Annihilation introduces the disturbing dystopian world of Area X. It tells us little of the world outside of Area X and less about the actual area. The characters don't have names but are known as the biologist, the psychologist, the surveyor and the anthropologist and they are members of the twelfth expedition to Area X. The biologist's husband was on the eleventh expedition and he did come back (unlike most explorers of the region) but frighteningly changed. The biologist decides to apply to be part of Expedition 12 and is accepted. This is where the story begins.
The expedition is conducted over the border (which may or may not exist) and heads to the base camp left by expedition 11. The characters seem at odds with one another from the outset and then we find that there is a degree of mind control through hypnosis. A flat cement structure marks the opening to a tunnel that the biologist can only see as a tower. Luminescent writing marks one wall of the tunnel and the biologist discovers the cryptic writing is created by living creatures.
Area X just gets stranger. No one was allowed to bring modern technology or weapons with them. The reasons for this and the tragic fate of the expedition make riveting reading. Part of the message seems to be an ecological warning but it is also a great mystery. Strangeness and uncertainty dominate the book. Since it is Book 1 of the Southern Reach Trilogy there is no resolution to the story. No spoilers. If you like dystopian tales with suspense, horror and psychological thrills thrown in, Annihilation is a book for you.
In no particular order, these are some of the books I recommend from my summer reading.
Dan Fagin's Toms River is as advertised: a small town, a cancer cluster and the epic quest to expose pollution's hidden consequences.
Killer by Johnathon Kellerman- if you've read the series, like me, you'll keep coming back.
The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling) with private eye, Cormorant Strike. This is a great new detective series set in London.
The Invention of Wings - Sue Monk Kidd. This is the well-researched story, based on facts, of two sisters in 1860s deep south who owned slaves and came to support emancipation. They were early advocates for women's rights. Parallel to their story is that of two females slaves, mother and daughter.
The Most Dangerous Animal of All: Searching for my Father...and Finding the Zodiac Killer - Gary L. Stuart. This is the true story of an adopted man searching for his biological father.
The Reader by Bernard Schlinck. As an advocate for literacy, I am ashamed I hadn't read this story about the terrible consequences of not knowing how to read.
The Secret Race by Tyler Hamilton- reveals the bizarre lengths that members of The US Postal Team and Lance Armstrong went to in order to win races like the Tour de France. Hamilton blew the whistle and wow, what a can of dope.
Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King- Thoroughly enjoyable and without a trace of the supernatural. I have always liked Steve's writing and this is a great tale of murder, redemption and it even has a kind of happy ending.
I am an avid reader and like to share some of my "finds" with others.