Submitted by MyStarling t3_ydrc0g in books

I read the Area X trilogy this summer, and only just finished Borne. I love the dreamy, slighly out of focus (I don't know how else to describe it) way Vandermeer writes his books. I especially loved Annihilation, and felt he really captured that same vibe in Borne. The ending hit me like a freight train, totally didn't expect some of the revelations that occurred there. For someone getting more into sci-fi as a genre, he cannot miss!



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iggs44 t1_itupuuo wrote

If you live near the north gulf coast by Florida you can visit St. Mark’s River Preserve and see the lighthouse


cramduck t1_ituv5y3 wrote

Where lies the strangling fruit that came from the hand of the sinner I shall bring forth the seeds of the dead to share with the worms that gather in the darkness and surround the world with the power of their lives while from the dimlit halls of other places forms that never were and never could be writhe for the impatience of the few who never saw what could have been. In the black water with the sun shining at midnight, those fruit shall come ripe and in the darkness of that which is golden shall split open to reveal the revelation of the fatal softness in the earth. The shadows of the abyss are like the petals of a monstrous flower that shall blossom within the skull and expand the mind beyond what any man can bear, but whether it decays under the earth or above on green fields, or out to sea or in the very air, all shall come to revelation, and to revel, in the knowledge of the strangling fruit—and the hand of the sinner shall rejoice, for there is no sin in shadow or in light that the seeds of the dead cannot forgive. And there shall be in the planting in the shadows a grace and a mercy from which shall blossom dark flowers, and their teeth shall devour and sustain and herald the passing of an age. That which dies shall still know life in death for all that decays is not forgotten and reanimated it shall walk the world in the bliss of not-knowing. And then there shall be a fire that knows the naming of you, and in the presence of the strangling fruit, its dark flame shall acquire every part of you that remains.


spacemanpajamas t1_ittw5oq wrote

I'm currently reading Dead Astronauts, the spin-off to Borne.

I love the way Jeff is able to spin biology into his worlds in a way that makes everything seem so alien.


Terminus0 t1_ituu3w6 wrote

If Borne was out of focus. Dead Astronauts was like glimpsing a world through a broken mirror.

I enjoyed both, but Dead Astronauts made me work for it.

A book I read purely based on Jeff Vandermeer's recommendation on twitter (I didn't even look at the summary before buying it) was 'Sisyphean'. Now that was the weirdest book I've ever read. Enjoyed it as well but twas not a light read.


gloryday23 t1_itvaqsa wrote

>If Borne was out of focus. Dead Astronauts was like glimpsing a world through a broken mirror.

I'm about half way through myself, and this is an excellent way of comparing the two.


Ambadastor t1_itwnsd0 wrote

Man, I was struggling with Dead Astronauts and had to put it down. I might need to reread Borne to get in the right mindset before attempting it again.


Leolilac t1_itwd7ol wrote

Oh. Will Dead Astronauts make more sense if I read Borne first? Because I am Struggling with it lol


spacemanpajamas t1_itwec1l wrote

Yea it would explain a lot.

Charlie, the company, the city, the bear.

Would all be stuff you'd know of from Borne.


Leolilac t1_itwejrt wrote

I feel so silly! I didn’t realize it was connected to another book lol


spacemanpajamas t1_itwx9rx wrote

Don't worry, it also doesn't make total sense even knowing these things...


ErisianMoon t1_itugv8y wrote

I've just finished the Southern reach trilogy myself and it's become a favourite as a whole. I've made a post about Annihilation a few weeks ago on here where people had said they did not enjoy Authority and Acceptance as much, but I've personally loved both, and loved the conclusion overall!

Annihilation is now one of my favourite books of all time. A slow-burn descent into the uncanny where the strangeness of Area X slowly ramps up from feeling slightly off to evoking a true sense of the incomprehensible. Loved the anonimity of the characters as well, yet the depth in which the biologist's psyche is explored. If anyone has seen the Netflix movie of the same name and did not enjoy that (I didn't either), then do try the book anyway, it couldn't be more different.

Authority, instead, reads more like an investigative novel. Control is a great character in his own right and I absolutely adored his ways of thinking about things. Envisioning The Voice the way he did for instance made me laugh out loud a few times. Half way through the book the horror elements start creeping back in leading to a tense climax.

Acceptance felt like an amalgamation of the two others seeing important events through the eyes of the relevant characters. Some scenes in this return into my thoughts every now and then and I doubt they'll ever stay away. I loved the reveals about area X a lot, and loved how seemingly small details from the previous books turn out to be important here.

Borne is on my too read list, it might be immediate after I'm done with what I'm currently reading. Looking forward to it already


BookooBreadCo t1_itv21le wrote

I'm glad someone else enjoyed Authority. I've seen a lot of people complain about it being boring but it really captures existential horror in such a mundane way, unlike in Annihilation which confronts hit head on. It's a slow build that starts off so normal and explodes into craziness at the end. Acceptance actually ended up being my least favorite, but I still enjoyed it, because it explained too much and felt less horror focused than the other 2. But I really enjoyed the lighthouse keepers POV.

I put off Borne for a few months after finishing Southern Reach but I just started it and kinda wish I didn't. It's really good. I'm definitely going to binge the rest of his novels after Borne, his writing enthralls me.

Also I'm pretty sure he's doing a 4th Southern Reach book btw.


ErisianMoon t1_itv48hk wrote

I can definitely see why you felt Acceptance explained too much, in retrospect there are definitely a few details in there that could have been left up for the reader to interpret a bit more, although it doesn't bother me much personally. getting the PoV from the lighthouse keeper was indeed a great touch!
I'm a sucker for paranormal investigation type of stuff and Authority really hit the spot for me, replacing the paranormal with the incomprehensible and adding the internal disfunction of the Southern Reach as a nice touch.

Yeah, I've heard so too, I think it's called 'Absolution', looking forward to it, and to reading Borne (whenever I'm through with Cixin Liu's works I've now begun to explore)


BookooBreadCo t1_itvmt8m wrote

I should say Acceptance didn't explain too much, otherwise I wouldn't have liked it, I just enjoyed the not understanding anything aspect of Annihilation more.


gloryday23 t1_itvakbd wrote

>because it explained too much and felt less horror focused than the other 2

It's funny to me, because it seems this is the exact opposite reason most people disliked it. I loved book 3, and have never really understood the criticism that it didn't explain enough in the end, I always thought it cleared a lot up. Though I may have felt differently than you, I can at least understand your take on it.


gloryday23 t1_itva9k9 wrote

I generally felt the same about the Southern Reach trilogy, and read Bourne about a year later, and thought that was even better. I'd really strongly, as strongly as I can recommend it if you enjoyed those three books as much as you did.

Van der Meer's stuff can be tough to recommend, but if you like it already, I feel it's a lot safer.


MyStarling OP t1_itvwpxu wrote

I’m definitely in the camp of enjoying Annihilation more than Authority or Acceptance, although I do feel they were good in their own right!

Funny enough, I actually love the movie as well. I see it as a separate entity from the book (ie: it’s another expedition that happened before the events of Annihilation is always how I thought of it) but I don’t think you can really do justice to the written story on screen. It’s too abstract and in the Biologist’s head to really come across in the same way, but I loved how they got across as many elements as they could, and the unsettling/ecological horror aspects really worked for me. The bear was also horrifying 🙃


Numetshell t1_itu3r8x wrote

City of Saints and Madmen as well as Shriek: An Afterword are also fantastic.

If you enjoy Borne, you may also like the MaddAddam trilogy by Margaret Atwood.


RevolutionaryCommand t1_ituamar wrote

I've only read Borne and I enjoyed it a lot. I thin that dreamy, slightly out of focus is a good description of the style it had. I also was surprised by some of the revelations in the book. I'd say it was slightly more slow-paced than I'd like, but overall very good.


gilgameshpad t1_itubfed wrote

If you liked Borne, please do read Strange bird. It's such an amazing novela set in the same world as Borne.


gloryday23 t1_itvav3z wrote

Dead Astronauts too! And yes, Borne is amazing.


vanillaragdoll t1_itxyp3d wrote

I just want to add that, on top of being an amazing author, he's also an absolutely amazing person, and so is his wife, Ann. We met him at a book signing in Florida years ago and after a few drinks, and a long conversation finding out that we're both really into native plants, he invited us back to his house. It was WILD. He is kind and funny and genuinely invested in climate and native species. I still talk to him when I can and consider him a friend. I left his house that day with arm fulls of books (literally from his bookshelf) that he thought I'd like and lots of pictures with his cat 🤣 100/10 buy all of his books, both bc they're wonderful and bc he deserves every penny


grumble11 t1_itve3ls wrote

His work and that of other ‘new weird’ authors give me faith in the future of speculative fiction again. So much got stuck in the same tropes that I got bored of entire genres, but he fixed it by doing something truly and deliberately new.


FeatherMom t1_itwp365 wrote

You describe Borne well. In my mind it was like an impressionist painting, overall I could see the dreamy landscape and shapes and people, but looking too closely, it is really a smattering of colours. I loved the book. It moved me unexpectedly.


MyStarling OP t1_itwpf3s wrote

That analogy covers exactly what I was thinking: something that’s visible from a distance, but if you try to peer to closely or analyze it, it becomes less tangible. Thanks!


okiegirl22 t1_itugx8a wrote

I just finished Borne and Dead Astronauts. I read the Southern Reach trilogy a while back and loved it! Overall I thought Borne was the weakest of them, but that could just be because I’m not super into first-person perspective in novels. Dead Astronauts I enjoyed more. You should definitely pick it up!


SharkSquishy t1_ituxsz5 wrote

I always say that reading Area X was like living a fever dream.


mathturd t1_itw1by5 wrote

Downloaded a sample few weeks back, started reading it. Loved the movie. Never realized it was based off a book. I decided I was going to buy the book, then found it was of three. I still plan on buying them, 'cept now it's them and not it. Lol


[deleted] t1_itwihy8 wrote

Southern Reach/Area X was a gamechanger for me.


lenebean89 t1_itx74db wrote

The Strange Bird is one of the best pieces of literature I have ever read, and I will likely never read it again. It moved me so much, and I highly recommend it.