Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy: Annihilation; Authority; Acceptance
The Southern Reach has been exploring Area X for years, trying to understand what transformed the land into a baffling alien landscape. Numerous expeditions have failed, either lost entirely or returned as broken people or shadows of their former selves. As different intrepid souls try to uncover the truth behind Area X, they endanger not only their lives, but their very sanity.
Area X collects all three novels in VanderMeer’s gloriously strange Southern Reach Trilogy, stories that vary in tone—expedition mystery, bureaucratic noir, and investigative thriller—but that all leave you feeling unsettlingly unmoored after reading them. Weird fiction is meant to challenge the reader, and these books succeed with style.
Usually, even the most peculiar book grows less so as you begin to understand events, but Area X in general, and Acceptance in particular, have the rare quality of increasing the weirdness by answering questions and adding pieces to the puzzle. (In fact, nearly every character featured or mentioned in the first two books appears in the third book to contribute something to the mystery.)
If you’re looking for an engaging sci-fi puzzler that will keep you asking questions, Area X is for you.