“That’s how the madness of the world tries to colonize you: from the outside in, forcing you to live in its reality.”


Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .   This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book, compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future week’s themes are listed below. This week’s theme:

You know your A, B, Cs – a cover made up only of letters/words

I had a few covers in mind for this but I’ve gone for Annihilation (Southern Reach #1) by Jeff VanderMeer (Borne would have been another good choice by the same author).  I don’t think I’ve ever had such a varied selection of strange and wonderful covers:

I’m torn with this one – I like the first three on the last row but my favourite is going to be:



There’s just a sense of something really coming alive on this cover.

Which is your favourite?

Next week – a cover that features grass

Future themes:

26th January – “The grass is always greener on the other side of personal extinction” – a cover featuring grass

2nd February – Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds – a Psychedelic cover

9th February – ‘My what big teeth you have’ – a cover featuring a cloaked figure 

16th February – ‘Groovy baby’ – a cover that is: Retro

23rd February – “There are too many steps in this castle, and it seems to me they add a few every night, just to vex me”  – a cover featuring a staircase

2nd March – ‘The only true wisdom is to know that you know nothing’ – a cover featuring something from Greek mythology

9th March – ‘…but Icarus flew too close’ – a cover featuring the Sun

16th March – ‘I got no strings to hold me down’ – a cover featuring a doll or puppet

23rd March – “When she was a child, the witch locked her away in a tower that had neither doors nor stairs.” – a cover featuring a Tower

30th March – ‘A little soil to make it grow’ – a cover featuring seeds/spores

6th April –  “After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.” – a cover featuring a family

13th April – ‘lawns and rocks and heather and different sorts of trees, lay spread out below them, the river winding through it’ –  a cover featuring a panorama

20th April – Where there’s fire there’s… – a cover featuring smoke

27th April – ‘Those darling byegone times… with their delicious fortresses, and their dear old dungeons, and their delightful places of torture’ – a cover that is positively mediaeval 

4th May-  ‘A Hand without a hand? A bad jape, sister.’ – a cover featuring a hand/hands

11th May – ‘Dinosaurs eat man. Woman inherits the earth’ – a cover featuring a dinosaur/s

18th May – ‘Let’s talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs;’ – a cover featuring a gravestone

25th May – Trip trap, trip trap, trip trap – a cover featuring footsteps

1st June – clinging and invasive – a cover featuring creeping vines

8th June – Raining Cats and Dogs – a cover featuring a stormy sky


Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

Woah, just finished reading Annihilation and, seeing as how I’m having a week of confessions I’ll continue in the same vein.  What the hell just really happened!  Yes, I own up that I’m a little bit puzzled – but, this isn’t in a bad way and frankly it’s clearly the intention of the author to leave a lot of things unspoken – whether that’s for this particular book or for future instalments – who knows.  What I do know is that this is a dark, creepy, spooky, threatening and intensely psychological read.  Strangely compelling and a bit surreal.

At the start of the story four women cross over the boundary into Area X.  We learn very little about what the actual boundary ‘constitutes’ or Area X for that matter – is it some strange experiment zone that has gone horribly wrong, is it a different realm somehow?  It’s all a bit vague and to be honest more creepy because of the lack of explanation.  All we know is that four women have set up camp with the objective of taking back samples and observations – and more expressly being told not to be contaminated.  This isn’t the first expedition and I dare say it won’t be the last but as the story goes forward we learn that not only are there unknown quantities to be found in Area X but also amongst these latest visitors.  There are secrets that will be revealed not to mention that the authorities who organised this little foray into the unknown may have been a little less than honest with what they already know.  Secrets and lies all around, on top of which I wouldn’t say the four members of this particular crew are chummy!  There feels like an animosity between them – a little bit more of the why eventually being revealed.

This is only a short story and it gets off to a fairly immediate start.  The narrative is related through one of the expedition members – the biologist – and the story stops here and there to give a bit more background about her.  We don’t find out names – which all adds to the creepy feel – you almost feel like you can’t become attached and there’s a terrible sense of foreboding that something horrible is going to happen to each one of them.  Then the author throws in background and past experiences from the biologist which makes you latch onto her with a profound sense of relief.  It’s like the author has somehow made you flounder around and then thrown a lifeline.  And, so you follow the story of the biologist, jumping back and forward on occasion as she casts her mind back in some form or revelation or self recrimination – and yet, rather than diluting the suspense of the novel this only serves to increase it.

I can’t really give a lot more away to be honest because it would be so easy to be all spoilery!  This is a scary little number, I’d class it as horror although a true horror reader may think that it’s light on that aspect.  I’m also not going to deny that it probably wouldn’t be for everyone.  Not because it’s particularly horrific but more a rating of ‘hide behind a cushion’.  It’s the whole creepiness of Area X really.  Anything seems to go here – it’s like a Nightmare on Event Horizon.  In fact it’s nothing like that – it’s just messed up!  I will certainly be reading the next in the series.  Yes, it’s not the kind of book that you come away saying ‘I enjoyed that’ – that statement would just be wrong!  It scared me a little bit, in fact I was near the ending but didn’t finish as I was up alone so saved the remainder until the light of day!  It intrigued me a lot!  And, it gripped me.  It was surreal in parts and I’m not really sure what is going on in this zone – I certainly hope it doesn’t spread any further and let’s say it’s safe to say I won’t be volunteering for a trip any time soon!