engineering careers  Annihilation

This month we are doing something a little different for the summer holidays and diving into fiction. Finding the perfect books for you to sit back with in the sun.

Four women; an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist are tasked with exploring Area X. This mystery zone 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; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died 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 months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer. This is the twelfth expedition.

Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation is very different than anything we have read. VanderMeer is a pioneer of ‘new weird’ which crosses genre boundaries. Part Science Fiction, part horror Annihilation seems to be a marmite novel splitting readers between those that love it and those that hate it.

Set in the near future the story might seem to visit familiar alien-invasion territory, but the book is perhaps more about biological research than little green men. Published way back in 2014 the story has inspired a range of new weird fiction and a Netflix movie.

The book is well worth revisiting for science fans because it touches on so many different science sub-genres. From psychology to physiology. It is equal parts horror and thriller. While it is not a book to quickly dip in and out of, it is short enough to be a successful holiday read.

The novel won the 2014 Nebula Award for Best Novel and the 2014 Shirley Jackson Award for best novel.


Annihilation is the first book inJeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy. If you love it you can explore more of the world he has created.


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More Books from the August Stem Book Club


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