like his father. He wants to be painted crossing the finish line, in his racing silks, with a medal around his neck.
Charley lives in a stable. He isn’t a runner; he is a human mount. he belongs to a Hoot. The Hoots are alien invaders. Charley hasn’t seen his mother in years, and his father is hiding out in the mountains with the other Free Humans. The Hoots own the world, but the humans want it back. Charley knows...more
Aves
Generations ago, aliens called Hoots invaded Earth. Hoots have very weak legs, so they started breeding humans to use as mounts. Some humans resisted and fled to the mountains where the Hoots don't care to pursue them, but others are still being actively bred and trained in Hoot compounds. There are the muscular Seattles, the lean and skinny Tennessees, and the in-betweens: the nothings, who are of no value to the Hoots.

Charley is a Seattle, the child of some of the most famous Seattles in histo...more
Zvi
What a strange ironic book. It joins the small list of books about an alien race enslaving us and keeping us a pets-- a list that includes Thomas Disch's 'White Fang Goes Dingo' and John Christopher's Tripod trilogy. In this case, the small, big-headed, smart aliens have conquered Earth and keep humans as mounts (they ride on human shoulders) -- there's a rider/ridden symbiotic relationship between humans bred for riding and their alien overlords, known as 'Hoots'.

What these humans-as-pets book...more
Vitalijus Sostak
It's an excellent future dystopia book on slaves psychology. It was at times even uncomfortable to read about "tamed" humans being badly treated but still faithfull to their masters like dogs.
It's not all dark though - I'm glad it has a lot of positive messages both about master-slave relationship and about being human and seeing different, new angles to status quo.
Paul Laxon
What I really love about good science fiction is its ability to suck me into a strange new world and make it believable without a lot of exposition. As a reader you just have to accept the premise and some of the description that doesn't make sense at first. From there you can immerse yourself in this world where conquered humans serve as the means of transportation for the alien invaders.

Charley is a mount for the alien hoots. Hoots have very strong hands, but cannot walk. Charley is a human an...more
Shel
Brilliant! Brilliant! But what is this book about?

How we treat our pets? Specieism and animal rights? Democracy? A utopia where the slaves revolt and create their society in the hills? What happens after an alien invasion? Classism? Are we the ruling class or the revolutionists? Are we the ones who can't walk or the ones who can't see? Cultural conditioning. The dangers of adaptation. Privilege. What it means to be free. Balance of power? A coming of age story: falling in love? Familial love? Ki...more
Karin
The Mount has a very interesting premise: what if aliens came to Earth and enslaved us as their transportation? They would breed us like horses, encourage us, feed us, and train us.

Where this book falls apart is in the length. The narrator is irritating and with most of the story in first person you never get any separation from him. In fact, as a novella this might have been four or five stars.

My favorite part of the book was the narrator's father. A former prize-winning mount, he developed beh...more
Joe Reese
Set in a post-apocalyptic world where miniature aliens ride humans like horses, The Mount asks us to imagine our place on Earth as subordinate to a physically weaker but supposedly intellectually superior race.

The story's strength rests on its central relationship between alien master and human mount, with a teenage narrator delivering a somewhat skewed snapshot of what the world has become.
However, without strong, overpowering or intelligent actions by the aliens themselves, it is a wonder how...more
Sandra Glenn
May 19, 2013 Sandra Glenn rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Sandra by: io9.com
Shelves: dnf
While I appreciate Emshwiller's ability to create a strange, troubling future, and reveal it all through a childlike viewpoint, I just couldn't quite identify with the characters. I found the protagonist's naive docility heartbreaking and distancing. I also found the whole 'mount' thing mildly squicky, as it's a bit too close to the 'pony play' fetish, though I'm sure the similarity is coincidence.

That said, the book raises challenging questions about freedom, slavery, happiness and consent that...more
The Sample Reader
The Mount enjoys the musty scent of quality, but reading issues on the Kindle mean I’m unlikely to purchase it as an ebook. This one will make a lovely gift, one day, if I’m lucky.

Read the full ebook Sample Reader review here.
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Carol Emshwiller is an American writer of avant garde short stories and science fiction who has won prizes including the Nebula and Philip K. Dick Awards. Ursula K. Le Guin has called her "a major fabulist, a marvelous magical realist, one of the strongest, most complex, most consistently feminist voices in fiction." In 2005, she was awarded the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement. Her most r...more
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