Annihilation

Annihilation

eBook - 2014
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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.

Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, [2014]
ISBN: 9780374710774
0374710775
Characteristics: 1 online resource (195 pages)

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b
B_Strong
Aug 09, 2018

This is close to a 3.5 for me.

I thought the idea of the story was really cool, and I loved that the characters don't have names, and are just referred to by their occupation.

But, I just felt that the story was...slow. And I didn't feel very connected to the main character or sucked into her story. It was like reading an old expedition journal or something.

Overall, the concept and the theme of the novel was really cool, but I don't think I'll continue on with the series.

k
Kjkittrell
Jul 28, 2018

This is the best book in the trilogy, it gives one the creeps as you go through the story,because we don't really know what is out at the site the women are investigating. Would have been better as a graphic novel.

g
gidkid
Jul 25, 2018

I loved this book as it didn't conform to the normal "sci-fi" mold in many ways. It's less about world building and the author trying to wow you with their imagination of physical places, and more about the thoughts that take place in the mind of the main character and the complexities of what motivates their actions.

If you want a book that takes you on some roller-coaster ride in strange and exotic locations with three headed aliens and funny inside nerd jokes (which I love), this is not that book.

I described it to a friend as a lonely version of the show "Lost" seasons 1-3 and I mean that in the best of ways, and also as a warning to anyone who can't stand the idea of such a story.

d
dwlueth
Jul 16, 2018

I read this book much faster than I usually do. I found the pace and level of character development perfect. I find many books are read are too long with details that are not necessary. I loved that the author kept this book the perfect length for this story. I am excited to read the next book in the series.

SCL_Jenny Jul 09, 2018

This is a great book that really knows how to do unsettling well. I didn't like the writing style at first, I found it dense and overly-descriptive, but I got used to it the further I went along. And then it was so creepy and engaging that the style didn't matter at all to me. I'm definitely looking forward to reading the rest of the trilogy!

m
MaxCW26
Jul 06, 2018

Great book. Looking forward to reading the rest of the Southern Reach trilogy.

p
pspice
Jun 18, 2018

I'm with lecopaw and Alfred367. I bought the trilogy and am donating it to the library. Very dense, mega-descriptive sentences and passages. Difficult to follow. Strangely enough, I did finish all 3 but, even now knowing the ending (?), it left me unsatisfied. I will not check out another book by this author.

l
lucasey
May 30, 2018

unsettling, creative sci-fi mystery

OLATHEAllisonB May 25, 2018

A slow burning story with Lovecraftian elements, "Annihilation" is vague and unsettling. Vandermeer does a nice job describing just enough of the setting and beings in Area X so that it is up to the reader to imagine what they might look like, which can be far more frightening than being explicitly told how they look. But the most chilling parts of this book are the interactions among the 4 human women who make up the exploratory team in Area X. No names are used and everyone, including the main character, are referred to by their job titles in the outside world (although one of them may have another secret role that is never fully explained). Sinister mysteries lie beneath the events of the plot, pointing to the promise of learning more in the rest of the series. This is not a book for those who prefer clearly outlined stories with predictable checkpoints and a neatly-tied-up ending, but it is a short and interesting read.

s
stewstealth
May 13, 2018

A haunting narrative that is overly descriptive with no characterization except for the protagonist. The author conveys a chilling environment but not much logic(Even in the "real world") and we get no explanation for Area X ( A stupid name). As this book is quite short and published in the same year as the two other installments it is possible that when the trilogy is completed there is some sort of payoff. Hard to say at this point if it is worth reading.

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