Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer concerns the efforts of a team of female scientists who trek deep into a quarantined wilderness to study and record the effects of an unknown alien influence. Something is absorbing the environment, breaking it down to its components and rearranging them in bizarre configurations. The story’s icy protagonist/narrator chronicles the dream-like wanderlust through mutated landscapes and biological nightmares in this science fiction mystery.
Briskly paced, this novel packs a lot of beauty and dread into its 195 pages. With its chilly atmosphere and ability to conjure strange and haunting images, it is a must-read for fans of the darker side of exploration of the unknown. The book formed the basis for a movie starring Natalie Portman that opened in February.
The first in the Southern Reach trilogy, Annihilation is sci-fi at its best. More concerned with the journey than the destination, it supplies the reader with wonderful and terrifying ideas to chew on and fuel the imagination for years to come.