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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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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.