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Publisher's Summary

When a light aircraft crashes into the Thames at Shepperton, the young pilot who struggles to the surface minutes later seems to have come back from the dead. Within hours everything in the dormitory suburb is transformed. Vultures invade rooftops, luxuriant tropical vegetation overruns the quiet avenues, and the local inhabitants are propelled by the young man’s urgent visions through ecstatic sexual celebrations toward an apocalyptic climax. In this characteristically inventive novel Ballard displays to devastating effect the extraordinary imagination that has established him as one of the 20th century’s most visionary writers.

©1979 J. G. Ballard (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"A remarkable piece of invention, a flight from the world of the familiar and the real into the exotic universe of dream and desire." (New York Times Book Review)

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A Vision-based Parable of Virtue and Vice

"For all we know, vices in this world may well be metaphors for virtues in hte next."
- J.G. Ballard, The Unlimited Dream Company

A man named Blake crashes his plane in a small British town. He is transformed into a demigod in the town. Or perhaps, he is dead and this is some weird limbo he is stuck in. Or perhaps he is just mad. Anyway, Blake isn't a very reliable narrator. The story keeps getting weirder and weirder, breaking out of any form of simple narrative and becoming fractured, recursive, fractaled, contradictory. As this book begins to "take flight" and enters into fertile vision territory, it begins to seed and grow into some funky William Blake inspired story. In a lot of ways, this novel is a "retelling/reincarnation" of Blake's poem Milton (just as in Milton, Blake was reinterpreting/retelling/reincarnating Milton's masterpiece 'Paradise Lost'). Confused? That is OK. This book shouldn't even be thought of as dystopian or science fiction. In reality is a surreal fantasy, a vision-based parable, a verdent exploration of death, sex, and life. Read it like you would look at a painting Salvador Dalí might have done if he was exploring the art of William Blake.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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definitely dreamlike

this was interesting, and yes very dreamlike. you'll come to suspect some things early on, some of which will work out. it is a very surrealistic "story", full of imagery to be "figured out", some fertility imagery etc. it reminded me of a novel by D M Thomas called The White Hotel, a very psychological surrealistic image driven story. Can't really call this scifi though it may be marketed that way, more like psychological poetry to be deciphered.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful