A new generation discovers "the most original English writer of the last century" (China Miéville, The Nation).
Appearing in audio for the first time, this neglected Ballardian masterpiece promises to be a touchstone for environmentalists the world over.
First published in 1962, J.G. Ballard’s mesmerizing and ferociously imaginative novel not only gained him widespread critical acclaim but also established his reputation as one of the finest writers of a generation. The Drowned World imagines a terrifying world in which global warming has melted the ice caps and primordial jungles have overrun a tropical London. Set during the year 2145, this novel follows biologist Dr. Robert Kearns and his team of scientists as they confront a cityscape in which nature is on the rampage and giant lizards, dragonflies, and insects fiercely compete for domination. Both an unmatched biological mystery and a brilliant retelling of Heart of Darkness - complete with a mad white hunter and his hordes of native soldiers - this “powerful and beautifully clear” (Brian Aldiss) work becomes a thrilling adventure with “an oppressive power reminiscent of Conrad” (Kingsley Amis).
©1962 J.G. Ballard. Copyright renewed 1990 by J.G. Ballard. Introduction copyright 2012 by Martin Amis (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
The audio books I get tend to be either 1) scifi or 2) things for my husband and me to listen to on long road trips--humor or history
This was one of the more unusual books I have ever read. Most science fiction tends to be focused on a scientific idea, which the author extrapolates out to the future to examine what the repercussions of this idea might be. Usually the repercussions examined are societal, or governmental, or even economic. But in this book, the repercussions are entirely personal. In about two short sentences, Ballard quickly dispenses with the “science,” explaining that there were some sun spots, these made the sun get hotter, all the ice on the Earth has melted, the continents have been drowned and all that is left of mankind is living near the north pole. The rest of the book follows various characters as they react to this new world, each in their own way, although all seem to be quite mad. Playing with the idea that Jurassic weather would bring up Jurassic memories from deep within the human brain, the author does a terrific job depicting how the hallucinogenic dreams and uterine longings of each character mesmerize them and draw them ever further into the growing jungle. There are many gorgeous descriptions of the landscape, the sunlight and the rising waters and the way nature is swallowing up the buildings, roads and other artifacts of human civilization. Even the somewhat cardboard villain serves an important purpose, showing that these artifacts are useless and trying to hold onto the past is a futile gesture. It is a lyrical and strange and lovely and haunting book with images I will not soon forget.
[I listened to this as an audio book read by Julian Elfer, who did an excellent job.]
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