Mankind’s Relationship with the Environment in Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation

Document Type : Original Article


Assistant Professor of English Language and Literature, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran.



In Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation (2014), a unique relationship is established between a fecund and futuristic environment called Area X and a group of scientists commissioned to probe this area. While the scientists’ initial response toward this area is human-centered and Anthropocenic, the conventional expectations of this initial response are severely shattered later in the novel. The present study believes that the various aspects of this shattering gives us a glimpse of the kind of relationship we could have with the environment in the Anthropocene, the human epoch. By utilizing the theoretical concepts in key secondary sources – such as Pieter Vermeulen’s Literature and the Anthropocene (2020) and Benjamin Robertson’s None of This Is Normal: The Fiction of Jeff VanderMeer (2018) – the study identifies that various demarcational means fail to fulfill their binary making function due to the vastness and unmappable nature of environments such as Area X. Accordingly, this failure constitutes the study’s purpose in that it shows conventional paradigms of mankind’s knowledge bodies could not delve into the cognizance and intentions of an amoral and un-registrable environment. This failure also shows recalcitrant areas such as Area X are already present and all encompassing around us.


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