VanderMeer, Jeff

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Hummingbird Salamander

VanderMeer brings his trademark atmospheric and heavily lyrical writing style to the arena of species extinction and climate degradation. He shows that, in a creepily curious way, taxidermy and extinction are intertwined fates for doomed animals. There is an implied connection to the present COVID-19 pandemic, with dire consequences. Recommended for fans of the author, though mainstream readers may find the story deliberately inscrutable.


VanderMeer ("Southern Reach" trilogy; Finch) delivers a work of dystopian ecofiction that will appeal to fans of Margaret Atwood's "MaddAddam" trilogy, albeit with a weirder sensibility. The language is lush and playful, with surreal touches, such as the building-sized bear that wanders a ruined landscape, attacking the sparse human population.

Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy

First published as separate titles (Annihilation, LJ 1/14; Authority, LJ 5/15/14; Acceptance, LJ 8/14), this trilogy blends elements of government conspiracy, spy thriller, and sf with introspective, complex characters to make it an all-audiences win. (LJ 12/15/14)

Area X.

This omnibus would be a treat for anyone who missed the paperback releases of VanderMeer's dizzyingly imaginative trilogy about a remote, lush region where phenomena beautiful and horrific lurk around every turn...


Those reading with a hope that all will be explained and all loose ends will be neatly tied up might not be happy with this final title. Easy answers are not on offer from VanderMeer, but he does give a sense of closure, and the three books together stand as a remarkable imaginative achievement. Displaying the dizzying skill with imagery and language that have been seen throughout the series, the author leaves readers with some answers, more questions, and an appreciation of the journey.


The accelerated publishing schedule of the author's trilogy (Annihilation hit the shelves in February, Acceptance will be out in September) maintains the tension that VanderMeer has been building about his creepy forbidden zone. He carefully ladles out just enough information to keep readers hooked and the truth shadowed, so that his characters (and the reader) remain uneasy and unsettled. What is Area X? We'll have to wait until September to know for sure.

Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction

Because it is so layered and filled with text, tips, and links to online extras, this book can be read again and again by both those who want to learn the craft of writing and those interested in the process of others.

The Time Traveler's Almanac

Completely satisfying, this collection will appeal on some level to every sf reader. Although these stories were written over time, from the first time travel story ever published, "The Clock That Went Backward" (1881) by Edward Page Mitchell, to "Thirty Seconds from Now" (2011) by John Chu, they each prove timeless. So accept the (il)logic of time travel, and enjoy the ride.


Appropriate for a book by an author who is always straddling borders, World Fantasy Award winner VanderMeer's (City of Saints and Madmen) latest falls somewhere between a long novella and a short novel. But this short work packs a big punch, as the author has rare skills for building tension and making the reader feel the claustrophobic dread of his characters. Readers will be unsettled, intrigued, and eager for the next volume in this new trilogy. [See Prepub Alert, 9/1/13.]

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