Annihilation Author:Jeff VanderMeer Eleven secret government expeditions and few have returned unscathed-the first book in VanderMeer's exciting new Southern Reach Trilogy and soon to be a major motion pictureArea X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization, and the government is involved in sending se... more »cret missions to explore Area X. 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.Annihilation opens with the twelfth expedition. The group is composed of four women, including our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain and collect specimens; to record all of their observations, scientific and otherwise; and, above all, to avoid succumbing to the unpredictable effects of Area X itself.What they discover shocks them: first, a massive topographic anomaly that does not appear on any map; and second, life forms beyond anything they're equipped to understand. But it's the surprises that came across the border with them that change everything-the secrets of the expedition members themselves, including our narrator. What do they really know about Area X-and each other?« less
This book is terrifying, but beautiful. Short as it is, I read it incredibly slowly both because I was too scared to turn the page and because I wanted to drag out the experience as much as possible. The sense of place and description of the setting is nearly unparalleled. It's written in a slow creeping style, which I guess may annoy some readers but I think it works well for the material. I'm not sure how to describe this, but if sci-fi with a dose of horror is up your alley, read this.