Thursday, 12 October 2017


Authority, Jeff VanderMeer

After an opening volume spent entirely within the otherworldly Area X, Jeff Vandermeer's successor novel, Authority, steps back to the Southern Reach facility at its border.

There, a new director - referred to by his new staff as Control - picks over the pieces of the mission described in Annihilation. Its leader, the Psychologist, was the previous director, who seemed to know more about Area X than reports record. And its only survivor, the Biologist, is standoffish, and doesn't quite appear to be what she seems. Control's investigation gradually uncovers the truth on both, a creeping derangement driven by Area X, as well as secrets from his own history and that of his family. All of which takes place as Area X seems poised.

While less of the horror of Area X seeps into this volume, it has some unnerving moments as its protagonist unravels some of Area X's mysteries. And while some unravelling takes place, the author does a grand job whetting interest while keeping Area X shrouded. A great read, though it does set a high bar for its concluding volume. Of which, more anon.

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