The Drowned World (1962) by J.G. Ballard

TheDrownedWorld1…which you start on the couch, nose scrunched at the outmoded tone, then a chill settles in, so you swaddle yourself in a blanket, but that’s not enough, so you migrate to the bedroom and burrow beneath the comforters, but the bed feels scratchy, so you finish it submerged in the bath, towels draped over to capture the steam, and the book is disintegrating, but it’s no matter because your hands have become flippers…


13 thoughts on “The Drowned World (1962) by J.G. Ballard

  1. This. This is why I read your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Warstub says:

    I read this, or one of the other two (burning/crystal worlds), when I was in my early twenties and had a similar feeling. Not much else to say.


    • I feel like I need to read the other ‘elemental’ novels before I’m able to form a cogent sense of this novel. It’s very metaphorical, of course, but there is an insubstantialness to it that makes it hard to dissect without parroting what other people have already said. I think I’ll better be able to discuss it in the context of the other three novels.


  3. Perfect. I never managed to review this myself…ditto what the Admiral said.


    • Thanks. I have some of the same issues that you mentioned on bookreads. There are things that prevent me from loving this novel, despite the genre-altering devices he employs. Despite its agedness, I felt very impressed by the time I got to that last page, but… I think I need more context from his other books.


  4. Widdershins says:

    That good, huh? 😀


  5. […] SF stems from incendiary doomsaying seeded by contemporary observation: Brunner’s overpopulation, Ballard’s evolutionary regression, Tiptree’s screwfly men. The point of this kind of speculative fiction is […]


  6. […] It’s an uneven and blandly-written thought experiment full of wedged-in moments bonded together by its own grey goo– a hint at Blood Music‘s first life as an award-winning novella. People tend to compare it to the books of Michael Crichton (which probably deserve their own “nerd gods” post, but even my sense of completionism has its limits). I guess if we’re playing nerddoomdeificationKnockOut, Blood Music beats The Terminal Experiment for its (possibly?) self-aware sense of horror, though the optimistic climate change endnote seems to overturn that. Still, I think I’ll stick with Ballard for all my dark and uncomfortable transhumanism needs. […]


  7. […] reviews: a mini-flash paragraph that embodies what is so harrowing about J. G. Ballard’s  The Drowned World (1962) and a more traditional review of Suzy McKee Charnas’ masterpiece Walk to the End of […]


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