While Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy has been read through the uncanny human traumas and tropes of “contamination” in its first novel, Annihilation, the trilogy’s radical ecological thought emerges more clearly through cosmic and transformative trauma in the final novel, Acceptance. Rather than some contaminated space, Area X is restoring Earth’s ecosystems to a “pristine” state, but in a process of guided succession that traumatizes human life as lived under ecologically destructive neoliberal economies of extraction. Reading the twinned falls of Saul and Control, this article shows how Acceptance reimagines uncanny trauma for a new form that is painful but also familiar, human but also posthuman, and utterly necessary for planetary survival.

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