0001: THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER
Overhauled the lens machinery and cleaned the lens. Fixed the water pipe in the garden. Small repair to the gate. Organized the tools and shovels etc. in the shed. S&SB visit. Need to requisition paint for daymark—black eroded on seaward side. Also need nails and to check the western siren again. Sighted: pelicans, moorhens, some kind of warbler, blackbirds beyond number, sanderlings, a royal tern, an osprey, flickers, cormorants, bluebirds, pigmy rattlesnake (at the fence—remember), rabbit or two, white-tailed deer, and near dawn, on the trail, many an armadillo.
That winter morning, the wind was cold against the collar of Saul Evans’s coat as he trudged down the trail toward the lighthouse. There had been a storm the night before, and down and to his left, the ocean lay gray and roiling against the dull blue of the sky, seen through the rustle and sway of the sea oats. Driftwood and bottles and faded white buoys and a dead hammerhead shark had washed up in the aftermath, tangled among snarls of seaweed, but no real damage either here or in the village.
At his feet lay bramble and the thick gray of thistles that would bloom purple in the spring and summer. To his right, the ponds were dark with the muttering complaints of grebes and buffleheads. Blackbirds plunged the thin branches of trees down, exploded upward in panic at his passage, settled back into garrulous communities. The brisk, fresh salt smell to the air had an edge of flame: a burning smell from some nearby house or still-smoldering bonfire.
Saul had lived in the lighthouse for four years before he’d met Charlie, and he lived there still, but last night he’d stayed in the village a half mile away, in Charlie’s cottage. A new thing this, not agreed to with words, but with Charlie pulling him back to bed when he’d been about to put on his clothes and leave. A welcome thing that put an awkward half smile on Saul’s face.
Charlie’d barely stirred as Saul had gotten up, dressed, made eggs for breakfast. He’d served Charlie a generous portion with a slice of orange, kept hot under a bowl, and left a little note beside the toaster, bread at the ready. As he’d left, he’d turned to look at the man sprawled on his back half in and half out of the sheets. Even into his late thirties, Charlie had the lean, muscular torso, strong shoulders, and stout legs of a man who had spent much of his adult life on boats, hauling in nets, and the flat belly of someone who didn’t spend too many nights out drinking.
A quiet click of the door, then whistling into the wind like an idiot as soon as he’d taken a few steps—thanking the God who’d made him, in the end, so lucky, even if in such a delayed and unexpected way. Some things came to you late, but late was better than never.
Soon the lighthouse rose solid and tall above him. It served as a daymark so boats could navigate the shallows, but also was lit at night half the week, corresponding to the schedules of commercial traffic farther out to sea. He knew every step of its stairs, every room inside its stone-and-brick walls, every crack and bit of spackle. The spectacular four-to
"A satisfying conclusion to this captivating trilogy" —Booklist
"This trilogy is that rare thing—a set in which the whole is as great as the parts." —Publishers Weekly
Praise for The Southern Reach Trilogy
"I’m loving The Southern Reach trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer. Creepy and fascinating." —Stephen King
"Chilling." —Julie Bosman, New York Times
"VanderMeer masterfully conjures up an atmosphere of both metaphysical dread and visceral tension . . . Annihilation
is a novel in which facts are undermined and doubt instilled at almost every turn. It’s about science as a way of not only thinking but feeling, rather than science as a means of becoming certain about the world. . . . Ingenious." —Laura Miller, Salon
"A clear triumph for Vandermeer . . . a compelling, elegant, and existential story . . . .The solitary voice of its post-humanist narrator is both deeply flawed and deeply trustworthy—a difficult and excellent balance in a novel whose world is built seamlessly and whose symbols are rich and dark." —Lydia Millet, LA Times
"A book about an intelligent, deadly fungus makes for an enthralling read—trust us." —Tara Wanda Merrigan, GQ
"[A] strange, clever, off-putting, maddening, claustrophobic, occasionally beautiful, occasionally disturbing and altogether fantastic book . . . Annihilation
is a book meant for gulping—for going in head-first and not coming up for air until you hit the back cover." —Jason Sheehan, NPR Books
"Successfully creepy, an old-style gothic horror novel set in a not-too-distant future. The best bits turn your mind inside out." —Sara Sklaroff, The Washington Post
"If J.J. Abrams-style by-the-numbers stories of shadowy organizations and science magic have let you down one too many times, then Annihilation
will be more like a revelation. VanderMeer peels back the skin of the everyday, and gives you a glimpse of a world where science really is stretching the bounds of our knowledge—sometimes to the point where we can’t ever be the same . . . [Annihilation
] will make you believe in the power of science mysteries again." —Annalee Nevitz, io9
"Fans of the Lost
TV series . . . this one is for you." —Molly Driscoll, Christian Science Monitor
"What frightens you? According to many psychologists, our most widely shared phobia is the fear of falling. Jeff VanderMeer’s novel Annihilation
taps into that bottomless terror . . . VanderMeer ups the book’s eeriness quotient with the smoothest of skill, the subtlest of grace. His prose makes the horrific beautiful." —Nisi Shawl, Seattle Times
"Much of the flora and fauna seem familiar, but that’s what’s so fascinating about the carnage that VanderMeer sets loose. He has created a science fiction story about a world much like our own." —John Domini, Miami Herald
feels akin to isolated sci-fi terrors of Alien
. . . teases and terrifies and fascinates." —Kevin Nguyen, Grantland
"The plot moves quickly and has all the fantastic elements you’d ever want—biological contaminants, peculiar creatures, mysterious deaths—but it’s the novel’s unbearable dread that lingers with me days after I’ve finished it." —Justin Alvarez, The Paris Review
"Jeff VanderMeer ventures on to strange ground in this enigmatic story." —Alex Good, The Toronto Star
"[VanderMeer’s] writing is courageously imaginative, fiercely unformulaic,