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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars dystopic dreams
Ballards dystopian novel, seemingly aimed at the future is based upon what is occuring within the present. The evidence for his observations are gleaned from trawling the trans national enclaves in France. His premise being, that just below the mannered surface, is a corporate animal screaming to get out.

Several of these enclaves exist near the Swiss border,...
Published on 13 Jun. 2011 by Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Club Ratissage
Ballard is one of those writers I've always meant to check out, but somehow hadn't gotten around to until picking this up. For about 100 pages, I thought I might have found a new favorite author, and then for the next 200 pages, my enthusiasm started to very slowly deflate, until by the last 100 pages I was largely reading just to see what happens.

The story...
Published 3 months ago by A. Ross


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars dystopic dreams, 13 Jun. 2011
By 
Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles "FIST" (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Super-Cannes (Paperback)
Ballards dystopian novel, seemingly aimed at the future is based upon what is occuring within the present. The evidence for his observations are gleaned from trawling the trans national enclaves in France. His premise being, that just below the mannered surface, is a corporate animal screaming to get out.

Several of these enclaves exist near the Swiss border, built along the Med stretching across the South of France. It is here, that national identities become meaningless, everything becomes a blur, a grey melting pot of middle class values as people gather from across the world, to become the corporate soul.

They become institutional scions, with everything laid out, as heaven becomes a steel, glass and concrete paradise, built upon the dark rich earth. With the gated world acting as a barrier to those who can never gain the key, inside, boredom reigns with the thrall of Lucifer roasting the spit over an open fire. There is nothing to bind people together. This is why they create paramilitary forces, the ever present Daily Mail inculcated fear of attack haunts them.

Meanwhile Rebellion from established norms is enacted by not inflating the tyre to the correct pressure, over tightening the tie knot or wearing spotted shoes. Meanwhile the stupefying effects of ennui waft over the already satiated. Struggle, is no longer a feature, as everything is catered for. This leaves those who are chosen, to research, work and then build the future for everyone else, all based on their inert psychologies. These are projected as a desireable norm.

Ballard sees the future worlds housed in these sterile compounds. Those who gained the 1st honours, the MBA's the nerds, jocks and geeks suddenly rise to the surface and seek the recompense for their earlier sacrifice to empty vessel knowledge. Ballard demarcates the tension between those arising, and those needing something more.

This sense of need becomes expressed in being able to vent power over those deemed inferior. This is the crux of the novel.His use of language stretches out, describing the languid topor, of lying in a sun bed and gradually being consumed by the inert lifestyle, as he immerses himself in a bitter cynical desriptive prose.

It is in this book, his mockery of manners becomes a preoccupation. He strips away the culture of cultivated fronts, to reveal the need to connect through enacting power by humiliating others.

Initially the escape from the corporate straightjacket was undertaken through minor acts of infringement, stealing a magazine not plotting a grand gesture of rebellion.

Those who have given this one star I suggest is because they see themselves all too clearly, a good holiday read, turns into being chastised with a tasar. This book is a modern Brazil, 1984, Brave New World not the Agatha Christie of Ms. Marple or Jeffrey Archer. It is a journey into repression, what has been hidden within the style magazines; ennui, inertia, boredom, all satiated with the grand gestures of paedophillia, racism, sexual taboo breaking, casual violence and the application of power.

A modern type of Sadean novel where the hero is fatally flawed with self delusion, backed with the tranquility prescribed by big pharma. Therefore this will not transport you to a magical mystical land where the heroine is saved by the strong arms of a gallant knight, nor are there big action scenes and love fests, kickboxing and speedboat chases.

This book is about the boredom of being middle class. It is a looking mirror not a wardrobe.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Super-Cannes - J.G. Ballard, 10 Feb. 2013
By 
RachelWalker "RachelW" (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Super-Cannes (Paperback)
I find Ballard a bit of an oddity - I do love his books in the main, but he's not the greatest stylist - his prose can be lumpen and his characters two dimensional, so his books consistently rise or fall on the ideas within and the way he expounds them through plot. I'm happy to say that I feel this rises rather than falls. It's a cousin of Cocaine Nights, but whereas in that book he extols on the problems of an excess of leisure, in this novel the issue is an excess of work. And he handles it much better - he is more focused, more direct, his plot makes more sense. He still has a fascination with the sexual deviances of his characters that has never, ever convinced me, but other than that this is a great success. It's exciting, interesting, enlightening; science fiction set within the real world almost. Among Ballard's novels, one where his ideas are most rounded out, and therefore one of the most convincing. A very good Ballard.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Violence is the new Prozac -- a great read, 6 Aug. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Super-Cannes (Paperback)
Super-cannes is a nightmarish vision of a corporate future where highly-paid and overworked executives take regular outings into violence and madness in order to... keep their sanity. Encouraged by the business park's head psychologist, the executives of Eden Olympia descend on groups of immigrants, prostitutes and foreigners to rape, pillage and occasionally murder. These therapeutic excursions into every-greater and more depraved violence improve the health and wellbeing of the executives, and increase the profitability of the resident companies. The police turn a blind eye, victims are too afraid to talk and critics tend to meet violent ends. Ballard successfully explores a society where accountability and community have started to disintegrate, and morality is seen as little more than an old-fashioned religious dogma to be discarded.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Super-Cannes & Cocaine Nights . A New Novel?, 12 Dec. 2004
This review is from: Super-Cannes (Paperback)
J.G. Ballard is back with his usual brilliance, passion, extremes and cynicism in his 2000 novel "Super-Cannes" which the sceptics could call a re-write of his masterly written previous (1996) novel "Cocaine Nights".
This time, the setting is Cote d'Azure instead of Costa del Sol, and the mystery of the newly entered surroundings are almost similar for the Englishmen arriving at the scene. In Cocaine Nights, Ballard showed the "useful" side of violence and its revitalising influence on people who seem to think a peaceful, secure, rich and luxurious lifestyle is just what they need in retirement. Cocaine Nights was the story of violence and excess which began harmlessly with a string of car thefts and smash-ins. But Ballard never stops at that, things soon get out of hand. You will read this fantastic story by Britain's top living novelist and devour every page with a rising pulse.
In Super-Cannes however, Ballard tackles globalisation and the new corporate world's ruthless rule over the surrounding peoples and societies, its outbreaks of violence over ethnic communities and the obscenity of its perverse top directors and bureaucrats. At the French Riviera version of California's silicon valley (Super-Cannes) violence, racism and out of the ordinary sexual indulgence are already at gross proportions. The story unfolds as the middle aged husband (Paul Sinclair) of a young and pretty doctor (Jane) who is appointed to Eden-Olympia; high-tech business district with all the luxury, security and top directors; begins to investigate the mystery surrounding his wife's predecessor and ex-lover's (David Greenwood) mass killings and eventual suicide. As Paul follows the deceased doctor's (David Greenwood) footsteps to tragic end, he discovers the dark world lying beneath the gloss of Eden-Olympia. Alain and Simone Delages, a Belgian top executive and his bisexual wife are at the centre of perverse activities led by Eden-Olympia's resident psychiatrist Wilder Penrose, who is the brains behind acts of "psychopathy", a remedy to soothe the stresses of executive lifestyle. But then there is Frances Baring, a glamorously attractive woman in a sensual zebra-striped cocktail dress...
Super-Cannes is fantastic read but by and large lacks the surreal, shocking impact and originality of Cocaine Nights. Perhaps Ballard did not want to give a miss to the prospect of challenging globalisation using bits of his fantastic journey in Cocaine Nights.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Club Ratissage, 24 Jan. 2015
By 
A. Ross (Washington, DC) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Super-Cannes (Paperback)
Ballard is one of those writers I've always meant to check out, but somehow hadn't gotten around to until picking this up. For about 100 pages, I thought I might have found a new favorite author, and then for the next 200 pages, my enthusiasm started to very slowly deflate, until by the last 100 pages I was largely reading just to see what happens.

The story revolves around Paul, the middle-aged husband of a young doctor who has accepted a job at a posh, futuristic, sun-drenched, gated industrial park/complex near Cannes, in southern France. He soon gets caught up in the mystery of his wife's predecessor, who went on an unexplained rampage, killing a number of people at the complex before committing suicide. He pokes and prods the official story, finding it wanting, and finding several people who push him to poke further.

At the core of the book is a warning about what happens when the elites of multinational capitalism are allowed to wall themselves off from the world and create their own extranational / extrasocietal ecosystem. I'm on board with exploring those themes, but Ballard ends up pushing them to pulp fiction extremes of sex, drugs, and violence -- wrapped in his own detached cool prose. It turns into the kind of book where people say and do things that real people never say and do and is ultimately kind of silly. It might almost work better as a film in the hands of a very cool stylist, like David Fincher, or Anton Corbijn, or someone like that.

The good news is that even as the plot kind of limps along in second gear, the prose is quite good. Characters all leap to life, descriptions are vivid, and one is transported. The book is worth checking out just for its stylish writing, if nothing else -- but the pacing is far too slow.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Ballard in relatively commercial, but dark territory, 21 Mar. 2015
By 
tallmanbaby (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Super-Cannes (Kindle Edition)
This is an odd one, an example of Ballard’s later ‘commercial fiction’ stage. It is set in a sun bleached high end industrial estate / gated community in the South of France. A naive injured pilot and his girlish doctor wife move in, after the previous in house doctor went mad and was gunned down during a shooting spree. As such it is an expansion of Running Blind, and numerous Shepperton based fantasies.

It is recognisably Ballard, the soulless familiarity/strangeness of concrete car parks and terse emblematic people with their own private agendas. For Ballard it is very long, but it is well written, and does maintain the interest. The plotting and narrative drive ebbs and flows, and it does a reasonable job of keeping the old fans entertained and providing something relatively conventional for readers new to the perverse charms of Ballard.

From the reviews, it does seem to be the strongest of the trilogy, Super-Cannes, Millennium People and Cocaine Nights. If you enjoy this, then I would point to the collection of interviews, Extreme Metaphors and for those, not faint of heart, the dubious charms of High Rise, Concrete Island and Crash.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A bizarre and dreamlike quality..., 14 Aug. 2001
This review is from: Super-Cannes (Paperback)
This book has a bizarre and dreamlike quality which urges the reader on to the inevitable conclusion. Despite one's initial resistance to the credibility of the 'prescribed psychopathy' of Eden-Olympia it nevertheless seems plausible in the tightly controlled text. I'd like to see it as a film or TV drama. As I write it's already on the radio as the Book at Bedtime choice...
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A kind of waiting madness, like a state of undeclared war, 28 Oct. 2003
This review is from: Super-Cannes (Paperback)
The opening of 'Super-Cannes' is more languid, and less tense, than that of 'Cocaine Nights'; but the narrative of each novel develops in a similar direction, and the echoes between the books are impossible to ignore. When taken as a pair they elucidate, fascinatingly, the changes and continuities in Ballard's writing. The pervasive linguistic and thematic link between the novels, and the sense that the broad strokes of the plot are shadowing - at a distance - the events of Ballard's earlier novel, suggest strongly that 'Super-Cannes' is more than just a companion piece but something more elaborately related: a reiteration, with the central premise dramatically adjusted; or, simply, 'Cocaine Nights' viewed through a complex, slightly distorting looking glass.
Sinclair, the narrator, arrives in Eden-Olympia (a large business complex) with his wife, Jane, a Doctor who has accepted a prestigious post in the park's clinic. The appointment, and their arrival, is complicated by the fact that the last person to hold the post, and live in their accommodation, was killed after embarking on a massacre of the executives (among others) he was in Eden-Olympia to treat. David Greenwood, the doctor who becomes a murderer, is the mystery at the heart of the novel. It isn't long before traces of the murders begin to appear, stray bullets and ghosts walking the spaces occupied, now, by Sinclair and his wife. Just as Charles became ever more embroiled in his investigation, Sinclair comes to be dominated by his fascination with the past. Gradually everything about Eden-Olympia seems, to Sinclair, to be contingent on the truth (or lack of) behind Greenwood's sudden, inexplicable madness.
While 'Super-Cannes' displays the usual hallmarks of a Ballard novel - sharply observed prose; eerie, unsettling atmosphere; deluded narrator surrounded by liars - it fails cohere as cogently as 'Cocaine Nights', its closest relation. Sinclair picks up the trail but there is no urgency to his investigations, narrative ambling after narrator. Much of this is intentional - Ballard wants the reader to be one (or more) steps ahead of Sinclair, to be frustrated by his inefficient actions and blindness to perpetual mendaciousness. But the side-effect - problematic in terms of pacing - is that the reader is left so distant from, and irritated by, Sinclair, that rather than feeling compelled to discover what happens (as was the case with 'Cocaine Nights') they are left with a growing apathy. Nevertheless, 'Super-Cannes' is a rich, intelligent novel - full of surprises - rewarding the patient reader with a denouement that, masterfully, manages to be both shocking and subdued.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The wayward Sun, 12 Dec. 2001
By 
Chris Fitzmaurice (Tulsa, OK United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Super-Cannes (Paperback)
In a continuation of the theme he explored in Cocaine
Nights, as well as other works, author J.G. Ballard pens a
mystery about a cloistered, high-tech community coming to
terms with its need for recreational sociopathology.
Eden-Olympia is an ultra modern business park and insular
community nestled uncomfortably among the olive groves
and marinas of the Cote d'Azur and where recently a
respected young doctor embarked on a vicious killing
spree. New residents soon find they have little time for
anything but work and begin showing mental and physical
problems that threaten to overtake the would be corporate
paradise. In classic ballardian form, rogue psychiatrist
Wilder Penrose steps in and implements a regime in which
workaholic CEO's, presidents and junior vp's are
encouraged to sublimate their fantasies of criminality,
sexuality and violence by taking part in "therapy sessions" of
a most uncoventional type. While investigating the bizarre
murder-suicide of the former doctor, protagonist Paul
Sinclair soon finds himself drawn deeply into this ferment of
bright modernity and dark venality.
While not on a level with some of his other work; (and his
best work is awesome) and although his characters are
rather remote, (as usual) Super-Cannes is still an
invigorating book. Ballard's mythologizing of crashed
airplanes...abandoned runways...car parks... swimming
pools...and other totems of our time forms one of the more
exotic contributions to literature, yet it works. A strangely lit
poetry suffuses his novels, short stories and essays; and one
can always count on him for an an unexpected vista. His
relentless probing of the socio-techno interface has
yielded some unsettling prophecies. Super-Cannes is
basically a parable about the future; and as Ballard sees it,
the future is here.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring for Ballard, 12 Jan. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Super-Cannes (Hardcover)
Twenty years or so ago Ballard would have done this entire book in a couple of paragraphs. Now he fleshes his ideas out with a scenery that seems to be borrowed from touring companies of Noel Coward and second-rate thrillers. It's as if he's been dipping into his original store that was The Atrocity Exhibition and systematically expanding them all into longer forms. This was the man who produced the condensed the novel. Now he's produced the diluted novel. He can never be anything but interesting and his work shines out of the dross, but if you've been following Ballard's and Moorcock's careers as long as I have you'll see that this whole idea would have been an aside in a Jerry Cornelius story. And Moorcock's Cornelius stories are still as tight and packed with ideas as ever. Ballard is the kind of writer who hones a few ideas into wonderful, precious instruments, while Moorcock gives us the whole cauldron of raw white hot steel and flings it into the world, to see what new shapes he can make. These are my two favourite writers. They have been since I started reading them in New Worlds in the late 1960s. It seems to me that Ballard was always at his best when associated with Moorcock and New Worlds and maybe the same goes for Moorcock -- who was at least able to pay Ballard for his work by writing those hack S&S stories which seem to outsell all the good stuff! Could be I'm nostalgic for the New Wave Golden Age, but I would dearly like to see Ballard tackle a real, rather than a notional, subject again. Gordon Oliver.
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Super-Cannes by J. G. Ballard
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