As the Hollywood Reporter reported last week, I’ve sold my new novel Borne to Sean McDonald at Farrar, Straus and Giroux in a mid-six-figure deal that’s a landmark for me. Many thanks to my agent Sally Harding and everyone at the Cooke Agency. In all things career-wise Sally has been a great boon. There’s also a very robust deal with The Fourth Estate for the UK rights, and it appears there will be more news soon about other rights sales involving Borne—on several fronts.
FSG did an amazing job with my Southern Reach trilogy and I am really glad to be back with them. They’ve been kind of a dream to work with, and even though I’ve been in this business 30 years I’m continually learning from what they do and how they do it. I also appreciated their tenacity and endurance in supporting the release of all three Southern Reach novels in one year. I’m very thankful they’re taking such good care of me, and I look forward to seeing what they’ll do with Borne.
Borne is the novel I’ve talked about for a couple of years now, the same one the New York Times wrote about here last year. An excerpt from an early draft appeared in Black Clock, edited by Steve Erickson. Erickson’s comments on the excerpt also were helpful in thinking about Borne as a whole. The novel’s about a woman in a ruined city of the future who is a scavenger of biotech, who finds a strange creature in the matted fur of a giant, psychotic bear named Mord that’s been terrorizing the city. The woman, Rachel, takes the creature home and slowly begins to bond with it, against her best instincts. Is Borne an animal or plant? A deity, or a cruel experiment? “Am I a person?” Borne asks Rachel, in extremis. “Yes, you are a person,” Rachel tells him. “But like a person, you can be a weapon, too.”
What follows is kind of like an intense Chekov play in the round, with monsters fighting in the backdrop. It’s meant to be harrowing, yet sometimes very funny. If ever I’ve written something that’s dark and dangerous but also hopeful and uplifting, it might just be Borne. A lot of it is taken from life and my family and there’s a lot that’s relevant to our current environmental situation. But more than anything, it’s kind of satisfying that Borne has a traditional three-act structure and lots of natural resolution at the end. The Southern Reach trilogy was always going to be more ambivalent about closure due to the nature of the novels. But Borne’s a different kind of creature…
An exact publication date for Borne hasn’t yet been set, but hopefully I’ll know by the fall or winter.
In other news, rumor has it that Natalie Portman may join the cast of the movie version of my novel Annihilation, which is being written and directed by Ex Machina’s Alex Garland. More info on the Annihilation movie when I have it.