While I missed Annihilation in theatres, I was very pleased to see it show up on Netflix. I know there were some mixed reviews, but it certainly got people talking and I was thrilled to see a cast made up almost entirely of women (TESSA THOMPSON) in a real science fiction movie to boot. I had not read the book prior to seeing the movie and had tried to avoid reviews with spoilers.
I found the movie deeply unsettling – moody and dark with interesting imagery; much like Ex Machina (also directed by Alex Garland), Arrival and Under the Skin, I was left with many questions. It was fascinating and uncomfortable to watch. Once the CBR10 Bingo card was released, I knew which book I was going to read.
The book has many of the same plot details – the expedition is still made up entirely of women; the biologist’s husband has been part of an earlier expedition; they are still exploring an expanding pocket of something that alters life around it. Some of the plot points are different, but overall the major plot points align in the crucial manners. Most importantly, the book and the movie share the same overall mood and tension. I was often creeped out reading the book, much as I was while watching the movie, and had to take breaks. The same uneasy off-balance feeling pervades both – it all felt just not right. VanderMeer and Garland both achieved a sense of horror throughout while giving us women characters with agency; these women are not necessarily likeable or even knowable, and that was great to read/watch.
There are two more books in the series, and I am going to read them. In small doses. With the lights on.
CBR10 Bingo category: The Book was Better?