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Kingdom Come [Hardcover]

2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • ISBN-10: 0007290101
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007290109
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

More About the Author

J.G. Ballard was born in 1930 in Shanghai, where his father was a businessman. After internment in a civilian prison camp, he and his family returned to England in 1946. He published his first novel, The Drowned World, in 1961. His 1984 bestseller Empire of the Sun won the Guardian Fiction Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. It was later filmed by Steven Spielberg. His memoir Miracles of Life was published in 2008. J.G. Ballard died in 2009.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars all over the shop(s) 14 Dec 2009
Bad Ballard is better than good [insert name of any 2nd rate modern dystopian novelist], but the fact remains that this is a bad Ballard novel. If you're a fan it's worth reading for the flawless prose, but I'd hate to think newcomers to Ballard would start here and leave with the wrong impression. This book follows similar themes to the preceding three (Cocaine Nights, SuperCannes, Millenium People), but here credulity is stretched just a little too far, and in the absence of strong supporting characters the plot just caves in on itself. The main protagonist, Richard Pearson doesn't convince, but even less convincing are his interactions with the secondary characters (doctor, lawyer, police sergeant, psychiatrist - standard Ballardian middle-class pillars of the community). Within seconds of meeting, poor Richard is being whisked off to crime scenes, philosophised at, flirted with, and generally tossed around from scene to scene so quickly I began to feel giddy. Easy intimacy between characters who have barely met is a Ballardian trademark, but it's difficult to bring this off in a way that convinces and here he fails. Two stars for the prose and one for the consumerism/fascism theme.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prophetic 17 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I don't disagree with the many low raters pronouncements that 'its no cocaine nights or super-cannes' -- yeah ok it isn't... but its got its own intangible, occult, uber-surrey edge to it. I loved it.

For me this is a very fitting final Ballard.

He takes the home counties dark heart out of the chest and holds it up to the face - he gives us one last good look at how contaminated with necrotic decay we are before expiring. He is a hero and a prophet. RIP
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars not so sleepy surrey 16 July 2007
veteran british novelist jg ballard brings us his latest work. A master at creating dystopias and looking at the realities of modern life settings and the meaning of middle class existence, his latest work involves an advertising executive looking into the murder of his father in a shooting incident at a shopping centre in a sleepy surrey town. A place full of disaffected people looking for excitement in their lives and taking out their frustrations on asian and eastern europeans, it's a very convincing picture of modern britain.

People in the town are trying their own way to bring meaning to modern existence, and the main character gets caught up this. But how far can things go before too many people get hurt?

This is the same plot as his last three novels - a fact acknowledged in the features and interviews at the back, which are worth reading - but it succeeds due to the quality of the very readable prose and the well drawn supporting characters. The plot goes off in a few directions that I didn't expect, and which other reviewers don't appear to have been too keen on, but I found them quite interesting and thought provoking. And at a mere 280 pages of very good prose, this is a short and good read.

It's possibly not the best of his books to start with if you've never read one before, and if that's the case I'd recommend reading them all in order. But for a veteran ballard reader, this is a decent piece of work
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pale Imitation 21 May 2007
I am a huge Ballard fan and so am sorry to say that I really did not enjoy this. I agree with other reviewers in feeling that Ballard has done this so much better in other novels such as Cocaine Nights. I thought the shopping mall run riot was silly at best, and I just could not get involved with the characters or plot. By the end I was skim reading just to finish the damn thing - never a good sign.
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20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What has gone wrong? 20 Oct 2006
Oh dear... I'm a huge Ballard fan and his books take up a good proportion of my bookshelves, but this left me completely cold and I confess that I struggled to finish it.

Ballard makes no secret of the fact that "Kingdom Come" is very similar to "Cocaine Nights", "Super Cannes" and "Millennium People" (and, I suppose, "Running Wild" to some degree) and claims that he planned it as a trilogy. If this is the case it is most definitely the weakest of the three.

So what is wrong with it? For me, the main character was unappealing and I really couldn't warm to him at all. On top of this the idea of a shopping centre which was effectively lawless and had its own cultish devotees just struck me as silly. Add to this the staged violent outbursts and the usual mad psychologist and you're left with a frankly dull novel which is a pale imitation of the Ballard whose work I love so much.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Missing the Point 16 Aug 2007
This novel is a huge let down. As another reviewer points out, the prose is of excellent quality, and so too the setting. In fact, the first 100 pages are very enjoyable, with the main character Richard Pearson negotiating himself through an urban nightmare of consumerism, racism, and violence in order to find out who shot his father.

However, there are two main problems. Firstly, weak characterisation means that it is impossible to engage with, or care about the story. We are told that the people of this dystopia need consumerism and insanity above all else, but the reader never gets to the chance to explore this through the experiences of the characters. And neither do we end up caring about the victims of violence: there is too much of it, and not once do we get the chance to empathise with its victims. By the end of the novel, I couldn't care less who lived and who died. It is also quite preposterous that Ballard has two main characters sleep with each other and form a bond, yet hardly has any dialogue between them in the last 70 pages of the book, when they are supposedly in great danger.

The second problem with the novel, is the logic of the dystopia Ballard creates. In an attempt at originality, Ballard creates a world in which fascism emerges from the masses, rather than being created top-down by politicians. This occurs because Britain is a country of bored citizens whose main value-system is based around the purchase of consumer goods. How a general indifference, and an obsession with consumerism leads to a bottom-up revolution is not explained.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars First Ballard after Miracles of Life ....

Cover 3/5. I have the cover similar style to Miracles of Life. Font on the small size. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Alexander Kreator
5.0 out of 5 stars Prophetic writing
I cannot stop thinking about this book when reading about the four day siege of Nairobi's Westgate centre in the paper today. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Law Tech
1.0 out of 5 stars Pedestrian existentialism...
Sorry, but I found this extremely mundane and pedestrian. I was unable to read the entire book owing to the fairly irritating way it was written, in terms of the layout of chapters... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Monk
3.0 out of 5 stars Unrealistic execution of some interesting themes
I find this book quite hard to review. There are important messages here about how people suffering from a sense of ennui can resort to violence and mayhem as a substitute for more... Read more
Published 12 months ago by John Hopper
3.0 out of 5 stars A novel of ideas
I can understand many of the comments here, especially having just finished Super-Cannes, which is written much more skillfully. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Krapp
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fresh Taste of Dystopia
If you enjoy dystopian novels- Ballard might be the one for you! At times, the point he was trying to make about the value we place on the material seemed over exemplified... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Iamisbejuanchi
2.0 out of 5 stars Get over it...
I have read several Ballard books including Cocaine Nights and Super-Cannes and the Dystopia lying beneath the so-called ordinary world is brilliantly portrayed in these novels and... Read more
Published 19 months ago by steam_simon
1.0 out of 5 stars None
one dimensional characters, predictable dialogue uvarying from one character to another, heavy handed symbolism and a deeply silly plot - typical of the most overrated british... Read more
Published on 25 April 2012 by Mr. M. Young
3.0 out of 5 stars No exaggeration
Ballard's Kingdom Come might be viewed as an exaggerated take on 21st century UK, but consumerism as a sort of deity, isolationsism, xenophobia, hooliganism, violence, the cult of... Read more
Published on 23 Aug 2009 by S. ALLMAN
4.0 out of 5 stars Suburban shopping hell
If you liked Cocaine Nights, Super Cannes, Millenium People and other of Ballards dystyopias, you will appreciate this tale of consumerism.
Published on 3 Jun 2009 by Birgit Luxhoj
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