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Monday, July 23, 2012

The Drowned World: Fiftieth Anniversary Edition (Liveright), by J.G. Ballard

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“Soon it will be too hot” is a great opening line for a novel, especially one about global warming. As Martin Amis writes in his introduction for the anniversary edition of The Drowned World, prescience isn't everything, yet J.G. Ballard's 1962 novel is a good example of science fiction's remarkable if scattershot ability to foresee future concerns. In Ballard's account, solar flares trigger catastrophic climate change, resulting in a world receding into a prehistoric swamp where giant reptiles swim the lagoons encroaching upon once-great cities as sea levels rise. The Drowned World is a memorable imagining of the world ending not with a bang, but in slow motion.