Praise for Jeff VanderMeer's Annihilation
"[T]his short work packs a big punch, as the author has rare skills for
building tension and making the reader feel the claustrophobic dread of
his characters. Readers will be unsettled, intrigued, and eager for the
next volume in this new trilogy."
"How often do you stumble across great new science fiction? It's a genre
that never gets the attention it deserves. All the more reason to
delight in Jeff Vandermeer's Annihilation . . . The plot moves quickly and
has all the fantastic elements you'd ever want—biological contaminants,
peculiar creatures, mysterious deaths—but it's the novel's unbearable
dread that lingers with me days after I've finished it."
—Justin Alvarez, The Paris Review
"[S]trange, clever, off-putting, maddening, claustrophobic,
occasionally beautiful, occasionally disturbing and altogether
"[T]horoughly suspenseful. In a manner similar to H. G. Wells' in The
Island of Dr. Moreau (1896), VanderMeer weaves together an otherworldly
tale of the supernatural and the half-human."
—Booklist, starred review
"Speculative fiction at its most transfixing."
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"[B]rilliant first in a trilogy from fantasy author VanderMeer . . . Using
evocative descriptions of the biologist's outer and inner worlds,
masterful psychological insight, and intellectual observations both
profound and disturbing—calling Lovecraft to mind and Borges—VanderMeer
unfolds a tale as satisfying as it is richly imagined."
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"[A] clear triumph for VanderMeer, who after numerous works of genre
fiction has suddenly transcended genre with a compelling, elegant and
existential story of far broader appeal. That's not to say his genre
readers should turn away — on the contrary. . . . The apparent tragedy and
freakish ecology of Area X's blight are quite fascinating, and the
solitary voice of its post-humanist narrator is both deeply flawed and
deeply trustworthy—a difficult and excellent balance in a novel whose
world is built seamlessly and whose symbols are rich and dark."
—The L.A. Times Book Review
"From the book's very first paragraph VanderMeer conveys a strong sense
of unease. . . . VanderMeer ups the book's eeriness quotient with the
smoothest of skill, the subtlest of grace. His prose makes the horrific
—The Seattle Times
"[A]bsolutely f***ing brilliant"
"VanderMeer both defies and challenges genre boundaries, forcing readers
to forget about traditional tropes and clichés and simply enjoy the
—Kirkus Reviews' "Best Bets for Speculative Fiction Books—Feb 2014"
"Annihilation is successfully creepy, an old-style gothic horror novel set in a not-too-distant future. The best bits turn your mind inside out . . . VanderMeer has already written two sequels, Authority and Acceptance, which will be published later in 2014. Amazingly soon, in other words — but, if you ask me, not soon enough."
—The Washington Post
"VanderMeer focuses on more philosophical themes, questioning the boundaries between the individual and her society, and between linearity and circularity. With the narrator under the influence of a mind-altering toxin throughout the text, it makes for a heady ride of ideas, while never skimping on the action and world-building."
—School Library Journal
"Jeff VanderMeer's new novel Annihilation lures you in with a seriously intriguing mystery, then leaves you filled with incredible, delicious dread
. . . . it will make you believe in the power of science mysteries again." —io9
"[B]rilliant . . . riveting, destabilizing and utterly strange . . . wildly imaginative, vaguely mystical . . . VanderMeer's story is thrilling, confusing, disturbing. But its deepest terror lies in its exploration of the vacancies of the human heart, and the terror that can grow from the ways in which we are untrue to each other, and to ourselves."
—Globe and Mail
"VanderMeer has immersed us in a mind that is almost as unusual as the environment it's studying … VanderMeer masterfully conjures up an atmosphere of both metaphysical dread and visceral tension in counterpoint to the biologist's invariably cool, precise language. Annihilation is a novel in which facts are undermined and doubt instilled at almost every turn. It's about science as a way of not only thinking but feeling, rather than science as a means of becoming certain about the world."
Related media links:
"From Annihilation to Acceptance: A Writer’s Surreal Journey" in The Atlantic
"The Weird Thoreau" in The New Yorker
"The Illusions of Control: Jeff VanderMeer's extraordinary Southern Reach Trilogy" in Slate