Paperback, 195 pages

English language

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

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3 stars (3 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

reviewed Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer (The Southern Reach Trilogy, #1)

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.