Synopses & Reviews
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; the second expedition ended in mass suicide, the third expedition 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 weeks, all had died of cancer. In Annihilation, the first volume of Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy, we join the twelfth expedition.
The 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, record all observations of their surroundings and of one another, and, above all, 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.
"A gripping fantasy thriller, Annihilation is thoroughly suspenseful. In a manner similar to H. G. Wells's in The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896), VanderMeer weaves together an otherworldly tale of the supernatural and the half-human. Delightfully, this page-turner is the first in a trilogy." Heather Paulson, ALA Booklist (Starred Review)
"After their high-risk expedition disintegrates, it's every scientist for herself in this wonderfully creepy blend of horror and science fiction . . . Speculative fiction at its most transfixing." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"A tense and chilling psychological thriller about an unraveling expedition and the strangeness within us. A little Kubrick, a lot Lovecraft, the novel builds with an unbearable tension and a claustrophobic dread that linger long afterward. I loved it." Lauren Beukes, author of The Shining Girls
"In much of Jeff VanderMeer's work, a kind of radiance lies beating beneath the surface of the words. Here in Annihilation, it shines through with warm blazing incandescence. This is one of a grand writer's finest and most dazzling books." Peter Straub, author of Lost Boy, Lost Girl
"One of those books where it all comes together — the story and the prose and the ideas, all braided into a triple helix that gives rise to something vibrant and alive. Something that grows, word-by-word, into powerful, tangled vines that creep into your mind and take hold of it. Annihilation is brilliant and atmospheric, a novel that has the force of myth." Charles Yu, author of How to Live in a Science Fictional Universe
About the Author
Jeff VanderMeer is an award-winning novelist and editor. His fiction has been translated into twenty languages and has appeared in the Library of Americas American Fantastic Tales and in multiple years-best anthologies. He writes nonfiction for The Washington Post, The New York Times Book Review, the Los Angeles Times, and The Guardian, among others. He grew up in the Fiji Islands and now lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with his wife.
Jeff VanderMeer on PowellsBooks.Blog
You have to trust your subconscious when it tells you that a flying bear makes sense and that things will accrete around that. What I realized with this book, as opposed to the Southern Reach, is that the Southern Reach has an accretion of detail in a totally different way...