Butterflies and scorpions, dandelions and poison ivy, mingle together in our world. The most moving art springs from nature, as do the most violent widespread deaths. We tend to think of space as the “great unknown,” and yet there are places here on earth, deep in the hearts of jungles and oceans, that man has yet to reach. Who knows what flora and fauna have yet to be discovered? Any sailor knows that the weather can turn on a dime, going from mild sunny day to hurricane in minutes. Even in our current age, we can’t predict and prepare for everything. Nothing surprises like nature, be it mother nature or human nature. Nothing is more beautiful. And nothing is more deadly.
When you see beauty in desolation it changes something inside you. Desolation tries to colonize you.
I’m trying to find the words to describe Annihilation, and I’m failing. It was as beautiful as the nature it discussed. And just as eerily haunting. I felt both wonder at the wilds of the land and claustrophobia as it closed in around the biologist, our nameless protagonist. Area X is spreading, and no one knows why, or even where it comes from. The biologist, along with three other nameless women, embarks on the twelfth expedition to explore Area X. None have returned from the previous eleven expeditions. At least, none have returned whole. Because Area X is more than spreading, unkempt wildness. There are things there that are beyond human comprehension.
What can you do when your five senses are not enough?
Hands down one of the strangest things I’ve ever read. And I mean that in the best possible way. This was my first foray into the New Weird genre. It was the right choice. New Weird is not a genre I’ll be reading often, but I’ll be scheduling further expeditions. Even though I’ve never read anything in the genre, this book reminded me of some former favorites. The poetic prose and tone reminded me of my favorite poet, T.S. Eliot. The creeping dread the book generated and the organic yet alien unknown reminded me of The Taking by Dean Koontz, a favorite of mine from high school. The hauntingly beautiful but deadly brightness called to mind The Fireman by Joe Hill, one of my favorite reads from 2016. So even though this book was a new and strange experience for me, it was like meeting someone who is friends with my friends, and thus feels like a friend already. Except he’s also friends with that creepy Lovecraft guy.
There’s not much else I can say about this book without giving anything away. The writing was lovely, the atmosphere inspired awe and tension and dread in equal measures. The story is addictive, but shouldn’t be sped through. This is no walk through a manicured park; this is a trek through a wild, overgrown swamp, where man is by no means at the top of the food chain. As you venture in, watch out for creeping vines around your feet, or Area X may claim you as its own.