Annihilation

by Jeff VanderMeer

Books with reviews by our Reader Review Panel eBooks of the Month Modern and Classic Literary Fiction Science Fiction

LoveReading View on Annihilation

August 2015 Series of the Month.

I am an absolute sucker both for quest-through-the-wilderness tales, and for post-apocalyptic landscapes. Jeff VanderMeer's Annihilation delivers both, in creepily brilliant and utterly unforgettable style. Narrated by an unnamed female biologist, it tells of a scientific expedition - the latest of many failed ventures - into a desolate wilderness known as Area X, where they hear a "low, powerful moaning" at dusk. "I would tell you the names of the other three, if it mattered," the biologist tells us, doomily, "but only the surveyor would last more than the next day or two." It all gets progressively more sinister and alien and uncanny and disastrous - I'm not sure I've read a book which scared me, and stayed with me so much, for years - with the story expanded on in the world outside Area X in the following two novels in VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy, Authority and Acceptance. A slice of dreamily written, haunting literary science fiction flows through the whole trilogy. ~ Alison Flood

 

The Southern Reach Trilogy:
1. Annihilation
2. Authority
3. Acceptance

Alison Flood

Annihilation Synopsis

'Creepy and fascinating' Stephen King. Welcome to Area X. An Edenic wilderness, an environmental disaster zone, a mystery for thirty years. For thirty years, Area X, monitored by the secret agency known as the Southern Reach, has remained mysterious and remote behind its intangible border- an environmental disaster zone, though to all appearances an abundant wilderness. Eleven expeditions have been sent in to investigate; even for those that have made it out alive, there have been terrible consequences. 'Annihilation' is the story of the twelfth expedition and is told by its nameless biologist. Introverted but highly intelligent, the biologist brings her own secrets with her. She is accompanied by a psychologist, an anthropologist and a surveyor, their stated mission: to chart the land, take samples and expand the Southern Reach's understanding of Area X. But they soon find out that they are being manipulated by forces both strange and all too familiar. An unmapped tunnel is not as it first appears. An inexplicable moaning calls in the distance at dusk. And while each member of the expedition has surrendered to the authority of the Southern Reach, the power of Area X is far more difficult to resist.

Annihilation Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

  • Jennifer Rainbow - 'Imaginative, compulsively readable and at times unnerving, I loved this book it dragged me into it's weird world and wouldn't let go. An unusual book, an antidote to popular 'normal' fiction.'
  • Victoria Emerson - 'I loved this book! With its beautifully written prose, and dark and eerie setting I couldn't put it down.'
  • Suzanne James - 'I don't often say this but I just couldn't put it down. From the very beginning this had me hooked...'
  • Russ Pasquill - 'This novel quickly creates an eerie, unnerving atmosphere in what appears to be a pleasant wild life park.'
  • Karen McIntosh - 'The story of what they find and who or what is behind it is interesting and I did enjoy the book.'
  • Judith Griffith - 'An atmospheric read but doesn't quite develop as well as expected and leaves you unfulfilled at the end. But then it is the first of a trilogy!'
  • Ray Orgill - 'This first book of The Southern Reach trilogy has all the makings of a cult series.'
  • Judith Smith - 'Totally compelling - I couldn't put it down.'
  • Jacki Moorcroft - 'A strangely compelling read which left me wanting to know what happened next, which is a good enough reason to now get books two & three!'
  • Sarah Musk - 'An intriguing, mysterious book set in the mysterious Area X where some environmental disaster has occurred. A chilling read with images that are difficult to forget.'
  • Edel Waugh - 'I really enjoyed this book as it has a dreamlike quality to it so you are constantly wondering what is going to happen next. We get glimpses into the past too ... making it hard to put down as you want this crew to do well and get the hell out of there!'
  • Clare Topping - 'It is one of those books that became a page turner about halfway through. For anyone into serious sci-fi then this is probably bland and perhaps slightly unoriginal. That said, I am considering reading the other two books…'
  • Teresa O'Halloran - 'A very weird book about a very weird and creepy place. At times I felt afraid to turn the page.'
  • Cyllene Griffiths - 'It’s a while since I read a truly spooky sci-fi thriller but Annihilation definitely hits the spot - be aware that you will have to get the next in the trilogy! Not only thought-provoking but truly a page turner, with vivid and involving descriptions.'
  • Zarina de Ruiter - 'Annihilation has a promising premise, that's for sure, but there is such a thing as being too ambiguous and VanderMeer has, to me, unfortunately tipped too far into that direction.'
  • Sarah Tiley - 'Read it and be surprised. It is unlike anything I have read before, as I am not a Sci-Fi fan, but this was a very unusual and gripping tale.'

Annihilation Press Reviews

Praise for ANNIHILATION and the SOUTHERN REACH TRILOGY:

'I'm loving the Southern Reach Trilogy ... Creepy and fascinating
Stephen King

'Hauntingly weird and brilliantly new ... These are contemporary masterpieces and career-defining novels'
Adam Robert, Books of the Year, Guardian

'This trilogy is a modern mycological masterpiece ... Remarkable ... Tense, eerie and unsettling ... VanderMeer writes much better prose than Poe ever did ... This is genuinely potent and dream-haunting writing. VanderMeer has arrived.'
Guardian

'A teeming science fiction that draws on Conrad and Lovecraft alike ... Annihilation shows signs of being the novel that will allow VanderMeer to break through to a new and larger audience'
Sunday Telegraph 

'VanderMeer's novel is a psycho-geographical tour de force, channelling Ballard and Lovecraft to instil the reader with a deep, delicious unease'
Financial Times

'What a haunting book this is, lodging deep in the memory in similar fashion to otherworldly classics such as David Lindsay's A Voyage To Arcturus ... Annihilation is so disquietingly strange as to defy summarisation. Read it'
Daily Mail

'Astonishing, frightening, spectacular ... The imaginative daring and reach with which VanderMeer has invented and executed a concept such as Area X is breathtaking ... Powerful and echoing ... I hope the trilogy will come to be seen not only as the instant sci-fi classic it is, but also as Literature'
New Statesman

'Immersive, insightful and often deeply bloody creepy, this is a startlingly good novel ... A major work' ***** SFX Magazine 'A tense and chilling psychological thriller about an unravelling expedition and the strangeness within us. A little Kubrick, a lot of Lovecraft, the novel builds with an unbearable tension and claustrophobic dread that lingers long afterwards. I loved it'
Lauren Beukes

'Original and beautiful, maddening and magnificent'
Warren Ellis

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780008139100
Publication date: 30/07/2015
Publisher: Fourth Estate Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780008139100
Publication date: 30th July 2015
Author: Jeff VanderMeer
Publisher: Fourth Estate Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 208 pages
Genres: Reader Reviewed Books, eBook Favourites, Literary Fiction, Science Fiction,
Categories: Science fiction,

About Jeff VanderMeer

Jeff VanderMeer is an award-winning novelist and editor. His fiction has been translated into twenty languages and has appeared in the Library of America’s American Fantastic Tales and in multiple year’s-best anthologies. He writes nonfiction for the Washington Post, the New York Times Book Review, the Los Angeles Times, and the Guardian, among others. He grew up in the Fiji Islands and now lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with his wife.

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