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Dead Astronauts

(Borne #2)

3.36  ·  Rating details ·  4,140 ratings  ·  870 reviews
Under the watchful eye of The Company, three characters — Grayson, Moss and Chen — shapeshifters, amorphous, part human, part extensions of the landscape, make their way through forces that would consume them. A blue fox, a giant fish and language stretched to the limit.

A messianic blue fox who slips through warrens of time and space on a mysterious mission. A homeless wom
Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published December 3rd 2019 by Fourth Estate
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Average rating 3.36  · 
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Aug 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usa, 2019-read
Set in the postapocalyptic universe of Borne, "Dead Astronauts" tells the story of three characters caught up in an epic battle against the Company, a biotech enterprise that has produced bio-engineered creatures and organisms which subsequently changed the face of the earth forever: Not only has the environment been destroyed, time and space have lost their meaning, and the three "astronauts" travel through various versions of the world /the City while arriving at various stages of the Company' ...more
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
I have a very self deprecating sense of humor.  But trust me when I say: it's no joke that I am neither intelligent enough or creative enough or abstract-thinking enough to appreciate this book.  I don't want to trash it completely- because I can appreciate this for the literary experiment that it is.  I just don't know that it's a literary experiment that works.

VanderMeer can string words together on a page better than most, but hot damn, this was a total slog for me.  It took me longer than I
Good news, VanderMeer fans!

Just look at that cover and imagine, if you will, a book just like a massive acid trip filled with disjointed alternate realities, or reality versions, where men and hybrids, monsters, demons (or daemons), foxes, Shrodinger's ducks, and spawning pools populate your colorful biotech apocalypse.

And then know that the real trip lies within these pages, not on the cover.

I say good news for other reasons, however. It's not merely a nightmare of continuity issues, melding
Jan 26, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2020

I’m sorry but this book is fucking NONSENSE. Y’all know how much I adore my weird literature and I have a VERY high tolerance for “I have no clue what’s happening, let’s roll with it” type of stories. But this. Was. NONSENSE. Jeff vandermeer’s first book in this series Borne remains one of my fave novels of all time but this ?? I swear he realized from borne and annihilation that we like weird and he went TOO far over to one side to nearly impossible to understand or enjoy.

While I nor
Aug 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like a dream, the pieces of Dead Astronauts fit together only loosely and often with a logic of their own making. Yet those pieces are exquisitely crafted, making it a joy to cobble together, although it is frequently an exhausting effort.

A sequel or continuation to the magnificent Borne this is not, yet it goes deep into that world. While Borne was a story with some trippy elements, this feels like a hallucinogenic trip with some elements of story. Told from the perspective of many narrators an
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once upon a time, I spoke to three dead astronauts.

If there is such a thing as environmental horror, this is it.

But no, that's not quite right, because this isn't really horror. It's more like... despair. Is despair a genre?

But no, that's not it either, because sprinkled in these pages of a ruined, poisoned world, is hope. Just a bit, but enough.

I've been a fan of Jeff VanderMeer for a long time, ever since Annihilation made its way onto the scene. Since then I've made it my mission to absorb ev
Nate D
Released in the final moments of the teen years of this century, here's another essential of the Penultimate Decade Reading List, following Karen An-hwei Lee's Maze of Transparencies, books that push through the present into the speculative technicalities of survival in the critical periods bearing down on us and beyond.

Following the dissolving contemporary human world of the Southern Reach Trilogy, and the traumatic eking-out of existence in a world spun out of our control (because of our attem
Thomas Wagner
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
There is a story about James Joyce that’s probably apocryphal, but it goes like this: A journalist asked Joyce why he made Finnegan’s Wake so freaking hard. Joyce answered that he just wanted to give critics something to do for the next 300 years. Which makes sense. If you think of critics as cats, then Finnegan’s Wake is basically a literary red laser pointer, keeping them and their pretentious, academic, gatekeeping ways occupied so they’ll leave normal people alone to read what they please. I ...more
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am a huge Jeff Vandermeer fan and have been for a long time. He is definitely one of my favourite authors and though some of his books left a little to be desired (see the last two Annhiliation books in the series) this was just....... alienatingly frustrating

I haven't read a book in a long time that has elicited audible groans or frustration for me. This felt like an abstract art piece that I just... wasn't here for.

The writing style was the first thing that bothered me. I didn't get it. I di
lark benobi
Jan 17, 2020 rated it did not like it
I can't remember another time when I went from being "a wildly enthusiastic fan who can't wait to sing praises of an author's super-genius talent to everyone who'll listen" to being "a deeply disgruntled not-a-fan who wonders what the heck happened to my formerly favorite author" in so short a time, in my case here, between the publication of Acceptance and the publication of Borne. I went into this latest novel full of hope for a turnaround, but, alas. Be that as it may some people love it and ...more
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's always the same with a VanderMeer: I hear about it, I go "meh" and when I read it, I end up entranced and thoroughly enjoying the experience despite or exactly because of its weirdness.

This book is labeled as Borne #2 but you don't have to have read Borne in order to understand Dead Astronauts.
Yes, the suits of the three astronauts do make a really quick appearance in the first book and we are once again in a world full of the bio-engineered creatures the Company first made and then unleash
Sep 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jeff returns to the world of BORNE and goes full-weird, with a narrative that splinters across every level: the molecular, the sentence, the pagination, all of it. The density of this book is going to fuck up some people who have only read ANNIHILATION and BORNE, but I hope they fight through it. There is no clean narrative here, except for the one that Jeff has always delivered: that nature has more in it than we dream of in our philosophy, and that we must do more to be in harmony with the wor ...more
Jason X
Dec 17, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
I can't be honest and give this anything but 1 star. Its not a good book in my judgement and I did not like it. I can see there is an aesthetic that appears to be a psychedelic new mythology of apocalyptic eco-horror. I think. I can't say what this book was about other than being creepy and weird. There is no story, only moods, images, and impressionistic character appearances. The Southern Reach trilogy meandered into this territory, and made things interesting, but that was because at least th ...more
Dec 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, 2019
Once upon a time, I spoke to three dead astronauts. Past, present, future? All so proud, so determined. All so doomed.

I was sent an ARC of Jeff VanderMeer's Dead Astronauts, and despite not having read the related novel Borne, and despite having failed, utterly, to connect with VanderMeer's Annihilation, I decided to give this book a whirl – and am glad I did. This book is weird – surreal and poetic – and even if I rarely had a complete picture of what was going on, I was happy to sit back
Tucker  (TuckerTheReader)
[9/21/2019] - this cover is... interesting fugly


it's been fixed

someone f*cked up the dates on this one.

like, the audio was published last year... that paperback comes out next year.


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Feb 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Happy is a human concept."
"I am not human and I want to be happy."
"Are you happy in this moment?"
"Then that is enough."
For the dark bird, for it was all she had."
Dead Astronauts is the second novel in Vandermeer's Borne World. For those of us who haven't previously stepped through the sticky portals into this treacherous world, it is an unnerving experience. And, our journey is not made any easier by the format which eschews traditional exposition and tangles with wondrous prose and sometimes devolves into things that there are few poetic licenses for. Don't expect all the answers or even a leveling off of your confusion. Just absorb the imagery and the ...more
Apr 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can try to explain, but... 99.999% sure that if one hasn't read Borne then Dead Astronauts will make zero sense. But is that necessary? Perhaps. I recommend, for what it's worth.
In the end, if you change the enemy enough, if you wear them down, perhaps losing is good enough.
 This is pretty trippy. I'm more certain than ever that the cover art on these VanderMeer books are representative of the content. Dead Astronauts is a wibbily wobbly, time-wimey Borne universe adventure. Get lost. Find you
Dec 11, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
We are back in Borne-world, but unlike Borne and The Strange Bird: A Borne Story (both five stars for me) you need to leave your notions of time and space at the door and follow Schrodinger's cat into other states of being - animal, vegetable, mineral, or some uncanny combo of the three, dead or alive. Vandermeer starts the reader off gently with 100+ pages of a relatively straightforward story of three unusual warriors who travel through time to destroy The Company. Their love for each other is ...more
VanderMeer comes across with this challenging postapocalyptic tale as a mad genius, a master of atmospheric horror, a wizard of technological imagination, and dark poet of the human will to survive. Three characters find themselves on a barren world in the far future and forge an alliance to defeat “The Company”. Its fortress “City” seems to be some sort of AI juggernaut with incredible powers to marshal all kinds of forces and biocybernetic creatures to protect itself. They have little memory o ...more
The Artisan Geek

Just finished Borne and loved it! Soooo ready to dive in!!

A sincere thank you to MCDxFSG for sending me a copy of this book! I read Annihilation about two years ago and really enjoyed VanderMeer's writing so I'm really excited to read more of his work!! :D

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Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Until now my experience with Jeff VanderMeer has been restricted to reading Borne. I liked Borne so much, loved it even. So when I saw a new book of his come up on Netgalley, I requested it right away without even reading the plot…or finding out that it is, in fact, a sequel of sorts to Borne. That should have just been the added bonus, but thing is my memory being what it is and my reading being as prolific as it is, I didn’t remember the minute details of Borne’s plot, such as dead astronauts ...more
Jonathan Hawpe
Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top-10-2019
I gave this five stars because I thought it was totally original, enthralling, daring, strangely mournful, and very thought provoking. But it is also very not-for-everyone. I think this is Vandermeer's most challenging book. He pushes his style of allusive, poetic, and elliptical writing further than ever before. The reader has to put a lot of pieces together to make sense of it. He combines disparate parts and influences (I was feeling animal fables, environmental disaster, multiverse/time trav ...more
Sarah Ames-Foley
I don't know if this book and I were ever going to get along. I'm a huge Jeff VanderMeer fan, but didn't initially realize this was set in the Borne universe. Borne wasn't bad, but I just didn't end up loving it. From what I read, the connections seem pretty loose -- same universe, different characters. There is just so MUCH going on here that at 27% in I had no idea what I was reading. The prose was gorgeous, but I struggled to follow the plot. This book is going to make you work, and I cautiou ...more
Jeff Vandermeer returns to his experimentally stylistic writing roots in this soft prequel to Borne. Quite a confident and ballsy move on his part, as it's sure to totally polarize readers and shock the hell out of his newer "Southern Reach" fanbase.

Personally, I'm a fan of weird fiction. Bring on the bizarre, baby. Especially if it builds onto the world of the Company and the dead astronauts, and the strange manipulated creatures that haunt the tidal pools and holding ponds and desert lands.

Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was ok
I really liked the whole trilogy, Borne was fun, and Strange Bird was OK. But maybe he shoulda stopped. He jettisons narrative and goes into experimental land. There’s no balance between story and texture. Just fragments. And they’re not enough for me. There are no characters to care about. The experiment he’s trying here just isn’t compelling.
13th book for 2020.

This sequel (?) to Vandermeer's previous Borne is composed of a novella—the Three—and a number of short stories. The stories get more fantastical and experimental as the book progresses. It's as if Vandermeer has taken the original "straight" story framework from Borne and smashed it into a mirror creating crazed reflections and jagged edges where previously there was straight prose. To make things more complex the stories are set across at least seven different realities—each
Ronald Morton
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2020
Do you understand? Nothing thrives without being broken. Nothing exists without being dead first

*expanded and edited the below*

I know it’s been a handful of years since Borne was released - for me the separation between the books is like 3 days - but this feels like a really huge stylistic leap from there to here. The Strange Bird actually is a decent step in this direction, but this just leaves it all behind.

The thing about Bourne that kind of held it back for me was the Rachel narrator - and
Dec 06, 2019 rated it did not like it
This novel is as frustrating as an abstract painting, sure there may be plenty of technique, but in the end what's the point. Like an abstract, you probably have to ask the artist to get the explanation, or perhaps a pretentious tool standing nearby.
In the end you think to yourself, I could have created that, if I could be bothered. Or, in the case of this novel you may eventually conclude that it was more like an experimental piece that replicates what the current generation of AI come up with
Rian *fire and books*
Yeah I’m too dumb for this book. I thought it was a fluke with Strange Bird, but no, I’m too dumb. I highly suggest reading along and listening to this. Or more importantly, listening in LARGE chunks. It’s the epitome of “wibbly wobbly timey whimey space stuff”. Coincidentally it’s the second finale to a series of his I just don’t understand. But maybe that’s because every time I heard leviathan/tide pools I kept thinking of Acceptance? Either way, good luck.

Now I need a drink.
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2021 Reading Chal...: This topic has been closed to new comments. Dead Astronauts (Borne #2) 24 36 Jul 14, 2020 12:43AM  
Weird Fiction: Jeff VanderMeer 1 15 Jan 17, 2020 08:43PM  
The Wild Detectiv...: Jeff VanderMeer's Dead Astronauts 1 32 Jan 07, 2020 06:38AM  
SciFi and Fantasy...: "Dead Astronauts" by Jeff VanderMeer (BR) 6 34 Jan 05, 2020 09:35PM  
New books in December 2019 1 7 Dec 05, 2019 07:57AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Please add the book cover! 8 30 Aug 07, 2019 06:20AM  

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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

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“But, in the end, joy cannot fend off evil.
Joy can only remind you why you fight.”
“Do you understand? Nothing thrives without being broken. Nothing exists without being dead first.” 5 likes
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