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The Southern Reach Trilogy begins with this Nebula Award-winning novel that "reads as if Verne or Wellsian adventurers exploring a mysterious island had warped through into a Kafkaesque nightmare world" (Kim Stanley Robinson).
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.
Jeff VanderMeer is the "weird Thoreau" according to The New Yorker. He is the author of Borne and The Southern Reach Trilogy, the first volume of which, Annihilation, won the Nebula Award and the Shirley Jackson Award and was adapted into a movie by Alex Garland.
He speaks and writes frequently about issues relating to climate change. VanderMeer lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with his wife, Ann VanderMeer, and their cats, plants, and bird feeders.
“It's been a long time since a book filled me with this kind of palpable, wondrous disquiet, a feeling that started on the first page and that I'm not sure I've yet shaken.” —Matt Bell, author of In the House upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods
“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
“Original and beautiful, maddening and magnificent.” —Warren Ellis
“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
“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
“A dazzling book . . . haunted and haunting.” —Kelly Link, author of Magic for Beginners
“The great thing about Annihilation is the strange, elusive, and paranoid world that it creates . . . I can't wait for the next one.” —Brian Evenson, author of Last Days
“This swift surreal suspense novel reads as if Verne or Wellsian adventurers exploring a mysterious island had warped through into a Kafkaesque nightmare world. The reader will want to stay trapped with the Biologist to find the answers to Area X's mysteries.” —Kim Stanley Robinson, author of the Mars trilogy
“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 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)