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By Jeff VanderMeer

Discussed February 2018

Buy Borne from

Main characters:

  • Rachel: The narrator
  • Wick: Her partner and roommate
  • The Magician: A mysterious and powerful figure
  • Borne: ?
  • Mord: A giant flying bear. Just go with it.


  1. Did you finish the book? Did you like it?
  2. What do you think of the relationship between Rachel and Borne? She seems to view it as a sort of parent/child relationship (183). How accurate is that?
  3. How about the relationship between Rachel and Wick? Before and after the letter?
  4. Does Rachel’s history as a refugee have any effect on her relationship with Borne?
  5. Talk about the idea of refugees in this book. Rachel and her parents come from the seemingly perfect world, and yet their escape is into the hellhole on the other side of the mirror. What does that say about the concepts of refuge and refugees in this book?
  6. Are all the “odd” elements of the story explained satisfactorily? Are there elements of this story, like Annihilation, that are left unexplained? If so, does that matter?
  7. Does the idea of a flying bear seem absurd, even within the context of this story? Is Mord just a villain, or is there more to his character?
  8. Why does Borne use the three “spacemen” to decorate his room? What does that tell us about his concept of and relationship to humanity?
  9. What do you make of Borne’s journal entries at 189-90? Do references to a distant star and “company” hint that he might have some idea of where he came from?
  10. Why do you think the Company created Borne? Does he have a purpose?
  11. The Magician’s attack against Mord seems set up to be something momentous and transformative to the city, and yet it fails. She also comes to a brutal and primal end. What’s her role in the story?
  12. Does knowing that Borne isn’t unique (298) change your perception of him? Does it change Rachel’s perception?
  13. Do we get a sense of whether either Rachel’s world of the world through the mirror is “our” world?
  14. On page 297, Rachel says that the world through the mirror is “so obviously a trap.” What does she mean?
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