BY JEFF VANDERMEER
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.
I decided to read this book after my son recommended it to me and then I saw that it was an upcoming movie starring Natalie Portman. I was intrigued by the description. First let me say that this book is a Nebula award winner. I would call it a combination between science fiction, mystery and fantasy. It's told from The Biologist's point of view and her experience of Area X. I'll admit it took effort to read and finish it because these are not my favorite genres. One of the things that I really struggled with was bonding with any of the characters in the book-they all seemed very flat and emotionless to me. Another thing that bothered me was that the characters didn't have names, they were just known as their titles-The Biologist, The Anthropologist, etc. Maybe this is why I had a hard time connecting with them? I'm not sure. This all being said I did finish it and it leaves you with a cliff hanger. Surprising me the most-it left me wanting to read the next one in the series. Haha. I really needed to find out what happened to the characters next. I guess that's what they call good writing.
I plan to watch this movie tonight and do the movie review this week. Stay tuned.