Acceptance - Book 3 of The Southern Reach Trilogy

Acceptance (The Southern Reach Trilogy) - Jeff VanderMeer
The three novels of the Southern Reach Trilogy amount to the best recent science fiction series that I have read. Let's define recent as within the last decade.
Why so good? It comes down to a combination of literary skill coupled with a scorchingly original pathway of ideas. I'm choosing words carefully here: pathway of ideas rather than "plot." Plot connotes a concrete vehicle that moves the reader forward. With these books, the reading experience goes beyond the conventional thrust of storytelling. Like Area X itself, VanderMeer's writing frightens and disorients, so that by the end, we don't know quite what has occurred. These books are something a reader or listener experiences rather than merely following a chain of events. In its pages are some of the most quietly unsettling descriptions of human madness that I've encountered in fiction.
None of this works at all if the author fails to deliver interesting characters. I thought about this last point quite a lot as Acceptance unfolded. VanderMeer establishes his characters and their gnarly relationships in Annihilation and Authority, filling in their lives and back stories with the deft touch of a master short story writer. By the time we reach Acceptance, the table has been set and we can feast on the interplay of these characters. Having this advantage, VanderMeer takes on a more ambitious narrative structure, shifting between present tense viewpoints of all main characters, but also providing a lengthy section from the Biologist's Area X journal and illuminating the backstory of a character whose presence darkened the first two installments: the lighthouse keeper, Saul! As "Patient Zero," it's Saul's account that provides the most chills. This is because he is the most ignorant of any of the characters we've encountered with regard to the region's power. For this reason, his experiences, as he is slowly altered by whatever forces are at work in and around his lighthouse, take on a more panicked and visceral quality. 
It's books like these that make reading so much fun. I'm giddy just to share a planet for a few decades with the mastermind behind this literary world.
Jeff VanderMeer - you are the man!