Mort(e)

Mort(e)After The War With No Name A Cat Assassin Searches For His Lost Love In Repino S Strange, Moving Sci Fi Epic That Channels Both Homeward Bound And A Canticle For LeibowitzThe War With No Name Has Begun, With Human Extinction As Its Goal The Instigator Of This War Is The Colony, A Race Of Intelligent Ants Who, For Thousands Of Years, Have Been Silently Building An Army That Would Forever Eradicate The Destructive, Oppressive Humans Under The Colony S Watchful Eye, This Utopia Will Be Free Of The Humans Penchant For Violence, Exploitation And Religious Superstition As A Final Step In The War Effort, The Colony Uses Its Strange Technology To Transform The Surface Animals Into High Functioning Two Legged Beings Who Rise Up To Kill Their Masters Former Housecat Turned War Hero, Mort E Is Famous For Taking On The Most Dangerous Missions And Fighting The Dreaded Human Bio Weapon EMSAH But The True Motivation Behind His Recklessness Is His Ongoing Search For A Pre Transformation Friend A Dog Named Sheba When He Receives A Mysterious Message From The Dwindling Human Resistance Claiming Sheba Is Alive, He Begins A Journey That Will Take Him From The Remaining Human Strongholds To The Heart Of The Colony, Where He Will Discover The Source Of EMSAH And The Ultimate Fate Of All Of Earth S Creatures

Robert Repino grew up in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania After serving in the Peace Corps Grenada 2000 2002 , he earned an M.F.A in Creative Writing at Emerson College His fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize among other awards, and has appeared in The Literary Review, Night Train, Hobart, Juked, Word Riot, The Furnace Review, The Coachella Review, JMWW, and the anthology Brevity and Echo

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  • Kindle Edition
  • 369 pages
  • Mort(e)
  • Robert Repino
  • English
  • 22 February 2019

10 thoughts on “Mort(e)

  1. says:

    A terrific, wholly original story Brutal, straightforward and unflinching yet really fun at the same time It had elements of Planet of the Apes and Heinlein, but with a lot heart.Mort e did that thing that only SF can do so well It told a story about humanity and all the things that we get wrong, transplanted into a totally unfamiliar POV, so it s not too obviously preachy Repino really pulled off that mix wonderfully.I ll be looking for from him in the future.

  2. says:

    I will keep this review short, for two reasons First, having read Mort e , I have earned the right to minimize further time spent on it Second, having been spared Morte e , you deserve the opportunity to escape unscathed.Yes, this is that most dreaded of book blog posts a negative review Whatever I may have previously said in regards to negative reviews, to whatever conclusions we may have come, you know that I don t engage in negative reviews lightly I try to look for good qualities even in books I don t much like It says something about Mort e that I feel like no other option is available to me.The premise, I thought, was promising animals are engaged in a war against humans Mort e pet name Sebastian is an animal agent, working to undermine human resistance In my mind s eye, I imagined a feline padding around the house, pulling pranks on its owners I waswrong, to put it mildly The animals, raised to consciousness and bipedal locomotion via a chemical agent produced by the ant queen bent on humanity s destruction, wage a genocidal war against their former human masters This has all the subtlety of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles The original 1980s cartoon series.The tone is unceasingly cheerless Repino trots the reader from one grim scene to another, without respite Even when the war is over, the ugliness continues, as animal communities succumb to a mysterious disease, EMSAH, and human guerillas ha wage a holy war against the victorious animals Mort e is a caricature of a protagonist from a Hollywood thriller, single minded in his pursuit of his lost friend, Sheba Just remember, Mort e says, Maybe these guys are nice, and the ants are mean But that doesn t mean their fairy tales are true Repino s main concern is the irrationality both of religion and of attempts to overthrow it Humanity, increasingly desperate as it nears extinction, resorts to ever grandiose expectations of messianic salvation Nor are the animals free of faith Infected by a virus unleashed by vengeful humans, animal communities succumb to religious madness, culminating in suicide But even the ant queen, who seeks to replace humankind, in the process becoming a god, is a victim to faith Love is stronger than God, Mort e concludes, a sentiment that, here, rings hollow, coming as it does from someone who admittedly took pleasure in killing people.Ultimately, Mort e is an interesting concept that, laden as it is with limp prose, indifferent characters, and unceasing grimness, falls flat That said, I encourage readers to seek out reviews before writing Mort e off I, for one, cannot recommend this book.

  3. says:

    Ummmmmmno Just no That s the thought that kept repeating in my head as I read through Mort e I kept waiting for the story to click with me, but it never really did Generally, I don t have a problem with suspending disbelief, and I even get the appeal of anthropomorphic animals at the center of a story But with Mort e I just couldn t buy in Though I grew to tolerate Mort e as a protagonist, I felt no investment in the tale being told.Is there a decent story within these pages Sure, to an extent If nothing else, it highlights the horrors of war nearly as well as other conflict novels Disassociation, numbness, difficulty adapting to civilian life, trauma, loss, and solitude are all represented here in some form, and I grew weary alongside Mort e as the conflict dragged on But while I could find traction with the war aspects of Mort e , the rest left me wanting.The whole reason for the evolution of the animals Nope Did not work for me I mean, come on, opposable thumbs and fully formed vocal chords just magically appearing on animals because of some underground genetic engineering, all orchestrated by the ant Queen in her underground lair Puh lease One or two animals being modified in a lab through painful experimentation I could buy It would be awful to read about, as the animal lover within me would be pissed, but I could buy it So yeah, with the main conceit already rubbing me the wrong way, it was up to the characters and situations to carry the tale.Andthat result was very hit or miss for me Mort e has moments where he s engaging and someone I wanted to root for But just as often, he got on my nerves and I felt no sympathy or connection with him It was strange for me to have conflicting feelings on a main character, as it usually doesn t happen I admire his devotion to Sheba, for sure, and maybe cats would be this fatalistic if they became sentient it s a probably than a maybe , but ultimately Mort e just didn t move me He didn t have the depth I was looking for in a leader.As for to other characters, they were all over the map Wawa and Culdesac were fleshed out, multi dimensional, and imminently readable And after his varied interactions with Mort e , I can see why Culdesac has his own side story The villain of the tale, Hymenoptera Unus, also gets a few moments to shine, and her rage and hatred towards humans is conveyed in a way that makes sense She was a tragic antagonist, and even though I called bullshit on how she accomplished pretty much all aspects of her plan, I still felt she was an effective big bad But those are the only characters of worth Bonaparte, The Archon, Briggs, and Tiberius all should have been just as exciting and interesting as the characters listed above But alas, they were not At all Missed opportunities, every single one of them Especially Tiberius, as he had the potential to be a truly standout character, and the mark was seriously missed In fact, the backstories of these characters are much interesting than the characters themselves.In fact, missed opportunities is now my subtitle for this book Many of the interesting events are alluded to, happen off page, or simply never materialize For a war story, there s surprisingly little action, and what is here isn t really expanded on The Purge had an opportunity to parallel some real world history, but it ended up being anti climactic The whole messiah plot line was just awful There were other events I thought about mentioning as well, but the further I get into this review, the less I feel like taking the time to jot them down Sorry, but my give a damn tank is empty.So, yeah Despite all these paragraphs of negativity, I didn t actively hate the story I just didn t like the story In the end, I was mostly just indifferent I suppose that my Mort e apathy could be because I ve been sitting in an airport terminal for the past 3 hours, and I finished the book during the 4 AM ride to the airport Could bebut I doubt it Plenty of books have captured my attention regardless of location or state of alertness OhI didn t DNF it, which says something, but it was a close call on several occasions With all the great books out there, featuring stronger characterizations and entertaining plot lines, I simply can t recommend Mort e .

  4. says:

    This book should come with a warning if you share a home with four legged companions, watch out I spent a lot of time assuring mine that they were much beloved members of my family, not slaves.To be honest, I ve never been a huge fan of animals as people adult books eg, Watership Down , although the Thornton Burgess books are among my childhood favorites But Mort e is not one of those books it s a riveting read, with Sebastian Mort e as a flawed hero His love, and search, for Sheba is inspirational and rings so true The ending was a little messy, with a ton of action that doesn t really seem to fit with the previous pacing and tone as climactic battle scenes go, it s a good one One of the things I loved most was the sense Mort e had that no group, not the ants, nor the animals, nor the humans, would ever get it right and that society made up of whatever species was fatally flawed His only lodestar was Sheba, and one hopes that at the end, they live happily ever after.ARC provided by publisher.

  5. says:

    An interesting entry in the dystopian science fiction genre, this novel took two premises that usually populate the most cliche kind of sci fi giant ants and animals becoming intelligent , and treated them with the utmost seriousness That alone made me want to love this novel but there were a few things that held it back.The main character, Mort e ne Sebastian, is a house cat that has mutated to human proportions in the aftermath of a colony of giant ants declaring war on humanity To help in their war, the ants released a hormone that mutated all mammals, reptiles and birds into soldiers, fighting on the side of The Colony Mort e , a war hero, finds himself facing something much insidious now that the fighting has begun to die down a human bioweapon called EMSAH.The writing was engaging, the premise was interesting, the characters were written well But those same characters, through the fact that they were evolved animals, suffered from a strange thing a lack of character development Mort e is a good example His driving mission throughout the novel is to find his friend Sheba, a dog he met before the change And we get some wonderfully written pre change scenes of why he feels so strongly about Sheba But it just isn t enough They feel too short, and because of this, he feels a little shallow Wawa, a pitbull he meets later in the novel, in some ways feels better fleshed out through her backstory, despite being a secondary character.That s not to say you should ignore this book Far from it It s enjoyable for anyone who likes science fiction or good adventure tales But there are a few things that keep it from reaching the realm of some other novels of a similar bent.

  6. says:

    Ever pick up a book, knowing even before you start that you re destined to love it Ever have it exceed even those lofty expectations Mort e was sent to me several many months back I d been chatting with a PR person at SoHo Press about a different book I d reviewed, and she mentioned Mort e It s about a warwith antsand sentient house pets Or something like that.Of course I was all, Yes Yes please Send it Send it Send it Because ants Waging war against humanity I mean, Them is only my absolute FAVORITE of the 1950s atomic fear sci fi flicks And that s about ants Giant ants Giant ants that take over the desert So yeah You had me at ants, SoHo You had me at ants.Here s a confession I read Mort e six months ago I enjoyed it thoroughly, but as it wasn t set to release until January of 2015, I figured wait until then to write the review.Writing the review while the material was still fresh in mind was the other, smarter option, but it wasn t the one I chose Because I also wanted to see if the book would stick with me If it could make me remember, to wonder, to think about it for months to come Because that, to me, is the mark of a really good book a book I m destined to love and re read again and again.Mort e.did it I loved it And it stuck.I honestly feel like I read Mort e last week It s stayed very fresh in my mind, coloring the ways I think about animals The ways I interact with animals And, most importantly, the ways I behave with my very own dogs and cats.Because in Mort e , a giant, mutated, sentient queen ant has decided to wage war on humanity There are all sorts of complicated reasons for why she does it, and you can learn by reading the actual book But the long and the short of it is she wants revenge.Somehow, in her all knowing, all seeing state, she manages to create a serum that gives self awareness to animals It makes them grow, morph, become human like in all but their original furry faces.And the animals are pissed off at people.I mean, think about it Think about how you really treat your pets Example I walk my dog several times a week He s not so great at heeling, so I often have to tug on his leash to keep him on track This pulls on his neck, sometimes jerking him off balance All in the name of getting him to behave.When I leave the house, I put him in a crate a box to keep him out of trouble I control when and what he eats When he goes outside I control everything.And I m a nice dog owner Those are things a nice dog owner does Imagine what the mean ones do So it makes perfect sense to me that the animals, once sentient, rise up against the humans, killing the literal hands that fed them.At least until Mort e comes along.Mort e is a cat He had decent owners that never really did anything too terrible to him He managed to not kill them in his initial state of heightened awarenessmainly because Mort e loves Sheba.Sheba is a dog, a neighbor s dog, and she disappears almost as soon as Mort e becomes self aware His life becomes a mission to find her.Along the way, he becomes a soldier, a killer, a rescuer, and he uncovers a plot.Never mind You don t want to know You re going to want to find out for yourself.Repino is a fun writer His prose is tight and focused, and his humor is black as night He makes an obese, undulating queen ant seem almost sympathetic, until you care what happens to her almost as much as you care about what happens to the cat who wants to save the world.Two weeks ago, I was asked to submit my favorite books of 2014 to the LitReactor staff picksI wanted to put Mort e on that list I loved it that much Too bad it wasn t actually released yet.I think I need to re read it in the new year, mainly so I can put it on my 2015 lists Because this book is that fun That entertaining That much of a ride.So you, you sci fi fans, you animal fans, you book fans you should read it too

  7. says:

    This book annoyed the hell out of me It started out entertainingly enough I was interested in the ants method of advancing the animals to become sentient, and actually human like I was even ok with the war against the humans.But when the whole religion thing came up, the book lost me I m a literal sort of gal, so I m pretty blind to symbolism But a lot of this story read to me like something what an earnest high school student could write about I m still not sure if it s pro religion or anti religion I think it s probably the latter, but I kinda stopped paying close attention because I was so annoyed The character of Mort e Sebastian was pretty good, though Too bad he had to live in such an annoying story.I liked the story of Balaam s ass that was at the beginning of the book It s been a long time since I read that, and had forgotten it And it was pretty apropos to the story too And the first part made me think of Kij Johnson s story The evolution of trickster stories among the dogs of North Park after the Change , and that s never a bad thing.But seriously bah BAH Still annoyed Side note I m still waiting for the book that doesn t make uplifted animals into humans I d rather read a book where the animals become sentient BUT retain the strengths of their animal natures Humans in animal suits just make me yawn.

  8. says:

    The main character is a cat what could you want from a book This book was adorable, I dont think he intended it to be adorable but it was Im a major cat lover and it was just so cute Oh and theres fighting between humans, cats and dogs, and ants I really enjoyed the story and cant wait to continue.

  9. says:

    This was a book I read in about four hours on a drizzley final day of vacation The pages and their story moved briskly and I enjoyed it Later, when asked what it was about, I said It s about a cat who really, really, really wants to find his doggie friend Also ants take over the earth in an almost successful human genocide Also cats and all the animals can talk and think Not surprisingly, it s actually about the folly of religion I ll give you a spoiler, by the end you can t be bothered to still root for the humans They are desperate and a bit pathetic, like an awkward 8th grader at a private school dance I won t tell you if the cat finds his doggie friend You have to read it.

  10. says:

    An ancient colony of intelligent giant ants wages war on humanity, driving us to the brink of extinction The Ant Queen creates an army of allies by transforming the animals of the world into speaking, thinking, vengeful bipeds A war hero, a former housecat by the name of Mort e , searches endlessly for his friend Sheba, who fled on the day of Mort e s transformation I found Mort e frustrating, initially It purports to be science fictionhumans use advanced weaponry, ants communicate chemically and technologically, etc But a hormone is used to change all of animal kind into reading, talking bipeds with opposable thumbs In one night A hormone that works on mammals, and amphibians, and birds, and reptiles Without causing a global ecological cataclysm Better to just call it ant magic.Once I accepted that premise, everything else fell into place and I was able to appreciate the story The pre transformation animal perspectives are excellent Repino s descriptions of how a housecat or an abused pit bull might experience their lives are utterly believable There s a lot of Animal Farm here, I think The animals are enraged at the way they ve been treated as possessions or toys, often mutilated neutered, declawed, cropped simply for style or convenience They rise up, intending to create a better society, but in the end behave just like their human predecessors.

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