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Annihilation (The Southern Reach Trilogy)

Annihilation (The Southern Reach Trilogy) [Kindle Edition]

Jeff VanderMeer
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)

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‘I’m loving the Southern Reach Trilogy … Creepy and fascinating’ Stephen King

‘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 … The writing itself has a clarity that makes the abundancy of the setting more powerful. “Annihilation” shows signs of being the novel that will allow VanderMeer to break through to a new and larger audience’ Sunday Telegraph

‘A lasting monument to the uncanny … You find yourself afraid to turn the page’ Guardian

‘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.’ Neel Mukherjee, New Statesman

‘Immersive, insightful and often deeply bloody creepy, this is a startlingly good novel … The Southern Reach series will be 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

Product Description

If J.J. Abrams and Margaret Atwood collaborated on a novel, it might look something like ‘Annihilation’, the first in an extraordinary trilogy.

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’ is the first volume in Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, which will be published throughout 2014: volume two (’Authority’) in May, and volume three (’Acceptance’) in September 2014.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Unsettling and atmospheric, Annihilation sets a mysterious scene for the Southern Reach trilogy. It’s a sparse, short but self-contained story set in the near future, about one expedition into a quarantined zone where something… ‘other’ has established itself. All previous investigations have ended badly. Things don’t exactly go swimmingly this time, either.

There’s precious little exposition or traditional story-telling here and we’re deliberately distanced from the expedition team. We don’t learn their names – people are defined by their roles, The Geologist or The Psychologist – and as the story is told from the perspective of just one of them we only understand her increasingly warped point of view. And what a strange perspective it is: the creepy abandoned camp, the oppressive tower, the weird writing on the walls, the paranoia and the conflicts, the… things in the depths. It’s like Lovecraft meets Lost.
I was also distinctly reminded of the mystery of the lost colony of Roanoke; there’s even echoes of the mysterious ‘croatoan’ message in the bizarre writing in Annihilation. But author VanderMeer has built a much bigger universe than one which simply reflects old legends. In Annihilation he also examines the isolation of the loner and the gulf in communication between a couple – one which is only bridged by the most extremes circumstances which they separately encounter in the Southern Reach. This isn’t just spooky speculative fantasy: it’s all about the failure to engage. The protagonist endures an instant of mismatched communication with the ‘other’… after a lifetime of failing to communicate with the people around her. It’s chilling, in so many ways.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Beauty of Annihilation. 29 May 2014
By Pete S
I'm always on the search for a book that will drag me into it's plot and eventually become part of it's environment. Annihilation certainly does this smoothly right from the start. Even before researching the location that it is based on, I had a colourful (or maybe dark) vision in my mind of The Southern Reach.

The deep exploration of the characters minds and the ever deeper plunge into the depths of the protagonist, is pretty mind blowing. The skill of stopping the story and taking snapshots of the histories and memories of our hero.

I could hear the creature howling from across the land, the face in the ground and the rotting notebooks so so vivid.

Deep, dark, eerie and surreal just what the doctor ordered.

I look forward to the next.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jeff VanderMeer - Annihilation 5 Aug 2014
Area X is a verdant disaster zone being monitored by a secret agency known as the Southern Reach; the Twelfth expedition sees a group of scientists enter the quarantined area to take samples of the environment and to better understand why it is there. Soon enough the expedition takes a sinister turn as the scientists begin to uncover secrets about both Area X and the Southern Reach. It soon becomes clear that Area X isn't quite what it seems - it is a place home to unknown creatures and derelict structures once home to untold horrors.

Annihilation is a truly spooky book and VanderMeer crafts the tale perfectly. The remoteness of the expedition is palpable and the prose beautifully written. Reminiscent of House of Leaves, Annihilation is a creepily superb introduction to what promises to be an enthralling trio of tales.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good story line, but.... 8 Nov 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If you are a fan of this genre of fiction, then you may like this book more than I did. The plot is intriguing and moves along at a decent pace, and although I didn't enjoy it that much, I was tempted to buy the next book in the trilogy just to find out what happens. This book wasn't for me, though. I love a gritty protagonist who I can identify with on some level, but, as other reviewers have commented, the very nature of the main character here meant that wasn't going to happen. My advice: if you love science fiction this may be worth a go because the story line is good: otherwise, steer clear.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Where lies the strangling fruit 24 Feb 2014
Jeff Vandermeer has always specialized in "weird," often stories centering on fantasy cities and/or steampunk. He's a chameleon who can shift into whatever genre he slips into.

And yet, I was still mildly surprised when I heard that he was writing a trilogy of science fiction books. Sci-fi has less scope for the weird. But Vandermeer brings his own darkly fantastical touch to "Annihilation," the first novel of the Southern Reach Trilogy -- it's a sort of a cross between Arthur C. Clarke and H.P. Lovecraft.

Area X is a place that has somehow been cut off from the rest of the world, and has changed completely. Eleven expeditions have been sent there, but they all die in bizarre ways -- cancer, suicide, attacking each other, and so on.

In defiance of logic, The Powers Wot Is decide to send a twelfth expedition, four women including an anthropologist, a shrink, a surveyor, and a biologist. They are alienated from each other, not even knowing each other's names, or anything except their jobs. So unsurprisingly, tensions are running high as they investigate both a lighthouse and an inverted Tower that goes DOWN.

The biologist (our protagonist of sorts) soon discovers that the psychologist is messing with their heads, even as the world around them becomes more and more disorienting. And as more strange things arise in Area X, the four women are slowly warped by the place, and the longer they stay in Area X, the further they descend into the maelstrom.

By standard definitions, "Annihilation" is not a very good book. It doesn't have a very definite beginning or end, it leaves large chunks of it backstory and characters unknown, the threat is unspecified, and it produces no solid answers or conclusions at the end.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Incomprehensible
Well, I stuck it out to the bitter end so all I need now is for someone to explain it to me as I don't have a clue.

Save your money and your sanity
Published 15 days ago by fed up with it all
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5.0 out of 5 stars Creepy and totally addictive.
Blimey this was a creepy read! Really really good – after I finished it late last night it played on my mind for quite a while and sleep didnt come easy.. Read more
Published 22 days ago by Liz Wilkins
1.0 out of 5 stars Shite
UTTER S***e! I will never get back the time I wasted reading this drivel. There aren't six more words Amazon, there simply aren't.
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good start
Gripping and enjoyable, with interesting characters in a vividly imagined and satisfyingly strange environment: my initial scepticism of yet another government-concealment plotline... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Ged Dixon
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor
Really poor book. Sadly I ordered the trilogy but can't finish the 1st. Really, poorly, written as if a 12 year is undertaking a creative writing class.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A captivating madness
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