Barry Pierce's Reviews > Annihilation

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
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bookshelves: 21st-century, read-in-2018

Annihilation is a sci-fi novel that follows a team of four women as they explore a mysterious region known as Area X. A shady company called Southern Reach is sending teams of biologists, anthropologists, linguists, architects and others into Area X to try to discover just what it is and why it has become so inhospitable. Thus far, being one of these team members has a 100% mortality rate. Just what is Area X and what is killing everyone?

This novel would be nothing without Tarkovsky's Stalker. I think the best way I can describe Annihilation is imagine a cross between Stalker and The Day of the Triffids but y'know, with women.

Despite being published in 2014, the plot and prose of VanderMeer's novel reads more like classic sci-fi than anything more contemporary. I can see John Wyndham in there, as well as Richard Matheson and Walter Tevis. It is a welcome break from the sci-fi of our era, which I find can sometimes get slightly too caught up in its own mythology.

VanderMeer imbues his novel with a thick and sooty atmosphere which only helps heighten the dank thread of dread which is taut throughout. Most of the novel could be accompanied by a shrill and prolonged note on the violin, an overwhelming build-up only broken by staccato'd reprieves of jump scare horror.

In other words, this book is a whole lot of fun.

When people saw that I was reading this novel I received a couple of messaging saying that it wasn't that great or that it's a good idea but not very well executed. Of course I understand those reservations but I personally do not agree with them. I thought this was a fine little book. To quote Ronseal: 'it does exactly what it says on the tin'. I had loads of fun reading this.

A dark and suffocating exploration of the unknown, Annihilation, like its mother Stalker, purposefully leaves the reader with more questions than answers. The first in a frankly unnecessary trilogy (I think this would work just fine as a standalone), the novel is a hark back to mid-20th century science fiction. Highly readable, quick, and fun. I enjoyed this a lot.
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Reading Progress

March 19, 2018 – Started Reading
March 20, 2018 – Shelved
March 20, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

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message 1: by Franco (new)

Franco Yeay!! Finally a review that pushes me to reading it!

message 2: by Sasha (new)

Sasha will you be reading the rest of them?? they’ve all been published in a stunning hardback!

Barry Pierce Sasha wrote: "will you be reading the rest of them?? they’ve all been published in a stunning hardback!"

yeah I'll read the trilogy, even though I'm not sure why it is a trilogy. they'll be a nice fun break for when I'm between novels.

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