Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The drowned world by J. G. Ballard

The drowned world (edition 1968)

by J. G. Ballard

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,655364,354 (3.47)115
Title:The drowned world
Authors:J. G. Ballard
Info:Harmondsworth : Penguin, 1968, c1962.
Collections:Your library
Tags:science fiction

Work details

The Drowned World by J. G. Ballard (Author)

  1. 10
    Earth Abides by George R. Stewart (Bookmarque)
    Bookmarque: another post-apocalyptic novel with a more philosophical attitude, quieter and more introspective.
  2. 00
    Blood Music by Greg Bear (Bookmarque)
    Bookmarque: tapping into the human evolution theme and the drastic changes in form and function we can take.
  3. 11
    Freakangels, Volume 5 by Warren Ellis (djryan)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 115 mentions

English (34)  Italian (2)  All languages (36)
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
Strange, increasingly hallucinatory post-apocalypse novel about a warming planet overrun with lagoons and exploding tropical plants and animals. The protagonist (and others) begin having nightmares which are described as racial memories of earlier times when these climatic conditions existed. A bad guy enters the scene to plunder what's left, and throws this new natural order into chaos, which strangely rouses the dazed characters into action to restore their surroundings. I found the characters mostly listless (and nearly lifeless), and the conflict seemed like a contrivance, just to make something happen. But the book was hard to put down, due to Ballard's powerful, visceral description of this "drowned world." The book seems more like an image to me than a story, but one I won't be forgetting that lagoon anytime soon. ( )
  unclebob53703 | May 17, 2016 |
I thought this book earned two stars, barely. If he would have expanded the plot a bit more, made the writing not so dull, and the characters not quite so boring, it would have been...probably not much better. It's a pity, as I always enjoy a good end of the world tale, bu my recommendation is give this book a miss.

( )
  Garrison0550 | May 5, 2016 |
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 earth, with its lagoons caused by polar melt and bizarre new plants... the formerly temperate zones are changing back to prehistoric-style jungle.
However, in this hot and humid atmosphere, people seem to be going crazy, afflicted by shared dreams from the primeval unconscious, losing the drive to live. In half-submerged London, Kerans, his older colleague Bodkin, and the woman Beatrice, decide to stay, rather than return to the Antarctic. It's a decision that clearly will not lead to their continued survival; ambiguously suicidal.
However, the trio's doomed idyll is thrown into upheaval by the arrival of Strangman, a bizarre albino riverboat captain with a crew of caricatured and allegorical savages.

Strangman seeks to drain the lagoon, and becomes more and more of a threatening figure. Although lethargic and passive, the trio oppose his wishes, feeling inexorably drawn to accept the course of nature, and embrace its terrible beauty, even though nature has become inimical to human life.

Ballard sure does love 'Heart of Darkness.' This is a deeply symbolic work, and draws a lot from Conrad's. However, many of the themes touched on here are dealt with more deftly in Ballard's later books. The characters here are very flat, especially for a psychological novel. Yes, Ballard is using the trope of the 'savage' for literary purpose, but I'm not at all sure that excuses his portrayal of the crewmen as nearly inhuman beings.

Flaws and all, I'd still say this book is worth reading. There's a lot packed into its brief pages; it made for a really good book group discussion. I also simply enjoyed its evocative, lush and oppressive atmosphere. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Great apocalyptic surrealistic Freudian end-of-the-world beginning-of-something-new novel. One of Ballard's first (1962), I found it an enjoyable, disturbing (and disturbingly relevant, perhaps, with climate change scenarios) novel. If there's any indication that this is a young writer, it may be that Ballard sometimes tells us that things are strange o9r surreal instead of just showing us. I'm looking forward to the two novels that followed this: The Burning World and The Crystal World. No better companion for apocalypse than Ballard. ( )
  bibleblaster | Jan 23, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (37 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ballard, J. G.Authorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Boswell, JamesIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
French, DickCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Griffiths, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Groot, RuurdCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hollis, RichardCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pelham, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Powers, Richard M.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Self, WillIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stoovelaar, FrankCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Soon it would be too hot.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Information from the Hungarian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0007221835, Paperback)

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. Set in the near future, the ice caps have melted and the planet basks in an unendurable heat. London is a primordial swamp; lush tropical vegetation grows up the walls of the Ritz and there are unconfirmed sightings of primeval reptiles swimming through the newly-formed lagoons. Some flee the capital; others embark on harebrained schemes to drain the submerged streets in search of treasure. But Dr Robert Kerans has come to accept this submarine city and finds himself strangely resistant to the idea of saving it...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:30 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

"Fluctuations in solar radiation have caused the icecaps to melt and the seas to rise. Nature is on the rampage. London has been transformed into a primeval swamp, and within its submerged landscape giant lizards, dragonflies and insects compete for dominance. Human fertility is in decline and buildings sink beneath waters infested with decaying matter. Into this wasteland a group of intrepid scientists venture to record the flora and fauna of this new Triassic Age. Soon ghostly voices haunt their waking and nightmares permeate their sleep."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
4 avail.
360 wanted
3 pay1 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.47)
0.5 1
1 4
1.5 3
2 29
2.5 11
3 99
3.5 36
4 104
4.5 10
5 35


An edition of this book was published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 107,508,731 books! | Top bar: Always visible