`The Drowned World` is often refered to as Ballards first novel, but this was actually his first, and also the first of his ecological disaster novels. He was clearly never happy with the book, and subsequently disowned it. Consequently the book is no longer published, or even listed alomg with his other books in the introductions to later publications of his novels, and as such it`s not always that easy to get hold of a copy these days. Apparently it`s very similar to the style of all the other british disaster novel popular at the time. But this is far from being a terrible book, and Ballard went too far in disowning it in my opinion. Ok, it`s certainly not as good as `The Drowned World` or `The Drought`, but it does contain some very striking and memorable imagery - the image of a main charecter`s girlfriend being sucked out her apartment window and scattered like a rag doll over neighbouring roofs has remained with me ever since. The plot holds together quite well, and the story has a fairly memorable climax.
The story follows two or three main charecters -who eventually meet, moving through a near future in which the entire Earth is ravaged by a continously increasing wind, until by the end of the story the surface of our planet resembles a horizontal avalanche. The surviving population are forced to live further and further underground, as to venture to the surface without adequate protection means death within seconds. As with his other novels Ballard explores how different people and charecters might react or adapt to future possible developments, and environments. But whereas his next two novels explore landscapes of space and emptiness, of time standing still or turning in upon itself, `The Wind From Nowhere` depicts a landscape of speed and violence, where time is going in one direction - forward, and it`s running out.
So, is this his best book? No. - Is it worth reading? Absolutely.