Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

Annihilation

By Jeff VanderMeer

  • Release Date: 2014-02-04
  • Genre: Literary
Score: 4
4
From 616 Ratings
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Description

The Southern Reach Trilogy begins with this Nebula Award-winning novel that "reads as if Verne or Wellsian adventurers exploring a mysterious island had warped through into a Kafkaesque nightmare world" (Kim Stanley Robinson).

Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; the second expedition ended in mass suicide; the third expedition in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another. The members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within weeks, all had died of cancer. In Annihilation, the first volume of Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy, we join the twelfth expedition.
The group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain, record all observations of their surroundings and of one another, and, above all, avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.
They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers—they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding—but it's the surprises that came across the border with them and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another that change everything.

Reviews

  • Sooooo weird

    4
    By Josie's Pop
    This is different from anything I have read recently. It’s almost too dystopian, but inventive and imaginative. If you like alternative views of the future and don’t mind bending your mind a bit, you will enjoy this.
  • AWFUL

    1
    By Cici34256
    This was one of the worst books I’ve read in my life. It was a never ending staircase with no stairs. I kept waiting for the ‘good’ part and it never happened.
  • Surreal with a heart

    5
    By Juderyder
    A decent into madness? An understanding beyond the unexplainable? Best advice...strap in and enjoy the ride. Let your mind travel and float, void of all you think you know. For the mind can play tricks and choosing to believe what the eyes see even if that thing is beyond comprehending is a fascinating journey.
  • Creepy

    4
    By Alioh61
    A good story with a lot of mysteries. I definitely feel the need to read the other two books to see what Area X really is. It was a bit slow here and there, but not so bad that I came bored. I recommend it. And, it really is creepy.
  • One word...

    2
    By Martholomeow
    Boring.
  • A Different Kind of Story About a Very Strange Place

    4
    By Prairie_Dog
    "Annihilation" is a very different book, which I'm not sure I can classify. It seems like science fiction, horror, and fantasy all at the same time. It has been classified by some as an example of the "new weird" and that seems to be as good a definition as any. It also has been compared to Lovecraft, and there are certainly elements of that in the book. The story revolves around the mysterious Area X, which is actually a fictionalized version of the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. This area has been changed by an undefined as yet force, which has resulted in a barrier being formed around the area. The area is returning to a natural state, but one with very unnatural elements. A shadowy government organization called The Southern Reach is in charge of this area, and has sent 11 acknowledged expeditions into it to try to discover its secrets. The members of expeditions either do not return, or return strangely changed. This is the story of the 12th expedition. The four characters of this expedition are never named, just identified by their professions. Our narrator is "The Biologist" and she is a very unreliable narrator indeed. Often her narrative has a dreamlike quality. She tells her story of the 12th expedition, and we learn more about her and Area X from her memories that are triggered by her experiences. There is a great deal of her internal dialog, but oddly enough, there is little other dialog with the other expedition members. Surprisingly, not a lot actually happens in the book as far as actual events: two areas are explored, odd things happen, disturbing discoveries are made, and everything falls apart. Our Biologist is deeply changed by her experiences. I found "Annihilation" fascinating! The idea of the strange Area X is certainly fresh and different. I'm glad this is only the first book of the trilogy, as I have many questions that I hope will be answered, but I fear that not all of them will be (and that might be good too). I'm pretty impressed with the setting and concepts, and I'm looking forward to the second novel, "Authority," in which we may learn something about The Southern Reach...
  • Ick

    1
    By Sencilla
    This novel drags on like a whining child. It initially sucked me, because I thought something was going to happen. But no. Unless more and more whining counts for something.
  • Wut

    4
    By erikagwen
    The hell did I just read? I'm diving in to the next book bc I'm at a loss for words.
  • Overwrought and Incomprehensible

    1
    By SimSimi Lover :)
    A very poor imitation of the "Wool" series by Hugh Howley.
  • Over Priced

    1
    By Sparkleglimmer
    I was very disappointed in this read. It was just TOO WEIRD -- and I typically love an odd storyline. Maybe the other books are better? I find it a bit ridiculous that this 200 page novel is 10 dollars. If you want a good SciFi read try Stephen King's 11/22/63. It's two dollars more and you get 700 more pages of story!

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