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Annihilation

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Next up from Alex Garland (28 Days Later, Ex Machina): Annihilation.
 
The plot summary of the book has me thinking of Stalker:
 

Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; the second expedition ended in mass suicide, the third expedition in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another. The members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within weeks, all had died of cancer. In Annihilation, the first volume of Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy, we join the twelfth expedition.

 

The group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain, record all observations of their surroundings and of one [another], and, above all, avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.

 

They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers--they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding--but it's the surprises that came across the border with them and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another that change everything.

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I read the novels a few months ago and liked them a lot. The atmosphere and immediacy of the first one is really strong, while the others (the second especially) are more geared toward exposition and analysis. They're still done well, but they don't have the "anything could happen on the next page" thrill of Annihilation.

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I'm game to see what Garland does next after really digging Ex Machina, but I'm pretty meh about his choice of materials.  Echoing some of what Tyler said, I loved the creepy dread of Book 1, but I thought it was a case of vastly diminishing returns with each successive book of the trilogy.

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It’s on Amazon Prime in the States.  Basically a remake of John Carpenter’s The Thing, except with flowers.

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