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Summary

The second volume of the extraordinary Southern Reach trilogy. The Southern Reach is a government agency so secret it has almost been forgotten.

Following the disastrous twelfth expedition chronicled in Annihilation, the second audiobook of the Southern Reach trilogy introduces John Rodriguez, the new head of the government agency responsible for the safeguarding of Area X.

His first day is spent grappling with the fall-out from the last expedition. Area X itself remains a mystery. But, as instructed by a higher authority known only as The Voice, the self-styled Control must battle to 'put his house in order'. From a series of interrogations, a cache of hidden notes and hours of profoundly troubling video footage, the mysteries of Area X begin to reveal themselves—and what they expose pushes Control to confront disturbing truths about both himself and the agency he's promised to serve.

Undermined and under pressure to make sense of everything, Rodriguez retreats into his past in a labyrinthine search for answers. Yet the more he uncovers, the more he risks, for the secrets of the Southern Reach are more sinister than anyone could have known.

©2014 Jeff VanderMeer Creative, Inc. (P)2014 2014 by Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic reviews

Praise for Annihilation:

"A teeming science fiction that draws on Conrad and Lovecraft alike… The writing itself has a clarity that makes the abundancy of the setting more powerful. Annihilation shows signs of being the novel that will allow VanderMeer to break through to a new and larger audience" (Sunday Telegraph)
"A lasting monument to the uncanny… you find yourself afraid to turn the page… We are less than 200 pages in to the Southern Reach Trilogy… and already home is a distant memory, and an unreliable one, too: for who's to say that home was not always X at heart?" (Simon Ings, Guardian)
"Annihilation owes much to the explorations of psychogeographical landscapes in early JG Ballard and also to the work of the old masters of weird fiction such as HP Lovecraft and William Hope Hodgson, with their love of nameless horrors haunting liminal realms. VanderMeer synthesises these influences to create a tale with a deliciously creepy atmosphere of dread" (Financial Times)
"Annihilation is a weird and wonderful novel. And the hardback edition is as beautiful as the prose between the covers.' Metro‘A tautly told, self-contained story, informed and illuminated by the flawed and very human voice of its narrator" (Arc)
"Immersive, insightful and often deeply bloody creepy, this is a startlingly good novel. If the sequels live up to it, then the Southern Reach series will be a major work" (***** SFX Magazine)
"A tense and chilling psychological thriller about an unravelling expedition and the strangeness within us. A little Kubrick, a lot of Lovecraft, the novel builds with an unbearable tension and claustrophobic dread that lingers long afterwards. I loved it" (Lauren Beukes)
"Original and beautiful, maddening and magnificent" (Warren Ellis)

"Creepy and fascinating." (Stephen King)

What listeners say about Authority

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Superb

These books are unconventional and challenging. This volume builds on the actual ceiling horror of the first and is no less profoundly disturbing.

This isn't a conventional thriller, there's no pounding adrenalin or just-in-time suspense, just psychological disconnection and a sense of disconcerting otherness watching a man unravel in the face of the incomprehensible.

3 people found this helpful

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Boring

This was one of the most boring books I ever read. So many needless details and descriptions. I barely could finish it

1 person found this helpful

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I guess you've read part 1 if you're here

and I don't need to tell you how awesome it is. love this trilogy so much

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Can I have my ten hours back please.

The first book of the trilogy fell a bit flat for me, but I decided to persist, figuring the story may be a slow burn. To my disappointment, the second instalment just didn’t deliver the goods. There is some nice writing and interesting concepts in places, and if you are a die hard (and patient) fan of strange fiction, you may get something from this. For me, I was bored throughout. The story never engaged me and I found it hard not to zone out most of the time. The whole thing felt a bit like a ball of candy floss. Looks fun at a glance, but once you start to consume it, it just dissolves into nothing.

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Staggering in the wake of Annihilation

A tremendous continuation of the Southern Reach trilogy, surprising and suspenseful, full of psychological intrigue and creeping dread.

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Not much happens here

It's essential for the delivery of the third book, but I found most of this book to be slow. Nothing made me want to stop listening, but until the finale I was just dwindling along.

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Enjoy the journey, don't focus on the destination

A modern HP Lovecraft without the racism. If you enjoyed Roadside Picnic or the Stalker games, this could fit right into the setting. It builds the sense of cosmic horror and madness expertly, so the slightest mundane detail could be a major sign of impending doom.

For those that didn't enjoy it, it's not a story paced like a Hollywood movie. Immerse yourself in the details as they are presented and the understated suggestions become terrifying.

I'm immediately downloading the third book!

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Rather boring

I saw the Annihilation movie and thought I’d listen to this to see what happened next. But the book turned out to be rather boring and is told from a different perspective to the original Annihilation. I was disappointed

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  • jo
  • 21-08-18

great book..

but the performance is questionable. i liked the narrator for some reason and i wanted it to work and kept hoping it will get better but the way he messed up the voices and accents was consistent and very confusing sometimes which is a shame because the book is fascinating and awesome

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So strange, but good!

I am enjoying this trilogy, but it is weird, so be warned! There have been a few few points where I almost gave up because I think I have completed lost the thread of what is happening, but as you come towards the end of each book, the excitement builds and pulls you in, motivating you stick with it into the next part.

Really enjoyed this second part, in a completely different setting and perspective to the first, but tied together nicely - well worth a listen, but you need to focus on the story, not half listen as background.