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Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy:…
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Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy: Annihilation; Authority; Acceptance (original 2014; edition 2014)

by Jeff VanderMeer (Author)

Series: The Southern Reach Trilogy (full series)

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5751631,280 (3.79)11
"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 it's 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 team's 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 he's 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"-- "Omnibus edition of the Southern Reach Trilogy"--… (more)
Member:mifoley119
Title:Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy: Annihilation; Authority; Acceptance
Authors:Jeff VanderMeer (Author)
Info:FSG Originals (2014), Edition: 1st Edition, 608 pages
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Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy (Annihilation; Authority; Acceptance) by Jeff VanderMeer (Author) (2014)

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Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
I liked the first book the best. The second one was clearly a set up for the third. And the third one was like an extended 2001 ending. ( )
  KittyCunningham | Apr 26, 2021 |
Rich, introspective, multiple perspectives finally converging into one coherent story arch in its final pages. Good, but not my cup of tea. The clues of the mystery is embedded in the mundane... and you’d miss it if you don’t pay attention. It took a lot of patience to get through the pages, yet the reward was only marginal.

Complex storytelling demands a second read. Not sure if it deserves such labor. Can’t relate to the characters - everyone with secrets they stubbornly withhold - nor can I appreciate the phantasmagorical recollections and observations that seem superfluous. And the manner in which important moments flow by, each of which is followed by a long suspense that quickly dissipate into thin air immediately upon occurrence without ever landing a real punch. Connections. As a reader, you know that the the story elements are connected to one another but how and why remain buried. You only have a vague sense of what is going on. The experience of the journey, then, must be worthwhile but that isn’t the case either. It’s as if the author is lecturing me as to how there is no such thing as a “master narrative” to explain anything in reality.

Yet, I finished the book. All 595 pages of it. Sigh.

I’m now going to watch the movie adaptation, mostly for the visual effects and some clarity to what I had just read, only to be dissatisfied, perhaps, by the simplified and one-dimensional storytelling that the author avoided. ( )
  pepperabuji | Jun 18, 2020 |
First things first, this book is an omibus a collection of the three novels that were published in quick succession in one year... is not for everyone or for every occasion. This isn't a quick casual read.

I'm going to proceed with this review as if these three novels: Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance, are one novel. Mostly for simplicity, but also because I believe that the best way to read these novels is back to back, as if they were parts of a single novel. Though they are very different from each other and explore different themes, characters, and even have slightly different styles, they are linked in ways that a typical trilogy is not. I like to think of them as three segments of a circle. While I'd think of a standard trilogy/series more like a dotted line.

Area X, or the Southern Reach Trilogy, is one of the finest novels I've ever read. Maybe not in my top 10 of all time but definitely in my top 20. It has everything a serious reader could possibly want in a novel: beautiful and evocative (if haunting) prose, distinct and complex characters, an unbelievably well realized setting, a mysterious and engaging story, and rich thought-provoking subtexts and themes. It just doesn't hold your hand, which can make it challenging at times. If you begin to read with the idea that you are setting off on a path into a thick wood at dusk, by Authority, the trail will be faint and the light of day near gone, and by Acceptance, you're lost, its full night, and there are sounds all around you, mostly from unknown sources. You light your lamp to see, but it's almost more terrifying in the gloom than in the dark.

And that leads us to what kind of book this is: it's a creepy one. In fact, a scene about midway through Authority is easily the creepiest scene I've ever read in any book - and I've read a lot of creepy books (honorable mention to the phone ringing in the Ruins).

Again though, this book isn't for everyone. I can't stress that enough. It simply has a different mission than a more mainstream novel and yet it is a mainstream novel. Wild. You wouldn't sit down to a John Grisham book and be like, 'not as good as The Sound and the Fury', that wouldn't make sense. If you sit down to Area X with those kinds of expectations and aren't ready for a quick turn to something dramatically different, it will fail you, and you it. Personally, I turned my reading into a kind of daily meditation. I found that I could only read it when my mind was fresh and at its sharpest, and even then, I'd catch myself continually wandering. The imagery and pace are seductive to mind wandering, and I simply pulled back, went back a few lines, and started again. This weird mindful reading and mindful awareness of my own crazy thoughts was a singular and very rewarding experience. As a result though, I had to read some ‘regular’ books on the side to relax in the evenings.

This is a must read if you think you can do it. Don't be afraid, just be prepared. I'm thrilled to have discovered VanderMeer and plan on reading his other works over the coming years. ( )
  modioperandi | May 12, 2020 |
I don't think I'm going to be able to describe this book well until I've read the sequel; as a standalone novel, it is odd, atmospheric, creepy, and incomprehensible. There's a place called Area X that something happened to, no one knows what; expeditions are sent in to try to figure it out, and strange things happen to the ones who go. Often, they die, but not always. Annihilation is about the twelfth expedition--or rather, one women on the 12th expedition, and what happens to her.

It's all first person POV, and it is only what she sees, experiences, and thinks about during her time in Area X.

I thought it was fantastic. The characterization was realistic and intimate; the situation and story compelling and unusual. It was a very effective way to set up the central question of "what the hell happened in Area X?"--a question I can only assume the next two novels will answer. Certainly I've never read a story like this one. ( )
  andrea_mcd | Mar 10, 2020 |
The Area X trilogy is excellent. Well written, the prose is detailed, evocative, and at times appropriately lush, while never being overwrought. His characters are whole, complex human beings, they have hopes, dreams, & memories; they make mistakes, they have petty work rivalries. VanderMeer gives us all this with restraint, there is subtlety at work here. The setting of Area X, shown primarily in the first & third novels is fascinating; a pristine wilderness haunted by strange beasts that are humans undergone metamorphosis. The second book primarily focuses on the Southern Reach, the institute studying the phenomenon of Area X, and while well written was less intriguing (to me) than the actual forays into the wilds. The third book experiments with flashback, with two timelines set in the past to help fill in some of the gaps of Area X's history. My one criticism is there was never a clear, concise origin given for Area X; it remains a mystery to us. The trilogy has the room to do so, but it never does. There are theories and tantalizing hints, but in that way it also becomes more realistic; no one stands up at end of the day and gives an expository summary of life. We all have to find our way through the mysterious wilderness without a consistently accurate, and possibly deliberately distorted, map, and take what meaning we can from the journey itself. ( )
  michaeladams1979 | Oct 11, 2018 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
VanderMeer, JeffAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Corral, RodrigoCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McCormick, CarolynNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nyquist, EricCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pinchot, BronsonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sands, XeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"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 it's 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 team's 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 he's 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"-- "Omnibus edition of the Southern Reach Trilogy"--

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