Annihilation (Southern Reach Trilogy #1) (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Looking for something strange to read? Something not a little puzzling? Look no further than the Southern Reach Trilogy. Jeff Vandermeer's words read as if horror novelist H.P. Lovecraft and film director Andrei Tarkovsky wrote a script together. Annihilation follows Expedition 12 as they explore the mysterious Area X and its improbable happenings.

— From Alex

A vast stretch of the American South has experienced some kind of apocalpyse in the indeterminate future, but no one - not even the government - seems to know exactly what happened. A department known as the Southern Reach is charged with discovering Area X's secrets, but each group they send across the border becomes highly unreliable, sometimes dead, and usually insane. Descend into the madness of Jeff Vandermeer's unforgetable Southern Reach trilogy. All three books are/were released in 2014.

— From Mark Z.



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.

About the Author

Jeff VanderMeer is an award-winning novelist and editor. His fiction has been translated into twenty languages and has appeared in the Library of America's American Fantastic Tales and in multiple year's-best anthologies. He writes nonfiction for The Washington Post, The New York Times Book Review, the Los Angeles Times, and The Guardian, among others. He grew up in the Fiji Islands and now lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with his wife.

Praise For…

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.

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.

Original and beautiful, maddening and magnificent.

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.

A dazzling book . . . haunted and haunting.

The great thing about Annihilation is the strange, elusive, and paranoid world that it creates . . . I can't wait for the next one.

Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9780374104092
ISBN-10: 0374104093
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Publication Date: February 4th, 2014
Pages: 195
Language: English
Series: Southern Reach Trilogy