The Drowned World

The Drowned World First published in J G Ballard s mesmerizing and ferociously prescient novel imagines a terrifying future in which solar radiation and global warming have melted the ice caps and Triassic era ju

  • Title: The Drowned World
  • Author: J.G. Ballard Martin Amis
  • ISBN: 9780871403629
  • Page: 160
  • Format: Paperback
  • First published in 1962, J.G Ballard s mesmerizing and ferociously prescient novel imagines a terrifying future in which solar radiation and global warming have melted the ice caps and Triassic era jungles have overrun a submerged and tropical London Set during the year 2145, the novel follows biologist Dr Robert Kerans and his team of scientists as they confront a surrFirst published in 1962, J.G Ballard s mesmerizing and ferociously prescient novel imagines a terrifying future in which solar radiation and global warming have melted the ice caps and Triassic era jungles have overrun a submerged and tropical London Set during the year 2145, the novel follows biologist Dr Robert Kerans and his team of scientists as they confront a surreal cityscape populated by giant iguanas, albino alligators, and endless swarms of malarial insects Nature has swallowed all but a few remnants of human civilization, and, slowly, Kerans and his companions are transformed both physically and psychologically by this prehistoric environment Echoing Joseph Conrad s 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 and a haunting examination of the effects of environmental collapse on the human mind.

    One thought on “The Drowned World”

    1. Although today J.G. Ballard is perhaps better known as the author of two books which became major films—Spielberg's Empire of the Sun and Cronenberg's Crash —he was first praised for a quaternity of post-apocalyptic novels published in the early '60's. The Drowned World (1962), the second book in this series—as well as Ballard's second published novel—was greatly admired by readers of speculative fiction and caused Ballard to be considered one of the great lights of the “New Wave.”Th [...]

    2. ”The solar disc was no longer a well-defined sphere, but a wide expanding ellipse that fanned out across the eastern horizon like a colossal fire-ball, its reflection turned the dead leaden surface of the lagoon into a brilliant copper shield. By noon, less than four hours away, the water would seem to burn.”Solar radiation has melted the polar ice caps, and the oceans have risen to engulf most of the major cities of Europe and America. These cities have become tropical lagoons with only the [...]

    3. Oh, what's left to be said about J. G. Ballard? If you have yet to enter his cult, his realm--please do so soon. The man is dead, and so his sea of work is a limited lake--of placid doom, of absolute apocalypse. He is often imitated--M. Crichton & the new "Annhilation/Southern Reach" trilogy guy come to mind, but he is as unique a literary voice as any of the greats. He is, actually, currently under Canonization negotiations by the Crazy Cray-cray Literary Canon.Oh, this dude is inspiring. I [...]

    4. Dull plotting.Duller psychology.Shallow characters.Improbable coincidences galore.Pretty racist.And yet almost entirely saved by some great descriptive work in painting the submerged world.Worth reading, barely.

    5. J.G. Ballard, what an interesting author, they broke the mold when they made him. When I started reading sf in the 80s I had the impression that Ballard specializes in global ecological disaster scenario, what with The Drowned World, The Burning World, and The Crystal World. A sort of go-to guy for a “dot-dot-dot World” apocalyptic fiction. Then I read Concrete Island and Empire of the Sun and realized Ballard cannot be pigeonholed so simply.The Drowned Worldis one of his earlier novels from [...]

    6. This was my introduction to J.G. Ballard. How to best describe this book? I would call it apocalyptic realism. I thought I invented that term until I looked it up, and yes it exists. It's an apocalyptic future that I can see happening, and I imagine it very much like Ballard does here, except my version is tied to climate change and his is caused by a changing sun. Also, it has an eerie similarity to Conrad's Heart of Darkness. I'm certainly looking forward to reading more of Ballard's work.

    7. Ballard wrote this dystopian novel in the early 1960s, but it is still resonant today and it deals with a drastic increase in temperature on the earth; it is set in 2145. The premise is fairly simple; temperatures have greatly increased and the polar icecaps melted; temperatures around the equator can reach well over 150 degrees. Most life is centred on the polar areas. Jungle proliferates and evolution has goes into overdrive with some insects, reptiles and plants developing and changing very q [...]

    8. The Drowned World was my introduction to Ballard. I don’t know what I liked more: the lavishly described landscape with its swollen sun, primeval jungle, and shrieking iguanas or the inner landscape of recurring dreams, instinctive impulses, and psychological obsessions. It’s the combination of these two worlds—the outer and the inner—that give The Drowned World its depth and hypnotic air. The outer world is described in such poetic prose that a narrative is nearly unnecessary. It is a [...]

    9. The Drowned World is one of four novels J. G. Ballard wrote about the same time about the environment. Published in 1962, it seems prophetic, in that it proposes that global warming would melt the polar ice caps, and the resulting raised sea level would drown cities. One interesting thing about the book is that the cause as Ballard has it in this book is that solar storms—known to affect Earth weather—become so severe that they scorch the planet. This theory roughly aligns with the current 1 [...]

    10. Dear Kerans, Here's an idea - go up to Hampstead. It'll be dry there and you can walk about.The first couple of chapters of this book are quite intriguing, but as soon as you realise that this is central London and the buildings aren't even fully submerged, you know that the rest of Britain IS STILL THERE. So why is everyone acting like the world has been drowned? Didn't JG Ballard have the first notion of physical geography? DUH! Schoolboy error. When London drowns, you can say goodbye to East [...]

    11. At it's best when it achieved a cloying dreamlike atmosphere. It takes something of his Empire of the Sun experiences of a world turned upside down and crosses it with Heart of Darkness with a similar sense of a journey both back in time and into the psyche. J.G. Ballard's experience in a Japanese interment camp near Shanghai while in his early teens comes through in The Drowned World his first novel in the idea that the life we lead is a stage set. Once the set is changed, then the actors start [...]

    12. The Drowned World: Diving into the pellucid depths of our racial memoriesOriginally posted at Fantasy LiteratureThe Drowned World (1962) is J.G. Ballard’s best apocalyptic work, the other two being The Burning World (1964) and The Crystal World (1966), but if you are thinking of an action-packed adventure where a plucky group of survivors clings to decency amid the collapse of civilization, this is the wrong book. Ballard was interested in ‘inner space,’ and while he sometimes adopted SF t [...]

    13. I am sitting here wondering if I made a mistake reading The Drowned World as my first J.G. Ballard novel. My edition includes the novel The Wind From Nowhere and I am tempted to read it as well before returning the book to the library but I have so many other books I desperately wish to finish, books I am truly enjoying. If this were not a library book and soon due, then I am afraid I may never have finished The Drowned World, which does not bode well for my reading of the second selection.This [...]

    14. There was a time in science fiction when scientists were attractive square-jawed types. Not quite as cool as James Bond, but certainly as confident in their abilities, and no less successful with the women they met.J.G. Ballard's The Drowned World comes on the heels of this trend - while one foot is routed firmly in the past, another is stretched well into the future, even beyond what a lot of contemporary science fiction writers would attempt to accomplish today.The protagonist of the piece is [...]

    15. The novel Ballard liked to pretend was his debut—The Wind from Nowhere, anyone?—depicts a world stuffed to the runnels with silt, salt water, silt and more silt. Rich in near pornographic descriptions of bogs, croc-filled lagoons and giant lizards, this is a tough and horrendous novel, all the more so knowing this fate awaits our grandchildren.Because Ballard is always right. The flood is coming. Get your paddles, ladies. In the meantime, read this book. What is it? Hmm. Apart from the sumpt [...]

    16. What images do the words "science fiction" conjure in your mind? Do you think of spaceships, lasers, phasers, light-sabres? Rockets, robots, and radon gas? Green chicks and blue boxes? Science fiction is a genre built upon difference. Science fiction stories are essentially thought experiments in which the author asks what would happen if the world were different in one or many ways.We often (rightly) associate science fiction with fantastic technologies, but that kind of mental picture is a rat [...]

    17. Η -πλημμύρα- είναι ένα μυθιστόρημα που περιγράφει μια τεράστιων διαστάσεων κλιματική αλλάγη, όπου όλη η γη είναι καλυμένη με νερό λόγω της ραγδαίας αύξησης της θερμοκρασίας.Ένα βιβλίο με πρωτότυπο για την εποχή που εκδόθηκε θέμα το οποίο δυστυχώς χαντακώνεται.Η γραφή του σ [...]

    18. The problem with writing a racially-charged tale of madness and death, lost deep in an alien and antagonistic jungle is that you're going to draw comparisons to 'Heart of Darkness', and that's not a comparison from which many novelists are going to emerge unscathed. The white men lose themselves in the brutality of the primordial past, going 'native', or even beyond native, but Ballard cannot match the furious voice or psychological insights of Conrad.Ballard distinguishes himself as a competent [...]

    19. Mud. Silt. Heat. Floodwaters. And plants. Gonzo, all conquering plants spreading across a doomed earth. These are the images that stuck in my mind after readingThe Drowned World. If you’re looking for something uplifting I advise you to look elsewhere - you’re unlikely to crack a smile at any point in this grim story. However, if you don't mind reading under a futile-struggle-against-implacable-forces cloud then Ballard's book is well worth your time - its a skilfully told story full of vivi [...]

    20. Nutshell: though global warming wins, cagey survivors succumb only to evopsychomachia. Global warming is merely the Luca Brasi of a villainous sun, whose “sudden instability” “enlarged the Van Allen belts and diminished Earth’s gravitational hold upon the outer layers of the ionosphere” (33). Increased radiation dicked up the temperature, accelerated plant growth, and mutated the fuck outta everyone else (id.). The heat afflicted routine hydrologies, and now “the Middle West of the U [...]

    21. I liked the basic premise of The Drowned World: in 2145, a tiny handful of hardy souls is moored in a superheated, drowned city (which turns out to be London), surrounded by deep lagoons - they have to live near the tops of buildings because everything below is flooded, silt-covered, and seaweed-smeared - just finishing up some science things before returning to the Arctic Circle where the temperature is a more comfortable 85°. I liked most of the thick description. Nice nouns and adjectives, m [...]

    22. The sun has gone mad. The ice has melted, and the continual flooding has covered much of the world with water. Temperatures have risen to the point where humanity has relocated to the Arctic and Antarctic circles just to survive. The result is that cities like London have become lagoons, surrounded by jungles and with only the top floors of the tallest buildings above water.That's the setting of The Drowned World, and it's by far the best thing about the book. Ballard has quite a way with descri [...]

    23. This is an excellent fast paced story set in a post climate change world where solar flares have melted ice caps and glaciers across the globe leaving only the poles vaguely habitable. Set 70 years after with the few human survivors eking out a living on army research bases and remaining ships we follow Dr Kerans, Beatrice Dahl and others as they try and find their own way through in this strange aquatic world. As the temperatures rise and storms threaten their lagoon world another threat arrive [...]

    24. Ballard's second novel, following The Wind From Nowhere, (read last year when I wasn't blogging my reviews, sorry) continues the theme of extreme environmental change and how his characters deal with it. There are a couple of radical shifts from the earlier book.I am a bit obsessed these days with climate fiction (it even has a genre abbreviation: CliFi) because despite ISIS, racial upheaval, the circus of the Presidential race, etc etc, we won't be able to be entertained by all this foolishness [...]

    25. Ballard's first 'official' novel, The Drowned World, still shows some signs of mastering his craft. Some odd characters and characterisations, and some odd pacing, take the edge off an otherwise excellent environmental dystopian future. It doesn't appear to be an anthropogenic disaster, but the icecaps have melted, the world has been flooded and burning sunlight is making life pretty hard for the survivors. The story revolves around a smallish cast of misfits, living around a lagoon above a floo [...]

    26. I was a tad disappointed with The Drowned World, having read a couple of other Ballad works. But I should cut the author some slack, this was his first book. And I did like it, just didn't love it. The overall basis of the story, set in a future (although not too far in the future) globally warmed, flooded London, is an interesting one. Again Ballad has that knack of describing a situation that is the right side of believable, this could happen, and that makes it a disturbing read. But the Drown [...]

    27. This month's Post-apocalyptic Book Club selection.This was a re-read, though I'd read it so long ago it might as well have been in the Jurassic period.JG Ballard succeeds marvelously in creating a hallucinatory, dreamlike environment here. Solar flares have heated the Earth. Only 5 million people still live, mainly on military-style bases in the Antarctic. Our protagonist, Kerans, is a biologist assigned to a team with the singularly pointless task of venturing south and mapping the changed eart [...]

    28. This book feels like a wild, silly mash-up of Heart of Darkness with The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, complete with a lascivious-albino-nihilist-sadist-petty-dictator, deformed black henchmen armed with machetes and knives, and three good white folk, who are fighting the emergence of their reptile-brain memories, while at the same time drinking excellent whiskey, wearing formal evening clothes, and trying to survive the steaming jungle swamps of post-global-warming London. Both r [...]

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