Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Annihilation is a first person account of encountering the surreal. And I think it can only exist on paper. A movie adaptation could not do it justice unless they went full first-person POV with the filming which is not something done much at all. I fear some filmmaker would try to make this a found footage horror film which would most likely ruin the story because one thing they touch on in the book is the fact that what they see often does not appear on film so does that mean it does not exist?
The basic story is: A group of four women go into a strange place to explore it and this is what happens. The book is classified as "New Weird". Here's one definition straight from the author, "a type of urban, secondary-world fiction that subverts the romanticized ideas about place found in traditional fantasy, largely by choosing realistic, complex real-world models as the jumping off point for creation of settings that may combine elements of both science fiction and fantasy." (From the introduction from an anthology called The New Weird.) This fits Annihilation to a T. The main character is the The Biologist. She breaks everything down to biology. Even the most fantastic can be made palpable by considering the thing's existence and biology. She isn't concerned with why the thing exists, only that it can.
Between flashbacks to mundane life that develop the veneer of the surreal within the context of Area X, the biologist makes her way through the strange landscape with three other women. The story is in first person in a pseudo-journal format that allows the biologist to speak candidly to the reader, letting us in to her most private fears and guilts. Her perception of the other women in the group is interesting as well for the unreliableness of it. She often sees a glimmer of hidden emotion where there might be none.
And then there is Area X itself. It is rife with danger and dread. And it's the dread that makes the story for me. The question of what is real and what is illusion is fascinating. Unlike a show like Lost where I wanted some answers and never got them, I was actually hoping for none here. I wanted Area X to wash over me with no stopping to consider the waves of strange and that is what Vandermeer delivered. All in all, this was a poetic book with a Lovecraftian tone that I found very satisfying to experience.
I do want to read the next book Authority. I'm curious about the organization that sent the team of women to Area X and the organization they try to imprint on something that defies comprehension. I sort of hope none of the second book takes place in Area X. I want to know what it looks like from the outside.
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Friday, April 15, 2016
Sunday, April 10, 2016
I will be an author at this event! I'll be giving out magnets, pins, and bookmarks for Scary Mary! I've only done one other public event ever, so this sort of thing is still pretty new and intimidating to me, but I know several other authors attending this so I'm also pretty excited to take part. :-) I want to thank the Waynesboro Public Library System for putting on the event. I'll have a table or half a table, not sure which, but I'll have all my swag and books available.
Thursday, March 3, 2016
Saturday, January 23, 2016
5. Promote more. – I need to spread the word a bit more. Hiding under a rock does not appear to sell books. That’s a shame. I rather like my rockWell, I've signed up for a low key local author event for the spring, and in preparation for it, I'm having some swag made. Here's the first thing I've gotten which are small one inch buttons. They turned out a little darker than anticipated, but still pretty good. I'm getting some magnets made as well. Hope to have them in a few weeks and I need to print more bookmarks. I've run out of those. I need to figure out as well how many books to have printed, but I don't anticipate selling many, but they'll be nice to have. It's a large group event. There will be many authors there.
So I haven't really crawled out from under my rock, but I am peeking out.