Annihilation • 2014 • SF novel by Jeff VanderMeer


Meta: isfdb. Winner of the Nebula Award 2014. First in Southern Reach series.

Summary: Expeditions into cut off Area X are dangerous: all the members of the second expedition committed suicide, other expeditions murdered each other or died of cancer. The narrator is the biologist of the twelfth expedition, set out to record their observations and survive. The four women discover life forms they don’t understand, but hide their discoveries from each other – along with their secrets.

„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.“


Dense, weird page turner in ego perspective. Exactly the right size, it felt more like an extended novella than one of those fat doorstoppers.
A bit of Lovecraft, a bit of Poe, some Grass, and some Little, Big in it. Environment and identity are the major themes in it. The plot evolved slowly and was resolved even slower, but the well-crafted novel is more character driven than plot driven. Maybe it has some deeper meaning it it, but I didn’t find it and was only nicely entertained.

I was happy to read it but I’m not curious enough to continue the trilogy.

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