Jeff VanderMeer’s Acceptance Review Round-Up
Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy has been one of the best reviewed SFF works of 2014. Ambitiously published as three novels in one year, Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance deal with various expeditions to a mysterious “Area X,” a zone where normal reality seems to be broken. The novel is heavily laced with VanderMeer’s trademark weirdness, fungus, and creeping dread, and it is certainly one of 2014s most unique contributions to the field.
Although not accessible enough to be a contender for the Hugo, I have this series down as a possible Nebula nominee in my Too Early Nebula Prediction. VanderMeer has previously been nominated for the Nebula for his novel Finch, and this trilogy has reached a much wider audience, including hitting the NYT bestseller list. VanderMeer is well liked and well respected in the SFF field. His Ambergris novels are classics of experimental fantasy (for my money, City of Saints and Madmen was one of the best fantasy books of the 2000s), and he’s edited several major anthologies with his wife. Southern Reach seems to be earning him the broader audience he richly deserves. I worry that with three novels in one year, audiences won’t know what to nominate, but my guess is they’ll settle in on Annihilation, the first and spookiest book in the series.
On to Acceptance:
While VanderMeer has received a lot of mainstream attention for this series, I don’t know if that’s translated to enthusiasm for all three books. Authority was a slower read, and readers might have given up with Book #2. There’s not many WordPress reviews so far—I’ll admit, that worries me. Still, there are plenty of reviews out there for Annihilation and Authority, and maybe people are catching up with the series. Three VanderMeer books in one year is a lot of books. General consensus seems to be either “I loved it” or “it was too long and weird for me, and I ran out of steam before the end.”
I’ll try to keep the post updated, particularly with WordPress reviews. If you have a review you’d like to me link, let me know in the comments.