An Expedition Into Jeff Vandermeer’s “Annihilation” Pts. 1+2

Here we go…my first journey into Jeff Vandermeer’s Area X.  In the spirit of the biologist and the rest of the expedition, going to try to keep track of my impressions.  I feel pretty silly saying it, but, just in case, you should know this **CONTAINS SPOILERS**.

Chapter 1
11:07 pm– So it begins.
11:08 pm – No watches, no compasses, and only an odd measuring rectangle?  This doesn’t sound good…
11:10 pm – “Desolation tries to colonize you.”  Great line!  A few pages in now, and I’m reminded of Mark Z. Danielewski’s House in “The House of Leaves” with its seeming twisting of time.  Best of luck to this trio!
11:14 pm – No names, no modern tech, a tower tunnel.  The heck is this place?
11:16 pm – I don’t like this psychologist at all…her demeanor is so heavily conspiratorial…almost…as if she knows more…
11:21 pm– Seriously…the psychologist.
11:22 pm – Deer, raccoons, birds…how idyllic!  Triple locks on the handguns…oh…
11:24 pm – Okay, then…possessed boar to get things started.  Twelve expeditions, previous murders and suicides.  Some kind of odd neurological effects.
11:31 pm – Well, not exactly a “WELCOME!” banner…  But is it a reference or a phrase unique to Annihilation?  Avoiding the impulse to check.
11:33 pm – A living text?  Interesting…  “Seeds of the dead…” Hope you didn’t breathe that in, miss.
11:39 pm – This can’t go well…alien forms of writing, alien organisms, a screwed-up ecosystem…
11:43 pm – Guys, come on..this psychologist…  Even influencing what they see?
11:44  pm – Huh…so the alien spores may cause her a sense of alienation.
11:45 pm – Chapter One Completed.
So a weird, almost conspiratorial psychologist, a striking lighthouse, an odd ecosystem, a mysterious tunnel tower, spores with unknown effects that form words, and a returned 11th expedition devoid of emotion or personality. Vandermeer definitely knows how to build suspense and keep me reading.
Chapter 2
11:50 pm – Onwards!
11:53 pm – Even more psychologist shenanigans.  I feel like they’re being used to test the effects of these spores without their knowledge.  Human trials give the most data, I suppose, but I can’t help but think the anthropologist is dead.  Reminds me of the Russian expedition that left all of their gear behind and either disappeared or were found dead.
—SHORT INTERMISSION for blog maintenance. Started reading without taking my notes. Whoops…–
2:00 am – So a lot is happening…I’m pretty unnerved by this second set of footprints, but not all that surprised.
2:20 am – A body?  Oh boy…  A damn cat was going down the alleyway, and it must be in head, because it meowed and yowled judt as I was reading this section.  Made me jump.  I’m starting to think of the shows like “After Humanity,” where nature gradually reaches back in and reclaims the Earth.
2:25 am – I KNEW IT! SON OF A….
2:27 am – Well, that quote sure makes it sound like nature is taking Earth back, and then some.  I feel like this could have been “The Happening” if “The Happening” wasn’t awful.
2:36 am – Yes! My paranoia wasn’t unfounded.  I will say, even if certain things seem predictable, Vandermeer does a great job of writing in a way that lets the reader share in the realization and the, one might say, “happiness,” in realizing a prediction is correct.  Even though certain things might sounds familiar, echoes from elsewhere in sci-fi texts, Vandermeer writes excellent prose that makes it seem urgent and new.  The book has been flying by, and even though it’s approaching three am and I have a meeting in the morning, I can’t put it down.  After this chapter…
2:41 am – So even our biologist has a little of the psychologist in her…interesting…
2:44 am – The biologist seems as if she’s becoming one with nature.  Interesting…(x2)
2:50 am – Always said to see a friendship fall apart, but hey, the biologist tried to pull a cruel card by attempting to use the psychologist’s tricks.
I’m addicted…I…gots to know…but it’ll have to wait until tomorrow.

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