9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
dreamy, steaming, languid disaster novel,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Drowned World (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
The book lacks a plot, as the characters are not going anywhere. It is a book of atmosphere rather than action. The novel centres on a group of last scientists and soldiers as they prepare to leave a lagoon created by an old city square, as it is slowly swallowed by the rising jungle, heat and the impending tropical rains.
Almost all the characters are plagued by disturbing dreams of a Triassic period. It is only when they allow themselves to be carried back by these dreams that they cease to be a nightmare and become more of a revelation. The central character eventually flees into the jungle in a reversion not just to nature but also to the planets past.
This novel preceded Ballard's second book, 'the wind which came from nowhere'. That book followed a similar theme of nature reasserting itself, in that case by a wind which only abates when the last man made structure has been blown flat. The same is true of this novel, in that the characters only find peace when they accept the inevitability of nature, although this entails an end, which most readers would regard as an escape into the most nightmarish option for the central character.
The book is strangely lush and disturbing in the intensity of the characters dreams with their oppressive heat and nature of their daily reality. I would recommend it to anyone who appreciates atmosphere as much as action.