Trudi's Reviews > Annihilation

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
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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 say, there were parts of this book that worked really well for me (especially the first half). I felt the epic creep and that twisting, squirming sense of dread of what I couldn't see, of what was lurking right in the corner of my eye. But as with most Weird fiction I've tried, there was a lot of "huh?" and a growing sense of impatience that acts like a maddening itch I can't scratch.

Ever sit on a sneeze that just won't happen for more than 15 minutes? Yeah, kinda like that. Or put another way, lots of really great, thoughtful foreplay that does not deliver on that big finish (I'm a fan of the big finish. The journey is nice and all but I need to know there is a final destination and that there will be fireworks when I get there, that this all means something. I hate ambiguity. It is not my friend).

This book is also well-written. If you are a fan of the word-smithing and an author who is in complete control of creating mood and atmosphere then this is something you might want to check out. There are scenes that practically pulse with claustrophobia and paranoia. The dread is definitely present and some of the reveals are quite shocking and satisfying. I just needed more. What should have been leading towards a crashing climax and a crescendo of realizations simply just....peters out with a whimper, instead of delivering on the bang. Did I mention how much I love the bang?

For you Weird aficionados out there and fans of the unreliable narrator (I'm primarily looking at you mark monday) you might want to give this a second look.
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Reading Progress

August 3, 2014 – Started Reading
August 3, 2014 – Shelved
August 5, 2014 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-10 of 10 (10 new)

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Mara Can one "do" weird?
As a (pseudo)-dyslexic child I thought my dad was a long-time subscriber to WEIRD magazine.

Great review. This one was kind of in that liminal place between spooky and confusing and times, but I had fun.


Trudi Mara wrote: "Great review. This one was kind of in that liminal place between spooky and confusing and times, but I had fun..."

Thanks Mara. I had fun too. Just not enough to bump it up to four stars. Are you planning on reading the rest of the series?


Crowinator Great review. I love the sneeze analogy -- that's perfect. I felt the same way but this book was just short enough to not strain my patience too much. Are you going to read books two and three? I've read the second one and anticipating the third, but I worry that there are going to be NO answers by the end. Book Two was equally ambiguous and disturbing but again, no real big finish.


Trudi Crowinator wrote: "Great review. I love the sneeze analogy -- that's perfect. I felt the same way but this book was just short enough to not strain my patience too much. Are you going to read books two and three? I'v..."

Thanks! I tell you what -- if you read book three and promise me that the journey ends with a bang rather than more questions, then I will definitely finish the series. So I'll be looking out for you review. Let me know when you get to the end!


Trudi Mara wrote: "Can one "do" weird?
As a (pseudo)-dyslexic child I thought my dad was a long-time subscriber to WEIRD magazine ..."


HAHAHA! I just got this. Talk about a delayed reaction ;-)


carol. Huh. Good to know--I was tempted to buy. Think I'll library-borrow this one.


Mara Trudi wrote: "Thanks Mara. I had fun too. Just not enough to bump it up to four st..."
I'll probably give the second ago, but there's just so much goodness out there, it's hard to prioritize!

I just got this.

...and then there was that time I went to a toga party dressed as a goat.*



* Fine, I made that up, but it's just such a great dyslexia joke.


Eleanor Roth "it has a post-modern mindfuck vibe" - you just sold this book to me, lol.


Trudi Eleanor wrote: ""it has a post-modern mindfuck vibe" - you just sold this book to me, lol."

Great! Book pushing is what we're all about, right? It's definitely an unusual little book worth giving a chance to. Happy reading!


message 10: by Lori (new) - rated it 1 star

Lori "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?" - You'll never know because the book won't tell you....


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