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Annihilation (The Southern Reach Trilogy)
 
 

Annihilation (The Southern Reach Trilogy) [Kindle Edition]

Jeff VanderMeer
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)

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Review

Praise for ‘Annihilation’:

‘VanderMeer demonstrates expert care in what to keep back and what to reveal … There’s a new discovery or an unnerving revelation every few pages … Immersive, insightful and often deeply bloody creepy, this is a startlingly good novel. If the sequels live up to it, then the Southern Reach series will be a major work.’ ***** SFX Magazine

‘A clear triumph for Vandermeer, who … has suddenly transcended genre with a compelling, elegant and existential story of far broader appeal. That's not to say his genre readers should turn away — on the contrary. The cleverness of "Annihilation" is that, like Wyndham's stories, it's both genre and general … Book One stands on its own. The apparent tragedy and freakish ecology of Area X's blight are quite fascinating, and the solitary voice of its post-humanist narrator is both deeply flawed and deeply trustworthy — a difficult and excellent balance in a novel whose world is built seamlessly and whose symbols are rich and dark.’ LA Times

‘VanderMeer ups the book’s eeriness quotient with the smoothest of skill, the subtlest of grace. His prose makes the horrific beautiful’ Seattle Times

‘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, author of ‘Zoo City’ and ‘The Shining Girls’

‘Original and beautiful, maddening and magnificent.’ Warren Ellis

‘One of those books where it all comes together – the story and the prose and the ideas, all braided into a triple helix that gives rise to something vibrant and alive. Something that grows, word-by-word, into powerful, tangled vines that creep into your mind and take hold of it. Annihilation is brilliant and atmospheric, a novel that has the force of myth.’ Charles Yu, author of ‘How to Live in a Science Fictional Universe’

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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By Rowena Hoseason HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent Sense of Wonder Novel. 13 July 2014
By Willy Eckerslike TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I don't think that since reading `Rama' many years ago I've read anything which fired my imagination quite like `Annihilation'. I have read hundreds of sci-fi and fantasy novels in the intervening years and greatly enjoyed the vast majority (with some notable exceptions) but there is something fascinatingly different about this novel.

It is, nevertheless, hard to put my finger on exactly why. It is not a traditional SF novel with heroes, villains, spaceships, incomprehensible physics, magical technology, wormholes, post-human weirdness or galaxy spanning alien civilisations. In fact, it lacks any elements of any science fiction sub-genres I can immediately think of. Perhaps it's Fantasy...nah, definitely not. What it is somewhat reminiscent of, however, is Reynolds' excellent `Diamond Dogs' so I suppose that puts `Annihilation' firmly in the SF camp.

What we're presented with is a sparse narrative told from the first person viewpoint of an un-named biologist on the twelfth expedition into an enclosed yet expanding, uninhabited pristine wilderness where strange things happen as a consequence of the presence of an otherworldly entity. The tiny list of protagonists, identified only through their profession, dwindle rapidly as the expedition succumbs to the strange influence of the environment. We gradually learn of the biologist's history and motivations in flashback while she progresses through the environment, its history of expeditions and her own metamorphosis.

The only symbol of solidity is a distant lighthouse where dark secrets may be unveiled.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Aliens and Alienation 15 Sep 2014
By Rough Diamond TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As allusive as it is ambiguous, `Annihilation' is the tantalising curtain-raiser to Jeff VanderMeer's 'Southern Reach' trilogy. It functions - almost - as a stand-alone novel in its own right. However, it's really just the appetiser in a much larger three-course-meal. It certainly left this reader hungry for the main course.

`Annihilation' introduces us to the trilogy's topographic core: the mysterious, menacing Area X. What exactly Area X is, and how it got there, never becomes fully clear. The only thing we know for certain about it is that for thirty years, all eleven of the previous sorties into this pristine wilderness have gone catastrophically awry. We soon begin to see why, as we find ourselves from the get-go inside Area X alongside the newly arrived twelfth mission.

The four-woman team quickly realises that, inside Area X, their own perceptions can't be trusted. Not only is 'something' they can't quite apprehend somehow warping their senses, but it also becomes evident that they have all been hypnotically conditioned by the Southern Reach to allow them to cope with the Class-A levels of weirdness that prevail inside Area X's invisible boundaries. The mission rapidly descends into horror and madness, although our narrator by the end of the novel has become so compromised and unreliable that it's impossible to fathom from her narrative exactly what has happened to them all.

On one level, `Annihiliation' works well as a creepy, `Alien'-style action adventure, with the uncanny eeriness of Area X convincingly realised. And some of the surreal, logic-defying phenomena the mission encounters reminded me of a darker, more threatening take on `Alice in Wonderland' - complete with transformative rabbit-hole!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing
a compelling read. would recommend to anyone not just fans of science fiction. time for the next in the series!
Published 7 days ago by david lovegrove
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A good read, unusual. Worth a go.
Published 7 days ago by Mrs. L. Edwards
3.0 out of 5 stars i did not like it enough to purchase the next book in the ...
ok story, it could have been creepier but it was ok while awaiting to get the new book i was waiting for. i did not like it enough to purchase the next book in the saga though
Published 18 days ago by Lou
5.0 out of 5 stars Woow
I read some previous work s from Vandermeer, and this one sets a different tone, more simple in story, but with enought suspense to keep me fast reading
Published 1 month ago by Ana Alves
4.0 out of 5 stars Jeff VanderMeer - Annihilation
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... Read more
Published 1 month ago by molko
2.0 out of 5 stars Nice atmosphere but goes nowhere
Started off bleak and mysterious, with a distant unsympathetic protagonist and ended bleak and mysterious, with a distant unsympathetic protagonist. Not one of my best purchases. Read more
Published 1 month ago by David Jenkins
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
Interesting. Wow. Mystery. Mutation. Records and notebooks, nature. These are things that are to be found within this place. Over and over again.
Published 1 month ago by Paul
1.0 out of 5 stars 10 Pages of Story, 100 of Fill
the premise was good, the landscape intriguing and the mystery of The Tower promising BUT oh my god this is a dull book. Read more
Published 2 months ago by BathBun
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a great unique storyline
It's a great unique storyline. The description of Area X is great. It's a beautiful but cruel and dangerous place, but I'd still want to see it. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Brigitte Morrison
2.0 out of 5 stars good ideas poorly executed
Hate to say this but the story is vague and disinteresting. The characters a flat. It could be a poor translation. Read more
Published 2 months ago by asrielrising
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