Annihilation - page-turner or soporific?

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Annihilation - page-turner or soporific?

1kjuliff
Feb 27, 2023, 2:07 pm

I’ve just borrowed Annihilation by Jeff Vendermeer. It’s the audio edition and I think it looks like my kind of SF. But I’m wondering what others have thought about the book. Reviews vary wildly. It’s not that I’m looking for a page-turner, but is it likely to put me to sleep?

2amanda4242
Feb 27, 2023, 2:27 pm

>1 kjuliff: I'm firmly in the soporific camp. I read it twice to see if I was missing something, but a second read did not improve it for me.

3ScoLgo
Feb 27, 2023, 2:35 pm

>1 kjuliff: >2 amanda4242: I'm in the opposite camp. Vandermeer's prose is admittedly not action-packed by any means but the creepy atmosphere of Area X fairly oozed off the pages for me. I'm also a bit of an outlier on the 2nd volume in that I thought it was an excellent departure from the first book's narrative while still managing to provide more perspective on the overall story arc. I first borrowed each volume from Overdrive but have since purchased a copy of the brick-like omnibus in anticipation of re-reading. My understanding is that Authority has been abridged a bit (by the author) in the omnibus version. It will be interesting to see if I notice any difference.

Incidentally, I read Vandermeer's Ambergris trilogy (collection?) last year and found it equally fascinating. His writing style just works for me, I guess... YMMV.

4paradoxosalpha
Edited: Feb 27, 2023, 2:47 pm

I loved it, and found it to be a page-turner (my review).

I wouldn't classify it as YA in a million years, but it's my teenage daughter's favorite novel.

Just last week, I read with pleasure a book that is its obvious precursor: Roadside Picnic.

You need to enjoy unreliable narration for this book and its sequels to play well.

5amanda4242
Feb 27, 2023, 2:40 pm

>3 ScoLgo: I didn't find it creepy at all, but I am pretty hard to spook. Annihilation just left me feeling indifferent to the characters and their world.

6AnnieMod
Feb 27, 2023, 2:43 pm

I liked it - it could be a bit crazy at times but the craziness was the point. One thing to know going into it is that it won't make sense for most of the book - it is not supposed to. It get all tied together at the end (kinda...).

Which may make it a bit challenging on audio (you are still only doing audio, right?) - at least I need a bit more grounding for audio books to work for me.

7kjuliff
Feb 27, 2023, 3:04 pm

>6 AnnieMod: Thanks. Yes I’m still going audio. No choice. And really that’s why I was asking the question. I can see from the start that some perseverance is necessary and am trying to gauge if it’s worth it.

8kjuliff
Feb 27, 2023, 3:06 pm

>4 paradoxosalpha: Thanks. I read your review. I’ll stick with this book.

9paradoxosalpha
Edited: Feb 27, 2023, 3:27 pm

Given the diary structure of the book, I think it could be pretty effective in audio format.

(I'm ambivalent about the film, which has a lot to recommend it, but abandons some of the features that make the book distinctive.)

10reconditereader
Feb 27, 2023, 4:06 pm

The book is cool, but so much depends on how you personally respond to the audio narrator. There are some people whose voices irritate or just fail to move me, regardless of how good they are are their job. It's so individual.

11RobertDay
Edited: Feb 27, 2023, 5:05 pm

I took to the whole trilogy, though in my case it was the setting that was my way into the narrative. I was thirty years a career bureaucrat and I have a love of abandoned spaces, so the whole trilogy (though, to be fair, with the exception of a chunk of the middle volume) established itself in my mind's eye and the rest followed.

12kjuliff
Feb 27, 2023, 5:30 pm

I’m listening to it and quite like it. I can see why some would find it soporific, but for me it’s good right now.

13Shrike58
Feb 27, 2023, 9:20 pm

I thought the book was great, as VanderMeer is trying to do a very hard thing; convey a sense of strangeness that is beyond human understanding. That said, it wasn't until the climax of the third book that I was convinced VanderMeer was going to stick the landing. Also, I'm not sure that I want a fourth book of this stuff, as seems to be forthcoming.

14Sakerfalcon
Feb 28, 2023, 8:33 am

I loved the whole trilogy. No, there's not a lot of action but the atmosphere drew me right in.

15kjuliff
Feb 28, 2023, 3:09 pm

I think Annihilation is an excellent novel, but am putting it aside for a while as I have a health issue and this book deserves more attention than I can give it right now. One the soporific / page-turner scale I would rate it 3 on a 5 point scale.

16ThomasNorford
Apr 10, 2023, 1:13 pm

I can't remember the novel that well, but I think the film was actually more enjoyable.

17CloudHidden
May 17, 2023, 7:35 pm

I’m a big fan of Roadside Picnic- I know vandermeer said that he had not read it and it had absolutley no influence on his books- however….I can’t help but feel this was done earlier and better by Roadside (also the amazing movie Stalker) and that Vandermeer’s series is just a lesser also ran in the exploring-a-weird-zone-that-is-dangerous-unpredictable-and-inexplicable genre. I mean if you like it, I’m not saying its objectively bad or anything. Just that FOR ME, Roadside is tons better. as always ymmv

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