annihilation by jeff vandermeer

two people, whose opinion i trust, recommended this book – best way to discover new literature.

“annihilation” is a short surrealistic sci-fi novel, that focuses more on the character study than plot. it’s an interesting take on what defines a human, and at what point does one lose one’s humanity.

the setting strongly reminded me of “пикник на обочине / roadside picnic” by strugatsky brothers: the protagonist is in contact with unknown forces, of possibly extraterrestrial and/or supernatural origin; said forces are self-contained in a specific area. but while “roadside picnic” finishes on a very altruistic albeit naive note (счастья для всех даром, и пусть никто не уйдёт обиженный! / happiness for everybody, free, and no one will go away unsatisfied!), “annihilation” describes a rapid disintegration of all ties between protagonist and rest of human civilisation.

side note: translation of “roadside picnic’s” last sentence is quoted from official translation by antonina w. bouis. i would translate it slightly differently – “free happiness to all, and let no one be left aggrieved”