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The Strange Bird: A Borne Story


4.15  ·  Rating details ·  1,956 ratings  ·  294 reviews

The Strange Bird—from New York Times bestselling novelist Jeff VanderMeer—is a digital original that expands and weaves deeply into the world of his “thorough marvel”* of a novel, 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 sci

Kindle Edition, 96 pages
Published August 1st 2017 by MCD
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YardBoy I don't think so. I read Borne first, but after reading Strange Bird next, I felt it could have been a prequel.
Mary There's a print version. I purchased from Prairie Lights in Iowa City, IA.

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Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Strange Bird is a story that takes place in the Borne universe during the same timeline as the original novel, but from the perspective of a different character called the Strange Bird. Part human and part bird, VanderMeer's world gets a different perspective as the Strange Bird escapes her laboratory prison and learns about the world outside its walls.

I don't want to give too much away about this story because it would lessen its impact, but I was definitely crying by the end. I will say th
Mar 05, 2018 rated it liked it
What did she hope for? To find a purpose, and for kindness, which had not yet been shown to her. Where did she wish to come to rest? A place she could call home, a place that was safe. A place where there might be others of her kind.

The Strange Bird has lived in a lab all her life, enduring experiments that may have invaded her manufactured body, but not her spirit. Her resilience was due in part to a special bit of DNA in her unique make up and from something extra and very purposeful added to
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure that I can adequately put into words how I feel about this story or the Borne world as a whole. The word "enveloped" came to mind when I was adding a progress update here. The life and the consciousness of The Strange Bird enveloped me. I was able to see directly into the strange soul of this life and the world abound. I understand it, but can not explain it. Start with Borne. Follow thru with this one. Five stars. Not sure why.
Nov 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kindle, own, read_2018, sci-fi
The Strange Bird, is a laboratory made creature comprised of avian, human, and other generically enhanced bio-form. As a concept, the character is flawless; inventive, emotionally complex, and loaded with geeked-out gadgetry. As the centerpiece to a plot driven by poetic-like prose and nonsensical threads, it's a let down.

Set in the same world as the post apocalyptic Borne, the novella would struggle to resonate with readers not familiar with its predecessor, even though the events span a timeli
Jun 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi-horror
This was okay. It was an interesting new perspective in the world of Borne. It is very short and can be read in about 2 hours.

The Strange Bird is a piece of biotech, escaped from the lab of the Company. I would not recommend reading it prior to reading Borne as it would not make much sense.

I did enjoy seeing some of the old characters again, although there was no Borne who was my favorite character from the original book.

I did guess very early on what the Strange Bird's purpose was, but I didn'
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
I am blown away by how beautiful and atmospheric this was. I truly felt the despair and it makes you venture into the madness with this bird-seriously had left me feeling anxious multiple times throughout the book.

This is a little side story to Jeff VanderMeer's story Borne. We follow The Strange Bird in this novella; however, past characters like The Magician and Wick show up as well. I will say, I truly despise the Magician even more than before, and absolutely love Wick. When you read thi
Oh sure, go ahead and rip out my heart, Mr. VanderMeer.
Apr 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2018

this was a BEAUTIFUL little short story from the "Borne" universe - but honestly it's pretty wonderful even on it's own. This story is crude, a bit gruesome, but also wonderful much in the same way "Borne" was. I'll never get enough of this world or VanderMeer's writing.
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
More than 5-Stars!

Exquisite heart, exquisite prose. A small masterpiece.

A small miracle of light and joy and pain and, in the end, of love and life.

VanderMeer once again transports us to his dystopian world of "Borne".

Notes and quotes:

And even then she did not know that the sky was blue or what the sun was, because she had flown out into the cool night air and all her wonder resided in the points of light that blazed through the darkness above. But then the joy of flying overtook her and she we
Jul 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is an exquisitely written novella that acts as an addition to Jeff VanderMeer’s novel Borne. The writing is beautiful, however the world is harsh and bizarre but grounded with emotion as you follow the strange bird and its journey across this extraordinary land. I love the imagination of VanderMeer and the unique stories he creates, this book is another brilliant example of this. I’d very much recommend it!

I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in return for a fair and unbiased revie
Ivana Nešić
Dec 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Lepo i užasno i bolno i čudno i SVE.
Uvek kad čitam Vandermira pomislim da bih volela da budem on kad porastem, ali sada sam to baš onako jako pomislila.
ashley c
Mar 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
Poignant, moving, heart-wrenching, touching, I'm just throwing out synonyms because it hurt me so much.

Only VanderMeer has the ability to make me connect with, and feel sorry for, so far: a dolphin with 'strangely human eyes' (which, by the way, precedes my favourite line in the book. Also has anyone watched the movie? It was completely different from the book but it was amazing too. Heart-wrenching. Also I can't believe I never wrote a review for the book - going to re-read it soon), a blob of
Book Pairings (Laci Long)
The Strange Bird is a companion novella to Jeff Vandermeer’s Borne and is set during the same timeframe as the novel. Borne was one of my favorite books of 2017 so I was SUPER excited to read The Strange Bird.

The Strange Bird follows a creature that is the result of experimentation combining human and bird genetic material after she manages to escape the laboratory she was created in. We get to experience this strange world from the perspective of a creature who is completely alone and trying t
Sep 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: dystopian, sci-fi
I don't think I got it.

It seemed pretty, but this was a short subway book. You miss a few key clues and it's just a bunch of cryptic poetry.
In this novella's expansion of VanderMeer's Borne, the reader again is witness to his unparalleled imagination. The Strange Bird inhabits a desperate world where again we meet the mutant flying bear, Mord, the cruel Magician, Rachel the survivor and her lover Wick. "...the situation was extreme and the world was dying. So they had gone on doing the same things that had destroyed the world, to save it." The Strange Bird is a mutant creature comprised of human and avian genes, and technology. "Wha ...more
WOW!!! For me this novella had it all!

-Amazing worldbuilding,
-Impressive and touching story,
-Good and engaging characters - some of them were also present in Borne- ,
-Solid and unexpecting ending,
-After finishing it you really feel that the Borne Universe could have and needs other great stories like this one.

And I do hope that the writer will return very soon to it!!!
Jeff Raymond
A short novella in the Borne universe, this is a fairly standard modern VanderMeer piece with gorgeous writing and a comprehensible story that gives plenty of nods and extras to the Borne story while also existing on its own. If you prefer your science fiction on the prettier side or really loved Borne, give this a read.
Daniel (Page by Page)
Although this book is short I just couldn’t get into it, and 40 pages in I just wasn’t as interested as I should’ve been, so here we have another DNF. I know that the author and story is good, but it’s just not for me right now.
Jan 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Stories in parallel

I love stories that reveal what was happening on the other side of a novel. The mysterious Magician from Borne is still a mystery, but this book provides a a satisfying bit of overlap, and much more, a glimpse of a wider world.
May 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
They were the creatures from the broken places.

The Strange Bird is Jeff VanderMeer novella-length return to the post-apocalypitic world of his previous novel Borne. I was so-so on that effort, but at the time I predicted a return to Borne-world, and here it is. I like this one much better. The story operates as a kind of weird sci-fi fairy tale. It is told from the point of view of a beautiful created bird (a "made thing"), that is both machine and living creature. It has escaped, during some s
The timeline for this novella happens before, during and after Borne. This allows us to meet new bioengineered beings made by The Company. We also get an inside look into the Magician's plans, motivations and her personality. We even get to see Rachel and Wick again! It was interesting to get a different perspective of the amazing world that VanderMeer built in Borne through a different set of eyes. I thought the ending was lovely and really spoke to me. The writing was great and the format work ...more
Mary Slosson
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This atmospheric story threads through the main action of Jeff VanderMeer's Borne universe, adding depth and extra detail for readers who want more time exploring every corner of VanderMeer's imaginative worlds.

Strange Bird is a bio-tech mash-up created by a lab similar to the Company, released into the wild as the world started to crumble. She's got a strong beacon inside of her, propelling her towards an unknown, mysterious destination. But her journey is complicated by run-ins with the scaven
Jon Hilty
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I was torn between 4 and 5 stars for the rating of this poignant little novella of an addition to the world of Borne, so I assume that meant it's "only" very good. Maybe reading it the same day I read the majority of Borne affected that. It hit almost all the same buttons as that, plus a couple others, but I was hoping for some of the grim humor from the novel as well, and I guess that's what was causing the up and down nature of my opinion. Just as well written as the novel though, and a satisf ...more
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Of course this book is amazing. I expect no less from Jeff VanderMeer, who has consistently amazed me and broken my heart ever since I first read his Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy . There's no romance quite like a first encounter, but The Strange Bird comes close, with its winsome, soaring, majestic first act and its devastating, grim, soul-rending second act. To share the third act, in a work this brief and powerful, would be to give it all away ... and this book is, like most VanderMeers ...more
Clay Brown
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Insane People
Recommended to Clay by: Myself
This is a very cool thing that Vandermeer has done in that I just finished his Bourne Novel recently, and suddenly he has a short story about some backstory to some of those characters. The book here is just 86 pages but Vandermeer does a great Creepy job here, showing the fate of a 'Made' creature in his very frightful future world, that is very real to me, because I do believe that it would be Scary like this!

One gains an altogether new understanding of the Magician, her cruel mechanic actions
Mar 04, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
2.5 stars

Since Borne was one of my favorite reads last year, I grabbed this little book when I happened upon it in the library since it's set in the same world as Borne. And indeed, we do get to see a bit more of the characters from that first book - Rachel, Wick, the Magician, and just a mention of Borne. However, most of the book centers around the character of the Strange Bird, her escape from the lab in which she was created/altered, and her subsequent attempts at survival in this bleak and
Samantha (AK)
I have no idea how VanderMeer's love affair with commas works, because it really shouldn't.

That aside, I'm feeling just a little broken right now. By the end of page 3 the commas weren't grabbing my attention anymore--I was hooked. For a story ostensibly about escaped biotech, it was immediately relatable. And then it stomped all over my heart.

The Strange Bird is phenomenal. Strange Bird escapes from the laboratory and is let loose into a world where she is the only one of her kind, drawn ever s
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's nice to see Jeff Vandermeer returning to the world of Borne, one of the interesting books I have read recently. This storyline incorporates characters from the central plot while telling the story of the Strange Bird. I liked the Novella and while the length was okay, a much deeper novel could have warranted. The storyline is bleak and very much in the same style of Borne, this world is not a pretty place. I've heard rumours of another book about the Astronauts from the Borne book, so hopef ...more
Amanda Zila
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved Borne - it's the book I've been recommending the most when people ask. This short story is from the viewpoint of one of the lab-created creatures of the same world. While one might guess that this would be a limited POV to tell a story from, VanderMeer finds a way to create a wonderfully complex character. It is also in the same timeframe as Borne, so there is some nice overlap between the stories, but not so much that it feels like a rehash. Even the side characters are incredibly multi ...more
Poignant, colorful and melancholic story about painful change and human conception of animals as tools or receptacles of affection, even when acutely intelligent and beautiful as in the story. I love the indirect, not-directly-SF way Vandermeer describes the world and inhabitants of the Borne post-apocalypse. It intersects with the novel but can be read as standalone, as I did.
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NYT bestselling writer Jeff VanderMeer has been called “the weird Thoreau” by the New Yorker for his engagement with ecological issues. His most recent novel, the national bestseller Borne, received wide-spread critical acclaim and his prior novels include the Southern Reach trilogy (Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance). Annihilation won the Nebula and Shirley Jackson Awards, has been translat ...more

Other books in the series

Borne (1 books)
  • Borne (Borne #1)
“I doubt you will enjoy it. But that is the price of change. Someone always pays.” 1 likes
“A falcon screamed down from above and speared one of the two, and peeled off to rise again before the survivor had time to evade or mourn the loss, as if there had always been one and not two. As if there had always only ever been one Strange Bird. But from above, even dying, the companion defiant, urging the last on, and blessing the bird that had caught her, for it was only acting as to its nature and there was no cruelty in that.” 1 likes
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