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Southern Reach Trilogy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Southern Reach Trilogy
AuthorJeff VanderMeer
CountryUnited States
GenreFantasy, Horror, Science fiction
Media type
  • Print (hardcover, paperback)
  • E-book
No. of books3

The Southern Reach Trilogy is a series of novels by the American author Jeff VanderMeer first published in 2014—Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance. The trilogy takes its name from the secret agency that is central to the plot. In 2013, Paramount Pictures bought the movie rights for the series,[1] and a film adaptation of Annihilation was made with Alex Garland as writer-director.[2] The film was released in 2018.

In April of 2024, the author announced a fourth book, Absolution, to be released on October 22, 2024. [3]

"Area X"


In the series, Southern Reach is a secret agency that manages expeditions into a place known as Area X, an uninhabited and abandoned coastal area of an unnamed country[4] which nature is gradually reclaiming. It is the main setting for Annihilation.[5]



VanderMeer has said that the main inspiration for Area X was a hike through St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge.[6] However, he has also said that dreams inspired such elements as the writing in the tower from Annihilation.[7] Moreover, VanderMeer has cited a number of books as having an influence on Southern Reach such as The Other Side of the Mountain by Michel Bernanos.[5]



The trilogy was released in quick succession over an 8-month period in what has been called an innovative "Netflix-inspired strategy".[8] The strategy helped the trilogy's second and third books reach the New York Times Best Seller list and established VanderMeer as "one of the most forward-thinking authors of the decade".[8][9][10]



The series was positively received by critics. Slate called the trilogy one of "the most uncompromising — yet most rewarding — genre series", while author Stephen King called it "creepy and fascinating".[11][12] Writing about the final book, Acceptance, The New York Times said "VanderMeer has created an immersive and wonderfully realized world", and that the trilogy as a whole is a "pure reading pleasure".[13] Annihilation won the Nebula[14] and Shirley Jackson Awards for Best Novel.[15] The entire trilogy was also named a finalist for the 2015 World Fantasy Award[16] and the 2016 Kurd-Laßwitz-Preis.[17]

Film adaptation


The first novel, Annihilation, was adapted into a film by director Alex Garland, starring Natalie Portman, Gina Rodriguez,[18] Tessa Thompson,[19] Jennifer Jason Leigh,[20] and Oscar Isaac.[21] It was released on February 23, 2018.[2]


  1. ^ Newitz, Annalee (28 March 2013). "Jeff VanderMeer gets movie deal for his forthcoming Southern Reach trilogy". Gizmodo. Retrieved 2021-11-27.
  2. ^ a b McNary, Dave (31 October 2014). "'Annihilation' Movie Gains Momentum at Paramount with Alex Garland". Variety. Retrieved 26 April 2015.
  3. ^ Athitakis, Mark (29 May 2024). "Jeff Vandermeer grants SFF fans Absolution". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved 2024-06-27.
  4. ^ Mukherjee, Neal (3 September 2014). "The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer: Intricate, complex and surprising". New Statesman. Retrieved 2022-06-15. In the remote southern coastal area of an unnamed country a bizarre and baffling phenomenon called Area X has manifested itself.
  5. ^ a b Spiegelman, Ian (28 February 2014). "Jeff VanderMeer: 'Power of Nature' Inspired New Sci-Fi Novel 'Annihilation'". USA Today. Retrieved 2014-04-08.
  6. ^ Schardl, Kati. "Exploring 'Area X': Local author has hit with book series based on St. Marks Wildlife Refuge". Tallahassee Democrat. Gannett. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
  7. ^ Michel, Lincoln (15 March 2014). "An Interview With Jeff VanderMeer: "Full Disclosure, I'm Really A Komodo Dragon"". Buzzfeed. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
  8. ^ a b Wappler, Margaret (28 July 2017). "The boundary-pushing fiction of Sean McDonald and his new FSG imprint, MCD". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2018-02-24.
  9. ^ "Paperback Trade Fiction". The New York Times. May 25, 2014.
  10. ^ "Best Sellers – Paperback Trade Fiction". The New York Times. May 25, 2014. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
  11. ^ Rogers, Mac (8 September 2014). "The Illusions of Control". Slate.
  12. ^ King, Stephen (June 1, 2014). "I'm loving THE SOUTHERN REACH TRILOGY, by Jeff Vandermeer". Twitter.
  13. ^ Hutchins, Scott (2014-09-12). "'Acceptance,' by Jeff VanderMeer". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-02-24.
  14. ^ "SFWA Nebula Award Winners Announced (2014)". 6 June 2015.
  15. ^ "2014 Shirley Jackson Awards Winners".
  16. ^ "World Fantasy Awards Winners 2015," Locus Magazine, November 8, 2015.
  17. ^ "2016 Kurd Laßwitz Preis Nominees," File 770, April 24, 2016.
  18. ^ "Alex Garland Sets Natalie Portman and Frances McDormand for 'Annihilation'; Neill Blomkamp Lines Up Next Project". thefilmstage.com. November 11, 2015.
  19. ^ Sneider, Jeff (January 4, 2016). "'Creed's' Tessa Thompson Eyed to Join Natalie Portman, Gina Rodriguez in 'Annihilation' (Exclusive)". TheWrap. Retrieved January 5, 2016.
  20. ^ "Jennifer Jason Leigh Up for Ex Machina Director's Annihilation". Collider. February 10, 2016. Retrieved 2016-05-17.
  21. ^ "Annihilation: Oscar Isaac joins Alex Garland's new film". Den of Geek. Retrieved May 17, 2016.

Further reading