The Mount

( 3 )

Overview

* Philip K. Dick Award Winner
* Best of the Year: Locus, Village Voice, San Francisco Chronicle, Book Magazine
* Nominated for the Impac Award

Charley is an athlete. He wants to grow up to be the fastest runner in the world, like his father. He wants to be painted crossing the finishing line, in his racing silks, with a medal around his neck. Charley lives in a stable. He isn't a runner, he's a mount. He belongs to a Hoot: The Hoots are alien ...

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Overview

* Philip K. Dick Award Winner
* Best of the Year: Locus, Village Voice, San Francisco Chronicle, Book Magazine
* Nominated for the Impac Award

Charley is an athlete. He wants to grow up to be the fastest runner in the world, like his father. He wants to be painted crossing the finishing line, in his racing silks, with a medal around his neck. Charley lives in a stable. He isn't a runner, he's a mount. He belongs to a Hoot: The Hoots are alien invaders. Charley hasn't seen his mother for years, and his father is hiding out in the mountains somewhere, with the other Free Humans. The Hoots own the world, but the humans want it back. Charley knows how to be a good mount, but now he's going to have to learn how to be a human being.

"I've been a fan of Carol Emshwiller's since the wonderful Carmen Dog. The Mount is a terrific novel, at once an adventure story and a meditation on the psychology of freedom and slavery. It's literally haunting (days after finishing it, I still think about all the terrible poetry of the Hoot/Sam relationship) and hypnotic. I'm honored to have gotten an early look at it."
—Glen David Gold

"Carol Emshwiller's The Mount is a wicked book. Like Harlan Ellison's darkest visions, Emshwiller writes in a voice that reminds us of the golden season when speculative fiction was daring and unsettling. Dystopian, weird, comedic as if the Marquis de Sade had joined Monty Python, and ultimately scary, The Mount takes us deep into another reality. Our world suddenly seems wrought with terrible ironies and a severe kind of beauty. When we are the mounts, who—or what—is riding us?
—Luis Alberto Urrea

"We are all Mounts and so should read this book like an instruction manual that could help save our lives. That it is also a beautiful funny novel is the usual bonus you get by reading Carol Emshwiller. She always writes them that way."
—Kim Stanley Robinson

"This novel is like a tesseract, I started it and thought, ah, I see what she's doing. But then the dimensions unfolded and somehow it ended up being about so much more."
—Maureen F. McHugh

"The Mount is so extraordinary as to be unpraiseable by a mortal such as I. I had to keep putting it down because it was so disturbing then picking it up because it was so amazing. A postmodernist would call it The Eros of Hegemony, but I'm no postmodernist. Nearly every sentence is simultaneously hilarious, prophetic, and disturbing. This person needs to be really, really famous."
—Paul Ingram, Prairie Lights Bookstore

"Brilliantly conceived and painfully acute in its delineation of the complex relationships between masters and slaves, pets and owners, the served and the serving, this poetic, funny and above all humane novel deserves to be read and cherished as a fundamental fable for our material-minded times."
Publishers Weekly

"Adult/High School - This veteran science-fiction writer is known for original plots and characters, and her latest novel does not disappoint, offering an extraordinary, utterly alien, and thoroughly convincing culture set in the not-too-distant future. Emshwiller brings readers immediately into the action, gradually revealing the takeover of Earth by the Hoots, otherworldly beings with superior intelligence and technology. Humans have become the Hoots' "mounts," and, in the case of the superior Seattle bloodline, valuable racing stock. Most mounts are well off, as the Hoots constantly remind them, and treated kindly by affectionate owners who use punishment poles as rarely as possible. No one agrees more than principal narrator Charley, a privileged young Seattle whose rider-in-training will someday rule the world. The adolescent mount's dream is of bringing honor to his beloved Little Master by becoming a great champion like Beauty, his sire, whose portrait decorates many Hoot walls. When Charley learns that his father now leads the renegade bands called Wilds, he and Little Master flee. This complex and compelling blend of tantalizing themes offers numerous possibilities for speculation and discussion, whether among friends or in the classroom."
School Library Journal

"Emshwiller's prose is beautiful"
—Laura Miller, Salon

"The Mount is a brilliant book. But be warned: It takes root in the mind and unleashes aftershocks at inopportune moments."
The Women's Review of Books

"Carol Emshwiller has been writing fantasy, speculative and science fiction for many years; she has a dedicated cult following and has been an influence on a number of today's top writers.... it is very easy to fall into the rhythm of Emshwiller's poetic and smooth sentences."
Review of Contemporary Fiction

"Emshwiller's themes—the allure of submission, the temptations of complicity, the perverse nature of compassion—are not usual fare in novels of resistance and revolt, and her strikingly imaginative novel continues to surpass our expectations to the very last page."
The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Both fantastical and unnerving in its familiarity. And like her work in romance and westerns, its genre-twisting plot resists easy classification."
—The Village Voice

"Emshwiller uses a deceptively simple narrative voice that gives The Mount the style of a young-adult novel. But there's much going on beneath the surface of this narrative, including oblique flashes of humor and artfully articulated moments of psychological insight. The Mount emerges as one of the season's unexpected small pleasures."
San Francisco Chronicle

"A memorable alien-invasion scenario, a wild adventure, and a reflection on the dynamics of freedom and slavery."
Booklist

"A brilliant piece of work."
Bookslut

"...a beautifully written allegorical tale full of hope that even the most unenlightened souls can shrug off the bonds of internalized oppression and finally see the light."
BookPage

"A fable/fantasy/cautionary tale along the lines of, say, Animal Farm. It's the story of Charlie, a preadolescent human who's being used as a horse by shoulder-riding alien invaders known as Hoots. Charlie wants nothing more than to become a great Mount, a loyal slave and servant, until his father, a renegade Mount who has fled from the Hoots and now lives in the mountains, comes to take him away. Like so much of Emshwiller's work, The Mount asks difficult questions—in this case, What is freedom? The issue is particularly appropriate at a time when "freedom" in America is increasingly defined as "security"—freedom from uncertainty, freedom from fear, freedom from want. All of which is, in the end, not really freedom at all."—Time Out New York

"In a recent interview with Science Fiction Weekly, Ursula Le Guin called Emshwiller "the most unappreciated great writer we've got." The Mount proves Le Guin right.... If Emshwiller is not already on your top bookshelf, The Mount will put her there."
Rambles

Carol Emshwiller's stories have appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Century, Scifiction, Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, TriQuarterly, Transatlantic Review, New Directions, Orbit, Epoch, The Voice Literary Supplement, Omni, Crank!, Confrontation, Trampoline, McSweeney's Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales, and many other anthologies and magazines.
    Carol is a MacDowell Colony Fellow and has been awarded an NEA grant, a New York State Creative Artists Public Service grant, a New York State

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Like Emshwiller's startlingly perceptive short fiction and her previous novel, Carmen Dog (1990), where women begin to degenerate into animals and animals start evolving upward into womanhood, this novel turns our supposed certainties into beautiful and terrible insights. Writing in skeletal prose from the adolescent point of view of Charley, a boy who dreams of becoming a famous racer (ridden by his alien Little Master, the reptilian? avian? marsupial? Future-Ruler-of-Us-All), Emshwiller picks up human history several generations after a successful Hoot invasion has turned most of humanity into "mounts," bred for speed and beauty and trained with whips and savage bits to do their masters' will. In the mountains, though, a few wild humans lurk, led by Charley's father, plotting to rise up against the Hoots and take back the world they lost. Glimpses of arresting sorrow meld here with teenage dreams and hopes and anguish, shaped subtly with a poet's sure touch into finely crafted characterizations of human-as-not-quite-animal, Hoot-as-not-quite-monster, coming together through heartbreak and abandonment of previously hard-held prejudices. Brilliantly conceived and painfully acute in its delineation of the complex relationships between masters and slaves, pets and owners, the served and the serving, this poetic, funny and above all humane novel deserves to be read and cherished as a fundamental fable for our material-minded times. Agent, Wendy Weil. (Aug. 1) Forecast: Blurbs from Glen David Gold, Kim Stanley Robinson, Maureen McHugh and Connie Willis, among other big names, will ensure lots of attention for this small press item, which should go quickly into reprint. It's a natural for classroom adoption at the high school or college level. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-This veteran science-fiction writer is known for original plots and characters, and her latest novel does not disappoint, offering an extraordinary, utterly alien, and thoroughly convincing culture set in the not-too-distant future. Emshwiller brings readers immediately into the action, gradually revealing the takeover of Earth by the Hoots, otherworldly beings with superior intelligence and technology. Humans have become the Hoots' "mounts," and, in the case of the superior Seattle bloodline, valuable racing stock. Most mounts are well off, as the Hoots constantly remind them, and treated kindly by affectionate owners who use punishment poles as rarely as possible. No one agrees more than principal narrator Charley, a privileged young Seattle whose rider-in-training will someday rule the world. The adolescent mount's dream is of bringing honor to his beloved Little Master by becoming a great champion like Beauty, his sire, whose portrait decorates many Hoot walls. When Charley learns that his father now leads the renegade bands called Wilds, he and Little Master flee. This complex and compelling blend of tantalizing themes offers numerous possibilities for speculation and discussion, whether among friends or in the classroom.-Starr E. Smith, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781931520034
  • Publisher: Small Beer Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 242
  • Sales rank: 1,007,920
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author


Carol Emshwiller is the author of the collections Report to the Men's Club, The Start of the End of it All, Verging on the Pertinent, Joy in Our Cause, and I Live With You, and the novels The Mount, Carmen Dog, Ledoyt, and Leaping Man Hill.
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Read an Excerpt

We're not against you, we're for. In fact we're built for you and you for us--we, so our weak little legs will dangle on your chest and our tail down the back. Exactly as you so often transport your own young when they are weak and small. It's a joy. Just like a mother-walk.

You'll be free. You'll have a pillow. You'll have a water faucet and a bookcase. We'll pat you if you do things fast enough and don't play hard to catch. We'll rub your legs and soak your feet. Sams and Sues, and you Sams had better behave yourselves.

You still call us aliens in spite of the fact that we've been on your world for generations. And why call aliens exactly those who've brought health and happiness to you? And look how well we fit, you and us. As if born for each other even though we come from different worlds.

We mate the stocky with the stocky, the thin with the thin, the pygmy with the pygmy. You've done a fairly good job with that yourselves before we came. As to skin, we like a color a little on the reddish side. Freckles are third best.

Your type is called a Seattle. I hope to find other Seattles to mate with you, and soon.

Your young will stay with their mothers until weaning. We'll stroke them all over to make them love us. Four months is the crucial time for imprinting you predators. And your young do love us. You all do. We're the ones with the treats. Leather straps will help keep you in line and help us keep our seat. There will sometimes be prickers on our toes. How and if these are used, and when, depends, of course, on you.

You are the recipient of our kindness, our wealth and knowledge, our intelligence, our good growth of greens. Without usyou'd not exist. Remember that. Though it's true a few of you still survive in the mountains. We care nothing for mountains. What can you grow in the mountains that's not better grown in the valleys? Or build?

There is no need for you, or any of you, to learn how to count. And why read? We like you well-muscled. Reading is not conducive to muscles. We prefer that you hook yourself to the go-round instead.

My offspring will be pleased with you. They already know good lines: Slope of shoulders, rise of chest, slim waist, more so in your females. And, and most important, sturdy legs. Legs are what we're taught to notice first. Hands last. Compared to ours, your hands are so small and weak. Then there's the look in the eye. You should have a kind eye. Many things depend on such knowledge, or else there would be more danger than there already always is.

Our young adore you. They even adore your straps and buckles. They keep your pictures above where they curl up. They hang your worn-out shoes over their doorways. They save apples for you that they feed you piece-by-piece--and strawberries and chocolate.

As we go along on your shoulders, head to head (so sweetly!), cheek to cheek, our sun hats cover you also, and our rain hats. Some of us whisper our most secret secrets into your ear as we go.

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Table of Contents

Grandma
The Paganini of Jacob's Gully
Modillion
Mrs. Jones
Acceptance Speech
One Part of the Self is Always Tall and Dark
Foster Mother
Creature
The Project
It Comes from Deep Inside
Prejudice and Pride
Report to the Men's Club
Overlooking
Water Master
Abominable
Desert Child
Venus Rising Nose
After All
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Customer Reviews

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