Jeff VanderMeer
Acceptance Cover

A Parody Non-Review: Part 3


Deep in the vegetative abyss of Area X, within the walls of a blood spattered lighthouse, a foreboding heap of forgotten journals lay moldering and unread, their owners long submerged into the ecology of the nebulous terrain. This journal is not part of that pile. This journal is my weak attempt to be different in a world where everybody already reviewed this series months ago.



Day 11: You sit in the dark on your couch commencing the final installment of the Southern Reach trilogy...

I mean, I sit on my couch reading...

I think I'm contaminated. I'm losing myself.

Day 11.5: You have nothing smartassed to say.

Day 11.75: "In the darkness of that which is golden, the [book] shall split open to reveal the revelation of the fatal softness of the earth (p. 202).

(That's great, but "reveal the revelation?")

Day 12: The lighthouse keeper describes his condition as "dull but intense, somehow like a second skin on the inside" (p. 197). That's the Southern Reach trilogy.

Day 12.5: Finished. Going to slam my head against the wall a few times and then take a nice mud bath. Then I might go sleep in a tree with a dead armadillo. This is what I need right now.


This story is more than a story. It's a warning. SF does ecological apocalypse all the time, SF does Lovecraft all the time, and even sentient landscapes have already been done (check out Hank's latest Van Vogt read at MPorcius Fiction Log for an early example). But Southern Reach is something unique. Rich setting and character development draw most of VanderMeer's attention and, surprisingly, the creep factor is episodic and bite-sized, ideal for cutaways in a T.V. trailer rather than the crescendo of a novel. But like the librarian says, this is a "slow burn". If written by a different author from a different publishing house, I suspect much of this novel would not have survived in this drawn out, three book format.

It's good. I think it will have a place as a defining staple of this generation's SF, but you can skip the 2nd book if you're not that into it.