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Old 10-04-2014, 05:08 PM
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Default Where Lies the Strangling Fruit - Talkin' 'bout Southern Reach

Rule number one of this thread: SPOILERS ABOUND, so read at your own risk.
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Old 10-04-2014, 05:12 PM
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Okay, so now that I've gone to the trouble of creating a thread for this series, ostensibly for the purposes of trying to unpack its meaning, the overriding question I have is: is there meaning? Are there any answers to be found other than those that were teasingly hinted at toward the end of Acceptance (e.g., alien organism, lodged in the glass of a lighthouse lens, broken out, infects lighthouse keeper)? Or is the whole point of the series that answers don't matter, because we (as a species?) can't even come up with the right question, let alone possess the intellectual wherewithal to comprehend it?
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Old 10-05-2014, 07:34 PM
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Okay, so now that I've gone to the trouble of creating a thread for this series, ostensibly for the purposes of trying to unpack its meaning, the overriding question I have is: is there meaning? Are there any answers to be found other than those that were teasingly hinted at toward the end of Acceptance (e.g., alien organism, lodged in the glass of a lighthouse lens, broken out, infects lighthouse keeper)? Or is the whole point of the series that answers don't matter, because we (as a species?) can't even come up with the right question, let alone possess the intellectual wherewithal to comprehend it?
There's a lot of the latter, I think! With that said, I'm looking forward to a re-read of the series to see if there actually are more answers buried in the text somewhere than the ones I absorbed.

The main take-away I received about Area X/the lighthouse keeper/the Crawler is that even if it didn't intend to harm humanity (as the book implies several times), it's just so fundamentally different that people can't be around it without getting hurt. Saul's comment to Gloria about how easy it would be to accidentally harm the creatures in the tidepool is especially prescient.

Most of the lingering questions that really bother me have to deal with Central's antics, though. Jackie always seemed like she was doing damage control (Lowry seems to corroborate this), but how much of a hand did her dad really have in the creation of Area X? Why did Henry kill his double and Suzanne, then try to kill Saul? What was Lowry trying to accomplish with his hypnosis/mind games, and how much did that affect whatever Control seemed to do to placate Area X?

Not really sure what the deal was with Whitby's mouse, either. I guess it's important to give your pets baths?

Also, this was a neat connection I missed: https://twitter.com/jeffvandermeer/s...53132962312192.

Last edited by Doctor Nerd; 10-05-2014 at 07:53 PM.
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Old 10-06-2014, 02:40 PM
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Mary Phillips, why can't I place the name that appears in both books? Who was it/who were they?

Two simple motifs that I noticed recurring through the books: 1. thistles. A lot of people talked very specifically and at length about thistles; it was one of the things an early expedition journal noted at length the biologist found disturbing after a while, it was something almost every wanderer mentioned as they walked through Area X. What is it about thistles?
2. Birds. Don't know if most of the wildlife simply happens to be birds, but birds seem to hang around the fringes of the entire series. They populate every mention of wildlife, and set almost every scene. They seem to be watching certain scenes from above, there's the mating pair of Herons behind the Southern Reach HQ... most pointedly, we also have an entire character who goes by Ghost Bird. I feel like I'm forgetting something more about them already.
I truly believe this to be the central question of Southern Reach: What are birds? And the only answer we're given: We just don't know.


In the same way that he talks about fungus a lot, and Area X itself is somewhat fungus-like. Someone turned up a video about fungi that apparently ties into an ARG for the book, and mentions that "fungi are a symbiotic organism that reproduce via spores that scatter when disturbed." Which sounds a lot like Area X itself, if the implications about its homeworld are true. I wonder if the other things are similarly related somehow?


Henry was definitely a big puzzle piece for me. Who he and Suzanne really were and who the mysterious woman with them was (it wasn't Jackie, was it?) At the climax with Saul, they struggle, fall off the balcony, but Saul is all right because of the Brightness, it's implied. Henry, too, wanders over to him, sits next to him on a stone, then falls down (and dies?) as he walks away. I have to wonder if that wasn't the Henry double (surviving the fall, uncertain intentions, falling apart?). I still don't know what it means.


As for the mouse... Whitby finds a small, insignificant creature and decides to take care of it. It's never really shown whether the mouse is comfortable with this or not - whether Whitby has it as a prisoner or a willing participant. It's a great creature and a small one that interact in a necessarily disconnected way - seems like another parallel to Area X and Earth/humanity, maybe?


Also: What animal did control turn into at the bottom of the tunnel? For some reason I was thinking something catlike, but I've heard white rabbit suggested. What do you think, and what's the significance?
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Old 10-06-2014, 03:08 PM
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Mary Phillips, why can't I place the name that appears in both books? Who was it/who were they?
I had to look it up (which is funny - you would think in a series with so few names I would remember named characters better). Anyway, she was (1) Control's ex-girlfriend mentioned in Authority, and (2) Lowry's assistant mentioned in Acceptance.

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I truly believe this to be the central question of Southern Reach: What are birds? And the only answer we're given: We just don't know.
Birds are weird.

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Henry was definitely a big puzzle piece for me. Who he and Suzanne really were and who the mysterious woman with them was (it wasn't Jackie, was it?) At the climax with Saul, they struggle, fall off the balcony, but Saul is all right because of the Brightness, it's implied. Henry, too, wanders over to him, sits next to him on a stone, then falls down (and dies?) as he walks away. I have to wonder if that wasn't the Henry double (surviving the fall, uncertain intentions, falling apart?). I still don't know what it means.
Holy shit - I hadn't considered that the other woman could be Jackie. She could totally be Jackie. My question on the Henry double: Area X didn't really exist at this point, at least in my mind, because this was before Saul/Crawler had driven to the point where the Tunnel/Anomaly would form, so why was Henry doubled? It seemed like everybody else was doubled after exposure to Area X (unless exposure to Saul as the sort of "proto-Area X" was enough, but I definitely get the sense that there's a lot about Henry I'm missing).

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Also: What animal did control turn into at the bottom of the tunnel? For some reason I was thinking something catlike, but I've heard white rabbit suggested. What do you think, and what's the significance?
For some reason I imagined something doglike, but I could see a rabbit. ALSO, why did Area X turn some people into actual animals (the boar, the dolphin, maybe the owl), but others into monsters (the "moaning creature," the Lovecraftian horror that the Biologist (and others) became)?

EDIT: A cat definitely makes more sense than a dog, given Control's cat and the carving of the cat he clutched until the very end.

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What was Lowry trying to accomplish with his hypnosis/mind games, and how much did that affect whatever Control seemed to do to placate Area X?
One hint that Vandermeer dropped in an interview I read was that the names of each of the three books are (in addition to their other meanings) hypnotic triggers. This was obvious in the first book, but I don't remember when they were uttered aloud (assuming they were) in the second and third books. Do you guys remember?
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Old 10-06-2014, 04:28 PM
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Holy shit - I hadn't considered that the other woman could be Jackie. She could totally be Jackie.
I just assumed it was Jackie, during her "working to be near her son" phase.

The transformations seemed to just work better on some people than others, probably to do with the nature of the person (and their affinity/acceptance of Area X).

The "brightness" seems to make you jump out of things.

Some of the thistles repetition is that the biologist read the observation in the old journals and then her double propagated the story.

Why was Lowry's hypnosis so effective? It's more like he was programming their brains than what we'd think modern hypnosis could do. Was Lawry a double with super-hypno powers?
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Old 10-06-2014, 05:28 PM
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Why was Lowry's hypnosis so effective? It's more like he was programming their brains than what we'd think modern hypnosis could do. Was Lawry a double with super-hypno powers?
I could see Lowry being a double - his erratic behavior plus the fact that Area X went to the trouble of replicating a cell phone to try and communicate with him. This makes more sense if he's a lost "child" in some respect.

Speaking of which, why did all of the (last) Eleventh Expedition doubles die of cancer?
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Old 10-07-2014, 02:08 AM
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I think someone in Authority said that the cancer doubles were a ploy/effort at getting Area X into the Southern Reach. Like planting seeds there. But honestly I don't know how it spread there - through the plant, through the doubles, through Whitby (who may himself have been a double that killed the original, and was certainly effected in some way or another), or was it not until the director's return?


I don't think Lowry was a double. I think his whole thing was that it stuck with him in other ways, haunting him and driving him insane. That it became his entire obsession. That he was hurt like the starfish in the tide pool, deeply damaged by its attempt to interact with him, and thereby became a different kind of tragedy of Area X than just another missing/dead person. Thooooough, it might help explain why he was so insistent on sending more and more people in there, though there are other possibilities besides him consciously trying to feed it. My god, I was really hoping he'd get the phone back, just to see what would happen.


The thing that made me think The Woman was Jackie was that otherwise there's this totally mysterious woman in one scene who is a complete cipher. Also something about scarves, that woman was wearing a scarf and shortly before Jackie is mentioned as wearing scarves. It threw me off because I thought it clashed with the ages of the characters as I knew them - I thought Cynthia was much older than Control but she couldn't have had more than a few years on him if that had been Jackie after all, or she might even have been younger than him?


Also, Cynthia's cancer - Area X, from her first expedition? I have to believe it's related, or it seems like a kind of cheap shot to throw in there. Speaking of the first expedition: I think by the time you have the ability to pick up on this the time difference has basically been spelled out for you, but references to Cynthia's first expedition talk about her and Whitby being gone for three weeks, and yet her own recounting of the expedition can't be more than a day or two. It's not fully spelled out until Control and Ghost Bird reunite with Grace and read the biologist's journal, but there are hints beforehand.


As far as Henry's being doubled, there were other strange proto-Area X events. The tunnel/door showing Saul the future (the mound of journals in the lighthouse trapdoor room) being the big one. Henry could easily have been exposed to one of those.
(The comet vision is another pre-area X thing too.) The comet itself had the same 8-leaf pattern as the flower that bloomed the splinter; was it a recollection of the calamity that scattered Area X's spores, or was it the spore's arrival? Long in the past, maybe? How long has that spore been there? And was there something about the lens that caused it to lodge/grow/appear there? Or was it just wrong place/wrong time?
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Old 10-07-2014, 02:16 AM
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Default We should really pick this apart at some point

Where lies the strangling fruit that came from the hand of the sinner I shall bring forth the seeds of the dead to share with the worms that gather in the darkness and surround the world with the power of their lives while from the dimlit halls of other places forms that never were and never could be writhe for the impatience of the few who never saw what could have been. In the black water with the sun shining at midnight, those fruit shall come ripe and in the darkness of that which is golden shall split open to reveal the revelation of the fatal softness in the earth. The shadows of the abyss are like the petals of a monstrous flower that shall blossom within the skull and expand the mind beyond what any man can bear, but whether it decays under the earth or above on green fields, or out to sea or in the very air, all shall come to revelation, and to revel, in the knowledge of the strangling fruit—and the hand of the sinner shall rejoice, for there is no sin in shadow or in light that the seeds of the dead cannot forgive. And there shall be in the planting in the shadows a grace and a mercy from which shall blossom dark flowers, and their teeth shall devour and sustain and herald the passing of an age. That which dies shall still know life in death for all that decays is not forgotten and reanimated it shall walk the world in the bliss of not-knowing. And then there shall be a fire that knows the naming of you, and in the presence of the strangling fruit, its dark flame shall acquire every part of you that remains.
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Old 10-09-2014, 09:30 AM
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Yeah, what's the deal with that? I read in an interview that the whole idea for the series came to Vandermeer in a fever dream. He was descending the stairs of the tower/tunnel (and he even says that in his dream he was confused as to whether it was a tower or a tunnel), and the words were written on the wall in exactly as they appear in the book. He woke up and quickly wrote down the idea (and the words).

Now, I don't know if the entirety of the words appeared to him in his dream, but the fact that they first came to him in a fever dream makes me wonder if there is supposed to be any deeper meaning there, or if they're just meant to be the apocalyptic ravings of a religious mind caught up in a metamorphosis he can never understand.
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Old 10-09-2014, 11:57 PM
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Having written from dreams before, trust me when I say guess with no actual information that while the idea and words may have originally come to him in a dream, there was a looooooong process of revision and rewriting and changes that came after that. Which also ties into what I heard, which is that a hike through St. Mark's National Wildlife Reserve is what inspired him - and really, it doesn't have to be one or the other.

Also, the text of the... sermon? seems to tie into a lot of the story. I don't think for a minute that they're just ravings, because so much of it seems to be reflected in the happenings of Area X. If it did come first, JV clearly built Area X from those blueprints.
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Old 10-13-2014, 02:12 PM
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ALSO, why did Area X turn some people into actual animals (the boar, the dolphin, maybe the owl), but others into monsters (the "moaning creature," the Lovecraftian horror that the Biologist (and others) became)?
The biologist speculates that when she gives into the Brightness after her decades of resistance, the transformation will be more spectacular. However I get the impression that her transformation is nonetheless more "benign" than the moaning creature's. For example, didn't she only destroy the military on the beach after she was attacked?

The moaning creature was the 11th (?) expedition psychologist; we're told that her head was unusually mangled by Lowry's hypnosis, almost to the point of being two people. I took it that her mental instability affected the doubling/transformation process and so she ended up, as it were, neither fish nor fowl.

Re: Lowry and doubles: Well, he does build his own miniature Area X, complete with lighthouse and tower, in the hidden base that we see in Acceptance. Perhaps he's longing for "home?"

Re: Control and cats: Do we know where Control got Chorizo? Was he a stray? Could Control be his own cat? We know that Area X does do strange things with time, though then again we never see it run backwards.
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Old 10-14-2014, 12:34 AM
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Default Okay, let's start picking at this thing.

Quote:
Where lies the strangling fruit
So right off the bat we have to ask, what is the Strangling Fruit in reference to? Is it Area X itself? Is it something that people brought upon our natural environment?

Quote:
that came from the hand of the sinner
It seems like the sinner is us, humanity, and so the fruit would be something we left. Or, if we look to Acceptance, is the sinner something/someone(s) from the original place that was destroyed? Was the cataclysm called down on them?

Quote:
I shall bring forth the seeds of the dead
The seeds of the dead, what's brought forth, could be Area X, or it could be a part of it. But What? The Brightness that grows in people, for example, that takes and learns the director throughout Acceptance? Area X seems to grow seeds (doubles) from the deaths of people and things within it, it seems.

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to share with the worms that gather in the darkness
and surround the world with the power of their lives
This one, I'm not sure what to make of just yet.

Quote:
while from the dimlit halls of other places
Reference to the other... dimensions? Planets? Locations across the universe? that Area X touches on?

Quote:
forms that never were and never could be
Seems self-explanatory - the crawler, the biologist, et al - things that overwhelm our limited senses and exist in multiple places and times and planes all at once. Any other ideas?

Quote:
writhe for the impatience of the few
who never saw what could have been.
Seems like a condemnation of those who cannot sense or interact with the full extent of possibility in... the world, existence, their lives?



Quote:
In the black water with the sun shining at midnight,
There's reference to swamps and marshes, tidal pools, and so on. I think some of them are referred to as black water, and in particular I believe there's a scene in Annihilation where the biologist sees... light in them? Or reflections of something? It could also be in reference to the false sky that covers Area X, so the sun could be shining at any time.

Quote:
those fruit shall come ripe
Is this the Strangling Fruit?

Quote:
and in the darkness of that which is golden
A momentary diversion. There's a loooooot of talk about Light as a motif in these books - lighthouses literal and metaphorical for human interaction, brightness as growing awareness and new life, revelation, the doors into Area X, the bottom of the tower, and so on. "Golden" makes me think of the crawler and the light it emits before it completely overloads the people seeing it. Darkness could be metaphorical for that which is unseen, or not understood...?

Quote:
shall split open to reveal
the revelation of the fatal softness in the earth.
What splits open to reveal things? The eight-petaled flower that brought the splinter and carried Area X to Earth? The people who carry the "seeds of the dead" and open like flowers? Area X?


Quote:
The shadows of the abyss
are like the petals of a monstrous flower
The abyss - of space, perhaps? The monstrous flower seems to be another reference to Area X, which is brought by the flower, and represented as a flower in Saul's vision of the flower-comet crashing cataclysmically into Earth. Could the cataclysm be related to Area X, in fact? In Ghost Bird's vision it seems the constructed life form is sent out almost automatically after the cataclysm as a reaction to it, but what if that cataclysm is the seed itself, and its crash causes a chain reaction of more spores being sent out? Is the unknowable darkness of the abyss itself the propagator of this phenomenon?

Quote:
that shall blossom within the skull
and expand the mind beyond what any man can bear,
Another seemingly straight-forward one; no human can begin to grasp the enormity of what Area X is, and as its flower blooms in a human mind, the mind is lost and usually dies or is transformed into something else. Madness, where the bloomed kill each other or themselves. Or transfiguration, or absorption, or doubling...

Quote:
but whether it decays under the earth or above on green fields, or out to sea or in the very air,
I actually have nothing to say about this.

Quote:
all shall come to revelation, and to revel, in the knowledge of the strangling fruit—
I like the pun on revel and revelation. Also, the knowledge of the strangling fruit seems to be in reference to the knowledge of Area X, or whatever planted Area X. Perhaps the flower of light is the strangling fruit, then, and the seeds of the dead are the chain reaction that results in Area X as a phenomenon.

Quote:
and the hand of the sinner shall rejoice,
for there is no sin in shadow or in light that the seeds of the dead cannot forgive.
Well humanity hasn't quite gotten to rejoicing yet, but it sees to have to do with the cleanliness and pristine nature of Area X, that cleanses and purifies and leaves pristine whatever may lay in its path.


Quote:
And there shall be in the planting in the shadows
Planting - the seeds, Area X? The shadows - is a place not yet planted by Area X considered in darkness, and the fruit and seeds are what brings light? Are Earth and humanity in shadow until the X Fruit is planted there, according to... it?

Quote:
a grace and a mercy from which shall blossom dark flowers,
Grace and Mercy. Is this also the fruit of Area X, its purification? Perhaps allowing everything to live, or be born again, is considered a mercy or a grace? Or is it something else?

Quote:
and their teeth shall devour and sustain
and herald the passing of an age.
The teeth of the dark flowers devour and sustain - seems again like Area X, which consumes all in its path, yet sustains it in a more vibrant and pure state than ever before. The passing of an age... a human age? If so, that seems self-explanatory, in that it will devour (and sustain) the Earth. Do planets pass from a pre-Fruit age to a post-Fruit age?


Quote:
That which dies shall still know life in death
for all that decays is not forgotten
and reanimated it shall walk the world in the bliss of not-knowing.
This seems like an explicit reference to the reanimation of those of those that die? in Area X. People die but the brightness inside them lives on, and is either subsumed and absorbed into Area X or reproduced as a double, or a creature or another entity entirely. The bliss of not-knowing is perhaps in reference to the doubles not remembering, of being created as pristine and clean as Area X itself.


Quote:
And then there shall be a fire that knows the naming of you,
This I think is referred to within the text a couple times, as the Biologist and Saul's narrations talk about how they feel the brightness (the fire - as the psychologist tells the biologist, she saw her burning) consume them, read them, completely analyze and know them. I think we see this very process unfolding in Acceptance, too, as the Director's dying brightness reads her last moments, everything she knows, all her secrets. There's also talk of Naming, which is a key motif in the series - the lack and use of names is given a lot of power. No names in Annihilation; Control trying to name himself, pathetically-ironically; the many false names of the Psychologist/The Director/Cynthia/(??); Even Jack and Jackie and John (remember that Jack is short for John), and the surname Severance. Ghost Bird naming herself from her false memories.

Quote:
and in the presence of the strangling fruit,
its dark flame shall acquire every part of you that remains.
In the presence of the cataclysm spore, the X fruit, the brightness will take you, entirely, one way or another. Through transfiguration, or death and absorption, or doubling, you will become part of Area X.



It seems like the whole sermon is in part the message encoded within the fruit that explains what the whole thing is about; but like the phenomenon itself, much of it is hinted at through shadows on the cave wall, is obliquely and obtusely referred to, leaving us with an incomplete and impossible grasp of the whole. Saul, as the first carrier, the first seed to sprout, the ground zero proclaims it, delivered the sermon to those who would hear it... but only after his transformation, because until then it overwhelmed him, burned as the brightness within. That's probably why, meta-textually, Vandermeer made him a former preacher.


Questions that remain: who is "I" that brings forth? Is the sermon-carrier also the root and cause? Is this the origin of the cataclysm spore or the X fruit talking to those who receive it?




Anyway, let me know what you guys disagree or agree with, and what you think it means!
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Old 10-20-2014, 12:46 AM
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Nothin'? Harsh, bros.

Anyway, I found a possible nod to the thistles just now, in one of Vandermeer's annotated comments on an excerpt from Annihilation:

Quote:
Meanwhile, under the surface, unbeknownst to the surveyor, the psychologist, and surveyor, but probably not the biologist this process is going on all around them. Beware the common thistle—it is more complex than you might imagine. (And also figures prominently in a later section of the novel.)
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Old 10-21-2014, 12:16 PM
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Nothin'? Harsh, bros.
Sorry, man!

I'll respond to your analysis in more detail later, but one line that kept on jumping out at me, for some reason, was "the fatal softness in the earth." Do you think this is a reference to the tower/tunnel (in that it's literally sunken into the earth), or more of a metaphorical softness, or both, or neither?
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Old 10-22-2014, 06:42 AM
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So biologist believes the owl is her husband, but given how fast time passes in Area X and the fact that her expedition didn't start right away, that may not be possible. The owl seems to live for decades, so maybe it is possible.

Doesn't the director/psychologist fly off in her final viewpoint? Was she the owl? At least she's part of the same expedition, so time distortion wouldn't be a factor.
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Old 12-08-2014, 03:02 PM
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Doesn't the director/psychologist fly off in her final viewpoint? Was she the owl? At least she's part of the same expedition, so time distortion wouldn't be a factor.
No, she wasn't the owl. In Annihilation, when she dies, the biologist sees a fountain of the green sparks/light beaming up into the sky. Later, in Acceptance, the first scene is of her dying, and she soars up into the sky - her consciousness is in the light, or is the light, or something; Area X begins to probe her memories, her story: her "narration" is actually the recounting of Area X scanning her, which is confirmed in the last bit, as far as I recall.

There's lots of flying/soaring with Area X too, though. The last shot of the 1st expedition's video is of soaring far above the area. The Psych's vision. There's also the consistent repetition of birds as a motif, so, maybe... or maybe she was just A Bird while being scanned, or even after.


I'd just like to mention that I'm currently watching Twin Peaks and I'm partway through season 2, so this talk of surreality, consciousness scanning and owls is coming through some weird filters right now.
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Old 12-30-2014, 11:34 AM
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I'm glad everyone warned me that Authority was wildly different in tone and not as good as Annihilation was, lowered my expectations just enough that I am loving it so far.
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Old 01-09-2015, 02:11 PM
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I love that this thread is here. I'd picked up Annihilation during the summer after someone on IRC (I can't for the life of me remember who it was) recommended it. Read it in one night and picked up Authority right away. That remaining month or two until Acceptance came out was painful.

I absolutely love this trilogy, although the last two didn't quite keep that sense of creeping dread Annihilation had.

Reading this thread is making me want to read them again, see if I can connect more dots than I already think I have.
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  #20  
Old 01-10-2015, 08:11 PM
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Default WHITBY

i'm really interested in what everyone's take on whitby is. the most important question is whether or not you think he was the real whitby or the clone.

personally, i think the whitby that left Area X was actually the clone. i don't think that the clones innately knew they clones upon their successful creation - we're lead to believe the original's consciousness is passed along to the clone, knowing that it took ghost bird, for example, a while to become more self aware (but she still generally kind of possessed the biologist's innate personality traits). i think the immediate reaction is killing/attacking the threat, which is just something that seems like a copy of them. i don't think that the killing is immediately an act of Area X aggression. anyway, having stated that, i think that the clone left Area X and simply continued on living as whitby, having not much else to do and having whitby's consciousness, and drive, but knowing, eventually, what he is and why he exists, again, much like ghost bird.

i think that makes his uniformed theory documents, which we get to know a lot about through control, really interesting. vandermeer stated in interviews that things which seemed unreliable were actually a lot more reliable than we may think. gloria mentioned that a while after his return from Area X, he stabilized more and got back to working on his uniformed theories. i feel like this is now possibly as a self aware clone and with his own questions/information and inherent nature giving valuable information. both he and ghost bird stated that whatever life the spores/fungus/machinery came from is already gone.

just putting some thoughts out there - i thought whitby's story was super interesting and sad. i wish we had found out what happened to him once Area X expanded.
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Old 01-10-2015, 08:17 PM
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I too got the feeling it was the Whitby clone. Ghost Bird realizing she was a clone was probably not part of the design. Didn't Control at one point suspect that Whitby was basically an Area X sleeper agent? I seem to recall that being a thing near the end of Authority. That wouldn't make sense with it being the original, unless he were in favor of Area X's takeover.
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Old 01-13-2015, 08:27 AM
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If Whitby wasnt a copy originally, he definitely wound up going native for X before long. His constant desire to be transferred away from Southern Reach was less due to the stress of the job then it was to try to spread X to more places. He only stopped right around the time between the 11th and 12th, possibly realizing that he didn't really need to bother. Also, Control suspects he was eating specimens taken out of Area X. Which, no matter how snacky you might be, is not the kind of idea that belongs to anyone who wasn't native to a Lovecraftian Nightmare-biosphere. Would also explain why Whitby was so weird about the mouse.

Speaking of; is there any particular reason why Area X tried so hard to mimic Florida? The place was meant to be a refuge/terraforming device for some incomprehensible alien species, right? Why would it care if it was making things (slightly) more comfortable for the species is was replacing?
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Old 02-02-2015, 12:22 PM
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I just want everyone to know that, because of a combination of incredible stress, playing Kingdom Hearts, and reading the Southern Reach trilogy, I had a dream about descending into the tower with a keyblade. It was disorienting.
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  #24  
Old 06-14-2015, 12:37 PM
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I just finished reading Acceptance!

Like everyone else, I really loved the series. Also like everyone else, I'm still trying to figure out what to make of it. Weirdly, I didn't even find this thread by browsing TT -- I found it while scouring Google to see what other people thought on the subject. I really enjoyed reading what you all had to say.

I kind of want to give this a few days to digest and then dive back in for round two. Also, I really want to check out VanderMeer's other stuff now.
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Old 06-14-2015, 11:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeeZee View Post
Also, I really want to check out VanderMeer's other stuff now.

Do it!
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  #26  
Old 06-15-2015, 12:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeeZee View Post
Also, I really want to check out VanderMeer's other stuff now.
It's totally on my list

But the list is looooong D:
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  #27  
Old 06-16-2015, 05:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pointzeroeight View Post
Do it!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul le Fou View Post
It's totally on my list

But the list is looooong D:
Just got Finch! I'm gonna start it tonight.

Also, it's been a while: has the internet decided on a Grand Unified Theory for Southern Reach yet? 'Cause it's gonna bother me.
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  #28  
Old 06-16-2015, 05:32 PM
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It's like you didn't learn anything from Acceptance!
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  #29  
Old 06-16-2015, 05:42 PM
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Quote:
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It's like you didn't learn anything from Acceptance!
NO I DO NOT ACCEPT THAT THE GRAND UNIFYING THEORY IS THAT THERE'S NO POINT TO LOOKING FOR A GRAND UNIFYING THEORY
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  #30  
Old 07-14-2015, 01:05 PM
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I'm coming into this way late, but I just finished Acceptance. I avoided this thread for fear of spoilers/other folks' interpretations clouding my own.

I will probably come back and word vomit later and respond to specific things you guys posted above, but my short thoughts on it are that the sermon basically is gibberish and there is no unified theory or explanation.

Scouring the text for connections between a lot of this stuff is fun, but beside the point, imo. Area X is something so alien, so advanced (or just different) that it may not even be aware of the existence of humanity and no attempt to understand it by any of the characters in the book is reliable or even hints at what is really happening.

A good analogy might be less like accidentally harming the creatures in the tidal pool and more like affecting the microbial world of a patch of grass next to my driveway by washing my car.
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