Bläeckfisk is the Swedish translation for the word octopus. I am not Swedish, but I do own a lot of furniture from Sweden and I like octopuses while admiring their multi-tasking ability. I would like to travel to Sweden at some point, plus I think it is a pretty cool looking word. Anyhow, speaking of words, I guess you could say that is why we are here. Words are the foundation for way we try to wrap our thoughts around everything in the galaxy. The tendrils that lead to emotions and curiosity. I am not here to solve the mysteries of the universe, just to discuss words in general. Specifically words written by other people and have been printed off and slapped between two slices of thin card stock. Many of these sandwiches go on to bigger and better things, some bigger and better than others. So, I guess we will be talking about those as well. If you share an interest in words or enjoi seeing what they can look like in action....välkommen! (Swedish for welcome.)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

B21: Annihilation-By Jeff VanderMeer (208 pages)

"The effect of this cannot be understood without being there. The beauty of it cannot be understood, either, and when you see beauty in desolation it changes something inside you. Desolation tries to colonize you."

Uncharted, dense jungle. Living breathing words. A heap of journals. Hypnosis. Spores. A beckoning lighthouse. Welcome to Area X. I have not read a piece of good sci-fi in some time and when I heard about this book, I picked it up right away. Much like the setting of the story, this book is not what it seems. It is scientifically fictional, yet is constructed through a dystopian prism that is constantly bending and shifting. What starts out as a sociological exploration of an abandoned stretch of coast, known as Area X, the events that transpire begin to frame more questions than answers. Being the first in a trilogy, the author does a great job of giving you a small taste of what could be, only to scamper back into the unknown. This book is sneaky good. If this first part is only taste of what is to come, I will be firing through the remainder of the series as soon as they are published, which I believe will be in May and August.

We begin with meeting our team of explorers. They have no names. And, they have no idea how they crossed over into Area X, only that they were recruited for the task of mapping out as much of the quarantined area as possible. All are women and all have a specialized set of skills; a surveyor, linguist, biologist and a psychologist. Our team is a part of what they think is the 12th expedition and we are taunted with a few fates of the previous teams. Complete amnesia. Mass Suicide. Terminal cancer. The story is told through the voice of the biologist and we learn that her husband was a member of a previous expedition. She is pragmatic, focused and will soon become infected.  Though she tends to lean on her scientific training, she is often at odds with what her senses are recording. Journeying into the unknown, the group comes upon a monstrous edifice that is buried beneath the ground. Is it a tower? A tunnel? A gullet? The ladies begin their research and after rounding several corners make a chilling discovery. Something has written biologically breathing script on the walls. Goodbye logic. 

I am really looking forward to solving the puzzle of this series and what ever the author was trying to do with this first edition, I swallowed hook, line and sinker. If you need a break from the everyday new stand fiction, I highly recommend this virulent little book. What it lacks in length, it more than make up with contrivance. Read it.