Annihilation : Southern Reach Trilogy

  • by Jeff VanderMeer
  • Narrated by Carolyn McCormick
  • Series: Southern Reach Trilogy
  • 6 hrs and 0 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The first volume of the extraordinary Southern Reach trilogy - now a major motion picture written and directed by Alex Garland (Ex Machina) and starring Natalie Portman and Oscar Isaac.
For thirty years, Area X has remained mysterious and remote behind its intangible border – an environmental disaster zone, though to all appearances an abundant wilderness. The Southern Reach, a secretive government agency, has sent eleven expeditions to investigate Area X. One has ended in mass suicide, another in a hail of gunfire, the eleventh in a fatal cancer epidemic. Now four women embark on the twelfth expedition into the unknown.

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What the Critics Say

"A tense and chilling psychological thriller about an unravelling expedition and the strangeness within us. A little Kubrick, a lot of Lovecraft, the novel builds with an unbearable tension and claustrophobic dread that lingers long afterwards. I loved it." (Lauren Beukes, award-winning author of Zoo City and The Shining Girls)
"Original and beautiful, maddening and magnificent." (Warren Ellis)
"One of those books where it all comes together - the story and the prose and the ideas, all braided into a triple helix that gives rise to something vibrant and alive. Something that grows, word-by-word, into powerful, tangled vines that creep into your mind and take hold of it. Annihilation is brilliant and atmospheric, a novel that has the force of myth." (Charles Yu, author of How to Live in a Science Fictional Universe)
"A contemporary masterpiece." (The Guardian)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

An interesting story let down by the production

A creepy, other-world story that reminded me of a cross between Ian Banks (not the scifi) with a dash of Into the mountains of madness. But, oh god, the narration!

The dialogue was delivered well but , on the whole, this has either been badly edited or her read was done in a hurry. There are no gaps over 1 second between sentences. The text runs into itself. Sentences are left meaningless and there is no sense of pace. Tension is killed. With a little more breathing space the mistakes in the read could have been forgiven - McCormick can get the tone right. I just found myself shouting "PARAGRAPH" a lot.

It's a shame the production spoils an otherwise interesting story
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- Andy

By the third book i'd given up and was over it.

What would have made Annihilation better?

There's too much waffle, the whole trilogy should be edited down to a single book. I found myself bored completely with utter disinterest in most of it. Some good bits of thriller horror sci-fi, but then stopped caring. Didn't even bother finishing the third book, just gave up on it and moved on to much more fun/interesting audiobooks.


What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

area x


What about Carolyn McCormick’s performance did you like?

brilliant, really well performed.


If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Annihilation?

I'd get rid of anything personal to the characters, the memories, flashbacks, inner thoughts, make it far more expositional and a thriller. the incredible amount of garbage and waffle in between suspenseful scenes bored me out of my skull. I also got the sense that many descriptive elements were contradictory of themselves, that there were things being expressed that "may or may not have been happening" whilst I appreciate wanting your audience to "experience" what the characters are going through, I actually ended up just hating the story. I find it really funny that the book is compared to a project that JJ abrahms would do. In his early years he directed "lost" which alienated much of his fan base by leading them down a confusing and utterly pointless story... same thing with this book. confusing and pointless. Had great potential though.


Any additional comments?

can I have my money back?

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- Matthew

Book Details

  • Release Date: 27-02-2014
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Limited