Annihilation is a novel by Jeff VanderMeer. It is the first in a series of three books called the Southern Reach Trilogy. The book describes a team of four. Start by marking “Annihilation (Southern Reach, #1)” as Want to Read: An Anthropologist, a Surveyor, a Psychologist, and a Biologist, all female, make up the 12th expedition to AREA X. Annihilation -- the first book in the Southern Reach Trilogy -- is Weird with a capital 'W' with. The book and film versions of Annihilation, however, are equally “What the?” in different ways. The first-person narrator of the book is terse.
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Book 1 of 3 in the Southern Reach Trilogy Series . Start reading Annihilation: A Novel (The Southern Reach Trilogy Book 1) on your Kindle in under a minute. Alex Garland's Annihilation, the mind-bending science fiction journey into the world of Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach books, is an. There is frequently a disclaimer that accompanies Alex Garland's new movie Annihilation: it's nothing like the book. At first glance, based on the.
The book is a interesting collection of character studies that was always blowing my mind with new revelations. I really felt an affinity for the biologist. I could relate to her character.
She's certainly complex and unlikable in a lot of ways. We are inside her head this book is in first-person and it is a delight to see such a strong, capable, cold-blooded woman take on this challenge, use her scientific brain to figure stuff out, and do whatever she has to do to survive.
She was spectacular, I was on the edge of my seat rooting for her and cheering her intelligent, sometimes brutal decisions.
I have read this book twice in one day. I couldn't put it down and I also felt like I should read it a second time in order to really absorb VanderMeer's beautiful writing and also his complex and mind-blowing concepts. If you enjoy books or are a person who likes to read, I highly recommend this excellent book to you. I hope the next two books in the trilogy Authority and Acceptance are as good. Even if I had to take this book by itself, though, it would still be a 5-star read and a stand-alone novel in its own right.
It is fair to note that the paperback U. A work of art. Not only is the cover beautiful, but the back side of the cover and the back side of the back cover are detailed with an intricate, green, beautiful drawing of a marshy swampland filled with dragonflies, flowers, herons, bullfrogs, and ibis.
If you do not skip immediately to the first chapter, there is a rather large detailed drawing of a boar on the title page. It's gorgeous and I want to own it. It's really, really rare that I buy a book published in English, so View all 23 comments. Jan 05, Fabian rated it really liked it. There may even be some groovy transcendentalist Thoreau thrown somewhere in there! The platform here is potent enough a dose to ensure the future reading of the next novels. View all 3 comments.
Feb 12, Nick rated it liked it. I am not sure how I feel about this. It was good but not really. View all 9 comments. Mar 01, Leonard Gaya rated it really liked it. A swimming pool. A rocky bay. An empty lot. A tower. A lighthouse.
These things are real and not real. They exist and they do not exist. This is one of the weirdest pieces of literature I have read in recent months. I guess this short novel is redolent of the strange fascination one sometimes feels when gazing at a heavy, sleepy pool of water, where fish and tadpoles swarm and waggle among dead weeds, and more massive creatures seem to be lurking in the dark, unfathomable depths underneath. Area X A swimming pool.
We only know about the twelfth expedition, a group of four unnamed women, who cross a border into this land. Each of these women have their agenda. The only thing that seems obvious enough is that they are exploring a very bizarre piece of landscape.
If so, would we be part of the story in some way? The biologist recounts her hike through Area X, as well as a series of recollections of her husband, who was part of the previous expedition. This journal is one of a collection of many more journals.
But we never know if the protagonist is experiencing reality or a nightmare or some hallucination induced by drugs or hypnosis. The harrowing episode of the Crawler, a final Lovecraftian revelation at this point of the narrative, is an astonishing description of an unearthly encounter. VanderMeer is a superb stylist but his style is often distracting, and his book is both engrossing and frustrating, since it leaves us guessing at every turn of the page.
Not to mention J. Abram's Lost. Looking forward indeed to reading the rest of The Southern Reach trilogy and watching the upcoming Alex Garland movie on Netflix no theatrical release in the UK, for some reason. His concerns remain the same: Only this time, machines are replaced by a blooming patch of nature, with strange vines, eels, alligators and bears.
It is nonetheless visually stunning, and Natalie Portman is, as always, impressive. One thing that remains faithful to the book is its disturbing weirdness.
View all 14 comments. Feb 09, Debra rated it liked it. I picked up this book at my local library because I saw the movie trailer and was intrigued. Knowing it was based on a book, I wanted to read the book before I saw the movie.
They do not share their names - names aren't necessary, their research is the most important thing these women need to focus on while in Area X. Area X is an area which has been cut off from the r I picked up this book at my local library because I saw the movie trailer and was intrigued. Area X is an area which has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Many expeditions have gone into the area but were their expeditions successful - the first came back basically describing a utopia, others came back not quite themselves and died soon thereafter from cancer and some committed suicide.
I'm not quite sure why anyone would want to volunteer to join in on any of these expeditions after knowing those facts; however, these women enter Area X. The Biologist's husband was on Expedition 11 and his return was not quite so happy because he wasn't quite himself anymore.
‘Annihilation’: How the Movie Differs From the Book It’s Based On (and Why It’s Better)
The women on their expedition, encounter various strange life forms, an interesting topography and learn that one of them may have secrets.
I will leave it at that. This book is a very fast read. I read it in one sitting. The book has a creepy feel as I never quite knew if Area X was an alien environment, had nature "found a way" or perhaps turned on them, was this some strange evolution thing going on, etc. You get the picture. I had a lot of questions while reading this book that never quite got answered.
Plus, one character seemed to have secrets and we never go to learn about them. This is the first book in the series and hopefully there will be some answers to the questions.
I went back and forth while thinking about rating this book. I did sit and read it in one sitting.
It completely sucked me in. I enjoyed the writing and the story, but it also frustrated me as I had so many questions while reading it. Of course, the Author is not going to answer all my questions, that is what the next two books are for, but I still wanted just "something" more.
I also appreciated how this book was a blending on genres: Science fiction, horror, mystery, etc. See more of my reviews at www. What occurred to create Area X? Is it an alien outpost? Is it another dimension breaking through into ours? The Southern Reach, the political entity in charge, is keeping it all a secret from humanity at large. Yet expeditions are put together to investigate and research it's existence.
None of the previous expeditions have returned alive or have survived long after returning.
Interestingly everyone who "crosses over" must be hypnotized in order to keep them sane. The exact methodology of "cro What occurred to create Area X?
The exact methodology of "crossing over" is also kept secret with no exact instructions on how to get back. They are instructed to just return to the entry point and will be extracted.
None of the characters are named other than by there occupation, as names cause a level of familiarity that the Southern Reach does not want to occur.
All members of the crew are instructed to "watch each other". The leader of expedition twelve uses hypnosis to control all the other members of the group.
All four members of expedition twelve are women. Our protagonist has joined the expedition as her husband was part of a previous expedition and things did not end well. This was a most enjoyable book if one enjoys traveling into the unknown, unknown on all levels. View all 19 comments. Need to think about this one.
Mixed feelings about it Really intriguing, weird story, kind of a hallucination. I liked the story concept and you keep reading, wondering what the Vague happenings, flat characters, and for me pages of contemplations that were not always engaging.
Still, an exceptional, creepy storyline that makes you ke Need to think about this one. Still, an exceptional, creepy storyline that makes you keep on reading. To tell a lot about it would soon end in spoiling. Not sure yet if I will read the sequels in this trilogy, but then again View all 18 comments. Aug 03, Trudi rated it liked it Shelves: Welcome to Area X. Ecologically pristine. Cut off from civilization. Hostile to humans. What lurks there? Does it have a name? Will you live to tell about what you've seen?
Who will believe you? If one can be said to "do" weird, then I don't think I do it very well. Lovecraft and Algernon Blackwood. It has a post-modern mindfuck vibe as well reminiscent of House of Leaves. That is to Welcome to Area X.
That is to say, there were parts of this book that worked really well for me especially the first half. I felt the epic creep and that twisting, squirming sense of dread of what I couldn't see, of what was lurking right in the corner of my eye. But as with most Weird fiction I've tried, there was a lot of "huh? Ever sit on a sneeze that just won't happen for more than 15 minutes? Yeah, kinda like that.
Or put another way, lots of really great, thoughtful foreplay that does not deliver on that big finish I'm a fan of the big finish. The journey is nice and all but I need to know there is a final destination and that there will be fireworks when I get there, that this all means something.
I hate ambiguity. It is not my friend. This book is also well-written. If you are a fan of the word-smithing and an author who is in complete control of creating mood and atmosphere then this is something you might want to check out. There are scenes that practically pulse with claustrophobia and paranoia. The dread is definitely present and some of the reveals are quite shocking and satisfying. I just needed more. What should have been leading towards a crashing climax and a crescendo of realizations simply just Did I mention how much I love the bang?
For you Weird aficionados out there and fans of the unreliable narrator I'm primarily looking at you mark monday you might want to give this a second look. View all 10 comments. Perhaps I was still riding the high of Paradise Sky , or perhaps I was willing to ignore some of my annoyance due to the brevity of the story.
Annihilation recounts the twelfth expedition into the mysterious Area X—an ecologically devastated swampland in the southern United States. All previous expeditions have gone pear-shaped in one way or another, with many explorers failing to ever return.
Those that did, often reappeared in unexpected places, having been altered in some manner, with no accounting for lost time or their experiences in Area X. So as a means to provide the latest group with the best possible odds of success, they undergo an intensive months-long training regimen. Then all are hypnotized before crossing the border, due to the great difficulty previous expeditions encountered in trying to cope with the transition.
The all-female team is comprised of a biologist, anthropologist, surveyor, and a psychologist—no names are ever provided. Once across the border, the investigation begins in earnest and things start to get weird. However, one of the crippling side effects of stripping the group of their identities and watching for signs of stress is that suspicion and paranoia run rampant.
Can the scientist set aside their mistrust of one another long enough to make any real progress in their investigation, or will Area X continue to stubbornly cling to its secrets? I have to admit it all sounded rather intriguing to me. Well, except for one major problem—the story is recounted by the most unreliable of unreliable narrators. So almost immediately I began to question everything.
What are we to believe?
Was any of this actually happening? Or was it all some crazy nightmare, or merely the ravings of a lunatic scribbling away on her notebook, sitting at her desk, staring out the window of an asylum? So much so, that I began to lose interest long before any of those big reveals began to flood in—not that there was much sense to be gleaned from them anyhow. If the following phrase—which was written in a kind of living fungus on the walls of a stairwell descending into the bowels of the Earth, and repeated ad nauseam throughout the narrative—sounds fascinating to you, then by all means check it out for yourself: But the further the story unfolded, the more it became apparent that no satisfyingly simple answers were to be provided.
Although the book just oozes atmosphere—the flora smothers, the fauna stalks, the mold spores waft, the fungus is among us—the explanation for Area X was too goofy to make the time spent within its clutches seem all that worthwhile. So if you do decide to give it a go, be prepared for a total mind-fuck. As for me, all of my mounting frustration inevitably led the mystery to feel like an exercise in futility.
View all 28 comments. By the time we were ready to cross the border, we knew everything Should have easily been an atmospheric read given the setting but turned out not to be, for some starnge reason Jul 27, Bradley rated it it was amazing Shelves: So I went to the Natural History Museum in NYC and watched a wonderful IMAX film about the wonders of the ocean world, the horrors of a living coral reef, and animals that more properly resembled plant life.
One life form slowly devours another, using all the myriad tricks of evolution, from symbiosis and natural selection, to rise, unerringly, to be the top of the food chain. I can't quite place it as either the end of a feeding or the opening sequence of a brand new symbiosis. Either way, this was definitely an awesome Biopunk novel, and I don't see any reason why it shouldn't have won 's Nebula. And it did. I was reminded, of course, of Ballard's Crystal World, so many of Greg Bear's novels, but especially his novel Legacy.
I can't ignore Perdido Street Station either, or any of the other great bio-enhanced SF that's out there, but I'll check my nostalgia at the door right here. I was actually very impressed at the way Ghost Bird was handled, as a character, jumping back and forth from her past to her present regularly. VanderMeer purposefully turned his characters into cyphers, placed tons of limitations on them, and then set them loose to have their own life in this horrible place, but instead of staying limited, they broke out of their bonds like little expressions of fungi and animal-like protoplasms to slither across the page in unexpected ways.
Ghost Bird, herself, was like a great ocean of denial, always telling us that she was no more than her surface appearing, and yet, every step of the way, she reflected back to us a great unconscious drive that kept pounding at us until she met the lighthouse keeper, and after.
Oddly enough, I had a horrible reaction while reading this.
Does anyone know the music from Clockwork Orange? The one with the ditty about "I wanna marry a lighthouse keeper and keep him company?
I heartily recommend finding it and listening to it a dozen times while reading or rereading the awesome trippy crawler scenes. It opened up my experience in wonderful ways.
Horror is absolutely not dead, and thank god for it! It's just gone underground into New Weird and SF titles. It's been a good while coming, I know, but life changes.
I'm just not certain whether horror is being consumed or becoming symbiotic. Who knows? It's the same thing with me.
I come away from this novel feeling a bit infested. A bit glowy. Have I jumped the fence? I don't know. Maybe I'll never know. There is one thing that I do know, though.
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I have to read the two sequels. It's too good not to. View all 37 comments. Oh I liked this so. Jeff VanderMeer has a brilliant imagination and the world he creates feels utterly original, startlingly so, but still grounded in something like believability.
There is not all that much to the plot: The reader never really learns what Oh I liked this so. The reader never really learns what Area X is and how it came to be and what exactly happened to the people who went before. It becomes clear that the participants have not been told the truth but also maybe haven't told the truth either. The biologist, who tells the story, is an unreliable narrator that I still found myself rooting for.
This book is vague and does not give any answers but rather than that being annoying for me it only added to its allure. I have been thinking about this book ever since I finished it and the more I do so the more brilliant I find it.
Jeff VanderMeer's greatest talent lies in creating an atmosphere so all-encompassing that I felt like I was part of the story. The book is highly unsettling and set my pulse running; I could not stop reading and yet dreaded finding out what was going to happen next. This creepy, unsettling, brilliant atmosphere was my favourite part of the book and I have NO idea how they are going to try and recreate this for the upcoming movie.
First sentence: View all 17 comments. Feb 17, Melki rated it it was amazing Shelves: The first thing I noticed on the staging level before we reached the wider staircase that spiraled down, before we encountered again the words written on the wall The tower breathed , and the walls when I went to touch them carried the echo of a heartbeat Four scientists embark on an expedition to Area X.
From the beginning, they view each other with suspicion and doubt; it does not help that they have been encourag The first thing I noticed on the staging level before we reached the wider staircase that spiraled down, before we encountered again the words written on the wall From the beginning, they view each other with suspicion and doubt; it does not help that they have been encouraged NOT to share too much information as it may skew their observations.
This book is wrought with disquieting suspense. The story is told through the biologist's field journal. They are part of the 12th expedition into Area X, and it is revealed that the biologist's husband was part of the previous expedition into the same area. The narrator's husband returned unexpectedly from the expedition, showing up in their kitchen without any recollection of how he got there. The rest of his expedition show up similarly. A few months later, he died of cancer along with the others in the 11th expedition.
After the first night spent at the base camp, the 12th expedition come upon a set of spiral stairs into the ground. Inside the staircase which the biologist repeatedly calls a tower , they find cursive writing that begins with the words "Where lies the strangling fruit While the biologist is examining the writing, she accidentally inhales spores from one of the script-defining growths.
After returning from the tower, the biologist discovers that the psychologist, who is the appointed leader, has programmed the group with certain triggers via hypnosis. By saying the phrase "consolidation of authority", the psychologist puts everyone except the biologist immediately into a state of hypnosis. The biologist believes that the spores she has inhaled have made her immune to the hypnotic suggestions and influence of the psychologist. The group decides to return to base camp for the night.
At dusk, they hear a moaning noise from far away. After spending the night at the base camp, the anthropologist is missing the next morning; the psychologist claims the anthropologist decided to leave and returned to the border. The group then make their way back to the "tower" where the surveyor and narrator descend back down the stairs while the psychologist stands watch.
Eventually, the surveyor and biologist come upon the body of the anthropologist. It is believed she came into contact with the writer of the text on the wall which the narrator names the Crawler. When the group returns to the top, they find the psychologist missing. The biologist and surveyor decide to return to the base camp after a fruitless search for the psychologist.
VanderMeer delves into the bureaucracy and infighting behind the expedition, with each member having been programmed in some cases unknowingly to observe their counterparts as much as Area X itself. Garland largely ignores that dynamic.
As in the book, every member of the 12th expedition other than the biologist dies. How they die is quite different, however: On those walls are cryptic writing that we later learn was scrawled by an entity known as the Crawler, which most likely kills the anthropologist.
It takes awhile to uncover all the writing, which is appropriately off-putting:. He saves the other for last:. His version ends with Lena encountering a refracted, Shimmer-created version of herself and destroying it or not with a phosphorous grenade after gazing into a psychedelic void that either reveals the mysteries of the universe or nothing at all if not both. All of this is likely to alienate fans of the novel, but Garland has crafted the rare movie that improves on its literary source material.This is one of the weirdest pieces of literature I have read in recent months.
The exact methodology of "crossing over" is also kept secret with no exact instructions on how to get back. VanderMeer delves into the bureaucracy and infighting behind the expedition, with each member having been programmed in some cases unknowingly to observe their counterparts as much as Area X itself.
Many expeditions have gone into the area but were their expeditions successful - the first came back basically describing a utopia, others came back not quite themselves and died soon thereafter from cancer and some committed suicide.
This article contains spoilers for the plot of the film and novel Annihilation. If one can be said to "do" weird, then I don't think I do it very well. In the book, she does so by reading a stack of journals she finds in the lighthouse.
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