Book Cover
Title The Drowned World
Series ---
Author ---
Cover Art John Ennis
Publisher Harper Perennial - 2008
First Printing 1962
Category Science Fiction
Warnings None

Main Characters

Kerans, Beatrics, Bodkin, Riggs, Strangman

Main Elements Post Apocalypse

Fluctuations in solar radiation have caused the ice-caps to melt and the seas to rise. Nature is on the rampage. London has been transformed into a primeval swamp, and within its submerged landscape giant lizards, dragonflies and insects compete for dominance. Human fertility is in decline and building sink beneath waters infested with decaying matter. Into this wasteland a group of intrepid scientists venture to record the flora and fauna of this new Triassic Age. Soon ghostly voices haunt their waking and nightmares permeate their sleep...

First published in 1962, Ballard's mesmerising and ferociously imaginative novel gained him widespread critical acclaim and established his reputation as one of Britain's finest writers of science fiction.

I had read the anthology Drowned Worlds, and when I saw that my library had the book that inspired it thought it would make for a fitting conclusion to that collection of post-apocalyptic climate change. In this one, humans are not at fault, the sun itself becoming unstable and increasing in temperature such that we find ourselves not just in a drowned world, but one where temperatures are quickly rising to unbearable heights.

A group of researchers are studying the changes in the plants and animals of drowned London when the dreams start. Visions coming from deep within our ancient DNA, memories of a Triassic world, are awakened in modern minds. Yes, this book is, let's say, a little odd. In the end I found I didn't like any of the characters, many who were so wrapped up in this calling of the past (which I couldn't see as anything as a desire for evolutionary suicide as they couldn't possible survive the new world they were being drawn to). In fact the only character I could sympathize with was Bodkin and his nostalgia for the drowned city he barely remembered. However, I still enjoyed it, the writing was readable even if I wasn't too sure about the plot, or even the significance of certain events/characters in the story. Anyway, it was a quick read and it held my attention so was worth my time, but was happy I didn't spend money on it either.

Posted: September 2017


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