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The Mount

3.7  ·  Rating details ·  1,173 Ratings  ·  137 Reviews
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 finishing line, in his racing silks, with a medal around his neck. Charley lives in a stable. He isn't a runner, he's a mount. He belongs to a Hoot: The Hoots are alien invaders. Charley hasn't seen his mother for years, and his father is h ...more
Paperback, 242 pages
Published August 1st 2002 by Small Beer Press
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Daniel Roy
Jun 07, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
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
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
Lisa Vegan
Jan 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
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
Jun 19, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: aliens, scifi, standalone
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
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
Apr 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful and strange, full of longing, heartache, and aliens, as all young adult fiction should be.
Michael Battaglia
Emshwiller clearly likes conflating animals with people . . . one of her early works, "Carmen Dog" features a scenario where women turn into animal and vice versa and done properly that kind of thing can come across as a finely tuned metaphor (much like Ionesco's absurdist play "Rhinoceros") and done poorly will probably be like one of those low budget werewolf movies they tend to show at midnight cinemas. Here, she takes a situation where people become a certain kind of animal, and yet makes it ...more
Colleen Fauchelle
Mar 18, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-books
You know a book is not for you when every time to try to read it you fall asleep.
I got to the end and am ready for book club.
Dec 23, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 30, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hundreds of years ago, diminutive aliens, the Hoots, conquered Earth. Some humans are free, but most are slaves. Those treated the best are the ones chosen as mounts, constantly feeling a Hoot's weight on their shoulders, trained for races or exhibition, treated like pets and friends... but slaves nonetheless. Young Charley is one of these mounts, serving the Hoots' future leader, and when Charley's father, a leader of the human rebellion, frees him, he's not all that happy about it. Who, after ...more
Jan 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
...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
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
Mar 11, 2010 rated it liked it
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
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.
Jul 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, aliens
I don't even know what to say.
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.
Jan 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
The Mount is an unusual book - on the surface it's a novel about the interaction between humans and a race of aliens (called Hoots by us humans). It takes place on earth, or perhaps another world colonized by humans in some distance future. The hoots arrived generations ago and, due to their superior senses, intellect, and hooting power, have become the dominant species. Humans are now relegated to the roles of mounts; dear, beloved, cared-for mounts, upon which the hoots ride.

The story is most
Jan 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars. Weird. This book is weird. I say that as a compliment. This was the first Emshwiller book I intended to read, it ended up being the last. It was the hardest to find. I think that is good, because everything else she wrote would have seemed mundane after this. The Secret City and Mister Boots were both weird, the first garden-variety weird, the second getting a bit weirder. This one is out there.

The voicing is weird (in a good way). The concept is weird (good way). The obvious parallel
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Weird and wonderful. This drew me in immediately with its unique tone (whimsical, tricksy, strange), with a Hoot addressing the reader as if the reader were a mount being ridden. I like that Emshwiller is able to say such poetic, profound things through such unreliable narrators (there are a few). The concept, carried out, is also unique. It has a fable-like, magical realist quality to it, where you don't need to worry too much about specific logistics in order to enjoy the larger narrative. And ...more
Brent Hayward
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very strange story of post-alien invasion Earth, told in spare but beautiful prose. Charley is a tame mount for a young overlord. He is proud to carry his Hoot. Charley's father lives in the mountains, a wild human, free from his own host and plotting an insurrection. All the characters are great as unreliable narrators. There is action, humour, and the book's genuinely moving. Useful lessons and insights within re: racism, discrimination, being a good person, etc.
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
so amazingly excellent
Nov 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
surprised by how much i liked this
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
Jan 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Shira and Ari Evergreen
Dec 15, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: antispeciesists, people who like horses, anticapitalists
Recommended to Shira and Ari 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
Guilherme Solari
Um romance alegórico sobre a complexa relação de interdependência entre dominadores e dominados

Em The Mount, a Terra foi invadida por pequenas criaturas alienígenas chamadas Hoots. Por uma dessas coincidências do universo, elas tem pernas extremamente frágeis e cabem perfeitamente na nuca dos seres humanos, que não demoram muito a serem usados como montaria.

A história se passa em um momento no qual isso já ocorre há diversas décadas. Humanos são reproduzidos em função de sua beleza ou vigor físi
Bryn Greenwood
Oct 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Carol Emshwiller’s The Mount is one of those small books I pick up at the library, thinking, “I’ll take this to my dentist appointment and toss it off in the waiting room.”

I was wrong. I lingered over it and read it twice before I returned it to the library. The book is written in the sort of spare prose I admire so much and find so rarely. It’s narrator is Charley, an 11-year old human, who serves as the mount for his little alien master, Future-Ruler-of-Us-All. (Yes, it’s one of those spec fic
Sep 28, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Are we really such a bunch of pushovers?

Who are we to proclaim the rights of the oppressed, when we oppress others? Who are we to condemn slavery when we still allow slavery to occur? Who are we to demand liberty while we still remove the freedoms of others? Why can't we all just get along? This is the essence of the allegory that is "The Mount". A noble and thought provoking message all wrapped up inside a mild science fiction novella.

Emshwiller starts off with an original and imaginative ali
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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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“Keep on. The work of the world is always done by creatures too tired to do it.” 2 likes
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