A Novel

Downloadable Audiobook - 2014
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If J. J. Abrams, Margaret Atwood, and Alan Weisman collaborated on a novel ... it might be this awesome.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; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died 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 months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer. This is the twelfth expedition. Their group is made up of four women: an anthropologist, a surveyor, a psychologist--the de facto leader--and a biologist, who is our narrator. Their mission is to map the terrain and collect specimens; to record all their observations, scientific and otherwise, of their surroundings and of one another; and, above all, to 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.
Publisher: [Ashland, Oregon] : Blackstone Audio, Inc., [2014]
Edition: Unabridged
ISBN: 9781482956702
Branch Call Number: E-AUDIOBOOK
Characteristics: 1 online resource (1 sound file (06 hr., 11 sec.)) : digital
Additional Contributors: McCormick, Carolyn

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JCLDylanR Oct 25, 2017

(Note: Annihilation is the first book of Vandermeer's Southern Reach trilogy)

Set in the (not-too-distant?) future, Annihilation tells a tale of a group of four persons (anthropologist, biologist, psychologist, & surveyor) who comprise the 12th research mission into a mysterious region of the country; a once-populated area--now known as Area X--rendered uninhabitable by some unknown event. The previous 11 missions to Area X have yielded more questions--& deaths--than answers, yet the research continues.

For Area X is growing.

Annihilation was incredibly intriguing from the start. The characters are not allowed to reveal their names to each other; each being known to both their comrades & you the reader as simply, "Anthropologist," "Botanist," etc. There is an immediate sense of importance lent to certain portions of the story which work to bring about a sense of mystery & foreboding. For the audio version, McCormick's solemn delivery certainly plays a strong part in this, although in nailing the ineffectual nature of the main character can make for some rather trying listening, especially at/around the mid-point of the book.

Viewing Annihilation as a single piece of work, I felt the story long on concept, yet short on payoff. This trilogy has met with widespread acclaim, so my opinion could likely change after I've taken in the other two works. However, given the fact all three books were published in quick succession, I can't help but wish they had simply been made into, say, two books, as Annihilation simply felt too short during my time with it. I can only hope the rest of the series lives up to the promise showcased early in Annihilation!

Mar 20, 2015

I think ANNIHILATION benefits from being listened to: the quiet, almost emotionless tone of the book is eerie and striking in its delivery by narrator Carolyn McCormick, as if you are listening to the biologist tell her own tale in a trance, dumbstruck by what she has learned and experienced. I was transfixed.


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