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Authority (Southern Reach Trilogy #2)

by

Authority (Southern Reach Trilogy #2) Cover

 

Staff Pick

Prepare yourself for another psychologically intense narrative in this second installment of the Southern Reach Trilogy. This time we are taken behind the scenes of the agency and learn many of Area X's secrets, only to discover how much more there is to uncover.
Recommended by Aubrey, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In the second volume of the Southern Reach Trilogy, questions are answered, stakes are raised, and mysteries are deepened...

In Annihilation, Jeff VanderMeer introduced Area X — a remote and lush terrain mysteriously sequestered from civilization. This was the first volume of a projected trilogy; well in advance of publication, translation rights had already sold around the world and a major movie deal had been struck.

Just months later, Authority, the second volume, is here. For thirty years, the only human engagement with Area X has taken the form of a series of expeditions monitored by a secret agency called the Southern Reach. After the disastrous twelfth expedition chronicled in Annihilation, the Southern Reach is in disarray, and John Rodriguez, aka “Control,” is the teams newly appointed head. From a series of interrogations, a cache of hidden notes, and hours of profoundly troubling video footage, the secrets of Area X begin to reveal themselves — and what they expose pushes Control to confront disturbing truths about both himself and the agency hes promised to serve. And the consequences will spread much further than that.

The Southern Reach trilogy will conclude in fall 2014 with Acceptance.

Review:

"The second volume of VanderMeer's trilogy (following Annihilation) continues to investigate the secrets of Area X, a mysterious zone somewhere in the United States, isolated from the rest of the world through (as-yet) inexplicable processes, and from which participants of multiple expeditions have returned enormously changed — if they return at all. The narrator this time is John Rodriguez, who goes by the name 'Control,' the newly appointed director of the Southern Reach, the organization that has, for 30 years, attempted to discover basic information about the zone. The Southern Reach is in turmoil following the calamitous 12th Area X expedition, which was the subject of Annihilation. In this sequel, VanderMeer supplements his evocative descriptions of the unnatural Area X with the shadowy, dusty, seemingly half-forgotten offices in which Control spends his time, as he parses video footage and interrogation testimony in order to get to the bottom of the Area X mystery. The book strengthens and develops the narrative arc while remaining fully coherent on its own, revealing more and more secrets about Area X all the while. VanderMeer's masterful command of the plot, his cast of characters, and the increasingly desperate situation will leave the reader desperate for the final volume in the trilogy." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

Authority isn't a book that just picks up where the last one left off. Instead, it's packed full of new pleasures, not only new characters and settings but whole new kinds of writing. If Annihilation is an expedition novel painted with a thick coat of weird, then Authority is a spy novel given the same dark lacquer....Which makes me desperate to know what the third book is going to be like — whether it will be some mixture of the two, Jurassic Park meets James Bond, or some third thing entirely.” Robin Sloan, author of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

Synopsis:

The bone-chilling, hair-raising second installment of the Southern Reach Trilogy.

For thirty years, a secret agency called the Southern Reach has monitored expeditions into Area X — a remote and lush terrain mysteriously sequestered from civilization. After the twelfth expedition, the Southern Reach is in disarray, and John Rodriguez (aka “Control”) is the teams newly appointed head. From a series of interrogations, a cache of hidden notes, and more than two hundred hours of profoundly troubling video footage, the secrets of Area X begin to reveal themselves — and what they expose pushes Control to confront disturbing truths about both himself and the agency hes promised to serve.

About the Author

Jeff VanderMeer is an award-winning novelist and editor. His fiction has been translated into twenty languages and has appeared in the Library of Americas American Fantastic Tales and in multiple years-best anthologies. He writes nonfiction for The Washington Post, The New York Times Book Review, the Los Angeles Times, and The Guardian, among others. He grew up in the Fiji Islands and now lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with his wife.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

Jeffrey Bluhm, February 22, 2015 (view all comments by Jeffrey Bluhm)
This review is for the entire series, as I read, and cautiously enjoyed, the first two books, in great part with anticipation for revelations and a conclusion(s) in the final novel. Unfortunately, that never occurs. Characterizations are, at best, impersonal, and the writing sporadically clear, then muddled. The intent of the author seems to be to describe humanity's encounter with another culture so alien that we can't communicate with it or understand its intent/purpose, and while that prospect is intellectually plausible, given the myriad ways in which life could evolve in another time/place, the lack of meaningful interaction between the characters and whatever that Other is, deprives the story of interest and prevents it from coming to any comprehensible conclusion. Of all the questions that are posed or develop over the course of the three books few, if any, are answered coherently. The concepts are not without merit, and much promise is hinted at but, ultimately, the series fails to deliver.
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Cheri P, February 2, 2015 (view all comments by Cheri P)
Not nearly as riveting as Annihilation, Authority is, nonetheless, good enough to stay on my list of series to complete. This volume lacked the lush vibrancy of Annihilation, though, and I found myself struggling to stay focused on the text. My mind wandered. I often skimmed.

About fifty pages from the end I was prepared to give it two stars and give up on the Southern Reach Trilogy, but the ending is intriguing enough to make me change my mind.

Once again characters are stripped of their names, though less thoroughly than in the first installment. This is an interesting device, and I admire VanderMeer for continuing with the practice. Moving from an individual with an identity to a role is interesting. I enjoyed seeing a couple characters move forward, re-grasp their identities, even though they aren't sure what those identities really are. I'm curious about what happens next, which is a good thing for a "book two" to do.

Is this book wonderful? Not really. But it's good enough to invest in book three. It could go either way.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
The Loopy Librarian, November 9, 2014 (view all comments by The Loopy Librarian)
Clever characterizations. Humor in the form of sarcasm, irony and wry observations. Screaming rabbits (that's a sound/image very difficult to shake). Filled with beguiling mysteries and disturbing anomalies. What is the most secretive, dangerous and bizarre? Area X or the Southern Reach? One mystery leads enticingly and maddeningly to another demanding that the reader keep digging for the truth. Most fascinating series I've read in quite some time. Highly recommend to sci-fi fans and readers in the mood for something different.
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View all 4 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780374104108
Author:
VanderMeer, Jeff
Publisher:
FSG Originals
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Fantasy - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
2
Publication Date:
20140506
Binding:
Paperback
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
7.5 x 5 in 1 lb

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Related Subjects

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Authority (Southern Reach Trilogy #2) New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$15.00 In Stock
Product details 352 pages FSG Originals - English 9780374104108 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Prepare yourself for another psychologically intense narrative in this second installment of the Southern Reach Trilogy. This time we are taken behind the scenes of the agency and learn many of Area X's secrets, only to discover how much more there is to uncover.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "The second volume of VanderMeer's trilogy (following Annihilation) continues to investigate the secrets of Area X, a mysterious zone somewhere in the United States, isolated from the rest of the world through (as-yet) inexplicable processes, and from which participants of multiple expeditions have returned enormously changed — if they return at all. The narrator this time is John Rodriguez, who goes by the name 'Control,' the newly appointed director of the Southern Reach, the organization that has, for 30 years, attempted to discover basic information about the zone. The Southern Reach is in turmoil following the calamitous 12th Area X expedition, which was the subject of Annihilation. In this sequel, VanderMeer supplements his evocative descriptions of the unnatural Area X with the shadowy, dusty, seemingly half-forgotten offices in which Control spends his time, as he parses video footage and interrogation testimony in order to get to the bottom of the Area X mystery. The book strengthens and develops the narrative arc while remaining fully coherent on its own, revealing more and more secrets about Area X all the while. VanderMeer's masterful command of the plot, his cast of characters, and the increasingly desperate situation will leave the reader desperate for the final volume in the trilogy." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , Authority isn't a book that just picks up where the last one left off. Instead, it's packed full of new pleasures, not only new characters and settings but whole new kinds of writing. If Annihilation is an expedition novel painted with a thick coat of weird, then Authority is a spy novel given the same dark lacquer....Which makes me desperate to know what the third book is going to be like — whether it will be some mixture of the two, Jurassic Park meets James Bond, or some third thing entirely.”
"Synopsis" by , The bone-chilling, hair-raising second installment of the Southern Reach Trilogy.

For thirty years, a secret agency called the Southern Reach has monitored expeditions into Area X — a remote and lush terrain mysteriously sequestered from civilization. After the twelfth expedition, the Southern Reach is in disarray, and John Rodriguez (aka “Control”) is the teams newly appointed head. From a series of interrogations, a cache of hidden notes, and more than two hundred hours of profoundly troubling video footage, the secrets of Area X begin to reveal themselves — and what they expose pushes Control to confront disturbing truths about both himself and the agency hes promised to serve.

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