Friday, April 24, 2015

These animals want to KILL ALL HUMANS!



Mort(e) – Robert Repino (2015)

One of the coolest things about working in a library is that most of my co-workers are as into books and reading as I am.  Discussing the weird work of Arthur Machen one day, a friend told me that he was reading a most unusual novel about animals waging war on humans.  He had already mentioned this to others so I had to wait as the book made the rounds and finally it came to me.  The book is called Mort(e), and it is Robert Repino’s first published novel.
What a cool story!  The main thrust is that the ants of the Earth have enlisted the aid of the animals and have waged war on humanity and everything it created.  The Ant Queen has found a way to alter animals which allows them to stand upright, grow “hands,” talk, and understand language.  The titular hero of the story, a pet cat originally named Sebastian (his “slave” name), who renames himself Mort(e) upon joining the war effort against humans, experiences so much, and suffers so much, all in the hope of finding Sheba, a dog that he loved before the animals “changed” from their old forms into their new ones.
What seems like an odd sci-fi/fantasy tale soon digs into profound subjects, as Mort(e)’s life and experiences bring up questions of identity, meaning, purpose, divinity, and obedience.  He becomes a trained killing machine, yet never truly buys in to the propaganda espoused by the Ant Queen and followed by nearly every animal he meets. 

I do not want to get too far into the actual events that take place in this book, since it is a good story, and I would prefer for you to read it without spoilers.  Suffice to say that it is a bleak, yet uplifting book, weird, yet familiar, and deeply concerned with why sentient creatures do what they do.  Mr. Repino speaks from "inside" these animals' minds in a way that truly puts the reader there, and may make you think twice about how you treat your pets! It is a quick read, and I recommend it.

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