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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Fantasy writer Jeff VanderMeer casts an intoxicating spell with Annihilation, the first installment 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 categorize 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.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Insightful page turner!
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.
Overwrought and Incomprehensible
A very poor imitation of the "Wool" series by Hugh Howley.