Paperback, 195 pages

English language

Published April 16, 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

ISBN:
978-0-374-10409-2
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4 stars (210 reviews)

Area X has been cut off from the rest of the world 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 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 …

3 editions

Moment only

3 stars

This book didn’t really work for me. Neither horror nor science fiction. It didn’t work as a thriller either. It needed more development. Some was there for the lead character but meeting the other characters in training would have provided connection and depth that was wanted.

Gripping, dazzling eco-sci-fi-horror

4 stars

Couldn't put this one down once I picked it up. Saw the movie first, which shares some key details in common but otherwise feels like a different story being told in a similar alternate universe. It strikes a perfect balance between narrative, prose, and philosophy. You know the mission is doomed from page one but you can't look away. I can't wait to finish the trilogy.

Review of 'Annihilation' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Ah, so that's what it feels like to find a book that was written specifically for me.

I'll preface this with the fact that I did see the movie (god, has it really been five years already?) before reading the book, but my fears of being spoiled ended up being unfounded because beyond the setting and loose cast of characters, there's barely any crossover between the two. They may as well be two separate works of fiction, but luckily for me I ended up loving both of them.

This was a weird book, but not in a way that left me frustrated. The setting itself is a central mystery, but several other interrelated mysteries swirl around it, and not everything (not even the majority) is answered. But because everything is relayed second-hand through - honestly - one of the most interesting protagonists I've ever read, you're so detached from things …

Weirder than the movie

3 stars

The movie and the book are both interesting, although they are different enough that I'd say the movie is "based on the back cover of the book". The unreliable narrator and weirdly disorienting story telling makes it a challenge to piece out what (if anything) is real while reading, which is can be an enjoyable experience for some readers.

Also the workplace dynamics of the Southern Reach office is really suboptimal. HR should probably get involved.

Exzessives Schreiben

5 stars

Wie angekündigt habe ich Annihilation schon wieder gelesen (vermutlich zum vierten Mal, zuletzt erst im Dezember), Anlass ist die angekündigte Besprechung des Werks im empfehlenswerten Science Fiction-Podcast Sprawl Radio.

Was mir bei dieser Lektüre auffiel, war der Bezug zum exzessiven, sinnlosen Schreiben. Darauf kam ich, weil ich zur Zeit wieder in so ein Journaling/immer ein Notizbuch dabeihaben-Rabbithole gefallen bin. In Annihilation schreiben immer alle, der Crawler schreibt einen endlosen, alttestamentarischen Sermon auf die TunnelTurmwand, die Notizbücher der Expeditionen vergammeln in mannshohen Haufen, zugleich lesen wir den Report der Biologin. Das passt dann vielleicht auch irgendwie zu dem exzessiven Schreiben Richard Seymours in The Twittering Machine.

Beautiful Horror

5 stars

I greatly enjoyed the movie, but loved the book even more. While the movie does a great job of visually portraying everything, it just can't compare to the books and your imagination. The book also seems to put a bit more focus on the characters conflicts with each other, and what happens between them.

It goes into such detail of the weird things happening in Area X, and all the strange happenings. I found it less scary, and more beautiful.

Not only is everything amazingly and skillfully written, but just the goings on are beautiful as well, in my opinion.

Review of 'Annihilation' on 'Storygraph'

4 stars

ANNHILATION is built on twin pillars of grief and uncertainty, as the biologist of a four-woman expedition into a strange land begins to mistrust her present she tries to reassess her past. 

There are many obvious analogies to draw in the way the biologist's ruminations on her history are driven by her attempts to analyze her increasingly disturbing present. For me they land in this strange middle zone of, on the one hand, being fairly obvious comparisons to draw in a novel and thus feeling a bit boring, and on the other hand they completely make sense for the character to have pondered and journaled in this situation. They're so perfectly fitting that it seems obvious, but nevertheless I was rarely bored. 

I ended the book feeling like I knew a great deal about the biologist (but never her name), and not very much about Area X itself. What she …

Review of 'Annihilation' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

I find this book to be incredibly beautiful for some reason. It's about a woman who's disconnected from her own experience and so finds purpose in this intimidating, preternatural space. It's also about how words structure and take away meaning. And I think it's secretly also about climate trauma. It's a weird mix that exploits strange and primal fears inside of me.

Review of 'Annihilation' on Goodreads

5 stars

1) "Our mission was simple: to continue the government's investigation into the mysteries of Area X, slowly working our way out from base camp.
The expedition could last days, months, or even years, depending on various stimuli and conditions. We had supplies with us for six months, and another two years' worth of supplies had already been stored at the base camp. We had also been assured that it was safe to live off the land if necessary. All of our foodstuffs were smoked or canned or in packets. Our most outlandish equipment consisted of a measuring device that had been issued to each of us, which hung from a strap on our belts: a small rectangle of black metal with a glass-covered hole in the middle. If the hole glowed red, we had thirty minutes to remove ourselves to 'a safe place.' We were not told what the device …

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