Acceptance

Acceptance

Jeff VanderMeer

First Sentence:     Just out of reach, just beyond you: the rush and froth of the surf, the sharp smell of the sea, the crisscrossing shape of the gulls, their sudden, jarring cries.

Back of the book:

The Southern Reach trilogy draws to a close and it is winter in Area X.

One last, desperate team embarks across the border, determined to reach a remote island that may hold the answers they’ve been seeking. As they press deeper into the unknown, the threat to the outside world becomes only more daunting.

The mysteries of Area X may have been solved, but their consequences and implications are no less profound – or terrifying.

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Authority

Auhtority

Jeff VanderMeer

First Sentence:      In Control’s dreams it is early morning, the sky deep blue with just a twinge of light.

Back of the book:

The Southern Reach is a government agency so secret it has almost been forgotten.

Following the disastrous twelfth expedition chronicled in ‘Annihilation’, the second book 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.

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Annihilation

Annihilation

Jeff VanderMeer

First Sentence:     The tower, which was not supposed to be there, plunges into the earth in a place just before the black pine forest begins to give way to swamp and then the reeds and wind-gnarled trees of the marsh flats.

Back of the book:

Welcome to Area X. An Edenic wilderness, an environmental disaster zone, a mystery for thirty years.

For thirty years, Area X, monitored by the secret agency known as the Southern Reach, has remained mysterious and remote behind its intangible border– an environmental disaster zone, though to all appearances an abundant wilderness. Eleven expeditions have been sent in to investigate; even for those that have made it out alive, there have been terrible consequences.

‘Annihilation’ is the story of the twelfth expedition and is told by its nameless biologist. Introverted but highly intelligent, the biologist brings her own secrets with her. She is accompanied by a psychologist, an anthropologist and a surveyor, their stated mission: to chart the land, take samples and expand the Southern Reach’s understanding of Area X.

But they soon find out that they are being manipulated by forces both strange and all too familiar. An unmapped tunnel is not as it first appears. An inexplicable moaning calls in the distance at dusk. And while each member of the expedition has surrendered to the authority of the Southern Reach, the power of Area X is far more difficult to resist.

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High-Rise

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J.G. Ballard

First Sentence:     Later, as he sat on his balcony eating the dog, Dr. Robert Laing reflected on the unusual events that had taken place within this huge apartment building the previous three months.

Back of the book:

From the author of Crash and Cocaine Nights comes an unnerving tale of life in a modern tower block running out of control.

Within the concealing walls of an elegant forty-storey tower block, the affluent tenants are hell-bent on an orgy of destruction. Cocktail parties degenerate into marauding attacks on ‘enemy’ floors and the once-luxurious amenities become an arena for riots and technological mayhem.

In this visionary tale of urban disillusionment society slips into a violent reverse as the isolated inhabitants of the high-rise, driven by primal urges, create a dystopian world ruled by the laws of the jungle.

 

Quote from the book:

The internal time of the high-rise, like any artificial psychological climate, operated to its own rhythms generated by a combination of alcohol and insomnia.

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The Yips

Nicola Barker

First Sentence:     Stuart Ransom, professional golfer, is drunkenly reeling off an interminable series of stats about the women’s game in Korea (or the Ladies Game, as he is determined to have it): ‘Don’t scowl at me, beautiful…!’ – directed, with his trademark Yorkshire twinkle, at Jen, who lounges, sullenly, behind the hotel bar.

Back of the book:

2006 is a foreign country; they do things differently there. Tiger Woods’s reputation is entirely untarnished and the English Defense League does not yet exist. Storm clouds of a different kind are gathering above the bar of Luton’s less than exclusive Thistle Hotel. Among those caught up in the unfolding drama are a man who’s had cancer seven times, a woman priest with an unruly fringe, the troubled family of a notorious local fascist, an interfering barmaid with three E’s at A-level but a PhD in bullshit, and a free-thinking Muslim sex therapist with his considerably more pious wife. But at the centre of every intrigue and the bottom of every mystery is the repugnantly charismatic figure of Stuart Ransom – a golfer in free-fall.

Nicola Barker’s The Yips is at once an historical novel of the pre-Twitter moment and the most flamboyant piece of comic fiction ever to be set in Luton.

Quotes from the book:

Her mother gazes at Valentine in much the same way a slightly tipsy shepherd might gaze at the eviscerated corpse of a stray sheep on a neighbouring farmer’s land (a gentle, watercolour wash of concern, querulousness and supreme indifference).

“Even the word is ridiculous – like a cat vomiting up a giant hair-ball: GOLLUFF!

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