Annihilation

By Jeff VanderMeer
Read by Carolyn McCormick

The Southern Reach Trilogy: Book 1

6.00 Hours 02/04/2014 unabridged
Format: Digital Download (In Stock)
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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. Cover artwork © Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

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Summary

Summary

An iBooks bestseller in Audio

A USA Today Pick of Books to Read before You See the Film

An Elle Magazine Pick of Books to Read before You See the Film

A Cosmopolitan Pick of Books to Read before the Film Comes Out

A Harper’s Bazaar Pick of Books to Read before You See the Film

Winner of the 2014 Nebula Award for Best Novel

Winner of the 2014 Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novel

A Salon Best Audiobook of the Year for 2014

An Amazon Best Book of 2014

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, February 2014

A Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week, February 2014

One of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2014

BuzzFeed Books Pick

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.

Cover artwork © Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Carolyn McCormick narrates increasingly disturbing events with an unwavering calm that makes the listening experience all the more chilling…McCormick gives a haughty, deep voice to the psychologist, the leader of the group whose intentions may not be what they seem. Her arrogant tone contrasts nicely with the gritty and increasingly anxious tones of the surveyor as the group uncovers deadly secrets better left alone.” AudioFile
“A little Kubrick, a lot Lovecraft, the novel builds with an unbearable tension and a claustrophobic dread that linger long afterward.” Lauren Beukes, Sunday Times (London) bestselling author
“A captivating meander…that veers between the beautiful and the terrifying.” Entertainment Weekly
“[A] deeply imaginative little shocker…full of metaphysical-graffiti imagery and tightly executed reveals that stay with you long afterward.” Wired
“[A] wonderfully creepy blend of horror and science fiction…Speculative fiction at its most transfixing.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Brilliant…Evocative descriptions…masterful psychological insight, and intellectual observations both profound and disturbing.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Weaves together an otherworldly tale of the supernatural and the half-human. Delightfully, this page-turner is the first in a trilogy.” Booklist (starred review)
“A dystopian story with literary overtones.” Library Journal

Reviews

Reviews

by XOR 2/2/2018
Overall Performance
Narration
Story

Great - but not for everyone

"Annihilation" it the first book in the highly acclaimed "Southern Reach" Trilogy. It is the account of a female expedition member, a biologist, sent into "Area X", a part of the USA.

In Area X, strange things happen. Animals behave unusual. Beasts seem to roam the country. Buildings of unclear purpose are discovered. People disappear. Some come back from Area X, but seem somehow changed. The agency that prepared and sent people on the mission seems to have withheld some information.

This book is written and also performed in a very beautiful style. For me, it perfectly captures the feeling of wonder and despair felt by those in Area X. It was never boring.

However, do not expect aan action packed thriller, and don't expect to understand everything about Area X after finishing this book. In some respect, you are left wondering and speculating what may have happened to the expedition members and Area X, just like the biologist. But probably this is just what it feels like if you encounter something much larger that you, something beyond your comprehension.

This is not everyone's cup of tea, but for me it was one of the best "hard" Science Fiction I have listened to.
by KenKlean 9/13/2017
Overall Performance
Narration
Story

Whew!

Sorry but this story just fell flat. I don't blame the narration, it was fine. The story itself just didn't kick off properly, not enough background to explain where they were going, why etc.... just flat.
by ShortNFuzzy 9/13/2017
Overall Performance
Narration
Story

Boy...I hope YOU liked it...

Why do I put myself through these things? When hearing about this book I thought...wow...totally not my thing. BUT being willing to give anything a shot once I put the headphones on and proceeded to paint the house. The house looks great! I suppose if you tend to be a sci-fi fan then it is more up your alley. I don't HATE sci-fi, but I was so unengaged by the story that I truly , now, do not care one single iota about this series or anything this author has written. I think Carolyn the narrator did the best she could with the material, but whatever...I'm not even saying this is a bad book...it's just not for me.
by Lauren M 9/13/2017
Overall Performance
Narration
Story

Sci-Fi Suspense

I had no idea what I was getting into with this series! Very suspenseful and very odd. I’m not typically a sci-fi fan, so maybe it won’t seem as strange to other listeners. You’re basically hearing a field journal of an expedition member on an ill-fated assignment. Its slow pace and matter-of-fact re-tellings of totally bizarre events make for a very creepy listening experience. It hooks you because you just can’t quite figure out what’s happening and it gives just enough back story to intrigue you about the bigger picture. Its definitely set up for following books in the series – lots of unanswered questions. Unique and arresting. This is a series I’ll have to finish!
by Samuel 9/13/2017
Overall Performance
Narration
Story

An intense, transformative journey into a surreal landscape

When I started reading about this book, I spent far too many hours trying to come up with my dream narrator for it. Somehow I never considered McCormick, the voice of The Hunger Games, but from the first line she is fantastic. Her laconic, detached mainline narration perfectly suited to the biologist's clinical, scientific mind, and it is the biologist's narrative voice, through the structure of the novel as her definitive account left in a journal, which, detail by detail, flashback by flashback, brings depth both to the mysteries of "Area X" and to her character. McCormick does not employ too much in the way of vocal gymnastics to differentiate the few characters; just enough to characterize them effectively and succinctly as, one presumes, the biologist herself might do. The principal exception to this is her work on the voice of the psychologist, the designated leader of the expedition, which is given a decidedly (almost British-schooled?) formal turn, a flavor which makes McCormick's outstandingly dynamic work with her later in the novel stand out all the more strikingly. On the story: from the first pages, the narrative -- of an all-female 12th expedition to a mysterious "Area X" after 11 previous and mostly catastrophic expeditions -- is driven by a compulsion, a both scientific and inescapably personal curiosity to answer the question of: what lies at the tower's base? This tower, which is not even supposed to be here, which does not appear on any map or in any record of "Area X"? This curiosity grows further into fear-yet-we-must-see territory as the first foray into the tower reveals strange words written, glowing, breathing, alive? on the walls of the tower, heading down. We find the mysteries of Area X and "The Southern Reach" growing deeper and broader both down into and in the surrounding, increasingly surreal landscape beyond the tower, setting up and leading naturally into further explorations in the successive books, but the biologist's journal stands alone as a completed arc, a completed story of inquiry, discovery, and transformation. It is a fantastic book and audiobook, highly recommended.

Author

Author Bio: Jeff VanderMeer

Jeff VanderMeer is an award-winning novelist and editor. He has twice won the World Fantasy Award and has been a finalist for the Hugo Award, Philip K. Dick Award, International Horror Guild Award, British Fantasy Award, Bram Stoker Award, Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, and the World Fantasy Award. His fiction has appeared in the Library of America’s American Fantastic Tales and in multiple anthologies. His recent books have made the year’s best books lists of Publishers Weekly, San Francisco Chronicle, and Amazon.com. He writes nonfiction for the Washington Post, New York Times Book Review, Los Angeles Times, and the Guardian, among others. He grew up in the Fiji Islands and now lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with his wife.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Fiction/Science Fiction
Runtime: 6.00
Audience: Adult
Language: English