Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer | Book Review

Rating: 8/10

Format:  Paper Book – Owned

I’m kind of a podcast junkie. I subscribe to 12 active podcasts and can recommend several that are completed audio-dramas. I’m a huge fan of Welcome to Night Vale, Within the Wires, and Alice Isn’t Dead by the Night Vale Presents folks. Some of my other favorites are produced by the folks at Minnow Beats Whale: Tanis, The Black Tapes, Rabbits, and The Last Movie. I have a penchant for dark, weird, mysterious podcasts, it would seem. Which is weird, considering my pastel-loving, animal-obsessed Hufflepuff self, but I digress.

Well, if Annihilation was a podcast, it would fit right in with my spooky playlist. It’s dark, it’s weird, it’s mysterious, and it’s richly written. Much like my favorite podcasts, there’s a lot of information that hasn’t necessarily been strung together, even near the very end of the book. It’s kind of like putting up newspaper articles and images on a corkboard but not putting up any red threads to connect them. Everything’s sort of ethereal and ephemeral.

The use of occupations as names only serves to make it more mysterious. Actually, it reminded me of one spooky podcast in particular, Tanis. In Tanis there’s a point at which a group of people becomes “the novelist, the runner, the navigator,” and “the witness.” It also involves entering a super-creepy forest where names are cumbersome. There were a lot of parallels between this book and Tanis, actually.

Even on a personal level, Annihilation reminded me of Tanis. The book largely chronicles the decay of the Biologist’s marriage– and I listened to many hours of Tanis as my own marriage disintegrated. Tanis is always going to be inextricably tied to that time in my life. So for this book to remind me so much of this podcast– it was just sort of weird. Yeah, it was a little uncanny. But maybe that’s just the spookiness.

Anyway, Annihilation. It was smart, scary, compact, interesting, but (again like Tanis), without real drive or any destination. Though unlike Tanis (so far) things become much clearer at the end. It took a long time to get there, but the payoff was worth it.

If you like your books to remind you of eerie silence, Annihilation is for you.

Objective Hearts: 4/5

Subjective Hearts: 4/5

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