epiphany_maria (epiphany_maria) wrote,

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Book Review: Annihilation

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
Book 1 of the ‘Southern Reach’ trilogy is an excellent, unsettling Lovecraftian tale. For over 30 years, Area X has been monitored by the mysterious Southern Reach agency. Area X is an odd place where something happened and is still happening. What that is, nobody is sure.

A 12th expedition is sent in to investigate. The narrator is a biologist, she tells how their mission is to chart and take samples. But that swiftly falls by the wayside as the narrator learns Area X, the Southern Reach and her own memories cannot be trusted. Circumstances are dire and Area X is in a state of uncontrolled escalation. Answers are not forthcoming only hints and suggestions. Is Area X an alien intrusion or are the expedition the wretched intruders?

This new weird tale is unsettling, the narrator is unreliable and deeply troubled, the world outside Area X sounds pretty awful and the expedition leader treats the team with contempt. I await the upcoming ‘Authority’ and ‘Acceptance’ with baited breath.

Something dreadful is in Area X and it is coming to a corrosive crescendo. This is a vertiginous tale of profound impossibility and disquieting, desolating suspense.

Best Lines:
“We were not told what the device measured or why we should be afraid should it glow red.”

“Far worse though, was a low, powerful moaning at dusk.”

“They were not made of stone but of living tissue.”

“The ill-defined Event that locked it behind the border thirty years ago.”

“Any such observation had been stricken from the record.”

“It provided evidence of a very specific kind of insanity.”
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