When London is lost beneath the rising tides, unconscious desires rush to the surface in this apocalyptic tale from the author of Crash and Cocaine Nights.
Fluctuations in solar radiation have melted the ice caps, sending the planet into a new Triassic Age of unendurable heat. London is a swamp; lush tropical vegetation grows up the walls of the Ritz and primeval reptiles are sighted, swimming through the newly formed lagoons. Some flee the capital; others remain to pursue reckless schemes, in the name of science and profit.
While others drain the submerged streets in search of treasure, Dr Robert Kerans - part of a group of intrepid scientists - comes to accept this submarine city and finds himself strangely resistant to the idea of saving it.
First published in 1962, Ballard’s mesmerising and ferociously imaginative novel gained him widespread critical acclaim and established his reputation as one of Britain’s finest writers of science fiction.
J. G. Ballard was born in 1930 in Shanghai, where his father was a businessman. After internment in a civilian prison camp, he and his family returned to England in 1946. He published his first novel, The Drowned World, in 1961. His 1984 best seller Empire of the Sun won the Guardian Fiction Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. It was later filmed by Steven Spielberg. His memoir Miracles of Life was published in 2008. J.G. Ballard died in 2009.
“Extraordinarily prescient… Ballard is a prophet” (Philip Pullman, Guardian)
“One of the brightest stars in post-war fiction. This tale of strange and terrible adventure in a world of steaming jungles has an oppressive power reminiscent of Conrad” (Kingsley Amis)
“Powerful and beautifully clear… Ballard’s potent symbols of beauty and dismay inundate the reader’s mind” (Brian Aldiss)
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Fascinating, but flawed, debut
Drowned by later works
- D. Carver