My Glowing Review of Annihilation

Annihilation - Jeff VanderMeer

Mama mia, What a little masterpiece of science fiction this turned out to be! I was dubious at first, but author Jeff Vandermeer draws the reader in, page by page, building tension and revealing all the complicated layers of the story's protagonist, the biologist. It's Maze Runner for adults, written 10x as skillfully.

 

The prose is illuminating and startling. There are really inventive choices made along the way, such as the lack of all Christian names for the various characters (which Vandermeer explains at a certain point). There are strong Lovecratian influences and a perfect Kubrickesque finale, just to toss a couple of fun adjectives out there. I love the way the book simultaneously details the biologist's expedition and her failed marriage - I'm a sucker for that interior/exterior structure - especially when it's done this skillfully. And I loved the thematic territory of humankind's place in the natural world.

2015 has been a true delight with the science fiction I've stumbled on - so much great storytelling going on! This one goes to the top of the list, and sits next to recently read gems like The Girl in the Road for sheer creative potency. 

 

Thank my lucky stars that the writing completely overcame Carolyn McCormick's tin-eared narration. Pleasepleaseplease, audiobook gods, please allow Carolyn McCormick to retire. Or maybe she can narrate children's books? She could do a wicked Good Night Moon, I'm sure. This is going to sound terrible, but she's just not wounded enough to narrate the painful, tense moments that inhabit adult and young adult lives.