Annihilation: A Novel
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Annihilation: A Novel (Southern Reach Trilogy #1)

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  8,608 ratings  ·  1,590 reviews
If J.J. Abrams, Margaret Atwood, and Alan Weisman collaborated on a novel . . . it might be this awesome

Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the t...more
ebook, 208 pages
Published February 4th 2014 by FSG Originals (first published January 1st 2014)
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Jeffrey Keeten
”...but whether it decays under the earth or above on green fields, or out to sea or in the very air, all shall come to revelation, and to revel, in the knowledge of the strangling fruit and the hand of the sinner shall rejoice, for there is no sin in shadow or in light that the seeds of the dead cannot forgive…”

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An Anthropologist, a Surveyor, a Psychologist, and a Biologist, all female, make up the 12th expedition to AREA X. The expeditions that have come to this region before have not fared we...more
I am sure that it will shock to many readers my low rating of this popular novel, but sadly I think that it's the best way to express my own personal reading experience with the book. And I prefer to be honest than just giving a high rating if I don't believe on it.

First of all, I don't hate the author and I am not looking for affecting the average rating of this novel.

Basically, I had to balance the meaning of each rating here on Goodreads against what I thought about my reading experience with...more
Really a waste of time. The book seems to be going for the eerie "each man is every man" type of feeling that you got from Cormac McCarthy's "The Road," in which none of the characters have names. Here we have a small group of women, among them "the psychologist," "the surveyor," and "the biolgist" (our narrator) exploring Area X, a supernatural-type district that borders our own mundane world. I found myself completely uninvolved and not at all scared or disturbed by the team's discoveries. It...more
The first thing I noticed on the staging level before we reached the wider staircase that spiraled down, before we encountered again the words written on the wall...the tower was breathing. The tower breathed, and the walls when I went to touch them carried the echo of a heartbeat...and they were not made of stone but of living tissue.

Four scientists embark on an expedition to Area X.

From the beginning, they view each other with suspicion and doubt; it does not help that they have been encourag...more
Feed Area X but do not antagonize it, and perhaps someone will, through luck or mere repetition, hit upon some explanation, some solution, before the world becomes Area X.

This is the story of the 12th expedition to Area X- a name which brings to mind some sort of secret government lab in the desert but which, in this story, seems more akin to Amazonian jungle ruins, or the wilderness from a Miyazaki film.

Princess Mononoke came to mind early on in the story when the narrator, who we know as the b...more

Welcome to Area X. Ecologically pristine. Cut off from civilization. Hostile to humans. What lurks there? Does it have a name? Will you live to tell about what you've seen? Who will believe you?

If one can be said to "do" weird, then I don't think I do it very well. Annihilation -- the first book in the Southern Reach Trilogy -- is Weird with a capital 'W' with its roots in H.P. Lovecraft and Algernon Blackwood. It has a post-modern mindfuck vibe as well reminiscent of House of Leaves.

That is to...more
If Annihilation is any indication, 2014 will be a good year for fiction.

Written by Jeff Vandermeer, promoter of the new weird (see also: Jagannath), Annihilation is a tour de force, a slow burn of wonder and dread the culmination of which leaves the reader demanding more. Happily, Annihilation is the first entry in The Southern Reach Trilogy; Authority will be published in June, and Acceptance in September. (Fun fact: Whilst Googling, I discovered that the books are slated to be made into movies...more
Oh my god, what is going on here? Never have I been so freaked out by a book where so much vague, unsettling stuff happens; I can't even tell you why I was so spooked while I was reading this. This reminded me a lot of both House of Leaves and The Ruins but it's not really like either of those books, except there was a lot going on in HoL that scared me without me really being able to articulate why. I'm really, really glad that I stopped reading & went to bed before pushing through on the l...more
Brendon Schrodinger
Well it seems like Annihilation has divided the SF community into two, lovers and 'meh'ers. I'm pretty sure I'm one of the latter. I have been trying to think why a novel with a blurb that instantly sparked my curiousity was just so bleh. There are parts here that I love. I think the whole novel was under a cloud of boring, grey fungus spores.

While you have this wonderful premise of an expedition to a remote 'Area X' where the world is not quite right after some mysterious intervention from out...more
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

This is the first time I’ve ever read anything by Jeff VanderMeer, and I’ll admit at first I had my misgivings. I’d picked up this book because of the great things I’ve heard about it, and also because the premise sounded fascinating. However, VanderMeer is also best known for his contributions to “New Weird”, a literary genre that’s been hit or miss with me – but mostly miss. Still, I looked at the modest page count of...more
David Katzman
May 04, 2014 David Katzman rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of literary fantasy, sci fi or horror, House of Leaves or H.P. Lovecraft
Jeff Vandermeer's latest work is haunting. Annhilation is a short cross-genre horror sci-fi fantasy work that packs quite a punch. I would describe it as roughly a cross between House of Leaves, Pollen by Jeff Noon, and H.P. Lovecraft. The House of Leaves comparison arises from the way that Vandermeer manages to derive a significant creep-factor from structures. The Pollen connection arises from the way nature (is it?) has finally turned against humanity despite humanities presumption of dominat...more
Current leader of the pack in "most frustrating book of 2014".

VanderMeer creates a fascinating, grotesque, brilliantly detailed world and then spends the entire book focused on the incessant navel-gazing of the most boring person in it. "The Biologist", so aggressively dull that she never even gets a name.

She's not underdeveloped: far from it. In fact, we spend half the fucking book learning everything about her life and what has brought her to this place. It's just that all that information is...more
May 12, 2014 Katy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Lovecraftian, surreal, bizarro fiction
Recommended to Katy by: Amazon Vine
Book Info: Genre: Psychological thriller (Per publisher); Lovecraftian fiction (per me)
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: Fans of Lovecraftian stories, surreal or bizarro fiction
Book Available: February 4, 2014 in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook formats
Trigger Warnings: killing, mind control, murder, attempted murder

My Thoughts: An early reader of this book described it as, “A little Kubrick, a lot Lovecraft...” and who could resist that juicy plum? I'm not sure what genre to put this in, how...more
5 Stars

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer is a trip to the unknown “Area X” told by the master of the new weird. Vandermeer is one of my favorite authors and Finch one of my all time favorite novels period. He writes fantasy, the new weird, where things are not always what they seem and the unusual will be the ordinary. This book is no exception to that only it is done with a light touch. Like in his Ambergis series the setting itself ‘Area X’ is a character in of itself. Although it does not reach...more
the first volume in jeff vandermeer's southern reach trilogy, annihilation (to be followed by authority and acceptance in may and september of this year, respectively) is a futuristic sci-fi thriller set in the enigmatic, post-disaster area x. blending elements of fantasy, horror, and psychology, vandermeer's novel is propelled almost entirely through action. the story, while at times mildly eerie, reads far too cinematically for it to offer any real depth or insight into either the characters o...more
Terry Brooks
My recommendation this month goes to Jeff Vandermeer's "Annihilation." This is a book about a doomed expedition following on the heels of other expeditions into country that has proven to be all but impenetrable and which appears to change those who go into it. The writing is first rate. At times I was reminded of Ursula LeGuin. The author has that uncanny ability to see an issue from more than one side and to make a story that has little actual violence into a a thrilling page turner. This is t...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I've put off reviewing this for a few days because I feel like the author is out there watching me, ready to scream "Annihilation, annihilation!" if I get it wrong. Ahem.

I have seen a lot of pre-press hype for this book, partly because I follow the author on Facebook. I even went to a reading in 2012 where Jeff VanderMeer read from an earlier draft, based on a dream he had with writing on the wall. I knew back then that I would need to read the book, and then it turned into a trilogy!

A lot of co...more
"By the time we were ready to cross the border, we knew everything...and we knew nothing."

Never have I been so freaked out by something so vague, yet equally vivid. And that is how Annihilation ultimately grabbed me. This one will be hard to shake.

The story is told through the journal of a nameless biologist sent on an expedition to a mysterious landscape-known only as Area X-with three other women of various occupations. The area has been taken over by nature, but with some unexpected and inde...more
Annihilation is the type of horror novel I seek out, the type that builds up a quiet sort of dread, wrapped around with cinematic beauty and punctuated by frantic incident. In this first volume (of an already completed, but not yet released trilogy,) nature is gradually allowed to take center stage, while the narrator is left to her wildly imperfect description of what is happening. Her telling of landscape and eventuality of her exploration party is like looking through the viewfinder of a tiny...more
This series has received a lot of buzz, and currently only the first one is published. The premise is that a group of scientists and specialists in their field go to investigate a mysterious Area X, which has caused previous groups to do various horrible acts like go crazy or die of cancer. Our main character is a biologist, but as the story unfolds, you find out more and more about her. I had a lot of trouble getting into this, and found parts of it to be quite dull at times. I don't think I wi...more
Ben Loory
beautiful, flowing, hallucinatory prose, coupled with a greater sense of the mystery, horror, and wonder of it all than i've found in a book in years. really brilliant.
Althea Ann
Recommended for fans of the movie, 'The Descent' - it reminded me of it in feel, and not only because all the members of the expeditions in both stories are female.

Here, there is a mysterious land, cut off from the rest of the world by an undefined kind of 'border.' Crossing the border requires hypnotism. A governmental(?) authority has been sending expeditions to study and analyze conditions in 'Area X.' It is known that these expeditions are dangerous, and that there is a high chance of not re...more
This was a difficult one to rate. While I really enjoyed the story and writing, there were a few things that held me back from rating it any higher than four stars.

The story takes place in Area X. It’s a strange, enigmatic region that has swallowed up any signs of human civilisation with vegetation in the few years since it mysteriously appeared. We follow four women on their expedition, the twelfth of its kind.

I liked the writing, though it reads more like a scientific report than a story. Ther...more
Kristin  (MyBookishWays Reviews)

“Desolation tries to colonize you.”

For the first time in more than two years, an expedition (the 12th, the group is told) is headed into Area X. The team consists of four women: a biologist (who narrates), an anthropologist, a psychologist, and a surveyor. They’ve got a few firearms, ample supplies, and each have been given a mysterious black device with a glass covered hole in the middle. If that hole glows red, they are to get to a safe place, immediatel...more
So of my reactions as I read (warning: mild vague spoilers):

She's dead.
Aw, what a sweet but sad relationship.
He did what? Jerk.
Ew, mold.
Ew, mold that makes words.
Now SHE'S dead, too? Come on.
Don't go in there again, idiot!
Everyone's dying!
I don't...
What's going on?
Ooh, pretty butterfly.
I'm scared.

PS- I didn't like the voice of the reader of the audio book. She did too good of a job in sounding sterile and detached. This is realistic for the book, but it got annoy...more
As a child, I had stared up at the night sky and searched for shooting stars like everyone else. As an adult, sitting on the roof of my cottage near the bay, and later, haunting the empty lot, I looked not for shooting stars but for fixed ones, and I would try to imagine what kind of life lived in those celestial tidal pools so far from us. The stars I saw now looked strange, strewn across the dark in chaotic new patterns, where just the night before I had taken comfort in their familiarity. Was
Diane S.
3.5. I finished this several days ago but really had to think about what I wanted to write as I do not read much of this type of Sci-Fi novel. I was surprised by how intrigued I was about this mission these four woman undertook. None had names, they are only known by their field of expertise, such as biologist, surveyor etc. Previous missions to this Area X, have been disastrous, murder, suicide, just plain missing.

From the beginning things are not right and we slowly learn what the title means...more
Miquel Codony
Pues a mi me parece una maravilla a cualquier nivel. Y no sé como cambiará mi percepción del libro la lectura de sus secuelas, pero si fuera una novela independiente, sin pertenecer a una trilogía, me parecería enormemente satisfactoria. No digo que sea perfecta, pero lo que hace bien lo hace tan bien que no puedo escatimarle ninguna estrella. Es una lección de cómo usar un narrador "no confiable" (y en este caso a mi me gusta mucho la narradora, por cierto) y en cómo crear atmósfera. Lo de meno...more
The story of four women - named only by their professions: biologist, psychologist, anthropologist, and surveyor - sent into a region known only as Area X, walled off from the rest of the world and in some sense corrupted by a government experiment gone wrong (supposedly). This is the 12th expedition sent in by the Southern Reach (supposedly), the mysterious governmental agency in charge of the area (supposedly), with the other 11 all having met disastrous ends of one sort or another (supposedly...more
Jeff Raymond
I got through 20 pages when I first picked this up, and I was already in love with it. The night following my starting this book had some of the oddest, most vivid dreams I can recall in some time.

I'll opt to believe the two are related.

I've really gotten into a deepish dive into so-called "weird fiction" as of late, and Jeff VanderMeer is a leading editor in the genre. I enjoy Lovecraft, I tolerated Chalmers, I'm a big Laird Barron fan, but (and even occasionally with Barron), the one issue I h...more
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Favorite character? *spoilers* 14 127 Sep 02, 2014 09:14AM  
CKBC: March Read: Annihation by Jeff VanderMeer 34 71 Jul 12, 2014 12:12AM  
Casual Readers: ANNIHILATION: Official Discussion 14 52 Jun 30, 2014 02:23AM  
Casual Readers: {NO SPOILERS} Southern Reach Trilogy 4 25 Jun 13, 2014 11:01AM  
SciFi and Fantasy...: Annihilation by Jeff VanDerMeer - May 2014 27 58 May 15, 2014 06:39AM  
The Geekeasy: Annihilation 17 31 May 13, 2014 03:42AM  
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Jeff VanderMeer's most recent fiction is the NYT-bestselling Southern Reach trilogy (Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance), all released in 2014. The series has been acquired by publishers in 15 other countries and Paramount Pictures/Scott Rudin Productions have acquired the movie rights. His Wonderbook (Abrams Image), the world's first fully illustrated, full-color creative writing guide, won...more
More about Jeff VanderMeer...
City of Saints and Madmen (Ambergris, #1) Authority (Southern Reach Trilogy, #2) Finch (Ambergris, #3) The Steampunk Bible: An Illustrated Guide to the World of Imaginary Airships, Corsets and Goggles, Mad Scientists, and Strange Literature Steampunk (Steampunk, #1)

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“The effect of this cannot be understood without being there. The beauty of it cannot be understood, either, and when you see beauty in desolation it changes something inside you. Desolation tries to colonize you.” 16 likes
“That's how the madness of the world tries to colonize you: from the outside in, forcing you to live in its reality.” 9 likes
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