The second book in the Southern reach horror/SF trilogy.
Publication year: 2014
Publication year of the Finnish translation: 2015
Translator: Einari Aaltonen
Page count: 382
Publisher of the Finnish translation: Like
The first book centered on a small group of people inside the mysterious Area X which appeared inside the US overnight, years ago. This book focuses on the people right outside Area X, government’s secret facility called the Southern Reach. The place is very near to the border to Area X. The scientists investigating Area X live there, as well as their administrators. A small military base is also near. The first book ended without a conclusion but this book doesn’t start where the previous one ended. We get only tantalizing hints at what happened or might have happened. We also find out that some of the things previously accepted as facts are not true.
John “Control” Rodriquez is the new director of the facility. The current assistant director, Grace Stevenson, doesn’t care for him and makes it clear. Grace is convinced that the previous director will return. Control has heard somethings about the facility and Area X before going there. Now he has to delve deep into just what has been found out about Area X and the border. Quickly, he also finds out that the people who have been in the facility are… peculiar and they have their own small groups and ways of doing things. There might also be something wrong in the whole building. Control reports to the Voice, behind everyone else’s backs, and so he’s also spying on the staff. He doesn’t know who the Voice is.
In a previous assignment, Control made some disastrous decisions and this place is his last chance to prove his worth to the Central. His mother also works for Central.
The atmosphere in “Authority” is similar to the previous book, “Annihilation” but it’s more centered on people and the wrongness in their behavior than the environment. At first it’s filled with strange little moments which lead to full-on weirdness. But for me it was a bit too slow at times and I wanted to know more about Area X rather than the people around it. Still, this was a very good and an unexpected continuation to “Annihilation” and I’m looking forward to the last book.