Jeff VanderMeer featured in The Atlantic

Jeff VanderMeer has a huge feature up on The Atlantic website about Annihilation, Acceptance, and Authority: From Annihilation to Acceptance: A Writer’s Surreal Journey. Written by VanderMeer himself, it’s a fascinating piece on the writing and publishing of Southern Reach and the various artistic and business decisions went into VanderMeer’s trilogy.

We rarely get such in-depth discussions about the process of writing and publishing science fiction or fantasy (or, in this case, weird fiction), and VanderMeer offers some great insight into his process like the following:

Afterwards, writing Annihilation was a simple process: I’d get up and write for three hours, fall asleep, maybe edit a bit in the evenings, and repeat the process. In five weeks, I had a finished novel. I couldn’t concentrate on anything else, in part because I was driven to write, but also because I felt so sick I was either writing or sleeping, with no energy for anything else.

Chaos Horizon is a Hugo and Nebula analytics site, and I currently have Annihilation in the #1 slot for both my 2015 Nebula and Hugo predictions. Part of the reason is that you just can’t buy mainstream coverage like this; SFF fans are just as influenced by the mainstream as everyone else (that’s why it’s the mainstream).

I’m very interested to see how Annihilation does in this year’s awards. Given that VanderMeer is probably more SFF-adjacent as a weird fiction writer, it would be something of a genre expansion to see the Nebula go to Annihilation. VanderMeer had a previous Nebula nomination for Finch, and Annihilation has been an order of magnitude more popular. The Hugo has been following the Nebula in recent years, so Nebula success can easily lead to Hugo success. We’ll have to wait and see; Nebula nominations should be out within the month.

Also check out VanderMeer’s very interesting Atlantic essay on weird fiction: The Uncanny Power of Weird Fiction.


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