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I'm interested in other readers' impressions of these. How does VanderMeer's "New Weird" relate to our Weird Tradition? I read a review that suggested that these have "more than a hint of Lovecraft" but I don't see that much. The tone seems really different. I guess I could compare the "expedition" context to that in The Mountains of Madness. Thoughts?
Generally the style seems to provoke a wide range of reactions, and I suspect that's what's behind the "hint of Lovecraft" -- for those not intimately familiar with HPL, that's a synonym for Weird or just weird more than a valid parallel. I like this aspect of the book, too: it doesn't seem to be heading for a clearcut, sharply delineated story. That seems to throw a lot of readers for a loop.
Although it takes place chronologically after Annihilation in a narrative continuity not so well supported by the film adaptation, I can see points in which this book's further details of the Southern Reach influenced its presentation in the movie.
I think it's odd that the LT tags for these books include many dozens for "dystopia" and "dystopian." They don't at all fit in the genre of dystopian literature as far as I'm concerned. They have nothing to do with an alternative or projected organization of civil society.
Much more interesting read than my daughter's exposure to Poe through "Eleonora", certainly. I'll be curious about her take, too, hope you can update.
In some ways the popularity of Southern Reach is itself unexpected. I haven't looked into this idea, but I wonder if for whatever reason the books ended up with a much wider (non-genre) audience than is typical, and so many of the counfounding takes are from those non-genre readers. I don't think it a bad thing, I hasten to add, it's just been mildly unexpected these "off target" descriptions: HPL (though you suggest there is a parallel in the final book), dystopia, science fiction generally, and also readers who complain about the lack of clear-cut horror.
The finale is not a translation of the novel. It substitutes a different set of events for the end of the novel.
I liked the movie pretty well for what it was, but fidelity to the book was not part of that package. We've had a pretty interesting conversation about it going in the movies thread in Science Fiction Fans.
If you didn't like the movie, don't let it dissuade you on the book, which is a fast read and very rewarding.
Aha! Thanks for that. Based on the positive things I've heard about the novel, I could only hope that there was somehow a disconnect between it and the movie I saw. I still might read it, after all.
Now that you mention it, as far as the film goes, I think it might have benefited from jettisoning those proper names. I'm sure that the idea was that the poor audience would be incapable of identifying with characters with no names (*ahem* Clint Eastwood). The "name" stars were also a distraction. Unknowns would have worked better, but then there goes the budget. I'd bet that the studio also insisted on the distracting extra-marital affair so Natalie could "act". It's kind of the opposite of JAWS, in which the novel featured an annoying extra-marital affair subplot that Spielberg wisely removed, creating a leaner, meaner screenplay.