This chapter, “Becoming-instrument: Thinking with Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation and Timothy Morton’s Hyperobjects”, considers first-person narration and empathic enactment of fictional experience from posthumanist and enactivist perspectives. It introduces a new methodological device called “becoming-instrument”, which opens the reader’s experience to nonhuman influences. Building on Marco Caracciolo’s (2014) claims about empathic engagement with first-person narratives and Merja Polvinen’s (2012) notion of self-aware readerly engagement, the chapter’s author Kaisa Kortekallio argues that engagement with estranging first-person narratives, such as Annihilation and Hyperobjects, can work toward dissolving the certainty of the human subject and develop in its stead a model of subjectivity as “multiple and always-in-progress” (Sherryl Vint 2005).

Annihilation (2014) and Hyperobjects (2013) both invite the reader to enact the affective experientiality of their first-person narrators, but they also foreground the fictionality of those narrators. The chapter argues that affective experientiality and awareness of fictionality can intertwine in the readerly experience, and that the combination of affectivity and self-referentiality is characteristic of the “dark” or “weird” ecology VanderMeer and Morton advance in their texts. Finally, Kortekallio suggests that the dynamic of enactment applies not only to explicitly fictional narrative techniques but also to the rhetorical devices employed in non-fiction texts – such as the rhetorical “I” in Hyperobjects.