Annihilation: A Novel (Southern Reach Trilogy)

By Jeff VanderMeer
Publisher:FSG Originals, (2/4/2014)

Average Rating:
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3.00 out of 5 (2 Clubie's ratings)

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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 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.
     Annihilation is the first volume in Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, which will be published throughout 2014: volume two (Authority) in June, and volume three (Acceptance) in September.

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Book Junky's thoughts on "Annihilation: A Novel (Southern Reach Trilogy)"
updated on:4/3/2014

This was one weird book. The writing is so unique and well done I seriously felt creeped out the entire time I was reading it not knowing what to expect next. So, for the writing alone, I think this book is worth a read. That said, the story did not have me waiting with anticipation for my time each night to read it again. I thought it was interesting and it had me curious, but not that engaging with the plot. For book clubs, there is enough here to discuss (especially if your a teen or mother daughter book club. P.S. Why do teens all seem to love dystopian novels?). Topics like: How people handle life or death situations. What the F# was actually happening in Area X? The roles of manipulation in activities. The impersonalization of the group members (i.e. “the Surveyer” vs. their real name). The idea that they only sent all men or all women. Why would anyone volunteer for such a mission? Why all the old technology to explore instead of newer technology? The concept of our potential integration with the world around us upon death. How people deal with marriage, change and death. So, LOTS to discuss. Ultimately I thought it was a beautiful love story that would never admit it was a love story. The ending though kinda killed it for me though. It was appropriate, but left way too much hanging. But I guess that is what you do when you write a trilogy. But I am starting to really dislike trilogies that leave books feeling incomplete… Great writing, lots to discuss…not really my cup of tea, but I bet anything that my 15-year-old nephew is going to LOVE it!

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Ceci's thoughts on "Annihilation: A Novel (Southern Reach Trilogy)"
updated on:3/31/2014

I won’t pretend I understood even half of this book. Maybe I know what happened, but as soon as I try to explain it with actual words, I suspect my theories will unravel. And yet. I found myself unaccountably gratified by all those inexplicable details, banal and bizarre, the unreserved wackiness, the complete non-pandering. It’s like watching an episode of Doctor Who . . . or the entire series of Lost. Minute by minute, you fool yourself that you get it. Of course you don’t. But you love it anyway. Thank goodness Book 2 is only a month away.

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"Annihilation: A Novel (Southern Reach Trilogy)"
By Jeff VanderMeer

Average Rating:
Unleash it
3.00 out of 5 (2 Clubie's ratings)

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