Area X, on the surface, is a normal looking landscape that borders our own. Once you dig a bit deeper though, it’s inexplicably weird.
The twelfth expedition, this time comprised of four women with varying skills, is sent out to explore, map, and collect data on the region. To succeed where all the other expeditions before them have failed, and uncover the secrets Area X holds.
Why is this on our bookshelf?
Annihilation sits proudly on our geeky shelf for a gargantuan list of reasons; before it was even released, it made it onto io9.com’s “All the Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Books You Can’t Miss” list for February 2014, as well as their “All the Essential Sci-Fi/Fantasy Books Coming in 2014”.
It has gone on to earn several nominations for best novel, including a Nebula Award for Best Novel nomination, and a Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novel. It won both awards.
It also bears mentioning that Annihilation’s reach is quite large in the non-traditional geek circles too. Cosmopolitan Magazine ran an interview with him in September of 2014.
As for its author, Jeff Vandermeer is already an accomplished, well known, and well loved part of the sci-fi/speculative/weird fiction community, with what seems like a metric ton of novels to his name, as well as anthologies that he’s edited with his wife, Ann Vandermeer, who’s also an award winning editor and publisher.
If that isn’t enough, I’ll put the proverbial cherry on top by mentioning that Jeff Vandermeer is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever have the chance to interact with on social media. He’s a real gentleman.
Rating (5 stars)
Annihilation touches on a number of very original, and definitely weird ideas, and they’re presented in such a way that makes it almost impossible to look away from the text for any significant period of time, until you’ve devoured the entire book.
The funny thing about that is the characters aren’t particularly relatable, or in the case of a few, aren’t even really likable, but that’s okay. They’re not supposed to be. You’re treated as an observer to the expedition, connecting to the characters on a scientific, detached level as opposed to an emotional one is pretty daring.
The result is jarringly gorgeous.
Read this book:
If you enjoy speculative fiction, with more than a little weird thrown in, and a dose of ecology and biology in there for good measure.
Don't Read this book:
If you’re the type of reader that needs am immediate emotional connection to characters in order to like them. You won’t necessarily find that here. Also? Maybe skip it if you’re headed out camping in “uncharted territory”. There might be too many parallels for comfort.
Once you're done, do this:
Don’t get too close to any odd spores, or investigate any strange, organic script on living walls…. bad idea. Truly.