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The Drowned World by Jim G. Ballard

The Drowned World (edition 2006)

by Jim G. Ballard

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1,558304,704 (3.49)106
Title:The Drowned World
Authors:Jim G. Ballard (Author)
Info:HarperPerennial (2006), Paperback, 176 pages
Collections:Your library, E-Reader, 1001 books
Tags:sf, london, reptiles, climate change, global warming, ecology, flood, water world, apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic, morose, racial memory, atavism, aaeb, kindle, read:2012

Work details

The Drowned World by J. G. Ballard

  1. 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.
  2. 00
    Earth Abides by George R. Stewart (Bookmarque)
    Bookmarque: another post-apocalyptic novel with a more philosophical attitude, quieter and more introspective.
  3. 00
    The Children's Hospital by Chris Adrian (sturlington)
    sturlington: Both are about a post-apocalyptic flooded world.
  4. 11
    Freakangels, Volume 5 by Warren Ellis (djryan)

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English (28)  Italian (2)  All languages (30)
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
J.G. Ballard got to 'Cli-Fi' first. This novel explores the inner space of its protagonists in a warmer world of flooded cities. The book excels at describing the languid heat and the flourishing jungle which has overtaken mankind's civilisation, and the peculiar mental lassitude which gradually overtakes three survivors in drowned London-that-was. The ending seems abrupt, though not surprising. ( )
  questbird | Aug 12, 2015 |
Perfect background for a half-baked scenario
  Kindlegohome | Jul 9, 2015 |
Reverse evolution....genetic memory....and a drowned world. I couldn't put it down, it was a captivating world.
  jaddington | Feb 16, 2015 |
Reverse evolution....genetic memory....and a drowned world. I couldn't put it down, it was a captivating world.
  jaddington | Feb 16, 2015 |
Eons ago I read this and was so struck by it that I bought a Folio Society edition as soon as they published it. Now I’ve read it again, I think a lot of it went over my head on the first reading. I was about 20 and hadn’t read anything about evolutionary biology. I hadn’t read many apocalyptic or speculative fiction novels either and having done both in the interim, I think it enhanced my enjoyment and understanding of the book.

On my first reading I was captivated by Strangman’s cruelty and dominance. I didn’t see him as a symbol of humanity’s downfall and assigned him more importance than I think he merits. This time he was more of a distraction which I think mirrored how Kerans and Beatrice actually viewed him. They wanted to get along back into Deep Time and he was impeding their progress down the evolutionary ladder.

That’s the bigger theme of the novel and one I felt was interesting and not beaten to death with lots of pontificating and monologuing. Instead we have the understanding that our regression, along with everything else on the planet, is right. Instead of being outraged by the calamity that destroyed our culture and ecosystem, humans are dreaming of their time before. Triassic time. Racial memory. Flashbacks embedded in our DNA. It isn’t scary, but soothing, and Bea, Kerans and the others who have fallen into the spell, want nothing but to embrace these dreams and go peacefully into the back of beyond.

Our regeneration is limited as is everything else. Whole species have disappeared only to be replaced by their progenitors of millennia past. The idea is intriguing and I wonder if it is truly an evolution or a devolution? When the old life forms are the only way to survive a new climate, isn’t it a sign of progress when those adaptations rise again? While we do know some about what the flora and fauna have done to adapt in the book, we know little about what form humans will take. Our birth rate has plummeted along with our general numbers and large mammals are gone as well. Insects, spore-bearing plants and reptiles have taken over, leaving little room for mammals of any sort.

This book takes a swipe at the answer, but dodges a couple of things in its execution. First is the negativity that a human-created catastrophe always brings to an apocalyptic novel. Oh if we hadn’t been so dumb or ignored whatever, we wouldn’t be dying off and the world wouldn’t be ruined. The Drowned World’s nexus of ecological change has nothing to do with us, so we’re off the hook. Instead of chest-beating, hand-wringing and fighting, we go gracefully, which is another difference I’ve noticed with this versus other end-of-the-world novels. We escape victimhood and gracefully accept our extinction. It’s introspective and relatively serene and reminded me a lot of Earth Abides by George R. Stewart and of Blood Music by Greg Bear. Instead of trying to save the world and make it our dominion again, the humans left behind adapt in the best way they know how. It may not be the way we behaved before, which chafes at some, but eventually they accept the way things are moving and look to the future with calm, positive that even if things are never the same, they won’t be the end, only different. ( )
1 vote Bookmarque | Dec 16, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
J. G. Ballardprimary authorall 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
Stoovelaar, FrankCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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)

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"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)

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