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Jeff VanderMeer gets movie deal for his forthcoming Southern Reach trilogy

Illustration for article titled Jeff VanderMeer gets movie deal for his forthcoming Southern Reach trilogy

Jeff VanderMeer is perhaps best known for his cult favorite Ambergris novels, including City of Saints and Madmen and Finch, which take place in a weird zone between gothic horror and political science fiction. Now he's sold a new series, the Southern Reach trilogy, to Farrar Straus and Giroux, and gotten a movie deal on top of it. This bodes well for the world of weird.

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Here's the news, from agent Sally Harding:

Paramount Pictures and Scott Rudin Productions have optioned Jeff VanderMeer’s new novels, ANNIHILATION, and the two subsequent books in his Southern Reach trilogy. World rights for the books were bought at auction by Sean McDonald at Farrar Straus and Giroux. ANNIHILATION, is slated to publish in early 2014. It tells the story of a biologist who, in seeking answers to her husband’s tragic disappearance, volunteers for an expedition into an area sealed off as an environmental disaster zone, only to find a pristine wilderness — but in Area X the rules of nature seem to work a little differently.

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This new series sounds fascinating, and a movie set in the shadowy, crawly, complicated VanderVerse can only be awesome.

Aside from his previous novels, VanderMeer and his partner Ann VanderMeer are highly respected anthologists, whose collections of steampunk literature and weird fiction have inspired writers and artists alike.

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DISCUSSION

The money for the optioning still comes in though, even though it doesn't go to production. Knowing the VanderMeers, this will hopefully mean some more fantastic acquisitions for their Cheeky Frawg imprint, among other things. So even if the project never makes it to the screen, it's a net gain for the genre.