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The Wind From Nowhere [Paperback]

J. G. Ballard
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 186 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; First Edition UK edition (1967)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0000CNDY5
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,453,508 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a disowned classic 12 Feb 2005
By feline1
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've been a fan of JG Ballard for years,
but I only recently discovered that this, his first novel, even exists! The man appears to have disowned it - it's never listed in the bibliographies on the inside covers of his books.
I'm not entirely sure why - he'd already published a couple of dozen short stories in the decade before this novel came out in 1962.
Perhaps it's because the book verges slightly on generic pot-boiler sci-fi... it lacks a bit of the psycho-pathological character analyses Ballard generally builds into his novels, and focuses more on 'describing the action'.
Nonetheless, a classic Ballardian nightmare dystopic future is on offer in these pages - the world brought to its knees by relentless hurricane winds (cf. the global warming disaster of 'The Drowned World', the worldwide drought of, erm, 'The Drought', or the surreal 'crystallizing of time' in 'The Crystal World'). Even in this slightly terse, stripped-down 'consumer sci-fi' version of his talents that Ballard's publishers serve up here, the sheer pervausive scale of his apocalyptic vision is quite gripping. Like all the best Ballard, it's highly thought-provoking, really prodding the reader to realise just how close the civilisation we take for granted could be to total collapse, if a few of nature's parameters shifted a little...
In summary, well worth tracking down a copy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking and (mostly) timeless 30 April 2007
By Jeremy Walton TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I picked this up on a second-hand stall a while ago, and was quickly drawn into its opening vision of an ordinary world which has been affected by an extraordinary thing (in this case, a continously increasing wind). I liked the way in which the tension was gradually racked up along with the speed of the wind, as the characters struggled to come to terms with what was happening outside their shelter.

Although parts of the book haven't dated well (e.g. the casual way in which sex is fleetingly introduced and the standard bad guy with his plans for world domination both reminded me of Ian Fleming), the central idea remains compelling - perhaps even more so in this age of climate concern. And it was nice to come across a quote from Mark Twain that neatly sums up our powerlessness in the face of natural forces: "Everyone talks about the weather, but no-one does anything about it".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ballard's real debut.... 12 April 2007
By Jane Aland VINE VOICE
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A worldwide hurricane wind sweeps the Earth, steadily gaining another 5 miles per hour speed everyday, until society itself is brought to the brink of destruction...

JG Ballard's self-supressed debut novel bears surface similarities to his other early novels ('The Drowned World', 'The Drought', 'The Crystal World') with the earth being wracked by a natural disaster, although here the author seems slightly more concerned with action than the psycological affect of the altered landscape on his characters. Nevertheless, this is still a gripping science fiction novel boasting some memorable imagery as the titanic winds destroy the cities of Earth, and it's only real flaw is the rather sudden and anticlimactic ending.

Inevitably this 'The Wind From Nowhere' doesn't quite rank up their with Ballard's later more polished work, but this is still a good solid read that will be enjoyed by fans of the author, and it's supression by the author is frankly unjustified. Well worth a look.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ballards forgotten debut 28 Nov 2003
Format:Paperback
`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.
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