Jeff VanderMeer to Publish Surprise Fourth Book in Southern Reach Series

Posted by MCD x FSG
April 04, 2024

Absolution   cover image

Read the Exclusive Announcement in People

MCD / Farrar, Straus and Giroux is pleased to announce the publication of a fourth book in Jeff VanderMeer’s New York Times-bestselling Southern Reach series. Absolution, which serves as a prequel to the original trilogy, will be published on October 22, 2024, roughly ten years after the publication of Annihilation, the first novel in the series. The publication deal was handled by agent Joe Veltre at The Gersh Agency and Alex Kohner at Yorn, Levine, Barnes, Krintzman, Rubenstein, Kohner, Endlich, Goodell & Gellman.

The Southern Reach Trilogy has sold over a million copies and has been translated into more than thirty-seven languages. In 2014, MCD released the three books individually over an eight-month period, a groundbreaking move for a publisher at the time. Annihilation won the Nebula Award and the Shirley Jackson Award, and in 2018, the novel was turned into a critically acclaimed film directed by Alex Garland and starring Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson, and Oscar Isaac.

This summer, Picador, a division of FSG, will publish tenth anniversary editions of the Southern Reach Trilogy (Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance), featuring introductions by Karen Joy Fowler, N. K. Jemisin, and Helen Macdonald, respectively. The reissues will be published on July 30, 2024. All four of the new cover designs are illustrated by Pablo Delcan and art directed by Alex Merto.

VanderMeer states, “Absolution is the most uncanny, heart-stopping, and, yes, fun novel I’ve ever written. I didn’t plan to write a new novel in the Southern Reach series—which is now a quartet! I was happy to be finished and done with it a decade ago, although there were always a few ideas about Area X that wouldn’t leave me alone. And then I had a series of revelations over the past couple of years that opened it back up for me, and pulled me back in with a force I couldn’t resist. The experience was so powerful that I wrote without stopping, all day, every day, until one week I looked around in a daze and realized it was finished. It was exhilarating. Something about the characters and situations had made it easy, even irresistible, for me to just go for it. I’m excited for readers to come back to Area X with me—I think they’re going to be really surprised and sometimes shocked by what they find out.”

Sean McDonald, publisher of MCD, adds, “A lot’s happened in the last ten years, but as Karen Joy Fowler notes in her (fantastic) new introduction to Annihilation, the Southern Reach books still feel urgent and very much of our moment. The lineup of writers—Fowler, N. K. Jemisin, and Helen Macdonald—introducing the reissues couldn’t be more exciting. And then, of course, there’s Absolution! Which is a perfect reminder of what’s so fertile about Area X, what’s so brilliant and beautiful and rewarding, but also what’s so irresistibly gripping and just so much fun about these books. In the attempt to avoid saying anything spoiler-y, I’ll just say that I never expected a fourth volume to the trilogy (we might have, um, called it something else), but now I can’t imagine the series without it.”

VanderMeer’s other books include Hummingbird Salamander, Dead Astronauts, Borne (currently in development as a TV series at AMC), and The Strange Bird. He has lectured at universities including MIT, Yale, Vanderbilt, and Columbia; most recently, he gave the John Hersey Memorial Address at the Key West Literary Seminar. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, Esquire, Time, Current Affairs, and The Nation. He grew up in the Fiji Islands and now lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with his wife.