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Luminous tales of a glittering, dry and decadent future
on 2 October 2000
This book collects Ballard's stories about Vermillion Sands, an artists' colony maroooned in a languid future of unlimited leisure, high technology, and mysterious, jewel-eyed women. Half-sentient buildings drift in and out of the encroaching desert, art projects threaten the nature of reality, and the inhabitants pursue their obscure enthusiasms, all against the numbing blue skies and the desolate sands. In common with many of Ballard's books, it's emotionally cold, but full of sharply brilliant ideas and vivid, over-saturated images. The characters drift throught their plots as if stunned, chasing art projects, ideas and each other with the bewildered air of actors thrust suddenly into a world without motives. Here the desolate air of coming disaster which characterises Ballard's early work has made a place where people can live without regrets or consequences, where any idea can be pursued, or any fate risked, because nothing really matters. Somewhere the world is grinding to a halt, but not here, in this remote world of privileged eccentrics. Lonely, strange and startlingly beautiful, the book has the warm laziness of a luxurious sea-side town, caught endlessly in late summer, between the tourists leaving and the autumn storms.