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10 thoughts on “Dead Astronauts

  1. Meike Meike says:

    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 subseuently 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 uite some time to finish it as the entrancing sprawling sentences reuire 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 freuently 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 ofoh 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 foxIn 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 storylinesangles 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 MotherThis 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

  2. Sarah Sarah says:

    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 care to admit to realize this is a non linear story and on top of it's non linearness it's also very repetitive in parts  We explore many different realities and alternative timelines in separate parts never coming together to add up to anything
I think this is supposed to be the story of Charlie X the rise and fall of the Company introduced in Borne  But if I'm being honest I don't remember Charlie X all that well from Borne and I didn't think anything about the Company that was revealed really contributed any additional understanding  I guess the uestions I cared about like what happened to humanity and what was the purpose of the Company weren't explored enough in any detail to make me care
We also don't get to spend enough time with any of the many characters to grow to care about them  Astronaut dies  Astronaut dies  Astronaut dies again  Blue fox sneaks in and says some clever foxy stuff  I just don't know what the point was  Maybe for some there doesn't need to be a point  For me there needs to be a point
If like me you were hoping for of Borne if you were hoping for an origin story to the villain villain being the company or the sorceress I think this is safe to skip  If you're looking for something to bend your brain and make you work for it by all means pick this up  The writing is beautiful  Unfortunately that's the only thing to leave an impression on me
Dead Astronauts releases on December 3 2019 Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley who sent me an eARC in exchange for a review

  3. Bradley Bradley says:

    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 coverI say good news for other reasons however It's not merely a nightmare of continuity issues melding and morphing bodies strained molded and transformed identities made from beasties cold scientists and long lived leviathans who have forgotten their own storiesThe core of the text DOES have a major theme if not anything than a remotely identifiable plot Of course you might find one if you are a massive wall charter handy with yarn have access to revisionary transparent overlays and you maintain a hearty respect for novels that triples as a preuel to Borne a contemporary and a seuelI happen to love the theme By the end of the novel I'm rocking hard to it It's tragic obvious and it truly condemns the three reality hopping astronauts from the beginning of the tale The same dead three we see from BorneOr of course any prospective reader would do just as well to sit back and relax into the brilliant wild and totally freaky imagery Just trip balls Open your mind manI would love to see someone do a scholarly analysis of this st

  4. Kate Kate says:

    155starsI’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 normally describe murakami books as “Dream like” in a sense of not fully knowing what’s going on this is “nightmare like” with it making no sense jumping between scenes without any pretense characters making no sense and basically every single thing happening makes your head whirl I swear by 200 pages in I was clutching my head and just muttering “what??” Over and over until the endI wanted to love this and I had some uotes I did really enjoy which is why it got 2 stars but Jeff please go back to Borne or annihilation esue weird not this nonsense

  5. Jamie Jamie says:

    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 exuisitely crafted making it a joy to cobble together although it is freuently an exhausting effortA seuel 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 uote Winston ChurchillIt is fragmented disjointed ethereal and often confusing with a style best described as experimental often crossing into stream of consciousness More uestions 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 evocativeI received a copy of this book from the authorpublisher in exchange for an honest review

  6. Nate D Nate D says:

    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 beyondFollowing 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 attempts at control in Borne Vandermeer's next major work dissolves the floundering anthropocene further Here the linear narratives humans impose on history have disintegrated into an inextricable tangle of contradictions and variations Here narrative and viewpoint themselves have been wrested from anthropocentric control by others So has ideas of who or what gets to tell the story This is a polyphony not of storylines but of storysystems The complexity of the worlds demands itDespite the of the moment data age relevance this has it looks beyond Vandermeer's transhumanism is very significantly biological rather than digital or even technological Definitions of personhood and personal identity get very fuzzy changeable and permeable here in a way that posits its own necessity for survival beyond the Anthropocene Humans are over but is that a loss on a global scale? We've never been alone If we'd only accept that we are not there's a possible deliverance from our collapsing towers in seeing beyond ourselves The entirety of Dead Astronauts expresses this not just as a formal structure but as a moral positionIn this it frustrates expectations I've heard the novel described as interlinked stories and novellas But it is very much a novel The threads do not cannot survive in seuestration and isolation as nothing can There's an intertextuality within and in interaction with other recent Vandermeer but it posits not discreet parts that communicate but an entire thematic conceptual ecosystem The longest section here The Three seems at first to dominate it's an almost adventure story with recognizable central characters We're drawn to them seeking to relate even as incomplete information and experience pushes us away But it and they and their relatable ualities are destined for failure inevitable as the title It's the rest of the pieces here that gradually shade in weight and substance and meaning even as they pull away and reveal importance beyond the story we cling to The most essential section then is that which mocks my own complacent human narrative needs Skewers my hope for human emotional relatability as a symptom of my killing anthropocentrism Refutes our collective position as humans whatever it may be entirely The shining success of this novel is that a vicious diatribe from a pinioned animal is the most directly devastating it has to offer even amidst a shattered wasteland of loss Here again form bolsters content I turned a page and froze The promise of structure as content elsewhere in these pages playful or cryptic cuts directly to the boneWelcome to the Penultimate Decade Soon we will reach the Ultimate the last And then if we're lucky something else will carry on into some kind of worthy future with or without what may remain of us

  7. Paperclippe Paperclippe says:

    Once upon a time I spoke to three dead astronautsIf there is such a thing as environmental horror this is itBut no that's not uite right because this isn't really horror It's 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 enoughI'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 every single thing with the VanderMeer stamp on it either Jeff's or Ann's either written or edited and I have yet to be disappointed Dead Astronauts is no exception Merging the strange climate horror of Area X with the disjointed narratives of Veniss Underground with the world building of Ambergris and you get something like Dead Astronauts There are no heroes here and there are no villains Everyone is good and everyone is evil and there is no such thing as either of those ideas There only are people And okay weird animal hybrids And weird machine animal hybrids Okay there are a lot of weird things But none of them can be boiled down to archetypes even as they are literally boiled downDead Astronauts is a seuel to Borne only in the very loosest sense; the set and setting are roughly the same but in a story that ostensibly spans the multiverse the idea of set and setting are too simple at best What it really is is an amalgamation of the way places and events can crystallize within one's mind and the way that they can stick there like a bone in your throat What is really is is the story of the end of the world and how even the end is a different kind of beginning What it really is is hard to say What it really is is painful and beautiful and the proof that those two things are very often the same and that they for any two creatures they are profoundly different Dead Astronauts is hard to read and important Gut wrenching and heart breaking Incoherent in a way that makes you hang on every word until suddenly it all makes sense It's a message It's a warning It's a fever dream of possibilities and the shape of the world to come But in the end joy cannot fend off evil Joy can only remind you why you fight

  8. Thomas Wagner Thomas Wagner says:

    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 don’t think any of that is true But it does raise a uestion about so called “difficult” books and whether or not they’re challenging literary norms in an artistically valid way or just presenting unnecessary roadblocks to their readers when their themes could presumably be effectively communicated by not making everyone wonder if they’re just too stupid to get itConsider me a staunch defender of difficult books I won’t say each and every literary experiment is successful But without stories that push against convention and make an effort to expand our understanding of what narrative fiction can be as an art form a lot of us would get bored being in our safe zones all the time much uickly than you might thinkWhich brings us to Jeff VanderMeer whose status as perhaps the most successful purveyor of New Weird fiction is taken to the next level with Dead Astronauts a story unlike anything even he has tackled before Sure the Southern Reach trilogy achieved pure surrealism in its final volume Acceptance But Borne was the most stylistically accessible work of Weird you’re likely to find a fable of an altered world told as a traditional three act adventure even overtly including epic fantasy tropes only superficially altered for context Dead Astronauts is a new novel set in the Borne future but one whose execution seeks to rewire your brain with nearly every page It’s like dreaming wide awake VanderMeer’s writing renders words sometimes as elegant brushstrokes and other times like Lego bricks haphazardly kludged together by a hyperactive yet brilliant child There are times the book felt like I was reading scriptural texts translated from stone carvings discovered on some version of Earth from a parallel universe There is prose that reads like poetry and also actual poetry One moment you may find yourself uestioning VanderMeer’s sanity or even your own and then a rush of pure distilled emotion will simply steamroll right over you I don’t think I’ve ever uite experienced a novel that simultaneously did everything it could to defy my expectations and even my comprehension in such a focused way yet still cast a hallucinatory spell all its ownProbably the only other book I could remotely compare it to might be continued

  9. Kamilla Kamilla says:

    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 frustratingI 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 forThe writing style was the first thing that bothered me I didn't get it I didn't feel like getting it Every page became increasingly hard work for me to read but without the pay off There was absolutely nothing or no one I felt connected to in this novel The fact is after finishing the book I had no fucking idea what I just read what were the conseuences what happened why anything happened I finally read the blurb and honestly the blurb of the book gave me information about the books contents than the entire novel itselfI get what the author was trying to do Highlighting different words repeating pages of text circular dialogue these techniues are meant to confuse disgust intrigue the reader but these techniues rely on the fact that the reader actually knows what's going on in the first place At first I tried to understand why the author would choose these moments in the novel but after a while I started to become and elated to see the repeated text because it meant I could uickly skip those pages and get closer to the end of the bookI just I'm sorry Jeff I loved your books so much and that was the only reason I finished this one I have abandoned other novels mid way for less I don't appreciate feeling like a fish faced idiot when I read a novel And this novel was so conceptual I feel only the author or someone that really wants to be an artiste would glean meaning from this book

  10. Trish Trish says:

    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 weirdnessThis book is labeled as Borne #2 but you don't have to have read Borne in order to understand Dead AstronautsYes the suits of the three astronauts do make a really uick 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 unleashed on the planet but those are the only connectionsMoreover it's not just the POVs of the three astronauts we're getting but that of the Company's creatures as well and those were even enjoyable to meHere's the thing VanderMeer has the almost uniue ability to thoroughly describe a world yet being vague in a way that lets every reader make it their own Thus I personally think that view spoilerthe astronauts indeed came from three different timelines and were scouring yet other timelines for a version in which humanity wasn't dying or even dead already hide spoiler

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Dead Astronauts [Download] ➽ Dead Astronauts By Jeff VanderMeer – 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 consum 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 limitA 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 hiddenJeff 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.

  • Kindle Edition
  • 352 pages
  • Dead Astronauts
  • Jeff VanderMeer
  • English
  • 23 June 2014

About the Author: Jeff VanderMeer

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.