Book vs Film: Jeff VanderMeer’s novel Annihilation or the Natalie Portman movie?

Hindustan Times, Delhi | BySupriya Sharma and Rohan Naahar
Mar 21, 2018 04:33 PM IST

In a new series, we discuss over texts the merits and flaws of famous books and their screen adaptations. This week we chat about American writer Jeff VanderMeer’s novel Annihilation (2014) and Alex Garland’s screen adaptation, which released worldwide on Netflix on March 12.

If you’re the kind of reader who cares about genres, the work of Jeff VanderMeer belongs to one called the New Weird. His very popular Southern Reach trilogy, of which Annihilation is the first book, however, rises above such neat classifications.

Jeff VanderMeer’s novel Annihilation has been made into a film by Alex Garland.
Jeff VanderMeer’s novel Annihilation has been made into a film by Alex Garland.

The story of a doomed expedition of women scientists into a strange landscape called Area X blends sci-fi with horror and fantasy. The story is as much about the narrator’s internal and external journey as it is a comment on our changing ecosystems, ideas of perception, familiarity and our futile attempts to make sense of an inexplicable universe.

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Film-maker Alex Garland’s visually stunning movie, made available worldwide on Netflix, uses the novel as its source but makes significant changes to the story, especially the ending. You can read the Hindustan Times movie review of Annihilation here.

So which version makes for a better story? We discuss both in a Facebook Live chat.

Here’s our discussion over texts:

We’ll take our discussion live on the Hindustan Times Facebook page on March 21 at 4pm. Join us and share your thoughts, opinions and objections.

You can read our previous chat, about The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, here. And the series debut, about Kingsman: The Secret Service, here.

Next week: *Correction* Since Steven Spielberg’s movie Ready Player One releases on March 29, we’ll be discussing Stephen King’s novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption on March 26.

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