Maybe you all can help me out here… For a research project, I’m looking for media that uses a “mystery zone” trope as a central (or at least notable) plot point. These could be books, movies, fictional podcasts, short stories, games, etc. Ideally, characters venture into the mystery zone and return either changed or with some type of artifact (good or bad). Here are some examples:
- Roadside Picnic, by the Strugatsky brothers (novel): The Stalker collects artifacts from the zone and sells them on the black market. This is an excellent book.
- Stalker (film): Loose adaptation of Roadside Picnic
- Southern Reach Trilogy, by Jeff VanderMeer: Includes Annihilation, which was adapted into a film.
- Annihilation (film): Natalie Portman explores a zone and finds Slim Goodbody. Adapted from the Southern Reach Trilogy.
- Hinterlands, by William Gibson (short story): Anomaly in space teleports astronauts to an unknown place.
- S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl (game): Based on either Roadside Picnic or the Stalker film, loosely.
- S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky (game): Prequel to the above.
- S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat (game): Sequel to Shadow of Chernobyl.
- Metro 2033 (novel): Fan fiction based on the Roadside Picnic world, but at some indeterminate point in the future, and mostly underground.
- Metro 2033 (game): Based on the book.
- Other Metro… books and games
- Interstellar (movie): Funky robots and Matthew McConaughey explore a worm hole.
- FTL (short film): Astronaut goes faster than light. Have a look/see if you haven’t seen it.
- The Expanse books and show kind of deal with this early on.
Many of these are derived from Roadside Picnic, in some regard. I haven’t played all of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. or Metro games: just Shadow of Chernobyl and Metro 2033 (which I read). Do the other games/books have the mystery of the zone as a central part of the story?
What else can you think of that uses this trope?