The Mount

The Mount

by Carol Emshwiller

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reprint)

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Charley is an athlete. He wants to be painted crossing the finish line, in hisracing silks, with a medal around his neck. But Charley isn't a runner. He is a human mount, the property of one of the alien invaders called Hoots. Charley hasn't seen his mother in years, and his father is hiding out in the mountains with the other Free Humans. The Hoots own the world, but the humans want it back. Charley knows how to be a good mount-now he's going to have to learn how to be a human being. This remarkable novel, winner of the 2002 Philip K. Dick Award, should be read by every fan of speculative fiction, teenagers and adults alike.

Author Bio: Carol Emshwiller ( divides her time between New York City and Bishop, California.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780142403020
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 03/17/2005
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 4.30(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.62(d)
Age Range: 12 - 16 Years

About the Author

Carol Emshwiller is the author of six novels including Carmen Dog, Ledoyt, Mister Boots, The Secret City, and Leaping Man Hill, as well as collections of short fiction: Joy in Our Cause, Verging on the Pertinent, The Start of the End of It All, Report to the Men’s Club, I Live with You, Master of the Road to Nowhere, and two volumes of Collected Stories. She grew up in Michigan and France. She lives in New York City.

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.

Table of Contents

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

What People are Saying About This

Glen David Gold

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.
— author of Carter Beats the Devil

Kim Stanley Robinson

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, author of The Years of Rice and Salt

Luis Alberto Urrea

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. 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?
— author of Six Kinds of Sky

Maureen McHugh

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.
— author of Nekropolis


I've loved everything Carol Emshwiller has ever written, but in her new novel, The Mount, she outdoes herself. This story of mounts and riders has so much to say about slaves and masters, humans and animals, parents and children, cruelty and kindness‹and about tunnel vision and tricks and tears and society and history and the world‹that it¹s impossible to believe she¹s gotten it into one small, simple, unforgettable book. A true original by a true original!
— author of Passage

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The Mount 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
kougogo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Usually, novels that present themselves as allegories in an explicit way do not appeal to me. The Mount, though, has a careful, acerbic, magnanimous wit that transcends the limitations of that particular mode. It is one of the goofiest, but gravest, examinations of power and power dynamics I've read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the very best sci-fi books I have ever read.
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