David asked Jeff VanderMeer:

You pull off a very tricky thing in The Southern Reach by making a story where relatively small events bloom, over the course of the book, into much creepier horrors *interiorly,* with characters who do a lot of analysis and rumination. How do you maintain so much tension under a quiet surface? And what authors have you drawn from in doing it?

Jeff VanderMeer Good question, David. One thing that helps is knowing the viewpoint characters well enough to have a sense of what creeps them out and what doesn't. For example, the biologist in Annihilation has totally different fears than Control in Authority, and that affects how they react to things--which can also be nicely undercut by how most readers will react to the same things. There's also the way that the reader's knowledge of what happened in Annihilation that creates a disconnect between what the reader knows and what Control knows, so that helps create unease too.

Then there're approaches like describing mundane things in unusual ways and using the distrust and paranoia caused by the secretive and factionalized way the Southern Reach agency works. Not to mention the ways in which Area X manifests. The devil's definitely in the details, too.

This all feeds into how the scenes are cut. Authority's scenes play out much differently than Annihilation's, but both are meant to accentuate the weird aspects, if in totally different ways.

At this point I'm not sure about what individual authors. We do so much reading for our anthologies that it's all kind of mulch by now.

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