Synopses & Reviews
In time for the holidays, a single-volume hardcover edition that brings together the three volumes of the Southern Reach Trilogy, which were originally published as paperback originals in February, May, and September 2014.
Annihilation is the first volume in Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy, Authority is the second, and Acceptance is the third.
Area X — a remote and lush terrain — has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer.
This is the twelfth expedition.
Their group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain and collect specimens; to record all their observations, scientific and otherwise, of their surroundings and of one another; and, above all, to avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.
They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers — they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding — but its the surprises that came across the border with them, and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another, that change everything.
After the disastrous twelfth expedition chronicled in Annihilation, the Southern Reach — the secret agency that monitors these expeditions — is in disarray. In Authority, 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.
It is winter in Area X in Acceptance. A new team embarks across the border on a mission to find a member of a previous expedition who may have been left behind. As they press deeper into the unknown — navigating new terrain and new challenges — the threat to the outside world becomes more daunting. The mysteries of Area X may have been solved, but their consequences and implications are no less profound — or terrifying.
"Much of the flora and fauna seem familiar, but that's whats so fascinating about the carnage that VanderMeer sets loose. He has created a science fiction story about a world much like our own." John Domini, Miami Herald
"[An] altogether fantastic book... Annihilation is a book meant for gulping—for going in head-first and not coming up for air until you hit the back cover." Jason Sheehan, NPR Books
"A clear triumph for VanderMeer...a compelling, elegant, and existential story.... The solitary voice of its post-humanist narrator is both deeply flawed and deeply trustworthy—a difficult and excellent balance in a novel whose world is built seamlessly and whose symbols are rich and dark." Lydia Millet, LA Times
"VanderMeer masterfully conjures up an atmosphere of both metaphysical dread and visceral tension...Annihilation is a novel in which facts are undermined and doubt instilled at almost every turn. Its about science as a way of not only thinking but feeling, rather than science as a means of becoming certain about the world.... Ingenious." Laura Miller, Salon
“Original and beautiful, maddening and magnificent.” Warren Ellis
“After their high-risk expedition disintegrates, its every scientist for herself in this wonderfully creepy blend of horror and science fiction . . . Speculative fiction at its most transfixing.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Brilliant...ever-more-terrifying, yet ever-more-transcendent.... Using evocative descriptions of the biologists outer and inner worlds, masterful psychological insight, and intellectual observations both profound and disturbing—calling Lovecraft to mind and Borges—VanderMeer unfolds a tale as satisfying as it is richly imagined." Publishers Weekly
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 America's 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.