Friday, October 16, 2015

Nebula Update: Annihilation

Annihilation (Southern Reach Trilogy #1)Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

So last year the Nebula went to a book some people didn't like because it left out gendered pronouns. Well, look out 2015, because this year's winner doesn't have any names. No place names ("Area X" doesn't count) and no names of characters.

I get that the author is trying to do something with this lack of naming, but he has to try to do something more interesting to get me to accept this. Everything is just confusing, deliberately so. The main character gets some fleshing out (and her dead husband, who we never meet), but nobody else in the book does. And the setting is limited to creepy things that happen in Area X, we don't really get any worldbuilding.

In fact, it's not entirely clear what sort of world this is set in. It's a world much like our own, but different...somehow? A way that's never explained, but this Area X doesn't fit into Earth, so that's why I can tell it's not quite Earth.

I guess what I'm looking for in my science fiction and fantasy is some sort of rationale behind what happens, a rationale that gets conveyed to the reader. This seems more like horror, where I guess you can just make creepy stuff happen to scare the reader.

I read the plots of the next two books on Wikipedia just to spoil them for myself in case I ever got tempted to read them. It doesn't sound like it gets any better.

Well, this catches me up with this year's Nebula winner. I still have the same eight left to read that I did a year and a half ago. I am reading Tehanu, but rather slowly. I have been impressed with the increased collection of eBooks available through my local libraries, but I am somewhat at the mercy of the holds system. I actually bought Tehanu, so it gets set aside when another book (like Annihilation) becomes available.

Of this year's other Nebula nominees, I've read Coming Home and Ancillary Sword, and I'm partway through The Goblin Emperor. I would have preferred any of them to this book.

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