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CNET Book Club, Episode 1: 'Borne' by Jeff VanderMeer

In our new podcast we talk about books we think you'll like, from science and technology to sci-fi and thrillers. In this episode, author Jeff VanderMeer calls in to talk about his new post-apocalyptic novel, "Borne."

No matter how many digital distractions come our way, the halls of CNET are still filled with a surprising amount of chatter about that oldest of media, the book. 

Some of us prefer traditional hardcover books, some ebooks via the Amazon Kindle or other readers, and others have a taste for kitschy vintage paperbacks. But we've found we all tend to gravitate towards the same types of books, from smart speculative fiction to nonfiction takes on the cultural impact of science and technology. 

Thus was born the idea of a CNET Book Club, where we could share our latest literary obsessions, and discuss books of interest to CNET readers.

The first selection for our book club is "Borne," the new novel from Jeff VanderMeer. It tells the story of Rachel, a scavenger in a post-apocalyptic city who finds an unusual shapeshifting creature that she names Borne. There's also a giant floating bear. It's weird. You've been warned. 

CNET Book Club, Episode 1: Borne by Jeff VanderMeer

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VanderMeer is best known for his Southern Reach Trilogy, which covers some similar science vs. nature ground (and is getting a big-budget movie treatment next year). 

borne-cover

MCD/Macmillan

Tune in to the audio podcast above for an extensive discussion of "Borne's" secrets and mysteries. We're also joined via Skype by the author, who answers (almost) all our pressing questions about the world of "Borne."

Other books we discuss include Frederik Pohl's "The Space Merchants," "Walkaway" by Cory Doctorow, "Mockingbird" by Walter Tevis, and we hear about Dan's visit to LA's amazing The Last Bookstore.

Note that there are some moderate spoilers in this podcast, as this is a book club and we assume you've read the book. But even if you haven't, "Borne" is so unusual and mysterious as to be practically spoiler-proof, and this discussion should make you want to read the book even more. If you have read it and you're looking for more, VanderMeer has a new companion novella available as an ebook, called "The Strange Bird."

The Book Club is hosted by a couple of self-proclaimed book experts: Dan Ackerman, himself an author (of the 2016 nonfiction book "The Tetris Effect"), and Scott Stein, who has been both a playwright and screenwriter. We'll be announcing our next Book Club selection soon, so send us your suggestions and keep an eye out for the announcement on Twitter at @danackerman and @jetscott


Find "Borne" at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Google Play

Find "The Strange Bird" at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Google Play