Book One of the Southern Reach Trilogy
Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization, and the government is involved in sending secret missions to explore Area X. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died 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 months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer.
Annihilation opens with the twelfth expedition. The group is composed of four women, including our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain and collect specimens; to record all of their observations, scientific and otherwise; and, above all, to avoid succumbing to the unpredictable effects of Area X itself.
What they discover shocks them: first, a massive topographic anomaly that does not appear on any map; and second, life forms beyond anything they’re equipped to understand. But it’s the surprises that came across the border with them that change everything—the secrets of the expedition members themselves, including our narrator. What do they really know about Area X—and each other?
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Fantasy writer Jeff VanderMeer casts an intoxicating spell with Annihilation, the first instalment of the three-part Southern Reach series to be released in 2014. As part of an ongoing government project, four unnamed women—a biologist, a psychologist, an anthropologist, and a surveyor—cross the border into Area X, a pristine wilderness shrouded in mystery. What they discover is inexplicable, terrifying, awe-inspiring—and fatal. With strong and beautiful prose, VanderMeer masterfully builds the suspense, pulling you deeper and deeper into a spooky tale of biological wonders, supernatural frights, and philosophical meditations on nature, death, and the search for meaning. Annihilation is impossible to categorise and even harder to put down.
The unnamed narrator of this brilliant first in a trilogy from fantasy author Vandermeer (City of Saints and Madmen) tells of her ever-more-terrifying, yet ever-more-transcendent experiences, as she, a biologist, and the three other members of her all-women team (a surveyor, an anthropologist, and a psychologist) set out to explore Area X, for some unspecified number of years deliberately isolated from its surroundings. Theirs is the 12th expedition to Area X, sent two years after the last attempt; the team hopes to discover why the zone, so lush and beautiful at first look, is a place from which none return at least not in the same form that they entered. Using evocative descriptions of the biologist's outer and inner worlds, masterful psychological insight, and intellectual observations both profound and disturbing calling Lovecraft to mind and Borges Vandermeer unfolds a tale as satisfying as it is richly imagined.
What a disappointment! This book is so flat. It is small but the narrative is so slow and dry that it feels like there are over a thousand pages.
Short and not sweet
Too short considering how much it cost -- $11 for an e-book. Mystical writing with some slight originality, but most of the time the plot seemed like somebody's bad dreams simply spliced together.
Bobcay your c