Book Review: Annihilation (Southern Reach Trilogy #1)

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

Annihilation (Southern Reach Trilogy #1) by Jeff VanderMeer is one of the books the cool kids already beat me to. It has received mostly good ratings with one exception from those in my circle. The reviews and some prodding brought me to this book.

This is one of those books where the reader is dropped right into a bizarre story without much preface. To complicate the matter the characters are not much better off information wise than the reader. There is a boundary at the Southern Reach, which could be anywhere in the deep south near a coast. This boundary requires special attention to cross and only trained teams are allowed to cross; twelve of them since the appearance of this Area X.

Several possible themes run through my mind. Area X reminiscent of 1950s Science Fiction movies. The characters called by their occupation and not a name reminiscent of Ayn Rand’s Anthem or advanced soviet style world. Where did Area X originate from? A Chernobyl type accident? A Sverdlovsk type anthrax accident? Perhaps String Theory branes colliding?

Despite the short two hundred pages the story is really much bigger and more complex and mysterious. There are many small things that are are mentioned in passing that make one think there must be more to it. There is something really out of whack in this place, much more so than typical sci-fi.Annihilation is one of those books that you keep thinking about it long after you finish it. It also makes you wonder if the following books will drag you further down the rabbit hole or begin to make sense of the situation.

A very enjoyable in a mind bending way. I put the second book on hold at the library already so I guess I am hooked on this series.

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