Book - 2014
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Area X has claimed the lives of members of eleven expeditions. The twelfth expedition consisting of four women hopes to map the terrain and collect specimens; to record all their observations, scientific and otherwise, of their surroundings and of one another; and, above all, to avoid being contaminated by Area X itself
Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014
Edition: First Edition
ISBN: 9780374104092
Characteristics: 195 pages ; 19 cm


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Feb 28, 2018

I haven't read this book yet but I just saw the film so I'll comment on that in case readers of this are interested. The mood and frequency of flashbacks reminded me of Arrival (based on Ted Chiang's short story "Story of Your Life"), another speculative sci-fi involving contact but focusing on something else. The premise is problematic for technical reasons and the ending gets a bit weird so overall I'd say the film was just ok.

liljables Feb 26, 2018

The Southern Reach trilogy has been on my radar for a couple of years, so when I saw all three (!!!) titles sitting together at a used bookstore, I took that as a sign. I gobbled up Annihilation in less than a day, and quickly moved on to book #2, Authority. Clocking in at less than 200 pages, Annihilation is eerie and suspenseful from cover to cover. I would call this a horror novel first, and a science fiction novel second, because it has left me unsettled for days. The narrative structure might not appeal to everyone, though: it's entirely first-person inner monologue from the mind of a meticulous and fairly unemotional biologist. I thought the clinical delivery of the narrative only added to the suspense of this story.

CRRL_MegRaymond Feb 26, 2018

Area X has been the site of 11 expeditions that have all ended with 100% fatalities. Now, Expedition 12 is ready to deploy.

Feb 21, 2018

On the book...
Annihilation is a throwback in both style and themes to early 20th century horror and fantasy novels by writers such as H.P. Lovecraft, Lord Dunsany and Clark Ashton Smith in both themes and styles. Which means Annihilation--the title fairly screams "action"--will likely puzzle and frustrate many early 21st century readers.

Four women embark on a government expedition into the mysterious coastal lands called Area X, the 11th such expedition at least (there may actually have been more.) The organic mysteries that put them on the trail are revealed, very, very slowly. Once upon an era, this is what kept readers flipping pages. Today, in the era of tweet, this literary conceit is likely to cause many readers--including you--to flip the entire book instead and simply search elsewhere for quick adrenaline hits.

Very little "action" takes place in the first third of the story. Instead, internal dialogue through the first-person narrative of the biologist gives us speculation, reflection, explanation and other musings, such as this one: "...I have neglected to mention some details about the brightness. My reason for this is, again, the hope that any reader's initial opinion in judging my objectivity might not be influenced by these details." How...academic!

Admit I got fidgety myself. Like members of the expedition, I just kept going... We are rewarded around the half-way mark in the book.

This is the first of three novels in the author Vandermeer's Southern Reach Trilogy. I wasn't sure I'd bother with the next two until just near the end of this first instalment. I'm sure now. I'll be packing up for my second visit to Area X soon...

On the movie:
Some commenters mention the new feature film: "Super excited about the upcoming movie!" and, "I can't wait to see what the movie is like!"

My guess, based on the medium and the trailer: it'll be much different than the book. That's not "bad" or "good", just different. Thoughts, fears and nuance don't always translate well in a visual medium. The book's sub-plot--the relationship of biologist with her husband--is almost an afterthought in the book, but is possibly much more of a presence, in the movie, possibly even the rationale she undertakes the expedition. Again: it's easier to do this, visually. From what I see in the trailer, no subtlety as they enter Area X!

I'm happy the director is Alex Garland, a relative newcomer, who's first feature, Ex Machina was one of the best Sci-fi films so far this century. Lots of nuance in that movie, so here's hoping...

Jan 25, 2018

The first book in the "Southern Reach" trilogy. I've read plenty of reader's reviews about how "boring" this book is. I found it quite the opposite of boring. I enjoyed the ambiguity and the feeling of dread that was pervasive throughout the story. I don't think it's a typical Sci-Fi narrative. Maybe more character driven than most of this genre.

Jan 23, 2018

Really pleased with this book. "Science fiction" is a little out of my wheelhouse, but I do love a dystopia. I found the pace quick and exciting. Can't say the same for Book 2 though... Super excited about the upcoming movie!

Jan 02, 2018

Lyrical and strange and wonderful. I loved the unreliability of the narrator, the mystery of Area X, and the sense of horror as more and more was uncovered. Can't wait to continue with the series and see the movie.

Dec 13, 2017

Whatever the author was trying for doesn't even come close to working. Neither interesting or enjoyable.

SCL_Justin Oct 23, 2017

This is the story of a scientific expedition, where the scientists have no names because they'll all be dead soon enough anyway. It was a creepy story of the psychology of people who are better off alone, the observers of nature, and how they are manipulated. It was deeply creepy and compelling, reminding me of Stanislaw Lem's Solaris or Peter Watts' Starfish

Highly recommended, and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the trilogy.

Frustratingly ambiguous, yet addictive. It made me uncomfortable in all the right ways.

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strangegazelle Jul 07, 2017

strangegazelle thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Jun 19, 2017

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Feb 24, 2017

blairl thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Jun 23, 2015

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