The lovely and amazing 4th Estate trade paperback covers (UK editions)–now available.
No, I’m not back on the internet. I’m pretty much off the internet until October, but through the magic of scheduling posts in advance, I can tell you: go forth and acquire the new UK trade paperbacks of the Southern Reach trilogy. They’re beautiful.
I’m also able to come to you from the past to spill some Area X secrets. I’ve followed the discussions at Goodreads and elsewhere about Area X and what happens in the novels. I’m really humbled and flattered readers are willing to spend the time analyzing the books in such an in-depth way. I’ve been blessed with readers who are willing to accept ambiguity and recognize that this particular trilogy was never going to be about easy answers. But those readers have also gleaned a fair number of the clues and hit upon those answers the series does provide.
In support of that, I thought I’d let slip some little bits of information. This info may not come as a surprise to some, but it does qualify as SPOILER, so I’ll put a big image of Area X here between you and it. Scroll down if you wish.
Regarding speculation about the plant/flower: Think of the plant and the bloom as markers on a map. A kind of planting of a flag. But in this case one that draws attention or influence to it. It doesn’t bode well that Control finds a dead one in his desk drawer…
Regarding the animal transformations: Area X doesn’t feel threatened and doesn’t encounter “abnormalities.”
Regarding doppelgangers: Something is wrong or some threat is identified, and thus the “spy” is sent back as counter-spy. To put it as simply as possible.
Complicating matters: Environmental factors and other Area X imperatives can interfere with these definitions or explanations having through-line clarity. Because of this, it seemed unlikely the Southern Reach would ever have enough data to figure it out.
As for the use of hypnosis in the novels…there are a few hints that Lowry came back from the first expedition with special knowledge used to enhance conditioning and hypnotic effect beyond what is possible in the here-and-now. I do not think hypnosis in the real world works the way it does for Southern Reach operatives. (I *do* think a lot of us are brain-washed by ideology and counter-factual information, however…and that’s a form of hypnotism if you think about it.)
As for [redacted], the truth is more astonishing than you might think. It’s actually [redacted], who was [redacted] in the [redacted] because of [redacted].