Like all good science fiction authors, Jeff VanderMeer has a vivid imagination, and he can manufacture unique alternate realities with convincing detail. What makes him one of the best in the genre, however, is his ability to populate his exotic worlds with believable characters who remain relatable even in the most unusual circumstances. And the circumstances in Borne are unusual to say the least: In a post-apocalyptic cityscape under the dominion of a giant, genetically engineered bear and its minions, a pair of scavenging humans find and befriend a piece of sentient biotechnology, but as it continues to grow and learn under their roof, they begin to wonder if they’ve taken in something more dangerous than anything on the outside. A light read with some heavy themes (artificial intelligence, maternal instinct, environmentalism), Borne is another atypical sci-fi work from an increasingly distinctive author.