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The Day of Creation

Narrated by: Fleet Cooper
Length: 9 hrs and 29 mins
Categories: Fiction, Contemporary
3.5 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

On the arid, war-plagued terrain of central Africa, a manic doctor is consumed with visions of transforming the Sahara into a land of abundance. But Dr. Mallory’s obsession quickly spirals dangerously out of control.

©1987 J. G. Ballard (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Compulsively absorbing: the white heat of its images seems to burn off the page, and the surreal landscapes linger on in the mind." (The Independent)

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  • Darwin8u
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 11-27-18

Sooner or later, everything turns into television

“Sooner or later, everything turns into television.”
- J.G. Ballard, The Day of Creation

A hypnotic and dreamy parable or perhaps a freakish and hallucenegenic and moody allegory, 'The Day of Creation' drifts along with Ballard's beautiful (sometimes absurdly quirky) prose. I've read roughly eight of his novels or more and I've yet to be disappointed really in any of them.

The book is slippery. It isn't really plot driven (I guess all river novels have some direction and plot to them). Think of some strange combination of Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness', Twain's 'The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn', the 'African Queen', Burton's 'The Source of the Nile', etc., all mixed with a flavor of Greek myth. Dr. Mallory floats upstream with his girl Friday, his nubile Jim (Noon) to discover the source of the river Mallory "created". The further up the river he floats, the crazier and sicker everybody becomes. The novel bloats and floats on a lot of the fluvial space Ballard loves: environmental extremism, political absurdity, war, madness, nightmares, violence, sex, and technology.

If you are new to Ballard, I might not recommend you start with this one. Ballard is like raw oysters, pickled beets or artichoke hearts: he's slippery, earthy, and an aquired taste. So, start with something a bit more mainstream. But if you are into funky contemporary literature and are willing to drift, float, and eddy around a bit while drunk or high -- this novel might just be exactly what you weren't looking for but might want anyway.

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Imperial delirium

A Conrad-esque tale of madness and obsession, this story is a fever dream of imperialist fantasies, conducted against the backdrop of a decaying western civilization driven mad by its desire to dominate and manipulate an African resource. In this case that resource is water, and the Messianic fervor with which the lead character, Dr. Mallory, (another demented Ballardian doctor) consubstantiates himself with his engineering project, at times identifying with it, and at times seeking to obliterate it, is a brilliant portrait of a certain sort of self-obsessed western colonialist disease. Populated by a blind Australian documentarian, an underaged guerilla turned object of his ardor, a hapless local would be-Amin, the story is not worth recounting, and is really just a pretext for a loose set of poetic ramblings. Ultimately, a minor Ballard work, but riven with flashes of perverse genius reflecting his ambivalent outsider’s perspective on the European project.