I stumbled upon this book by chance. My father mentioned it was mysterious horror very in line with my interests, then the cat woke me up with her mouse murders and I decided to read the first page, and then I ended up committed to reading the whole thing because there was no hope of falling asleep after that. I would highly recommend it.
Annihilation is the first book in a trilogy called Southern Reach. In it, a group of people are chosen to be the most recent expedition into a location full of hallucinations, mysterious phenomena, and general madness.
It’s amazingly like a more polished version of The Sick Land, to the point I tried to find out if there was any connection between the two. Published in 2014, it must have been written at almost the same time as the 2013 Sick Land postings, and I wonder if there’s a third work out there that seeded both of them. Although they don’t sound like the same author, they hit similar beats even in addition to the general setting.
Annihilation handles itself well. The main character is rather detached and withdrawn, as makes sense for someone agreeing to go on an expedition like this, and of course there’s the madness and obsession that always happens in any story where people don’t just turn around and try to escape, but she’s not the blank protagonist or cipher she first appears to be. This is even played with in the narrative – at various times she’ll be making offhand references and avoiding a subject, as cosmic horror protagonists so often do, but then, much later, she’ll stop and apologize for skimming over it, return to the topic, and explain properly. In the end, the book manages to be amazingly comprehensible for a story that revolves around a fundamentally incomprehensible thing.