Annihilation (Southern Reach Trilogy #1) (Movie Tie-In Edition)

Annihilation (Southern Reach Trilogy #1) (Movie Tie-In Edition)

by Jeff VanderMeer


$5.98 $14.00 Save 57% Current price is $5.98, Original price is $14. You Save 57%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Wednesday, February 26



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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780594066958
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 02/13/2018
Series: Southern Reach Trilogy Series , #1
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 71,059
Product dimensions: 4.90(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.70(d)

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.

Reading Group Guide

In Jeff VanderMeer's haunting Southern Reach trilogy, an American wilderness has become a shadowland, concealed by the government for more than thirty years. An environmental disaster zone, Area X is home to strange biological forces that have begun gathering strength. The secret agency known as the Southern Reach has sent in eleven expeditions to discover the truth about Area X, but each team succumbed to violence or illness. Our story begins as a twelfth group is attempting to succeed where all others have failed. Comprised of four women, the team includes a psychologist (the de facto leader), a surveyor, an anthropologist, and a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain and collect specimens; to record their observations, scientific and otherwise, of their surroundings and of one another; and, above all, to avoid being contaminated by Area X itself. But those who venture across the border bring their own secret histories, creating a world where trust is a fool's game.

This guide is designed to enrich your discussion. We hope that the following questions will enhance your journey into Area X.

1. What were your initial theories about the psychologist's motives and the whereabouts of the anthropologist? How did the ways they approached the expedition compare to the approaches of the surveyor and the biologist?

2. Did you envision the core of Area X as a tower or a tunnel? In your mind, is it a living creature or a product of engineering?

3. How did you interpret the phrases that emerged in Area X? Did you read them as prophecies? Poetry? Delusions?

4. Was the biologist's introverted, analytical temperament an asset or a hindrance on the expedition? How did the experiences of her youth—particularly her study of the neglected, dazzling swimming pool—prepare her for this fieldwork?

5. As the biologist recalled her husband and his role in the eleventh expedition as a medic, what did you discover about her vulnerabilities and about the strength of their relationship?

6. Are there any real-world figures today who take on a role like the Crawler's—a producer of words who controls an audience? What is the source of the Crawler's power?

7. What do you predict for book 2, Authority?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Annihilation: A Novel 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 77 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an interesting book. More specifically, this is an interesting one third of a book. This volume is short, only about 130 pages as counted on my Nook, and as expected it does not finish the story I've read the second volume Authority which is about twice as long (still NOT lengthy) and it tells more of the story from a different angle. It was also well written and interesting, but in my opinion was more of a subplot than a second volume. It provided some more plot elements, but did not advance anything found in the first book. SO WHAT AM I GETTING AT? To get the complete story when volume 3 Acceptance comes out in September, I will have spent about $30 to read what is by any measure just one story. The publication schedule, a new volume every four months, is hardly set by how long it took to write the later volumes. The whole thing smacks of someone's ploy to get more revenue out of writing one story. It is a well told story that I have enjoyed the first two-thirds of. However, don't start this series expected a series of novels, It is one story told in parts. And it will cost you $30 to read the full story. I'm not sure it is worth it. And if for damn sure hope this is not going to become publishing industry standard practice.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'll say this for it, it disturbed me. Even so I find it hard to enjoy because of his writing style. It feels like a riff on H P Lovecraft.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Last third of the book was far too vague for me. So what really happened? Probably wont pay another $10 a down load to find out in next books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author is amazingly good at using 50 words when 5 would do. If you took out all the paragraphs I simply scanned over that descibed in minute detail feelings, thoughts and observations that were not even germain to the supposed plot, the novel would be a short story at best. A terrible book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A rather silly attempt at futuristic-science-adventure bordering on the absurd. But so inane and unsatisfactory to be not worth the time to read. Go find a better book. Hard to believe this drivel is to be a trilogy.
Go4Jugular More than 1 year ago
This review is for the entire series, as I read, and cautiously enjoyed, the first two books, in great part with anticipation for revelations and a conclusion(s) in the final novel. Unfortunately, that never occurs. Characterizations are, at best, impersonal, and the writing sporadically clear, then muddled. The intent of the author seems to be to describe humanity's encounter with another culture so alien that we can't communicate with it or understand its intent/purpose, and while that prospect is intellectually plausible, given the myriad ways in which life could evolve in another time/place, the lack of meaningful interaction between the characters and whatever that Other is, deprives the story of interest and prevents it from coming to any comprehensible conclusion. Of all the questions that are posed or develop over the course of the three books few, if any, are answered coherently. The concepts are not without merit, and much promise is hinted at but, ultimately, the series fails to deliver.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author is of the tell don't show school of writing. "A second look, and ... I could see strands of black smoke, which could have meant anything. But I could also see,..." etc. Okay. You could see. But did you? Why not "... I saw strands..", or "... strands of black smoke drifted..." Or whatever. Please. PUT ME IN SCENE. Let me live the story. Nominally, the story is creepy and atmospheric. But since the author has done everything possible to keep me at a remove from the story rather than in it, I simply found it boring. Nothing immediate. A protagonist I didn't care about. Arrg. A waste of good money and better time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely couldn't put this down. I hung on every page. I loved it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Chilling, mysterious, and terrifying. Very recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mainly wanted to check this book out as I’d heard that it is the basis for the movie of the same name I’ve been seeing previews for that look interesting. Once I picked up this book I just couldn’t stop reading, and now I can’t wait for the movie adaptation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read a fair amount of Science Fiction in my time, ranging from classics like Dune to the Hunger Games. Honestly the whole reason I read this was because of the trailer that just came out for the movie that is based on this book series. I fully plan on reading books two and three of this series but what I will say is if you are looking for a read that is straightforward you're not going to find it here especially if you watch the trailer for the movie and you keep thinking you're going to see certain parts of it in this book. I guess my best recommendation while reading this would be to keep an open mind. If you are looking for an original book series and you don't mind the occasional twist from what you might otherwise expect then this book series is for you for sure. However if you're hoping for a non-stop action thriller you may be disappointed this is very much a slow contemplative novel with flashbacks.
PJMitch More than 1 year ago
At 1st I was annoyed that the ebook was SO SHORT! However, as I was reading I was annoyed that the book would not just end already! What a struggle to get through it. Saturated in description with hardly any dialogue, the "plot" moved at such a snail's pace that it took all my effort to get through it. I have no interest in continuing the series and would warn against attempting to to try!
Mara Hsiung 20 days ago
Lovely novel, taut, transportive, enjoyable to read, makes great use of the unreliable narrator. Cleverly structured, nicely done. Look forward to the next one.
HnLA More than 1 year ago
I did not care for the book, neither the story or the writing style (and the style seems to be the main point). I thought it was going to be a post apocalypse story, which it really is not. It is more psychological, and since I really could not get too excited about the main character, it was hard to care about what was happening. I was able to read all the way through, but did not give it to anyone, which I normally do on a foreign vacation.
BlackAsh13 More than 1 year ago
I guess I had a similar experience with this book as many others. It was difficult to maintain J terest as most of the story is very slowing moving. It is related to the reader as a journal entry of the main Character, the biologist. Because of this, there is little dialoghe between the characters who comprise the expedition team Sent in to Area X. While we get to know the biologist very well, I never got a feel for the other characters. The story itself is less about events and more about the biologist's thoughts and feelings about her time in Area X. This is what it makes it a difficult read. For me, it became a little more interesting towards the end, and left me intrigued enough to continue with the trilogy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The movie really hyped up this book!!it really doesn't need a series let alone 3 books.the author tries to convey a lot of details with a lot of lengthy words and description but I ultimately falls short of what the author is trying to achieve if you can even figure it out. Everyone kind of has the same monotone personality not very distinctive I can't get a favorite character took me forever to finish not because the story is long which it is not, is just not entertaining super boring do not recommend
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautiful read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I Can't put this story down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Watched the movie first, but enjoyed and appreciate the source material. As is the case with books and movies, books dig deeper into inner conflict, while films dwell on the visual.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An immersive and disturbing reading experience. A smart but sometimes unsatisfying trend in movies and books is to leave the biggest mysteries to the interpretation of each member of the audience. It was refreshing that VanderMeer really just "went there" with this book. Even with a relatively short attention span, I found this book very easy to get attached to. The concept was interesting, and his execution through the eyes of one of the expedition members, the biologist, was very direct and analytical, which often added to the feeling of second-hand creepiness. In my opinion, there wasn't much superfluous description (despite the fact that this is a criticism in at least one other user review). The concise manner in which the biologist described certain situations or memories allowed for some interpretation, which was satisfying. . . Essentially, building off of what I said in the first paragraph, VanderMeer spends the right amount of time directly unfolding the big mysteries, and allows the audience to fill in other smaller details (rather than the other way around, as some other authors tend to do). Even though this is one book in a trilogy, it could stand alone, in my opinion. There is a lot going on, which doesn't necessarily NEED follow-up. Still, I will definitely be reading the next two. VanderMeer also gets brownie points for writing the female characters outside of the role of Mother, Wife, etc. After reading many novels where motherhood sneaked in as a core theme, it was refreshing to have a story focus on the expedition/mystery at hand. Not at the main character's underlying depression at being infertile, which goes to explain her hard outer shell and her difficulty in trusting people or some other similar story line found in countless other books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I rarely read an entire book in one day, let alone in one sitting. Thank goodness Annihilation is a fairly short novel or I’d have read through the night, missed work, and starved to death! This book wastes no time explaining things that are better left a mystery and thrusts the reader into a world that — as a native of coastal Virginia, which has a landscape much like Area X — has a deeply unnerving sort of familiarity. This writing style may not be for everyone, but I think it’s perfect for the story and a nice change from “the usual”. I’ll be passing this book around the workplace and thinking about it for a long time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just okay.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I picked up this book to read before the new movie is released. I always prefer book over movie. Now, I will not likely see the movie, but hope that it is nothing like the book. This story made no sense to me. Even with the willing suspension of disbelief, no logic or conclusion exists, not explanation, no cliffhanger to pull you into the next book in the series. The author uses extensive imagery with complete disregard to tangible objects in which they are describing. I felt so lost when a key component, I think, of the story was described as a sound, and a light, and a smell, and a feeling, while the storyteller continues to describe the physical actions of the same thing. Just lost and confused, won’t be reading more from this author.