‘Annihilation’ is a fantastically pieced together work of fiction that is as unnerving as it is delightful – revelling in its ability to be ambiguous and pushes the reader to draw their own conclusions.
I vaguely remember firing this up on my Kindle a couple of years ago but somehow never got around to reading VanderMeer’s cerebral sci-fi eco-horror thriller. Cut to 2018, and Alex Garland – hot off the critical success of ‘Ex Machina’ – teams up with Netflix to release an adaptation of the book – the first in ‘The Southern Reach Trilogy’, which recounts an expedition by a team of four women who set out to explore a mysterious new ecosystem, called Area X.
While visually stunning and conceptually provocative, the psychologically esoteric and philosophically perplexing nature of the film did catch a lot of viewers – including myself – off guard.
But here we are. Five years later. And with me having blazed through it in under 3 hours.
‘Annihilation’ is a fantastically pieced together work of fiction that is as unnerving as it is delightful – revelling in its ability to be ambiguous and pushes the reader to draw their own conclusions. Coupled with some slick, fast paced writing chops and tense nail biting sequences, VanderMeer masterfully conjures up imagery that is both hauntingly beautiful and vividly terrifying – evoking a sense of awe and dread of the unknown.
The gorgeously atmospheric and refreshingly original, ‘Annihilation’ will leave you clamouring for answers as you are led into a thought provoking labyrinth – coming out on the other side, not really quite the same.
Jeff VanderMeer on the importance of themes, writing out of sequence, Annihilation and much more!