We were neither what we had been nor what we would become once we reached our destination.
To put a bit of context to this, I have just finished up a module called ‘The Weird Tale’, that looks at horror and science fiction short stories that are primarily concerned with the ‘weird’: something outside the realm of our understanding that is decidedly not explained. Through that module, I encountered a lot of Jeff VanderMeer, who writes extensively on weird fiction.
Hence, when I picked up his book, I had a bit of an understanding of what I was getting into. From the synopsis, I admit I was expecting a bit more concrete structure, or at least a lot more science. Part of me was expecting ‘The Martian’-esque writing, but more focused on science fiction. It decidedly isn’t that all.
Instead we’re thrust into a narrative with very little information and even less understanding. Following an expedition party into the mysterious Area X, everything is decidedly removed from our understanding. Mysterious towers and odd groans at night, and odd team members, it is definitely weird.
Others might be frustrated by the lack of concrete narrative or world building, but I really admire VanderMeer’s writing. It’s almost on the cusp of Lovecraftian: an unknown entity that is more than we could ever understand or imagine. And that’s the power that this novel brings: that great sense of unease and the questions we continually have over the course of reading it.
This book is ultimately clever, working on very real worries and suspicions that we all have. I admit, I would have liked a bit more understanding by the end, but this intrigue will definitely lead me to read the rest of the trilogy!
WHAT I LOVED: the weird, beautiful cover, FEMALE CHARACTERS
WHAT I DISLIKED: could have been longer!