Issui Ogawa is known as one of Japan's premier SF writers. His 1996 debut, First a Letter from Popular Palace, won the Shueisha JUMP Novel Grand Prix. The Next Continent (2003, Haikasoru 2010) garnered the 35th Seiun Prize. A collection of his short stories won the 2005 Best SF Poll, and "The Drifting Man," included in that collection, was awarded the 37th Seiun Prize for domestic short stories. Other works include Land of Resurrection, Free Lunch Era, and The Lord of the Sands of Time (Haikasoru 2009). Ogawa is a principal member of the Space Authors Club.
But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win—and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.
Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; the second expedition ended in mass suicide; the third expedition in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another. The members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within weeks, all had died of cancer. In Annihilation, the first volume of Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy, we join the twelfth expedition.
The group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain, record all observations of their surroundings and of one another, and, above all, avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.
They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers—they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding—but it's the surprises that came across the border with them and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another that change everything.