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The Mount [Paperback]

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Item description for The Mount by Carol Emshwiller...

In a world where humans are enslaved by alien invaders called Hoots, Charlie, a human "mount", dreams of being a runner like his father, of seeing his long-lost parents again, and of the day when humans will rule the world again.

Publishers Description

* 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."

"A brilliant piece of work."

"...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."

"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."

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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Item Specifications...

Pages   242
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 5.5" Height: 8.25"
Weight:   0.75 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 1, 2002
Publisher   Small Beer Press
ISBN  1931520038  
ISBN13  9781931520034  

Availability  0 units.

More About Carol Emshwiller

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! 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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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Literary
3Books > Subjects > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > General

Reviews - What do customers think about The Mount?

Must Read  Apr 10, 2008
You have to read this book. Although Emshwiller is really just a poor writer (at age 64, I've read an average of 80 books per year, and at last, with cancer in my bones, I feel I'm qualified to judge), the idea behind this book is more than enough to overcome her lack of ability. All I want as an old SF reader is a new idea ... for once, here's one ... though, as I said, poorly written. Despite comments from other readers, the close reader will find that the Hoots are merely human and indistinguishable from ourselves. The ideas in this book, really, truly, are a metaphor for the last 40 years I spent working in public accounting. Tragic, I know ... but a good book makes you think ... and yes, at my age, I understand that a good book can still be poorly written. Please read it ... George Orwell was, in all actuality, a VERY boring writer (go read Burmese Days if you don't believe me), but had an impact on all the world. This book may do the same. Am I damning with faint praise? I hope not ... this book should be required reading.
interesting but over hyped  Jun 13, 2007
was a good read but not great
Thoughtful look at master/slave relationships  Jun 13, 2006
The Mount, unlike any Carol Emshwiller's previous novels, is fairly straightforward science fiction. In simplest terms, it tells of a revolution against alien invaders. These invaders, called "Hoots", are physically weak and small, but over generations they have bred humans to serve them as "Mounts". The humans, then, become essentially pets to the aliens, treated a great deal like horses are treated by present-day humans. Thus the novel explores, quite thoughtfully, human/pet relationships, master/slave relationships, and the question of freedom versus comfort.

There are a few different viewpoint characters, but the story is mainly told through the eye of Charley, an especially prized young Mount who is the property of the son of a very high-ranking Hoot. Charley is extremely proud, to the point of vanity, of his abilities as a Mount. And his relationship with his Hoot, who he calls "Little Master", is complex but largely loving. Loving, though, in an almost creepy Master-Slave fashion. Charley, it turns out, is the son of a rebellious human, who has gone off to live in the wilderness, and who plots to free all humans, but particularly his son. The novel's main action turns on the initial success of this scheme, and then on the ambiguous results. Charley is by no means sure that freedom is all it's cracked up to be, and moreover he misses his "Little Master". He's also jealous of his father's relationship with a woman not his mother -- his mother, of course, being basically a brood mare chosen by the Hoots.

The plot twists a couple of times from there, coming to a moving, thoughtful, and balanced resolution, if not exactly a terribly original one. The storytelling is clear and interesting. The age of the protagonist, the theme, and the relatively simple storytelling make this novel, I would think, appealing to younger readers, but it certainly will satisfy adults as well.
Very good book! A must read!!  Mar 6, 2006
I picked this book up only after finding nothing else that interested me. My first impression was that the plot line was corny and just plain weird, but in the first chapter my feelings towards The Mount completely changed. The story is about growing up, learning what life is all about, love, freedom, family... just about everything that can make a book good.

The writing style is amazing! I ate up every page. Everything has alternative meanings and everything in the story (the landscapes, wildlife, plantlife) emphasizes the changes in the characters. I reccomend this book to anyone and everyone! It's impossible not to enjoy this book!
Human Horses Go! Go! GO!  Feb 10, 2006
What is slavery? Is it always whips and chains and torture? No. There are many ways a person can be enslaved, and The Mount teaches us this. The Mount is one of those books that would make a great companion to The Giver or 1984.

Earth was taken over long ago by creatures the humans called Hoots for their long "hooting" noise. Years later, Charley is a boy who is given the chance of freedom from his life as a human
horse and, more importantly, the chance to change his world.

But Charley has never known freedom and is so steeped in his culture that he doesn't even know he's a prisoner. He doesn't understand that he's being treated like an animal, like an unthinking creature that only acts on instinct. In fact, the Hoots have him so thoroughly convinced that he's an animal that he stoops to the level of acting like one. This is what Charley has been raised to and, therefore, he doesn't know any better until the day he is rescued by other humans ("Wilds") and is faced with the question: "What does it mean to be human?"

Join Charley on his psychological spiral as he learns the difference between false freedom and true freedom.

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