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The Unlimited Dream Company (Paladin Books) [Kindle Edition]

J. G. Ballard , John Gray
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Book Description

From the author of The Sunday Times bestseller Cocaine Nights the story of suburban London transformed into an exotic dreamworld.

When a light aircraft crashes into the Thames at Shepperton, the young pilot who struggles to the surface minutes later seems to have come back from the dead. Within hours everything in the dormitory suburb is surreally transformed. Vultures invade the rooftops, luxuriant tropical vegetation overruns the quiet avenues, and the local inhabitants are propelled by the young man’s urgent visions through ecstatic sexual celebrations towards an apocalyptic climax.

In this characteristically inventive novel Ballard displays to devastating effect the extraordinary imagination that established him as one of Britain’s most highly acclaimed writers.

This edition is part of a new commemorative series of Ballard’s works, featuring introductions from a number of his admirers (including Ned Beauman, Ali Smith, Neil Gaiman and Martin Amis) and brand-new cover designs.

Product Description


'A remarkable piece of invention, a flight from the world of the familiar and the real into the exotic universe of dream and desire dense and erotic and magical, a pleasure to read.' malcolm bradbury, New York Times 'Extraordinary there is no doubt of the intensity and originality of the imagination that conceived the scenes of Shepperton transformed into a paradise far beyond the scope of most novelists.' Spectator 'A remarkable fantasist Ballard's eloquence is as lush as the flowering vines he hangs from his multi-storey garages.' Observer

From the Publisher

"A remarkable piece of invention, a flight from the world of the familair and the real into the exotic universe of dream and desire... dense and erotic and magical, a pleasure to read." Malcolm Bradbury, NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

"Extraordinary...there is no doubt of the intensity and originality of the imagination that conceived the scenes of Shepperton transformed into a paradise...far beyond the scope of most novelists." SPECTATOR

"One of the most startling and original novelists. Extremely witty, Ballard's most optimistic book contains some of his strongest, most vivid prose...exuberant fantasy." TIME OUT

"A remarkable, seductive...Ballard's eloquence is as lush as the flowering vines he hangs from his multi-storey garages." OBSERVER

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1167 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (1 Nov. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009JWCQM0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #160,113 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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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
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Escape From Suburbia 18 Oct. 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In `The Unlimited Dream Company', a disaffected aircraft cleaner and failed itinerant named `Blake' decides, on impulse, to steal a Cessna light aircraft. While flying over Shepperton, he has to put down in the Thames. He is, presumably, dead, but his death seems metaphoric. It's the end of a wrecked life and the start of something great and new, and so we have the start of a fantastic adventure. This Phoenix tale of fertility emerging from tragedy is a recurrent theme in J. G. Ballard's writing.

Actually, it's unclear whether `Blake' is really dead or traversing through this novel in some kind of dream (perhaps resulting from a comatic state), or indeed whether this is just a simple fantasy novel. I think the author is leaving that to the reader to decide, but I for one would favour the dream theory. Hints are given here and there. For instance, at one point Blake refers to "streamers of still flying blood" - suggesting that events are taking place within a dream. In the process of this `dream', `Blake' becomes what could best be described as a spiritual energy force, giving life to the dreary and humdrum suburban surroundings, which are terraformed miraculously at `Blake' sleight of hand into a veritable tropicopia, spawning all kinds of exotic flora and fauna, including brilliant tucans and flamingos and the type of snakes more usually seen in the jungle. `Blake' manages to exoticise the people of Shepperton too. They dream the same dreams as `Blake' and, like him, metamorphose into magnificent birds that are able to soar freely above Shepperton, and sea creatures that swim in the river, thus re-capturing the freedom from ordinariness that `Blake' sought when he first stole the Cessna.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars outstanding 10 July 2006
Format:Unknown Binding
As with the majority of J G Ballard's novels, 'The Unlimited Dream Company' gleans it's real power by the final sentence. Drawing on the avant garde approach of the surrealist movement as well as neo-Freudian symbolism, the novel takes the reader on a journey of gloriously unfolding imagery and psychological discovery. It uses the often bizarre, but always dazzling aspects of magic realism to create a complete story of self-sacrifice and discovery. An addage to the pheonix rising from the flames, it ends with a fantastic take on human endeavour and emancipation from the chains of ordinary existence that echoes James Joyce's closing sentences from 'The Dead'.

A work of profound beauty and creative existentialism.

A masterpiece.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sexual Religious Myth 5 Nov. 2000
This book is for everyone who likes the magnificent style of Ballard. We have a man in center, who starts of trying to kill his girlfriend, then escapes in a stolen plane. It crashes in a small community. He should have died, but didn't, or did he? It changes him into a pure sexual being. A sexual being that is closer to God, than man. He can now fly, and flying is something man has craved for ever since, he saw birds freedom for the first time. The community want him, and he wants them. Fantastic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Pagan Passion 20 May 2012
By Pensato
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The most glorious of Ballard's books and the fourth time I've read. It is emotionally moving and profound in a way atypical of Ballard's style where there usually is a certain sang-froid in his approach.

This is a Pagan Passion, exulting in the power of creativity, to usher in new paradigms. The refrain that the vices of the present are seen as metaphors for the virtues of the future repeat and resonate through the book's pages. Old ways of thinking about religion need to be discarded. A pantheistic, pan-sexual, poly-sexual approach advocated.

On another level the book is a metaphor for the dangers of ego-inflation and the transformation that occurs when we leave ego behind, the character Blake as a suburban Bodhisattva, the Amitabha of the retail park.

And like all Ballard's book we are left with the incredible visual imagery, picture burned deep into the imaginative retina.

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars impressionistic dream painting 19 May 2001
An incredible impressionistic dream painting which soars by with a grace and spendour other writers fail to apsire to. Ballard explorers strong ethical and religeous themes in his genetic re-engineering of Shepperton, styled with beguilingly taught yet descriptive prose. Exactly what Ballard is driving at is tough to decipher but the writing is so addictive and the narrative so packed with subtle allusions, shifts and metaphor its a novel which carries you triumphantly to the finish. The more Ballard I read the more I am in awe of the man's genius and incredible visions of contemporary society. Ballard is so good once youv've read one you want to read the rest !
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The dream of the Sun 2 Feb. 2001
This strange, hauntingly beautiful book finds author Ballard mytholigizing his hometown of Shepperton, England. Blake, the protagonist, has stolen a light aircraft but soon crashes it into the Thames. Emerging miraculously from the submerged wreckage of the plane, he is embraced by the citizens of this small community as if risen from the dead. He soon finds himself vested with messianic powers which he uses to transform Shepperton into a surreal paradise. Cryptically yet powerfully written, The Unlimited Dream Company further justifies the superlatives bestowed upon the work of this fine, underheralded author.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars meaningless
He may be dead, he may be back from the dead. He may be a barely alive patient, he may be a cannibal cum saviour. Is he a bird, is he a plane? No, he's just phantasmagoric. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Cole Davis
4.0 out of 5 stars Dreams can come true
Having read cocaine nights and empire of the Sun I wanted to carry on discovering J G Ballard's novels. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Jason Allan
1.0 out of 5 stars Desperately Disappointing
This novel came a huge shock to me, because up to now, based on reading half a dozen of Ballard's other novels, I rated him as one of my all time favourite novelists. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Clay Man
2.0 out of 5 stars Quite Bland and Boring
Although posing interesting subjects and action, this novel is so boring and mono tonal, that I was constantly feeling like not finishing it. Read more
Published on 18 April 2012 by Miguel Figueiredo
3.0 out of 5 stars The Unlimited Dream Company
Being a huge fan of Ballard's earlier works, but not particularly keen on some of the drug-fuelled surrealist pieces some people love Ballard for, I was put off by the near-random... Read more
Published on 23 Mar. 2011 by D Brookes
2.0 out of 5 stars Delusions without Heart
This book tells the story of a wannabe pilot, and his escape from the wreckage of his life. There is some debate as to the intention of the supernatural acts that he commits -... Read more
Published on 18 Dec. 2010 by Black Orchid
3.0 out of 5 stars Ballard's Weirdest
The books is wildly oneiric. It's a dream, it's a vision, it's a display of inexhaustible surrealistic imagination. Read more
Published on 25 Nov. 2008 by Vittorio Caffè
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