Review: The Drowned World by J. G. Ballard

the_drowned_world In The Drowned World, the sun’s become too hot (130°F on a good day), and the cities of the world are submerged. Humanity is now collected down in Antartica or above the Arctic circle.

(This was written in 1962, so way before the current climate change troubles.)

During a scientific expedition to a sunken London, Dr. Kerans contends with a Triassic-like environment with giant iguanas and mosquitoes the size of dragonflies. These surroundings trigger psychological changes in him and others, back to when humans were nothing but shrews scampering away from dinosaurs. It’s subtle, though—they don’t start digging holes or anything.

Then, of course, trouble comes.

The Drowned World starts out as hard science, but gets a little mental. At points it’s hard to know whether the main character is seeing things as they really are. But even at the book’s loopiest, author Ballard’s writing stays crisp and understandable.

It’s a fun ride, and I really never knew what was going to happen next.

Recommendation: Check it out at the library. I enjoyed it, and plan to read other books by the author, but it’s not for everyone.

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