Dead Astronauts
Under the watchful eye of The Company, three characters — Grayson, Morse 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 woman haunted by a demon who finds the key to all things in a strange journal. A giant leviathan of a fish, centuries old, who hides a secret, remembering a past that may not be its own. Three ragtag rebels waging an endless war for the fate of the world against an all-powerful corporation. A raving madman who wanders the desert lost in the past, haunted by his own creation: an invisible monster whose name he has forgotten and whose purpose remains hidden.Jeff VanderMeer's Dead Astronauts presents a City with no name of its own where, in the shadow of the all-powerful Company, lives human and otherwise converge in terrifying and miraculous ways. At stake: the fate of the future, the fate of Earth – all the Earths.

Dead Astronauts Details

TitleDead Astronauts
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseDec 3rd, 2019
PublisherFourth Estate
Rating
GenreScience Fiction, Fiction

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Dead Astronauts Review

  • karen
    January 1, 1970
    action-cover makes my epilepsy come back. worth it!
  • Meike
    January 1, 1970
    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's powe 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's power. Yes, these are Schrödinger's astronauts, both dead and alive, and the terrain they explore is like a möbius strip - if you look for a breezy read, look elsewhere, but if you look for something unusual and original, you came to the right place, my friend. Although with around 250 pages, this is a rather short-ish novel, it took me quite some time to finish it, as the entrancing, sprawling sentences require close attention: There are so many worlds within the individual paragraphs, so many singular images, so many colors, sounds, and smells. When I started out reading, I was frequently confused, but then I realized that the book presents a story and then ventures into the perspectives of different characters, thus explaining what the story we just heard was all about. We hear the backstories of the three astronauts (one of them "a tall black woman of indeterminate age" named Grayson; one of them a shapeshifter named Moss who consists of...oh yes, you guessed it; and one of them "a heavyset man" named Chen with a guilty conscience), we learn about the motivations of the enigmatic traumatized villain Charlie X and of the bio-engineered creatures our protagonists encounter, like the duck with the broken wing, the behemoth, the salamanders, and, my favorite, the blue fox.In order to make sense of this daring book, it is instructive to search for clues in all narrative strands. In fact, VanderMeer turns his readers into dead astronauts as well and sends them on a mission: While on the one hand, this is your classic po-mo extravagaza where we are expected to re-establish narrative cohesion by connecting the dots of the different storylines/angles, it soon becomes apparent that this rabbit hole of a text also forces us to travel to the sources of the apocalypse, the human impulses that lead to the state of the world we are experiencing in the book. The perspective offered by the blue fox, an animal formerly tortured by scientists working for the Company, is particularly harrowing to read, and this chapter exudes a relentless vibe that shares a strange kinship with Darren Aronofsky's disturbing movie "Mother!".This book will certainly divide opinion, as it operates with a disparate structure (that reflects the shattered state of the world depicted), makes the reader work pretty hard and - although there are multiple worlds, astronauts et al. - radiates a grim, claustrophobic feel that goes hand in hand with its message about the Faustian will to play God and humanity's penchant for cruelty. IMHO, it pays off to take this dangerous trip and look into VanderMeer's narrative abyss: Yes, the abyss will look back into you, but sometimes, you need to muster your courage and prepare for some punches in order to experience something new, smart, and fascinating.
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  • Jamie
    January 1, 1970
    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 narra 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 and timelines, and alternate realities, the identities and ordering of which often feel like a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma, to quote Winston Churchill.It is fragmented, disjointed, ethereal and often confusing, with a style best described as experimental, often crossing into stream of conscious. More questions seem to arise than answers. A saving grace is that VanderMeer kept it short. Despite all the challenges, I find this post-apocalyptic world of shattered alternate realities and runaway corporate biotech deeply compelling and evocative.*I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
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  • Tucker
    January 1, 1970
    [9/21/2019] - this cover is... interesting fugly***********it's been fixedsomeone f*cked up the dates on this one.like, the audio was published last year... that paperback comes out next year.WHAT IS GOING ON?!?!
  • Dave
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 rhythms and enjoy the ride. What is this world we have so boldly entered? It is a dystopian future where much of everything is wasteland but teeming with bioengineered life. Okay, teeming with odd biotech life like blue foxes, raining salamanders, gigantic behemoths, orbs, one-eyed astronauts named Grayson, a moss-like creature that oozes through all biology, Chem who sees the future in equations, a duck, a flying monster, a mad scientist, and a sinister all-powerful company. At first, it felt like a weird western with the three ( Grayson, Moss, and Chem) setting out across the wilderness to make war against the company and its creations. But, no western was ever this weird, different, odd. There are parts of it so splendid it's worth reading again, but others that are just incomprehensible.
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  • Drew
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 world. This is a hopeless novel that happens to be full of hope -- not unlike the time at which it was written. Basically, I'll read any and everything Jeff ever writes. Is this destined to be my favorite VanderNovel? No, but I loved it all the same.
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  • The Artisan Geek
    January 1, 1970
    19/10/19Just finished Borne and loved it! Soooo ready to dive in!!3/10/19A 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!! :DYou can find me onYoutube | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Website
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  • jeremy
    January 1, 1970
    nothing. what a nothing you made out of the world you were given. jeff vandermeer's new novel, dead astronauts, is ethereal, atmospheric, nebulous, and transmogrifying. at once allusive and elusive, this curious, ambitious tale stretches boundaries of both storytelling and reality. vandermeer's prose is frequently enchanting, his images often vivid and striking, yet dead astronauts has perhaps too slack a tether.
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  • Bandit
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 mentioned in the book. I reread my review of Borne and it did jog the memory to the general idea of it, but nothing about dead astronauts. Well, apparently they got their own book. Although to be fair it shared a lot of page space with other side plots, some tangential, some featuring a prominent Borne universe character. And mind you, Borne universe is a place so wildly imaginative, so strikingly original in its mixture of biology and technology that it is well worth another visit. But this wasn’t the visit one might have planned. In fact, not quite sure what this was. Initially I remember having some trepidations about reading the New Weird VanderMeer is so famous for, but Borne made the genre so accessible and enjoyable with Borne, I figured it was safe to continue. But no, he was just saving up the real weirdness for this book. This is so very weird, so stylishly stylistically bizarre…that, frankly, it’s kinda offputting. And that’s weird in itself, because Vandermeer is such a terrific writer, his language is a thing of beauty, a genuine pleasure to read. But one cannot survive on language alone and plotting here is all over the place, it does technically maintain some semblance of linearity and rationality, but it’s so overdone and convoluted and needlessly longwinded, it’s difficult to get into or (conventionally, at least) enjoy. After a while you start realizing the narrative tricks VanderMeer utilizes and he doesn’t just use, he abuses them all. The repetitions, the juxtapositions (like something right out of the Tale of Two Cities), the repetitions…again. This thing…where he alternates a set of the same sentences for pages (seriously, pages) on end, sometimes with minute variations, sometimes without, only to highlight the punchline at the end. Such as…what the f*ck am I reading? what is this? Is it suppose to be like that? (this goes on for 3 pages) to be followed up with…Yes. Because Weird is the name of the game. Vandermeer literally uses the same trick 3 times within the same lengthy chapter of the book. So yeah, after a while, it just gets tiresome. And the entire reading experience almost never coheres into something engaging and the direct connect with Borne doesn’t even show up until the very end. It’s all these gorgeous linguistic trees that never add up to a forest. And outside of that, the main thing the book had going is how quickly it read, maybe 215 minutes or so. But the overall experience is…bewilderment, mainly, at the fact that this is how what follows the lovely Borne and this comes from the same author and this is probably totally gonna blow someone’s socks off. Different strokes and all that. But for me, it was a major disappointment and a waste of time, despite all the gorgeous imagery. Thanks Netgalley.
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  • Zac Thompson
    January 1, 1970
    An experimental and mind-bending journey into the eco-horror abyss. Unlike anything, I've ever read and I'll be thinking about it for a long time.
  • Jonathan Hawpe
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 travel, J.G. Ballard, M. John Harrison, Angela Carter, Kathe Koja) into a pretty incredible, beautiful whole that takes the reader on a fascinating trip to a funhouse mirror world that reflects real life ecological and biotech concerns, as well as themes of love and friendship, existential identity, bodily metamorphosis, power, survival, meaning. This is science fiction for poetry lovers, fantasy that is sad and dark and weird and real and bleak and gorgeous, a mind-bending puzzle that is exciting as hell to solve (if you like that kind of reading.)
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  • J.D. DeHart
    January 1, 1970
    It’s poetic, beautiful, and dark at the same time. Jeff VanderMeer combines the literary and perceptual to take science fiction (and readers) to new places. What I loved most about this book is the unique approach VanderMeer takes to storytelling.
  • Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    “Do you feel the salamanders falling?”I’ve enjoyed all the Jeff VanderMeer books, but “Dead Astronauts” blows them all away. Poetic, lyrical, lush, cryptic, strange, hopeful, despairing, critical, alliterative verse-prose, heart-breaking, passionate, horrifying: this book has all of this and more.VanderMeer takes a more powerful than ever environmental stance in “Dead Astronauts,” showing the active decay of the earth through the eyes of a quantum blue fox. At times the various narra “Do you feel the salamanders falling?”I’ve enjoyed all the Jeff VanderMeer books, but “Dead Astronauts” blows them all away. Poetic, lyrical, lush, cryptic, strange, hopeful, despairing, critical, alliterative verse-prose, heart-breaking, passionate, horrifying: this book has all of this and more.VanderMeer takes a more powerful than ever environmental stance in “Dead Astronauts,” showing the active decay of the earth through the eyes of a quantum blue fox. At times the various narrators speak directly to the reader (or an in-universe reader at least) and wonder whether we can even understand what they’re trying to tell us. To warn us about. What will happen if a Company takes experiments too far, and it isn’t known until it’s too late? The blue fox might have an answer.This is not a book one can simply dip in and out of. It captures you, urges you to keep reading, to keep listening. VanderMeer’s writing is unlike anything in science fiction right now, and that’s a wonderful thing. With each book his writing twists and develops into something new, and it wouldn’t surprise me if a future VanderMeer novel is written entirely in verse. I cannot sing the praises of this book high enough. I would wrap it in my heart if I could (and if that imagery is too weird for you, you probably won’t enjoy this book).You do not have to have read “Borne” to understand or appreciate “Dead Astronauts” but it does make the story more fascinating as pieces of the mystery of “Borne” are unraveled. Not all of them, but enough hints are given to provide a firmer grasp of the world of the Company and the City.“Nothing thrives without being broken.”
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  • Kawai
    January 1, 1970
    VanderMeer takes a lot of chances on this one, and I think for many of his readers, the chances will pay off. Perhaps it's just me, and when/where/how I was reading this book (short snippets in line at the grocery story/doctor's office/etc, before going to bed at night, in parking lots while waiting for kids), but I was disoriented for the majority of the book. The prose was fragmented throughout, married with oft-short chapters jumping between completely different entities; the plot is hard to VanderMeer takes a lot of chances on this one, and I think for many of his readers, the chances will pay off. Perhaps it's just me, and when/where/how I was reading this book (short snippets in line at the grocery story/doctor's office/etc, before going to bed at night, in parking lots while waiting for kids), but I was disoriented for the majority of the book. The prose was fragmented throughout, married with oft-short chapters jumping between completely different entities; the plot is hard to place a finger on; I often couldn't discern time, place, or setting. With all those pieces in play, a lack of a clear central tension only further served to disengage my interest. VanderMeer's a great writer. Thoughtful in his craft, skillful in building immersive worlds with limited scaffolding, refreshingly eco-conscious, and clearly interested in both plot and prose. I've loved much of his work, and I admire (and respect) his courage and confidence to build the book he wanted here--respectful to fans that are already immersed in the Borne universe, experimental in structure and prose. Unfortunately, I was just unable to meet the book on its terms (right now). This is one I'll probably give another go sometime soon.
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  • Elisa
    January 1, 1970
    The author’s Southern Reach trilogy started with an approachable novel that became more and more complicated until it was hard to follow. Seems like the Borne series follows that pattern. Borne was a hard read, but I still was able to figure out the plot and get invested in the characters. If you paid attention it was possible to know what was happening. Dead Astronauts is so abstruse as to be almost illegible. Some parts are like a poem, others reminded me of The Little Prince (I assume it’s on The author’s Southern Reach trilogy started with an approachable novel that became more and more complicated until it was hard to follow. Seems like the Borne series follows that pattern. Borne was a hard read, but I still was able to figure out the plot and get invested in the characters. If you paid attention it was possible to know what was happening. Dead Astronauts is so abstruse as to be almost illegible. Some parts are like a poem, others reminded me of The Little Prince (I assume it’s on purpose, as one of the characters is a fox). There is some continuity with the first volume but, much as I tried to understand, it was very, very hard. Some readers may want to be challenged while I honestly only look for entertainment so this book was not for me. Some passages contain beautiful images but it was impossible for me to connect with the characters. it’s a deeply moving, wildly original novel but, in my opinion, reading shouldn’t be such hard work.I chose to read this book and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. Thank you, NetGalley/Farrar, Straus and Giroux!
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  • Lyn
    January 1, 1970
    My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher/author for providing this ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.If you're looking for a quick, easy, entertaining read, stop right here. This book is not that.The story forces you to slow down. Think. Reflect. Delve. Ponder. Scratch your head. Maybe wonder what the hell you've gotten yourself into. Some of it won't make sense. Until maybe it does. Or never will.Some of it is so beautifully written, you'll re-read the passa My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher/author for providing this ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.If you're looking for a quick, easy, entertaining read, stop right here. This book is not that.The story forces you to slow down. Think. Reflect. Delve. Ponder. Scratch your head. Maybe wonder what the hell you've gotten yourself into. Some of it won't make sense. Until maybe it does. Or never will.Some of it is so beautifully written, you'll re-read the passage just to soak in the imagery and the truthfulness laid out on the page. I'm talking to you, Moss.Some of the passages hurt your brain because it's not used to working that hard to decipher a work of fiction.Other passages simply shred your heart.But when was the last time you truly connected with nature and its gifts, and what are you doing to help preserve or destroy those gifts? To what are you connected? What matters most?Maybe the prose is difficult because the answers are too honest to face.
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  • Galen Strickland
    January 1, 1970
    What the heck did I just read? It's like a weird, incomprehensible dream, or a bad acid trip. It may be brilliant, and I may not be intelligent enough to figure it out.http://www.templetongate.net/dead-ast...
  • Caleb Masters
    January 1, 1970
    Set in the same world at his excellent 2017 Borne, Dead Astronauts finds VanderMeer again at the top of his game exploring a universe destroyed by the nefarious Company. Delightful strangeness abounds - a man disintegrating into hundreds of salamanders, an ancient giant fish called Leviathan, a large blue fox with a message to deliver across time - all these and more make Dead Astronauts one of VanderMeer’s most engagingly strange and beguiling novels. He continues to explore deeply environmental themes but uses such a u Set in the same world at his excellent 2017 Borne, Dead Astronauts finds VanderMeer again at the top of his game exploring a universe destroyed by the nefarious Company. Delightful strangeness abounds - a man disintegrating into hundreds of salamanders, an ancient giant fish called Leviathan, a large blue fox with a message to deliver across time - all these and more make Dead Astronauts one of VanderMeer’s most engagingly strange and beguiling novels. He continues to explore deeply environmental themes but uses such a unique lens that it makes the reader ponder our current climate crisis in a new way. A wonderfully weird, nature-driven science fiction odyssey through time and space.
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  • Katy
    January 1, 1970
    While this wasn't my favorite VanderMeer and I'm not entirely sure what I just read, I enjoyed it. Looking forward to discussing / theorizing once it's released.
  • Tina Panik
    January 1, 1970
    Sublime. This was an ARC from the publisher.
  • Andrea Wright
    January 1, 1970
    I read Borne and the Strange Bird and loved them both so was very excited for another book in this world. This was horribly difficult to read. I was confused most of the time and I'm not sure if it is just because it's a digital copy. I will check this out from the library and try again with the pages in my hands to see if it makes more sense. I just wanted to love this book more than I did.
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