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By Jeff VanderMeer

Discussed June 2016

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  1. Did you finish the book? Did you like it?
  2. Is this an "environmentalist" novel?
  3. What did you think of the decision to call the characters by their professions instead of their names? How did this change your perception of the characters? How does this affect the characters' perception of each other?
  4. Is the biologist a reliable narrator? Can we take her conclusions about the nature of Area X as the final word, or is she as mystified by it as we are?
  5. There are two primary "structures" in the novel: the lighthouse and the tower/tunnel. What similarities and contrasts did you notice about the two structures and their role in Area X?
  6. There's no easy resolution about the nature of the Tower; at times it seems to be either organic or artificial, or both. What's your conception of the nature of the Tower and the Crawler?
  7. The Crawler writes on the walls of the Tower; handwritten journals rot in the lighthouse; crabs and worms write their paths in the sand (131). What is the function of writing in Area X? Does it have any meaning?
  8. What do you make of the biologist's perception of intelligence and awareness in many of the creatures she encounters in Area X? Is she noticing remnants of humanity, or is there another type of intelligence at work here?
  9. What do you make of the "ghastly procession" of doppelgangers (pp. 166-167)? Why would the Tower create duplicates of expedition members?
  10. "Annihilation" is the psychologist's signal for members of the expedition to commit "immediate suicide" (135). What does it mean that the title of the book is also Annihilation?
  11. Are we any closer to understanding the nature of Area X at the end of the novel?
  12. Would you read the other two novels in the trilogy?
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