Richard Derus's Reviews > Annihilation

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
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really liked it

Rating: 4* of five

***MOVIE REVIEW*** Watch Darren of Flick Connection's guide to how to watch the film. It's a lot better than the carping literalists would have you believe. Please! PLEASE! Watch the film and let the experience beguile and ensorcel you. Watch it twice. Immerse yourself and let it become a bit of your brain.

***MOVIE UPDATE: The Alex Garland adaptation will hit theaters on 23 February 2018. Garland's 2014 debut was Ex Machina, for which he got an Academy award nomination...let's hope this means good things.***

The Publisher Says: 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 third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer.

This is the twelfth expedition.

Their group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is 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.

They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers—they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding—but it’s the surprises that came across the border with them, and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another, that change everything.

My Review: Winner of the 2015 Nebula Award for science fiction novels and the 2014 Shirley Jackson Award for horror novels, this novel earns accolade after award heaped on top of praise for a good reason: It is eerie, atmospheric setting plus glimpsed monsters plus the recrudescence of the inner evil in all humans. And it's very well written.

We're well into this short book before something truly scary happens; before that, it was all spooky suggestions. The first truly scary thing (view spoiler)...an intense impact!

One thing I must note about Mr. Vandermeer's work is that he seems inordinately interested in fungi and molds. **shudder** The shroom-o-phobic members of the audience are warned. Everyone else, I recommend the book with mild reservations, but only mild ones, about the SF-resistant ladies. I myownself would say try 50pp, for what that's worth.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
October 13, 2015 – Finished Reading
October 14, 2015 – Shelved

Comments Showing 1-25 of 25 (25 new)

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Steven Yay you're back! :)


Richard Derus Try and get rid of me. I'm harder to kill than MRSA.


message 3: by hayden (new)

hayden ALEX GARLAND??? FUCK YES I LOVED EX MACHINA


Richard Derus hayden wrote: "ALEX GARLAND??? FUCK YES I LOVED EX MACHINA"

You'll know in 6 months if he's done it again. I really hope that he has.


Beth doesn't write  enough reviews Richard wrote: "hayden wrote: "ALEX GARLAND??? FUCK YES I LOVED EX MACHINA"

You'll know in 6 months if he's done it again. I really hope that he has."


The trailer for the movie looks amazing but it's been my experience the book is always better than the movie. I'll be giving this one a try then if history repeats bitching at the tv screen about all the best parts of the book being changed.


Richard Derus Beth doesn't write wrote: "Richard wrote: "hayden wrote: "ALEX GARLAND??? FUCK YES I LOVED EX MACHINA"

You'll know in 6 months if he's done it again. I really hope that he has."

The trailer for the movie looks amazing but ..."


Some women on Facebook chided me for posting the trailer because the film is sexist. Umm, how would you know when the film hasn't been released?


Oldham Rocker I just finished reading the book and was watching trailers before seeing Blade Runner 2049. I thought to myself, hmm, this looks a lot like Annihilation. It's obviously buffed up quite a bit. I don't know how they would do the second book in the trilogy and keep it interesting.


Beth doesn't write  enough reviews Richard wrote: "Beth doesn't write wrote: "Richard wrote: "hayden wrote: "ALEX GARLAND??? FUCK YES I LOVED EX MACHINA"

You'll know in 6 months if he's done it again. I really hope that he has."

The trailer for t..."


Sexist? Hum, ok. I've watched the trailer & don't see it. I think ppl go looking for problems. Yes, sexism & misogyny are problems in movies (well everywhere) but labeling something before it's released doesn't do anything but show bitterness.

I tend to disregard militant feminists anyway. My anecdotal evidence IRL shows they are at least partly to blame for their anger issues and a few just need a really good orgasm to get over themselves.


Oldham Rocker It's only "sexist" because all four MC's are female. There's absolutely nothing in the book promoting gender bias.

I read a review in The New Yorker that claimed Blade Runner 2049 was "sexist" because all the good parts went to male actors.

Which just now struck me as ironic because The New Yorker highly praised VanderMeer's writing.


Oldham Rocker Oh, if you haven't read the books, they are "literary," in the sense that they are slow moving, enjoy the flow of the writing, sort of novels.

That's why I said the movie looks buffed up.


Beth doesn't write  enough reviews Oldham Rocker wrote: "Oh, if you haven't read the books, they are "literary," in the sense that they are slow moving, enjoy the flow of the writing, sort of novels.

That's why I said the movie looks buffed up."


Well movies are all visuals & action so buffed up is what Hollywood does.

I am definitely looking forward to reading this series but went on a buying frenzy a few weeks ago on Amazon so my budget demands those be read before buying more. Next shopping 'trip' this is the top of the list!


Richard Derus I am unsure of the definition of "sexism" when the person deploying it as a blockbuster unanswerable explosion has just used the word "mansplain" to me.

That isn't sexist, eh?


Oldham Rocker Beth doesn't write wrote: "Oldham Rocker wrote: "Oh, if you haven't read the books, they are "literary," in the sense that they are slow moving, enjoy the flow of the writing, sort of novels.

That's why I said the movie loo..."


Now that I've purchased all three books, they'll probably go on sale before the film is released.


Oldham Rocker Richard wrote: "I am unsure of the definition of "sexism" when the person deploying it as a blockbuster unanswerable explosion has just used the word "mansplain" to me.

That isn't sexist, eh?"


I did some web searching and couldn't find anything reputable or otherwise claiming the book/movie is sexist.

I did find a tidbit claiming the movie is set as a stand alone, although there may indeed be a trilogy.


Richard Derus >13 but the covers will be tie-in covers!

>14 I'd be very surprised if there's another film. It's hard to fathom how this will be a huge hit.


Beth doesn't write  enough reviews Richard wrote: "I am unsure of the definition of "sexism" when the person deploying it as a blockbuster unanswerable explosion has just used the word "mansplain" to me.

That isn't sexist, eh?"


Mansplain? Oh good lord! That right there is enough for me to end any conversation. You bring that up & you've lost the argument as well as any credibility.

Kind of like Nazi, unless you're talking about our current administrations policies! LOL!


Richard Derus Heh...that is pretty much how I feel.


Oldham Rocker I rhetorically wonder how you became responsible for explaining to her why the movie she claims is sexist isn't really sexist simply because you wrote a review on the book.


Carmen Great review; wonderful book!


Richard Derus Carmen wrote: "Great review; wonderful book!"

Thank you kindly, Carmen, and yes, I agree that it is.


message 21: by William2 (new)

William2 “Ensorcel”—sweet vocabulary! Loved Ex Machina.


Richard Derus William2 wrote: "“Ensorcel”—sweet vocabulary! Loved Ex Machina."

Thanks for the kind words! Yep, a quality movie.


Justine I liked the movie too. It had a sensual quality that comes through in the book, which juxtaposes so nicely with the clinical style the story is presented in.


Richard Derus Justine wrote: "I liked the movie too. It had a sensual quality that comes through in the book, which juxtaposes so nicely with the clinical style the story is presented in."

That's an interesting choice of word, "clinical," I'd never said it to myself but it's exactly how it felt to me. Thanks!


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