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Publisher's Summary

If J. J. Abrams, Margaret Atwood, and Alan Weisman collaborated on a series, it might be this awesome.

This collection includes all three novels in the epic Southern Reach trilogy: Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance. Praised for its evocative prose, chilling psychological twists, and intriguing story arc, this series has amassed high critical and popular acclaim, with book one landing on the New York Times best sellers list.

Dive into the mysteries of Area X, a remote and lush terrain that has inexplicably sequestered itself from civilization. Twelve expeditions have gone in, and not a single member of any of them has remained unchanged by the experience - for better or worse.

©2014 VanderMeer Creative, Inc. Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance © 2014 by VanderMeer Creative, Inc. (P)2014 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Featured Article: The Best Sci-Fi Horror Audiobooks of All Time


Sci-fi and horror are two genres that just make sense together. Swap haunted mansions for abandoned space ships, ghosts for virus-created zombies and experiments gone wrong, and the eerie darkness of the woods for the deep vastness of space, and it’s easy to see why these two genres make for a classic, thrilling combination. Here are our picks for some of the best sci-fi horror audiobooks of all time.

What listeners say about Area X

Average Customer Ratings
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    1,744
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    1,305
  • 3 Stars
    938
  • 2 Stars
    455
  • 1 Stars
    282
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    2,249
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    1,220
  • 3 Stars
    554
  • 2 Stars
    184
  • 1 Stars
    131
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  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,518
  • 4 Stars
    1,083
  • 3 Stars
    885
  • 2 Stars
    484
  • 1 Stars
    381

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

a trilogy that gets worse as you go

First I'll just say the narration is adequate and that's it. not great but bad. now onto the books... Book 1 is ok, very intriguing with some interesting ideas. Not the best sci fi I've ever read but ok. good enough I was curious to hear the next book. then book 2 starts and it's new characters set in the same world. I thought ok I'll give this a shot, it just felt like 11 hours of running in place! it never took off, it never intrigued me like book one, or thrilled me at all. By book three I was so bored and ready to finish I upped my reading speed to 2.5! please save yourself time and money and look elsewhere for better sci fi!

51 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Almost Great

Think 'Lost' or 'The Leftovers'. Two tv shows that play on piling up many questions. Area X is a nice deal, three stories of an anthology sold as one. An unexplainable expanse has opened up in a forgotten part of the world. A government agency full of secrets over sees its exploration. You the reader are never given answers. The characters are always trying to find out just what the heck is going on.

As an idea, this anthology is 5 stars. Amazing idea. One of the best ideas I have come across in the sci-fi genre.

The manner in which this idea unfolds over the three stories is exquisite. Beautifully done.

I found this story lacking though. Its hard to read/listen to. Its very slow. Where it should be relying upon suspense, it rarely does. Its well written. But wordy. I like introspection, but there is too much of it here. It could have been bettered by more conversations between the characters.

I also found that the characters were all very similar. That one character they all really are is good, but I don't think everyone acts this way. Reading 5 or 6 characters that take on this same over all persona becomes deadening.

You know how when one book has a good idea, 500 other authors take on the same concept? Like Interview with a Vampire started a slew of vampire novels or how you can find 1000 different zombie titles on audible right now? Area X stands alone. I hope other authors are inspired by this concept & that 10 years from now we see it explored in more detail. I think that VanderMeer has something good, but that it has not been explored to its fullest.

141 people found this helpful

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  • KR
  • 02-03-15

Book 1: intriguing! Book 2: Zzzz. Book 3: WTF!

This series starts off like "Lost" - mysterious place with lots of questions.
Book 2 is a slog. It's all inter-company squabbles of the Dharma Initiative.
Book 3 is decent with some action. A bit dreamy and weird and hard to follow but the answers are coming right? And then it ends so abruptly I actually yelled "WTF!" at my car stereo. If you want a great start that then will waste hours going absolutely nowhere... Area X is it.

175 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

What a mess.

In like a lion, out like a lamb. I was excited to follow all the twist and turns that Area X had to offer, but instead I got a convoluted plot and annoying characters. There are moments when I feel the narrators could have ripped a handful of pages out of the books and it would have made the same amount of sense that was intended. Book 3 is the worst by far, switching back and forth between characters you've grown to love and characters that don't fit into the story. Xu Sands is the weakest of the narrators, making it hard to care about any characters she's portraying. I was let down by the ending which felt like a bad episode of Lost. Jeff VanderMeer has the ability to write a classic, but this wasn't it.

28 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Bizarre and non-sensical

The first story was OK and built a lot of suspense. But the second and third stories of the trilogy were a big disappointment - suspense was eliminated by a nonsensical story line. I could not finish this book.

16 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Did I miss the ending?

I feel like I waited the entire story to learn what area X was and they never explained it.
Did I miss it? It might have been something brought forth from the S&SB or it may have been aliens. It never really says. Just hints.
Why did it show up? Why does it change the people who go in it? What was the crawler? What was the tower? What was beyond the door? Why does it clone people? What was its purpose? What’s so important about the lighthouse?
So many questions left unanswered!
I hope there is a proper conclusion to the story one day.

7 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

What was the point?

I don’t understand what this trilogy was about. There is no closure to anything. An interesting world/story was introduced, but it ended up just being a bunch of bullshit leading to nowhere.

22 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Frustration

How many ways can you say nothing? Beautiful descriptions of meaningless thoughts. Unending meandering through perplexed contemplations of things that cannot be described. This was not the book for me.

15 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

What a colossal waste of time

This story, while intriguing, is not fleshed-out in a way that anything feels resolved. It does not feel as though the author had a sense of the story he wanted to tell. Because of this, many scenes are just diatribes and stream of consciousness dumps.

I like books where the story is atypical and stretches your imagination. However, there is no payoff for the 25+ hours of listening to this trilogy.

14 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Better without all the answers

I love this series, and it's beauties and horrors and answer less questions. it is so good.

3 people found this helpful