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The Drowned World

It’s so tough for me to read Ballard because I loved Crash so terribly much that anything else seems to be a letdown. Empire of the Sun was on the long side and I just associate him with one-hit wonders, completely unfairly. So, I grabbed a copy of this book from the Bookshelf of Ednless Sci Fi in my house and brought it on the plane. I lost the Connie Willis book I was going to read, so it was the natural successor. And oh wow. This story of a scientificish expedition to the submerged cities of Europe in a post-greenhouse-effect disaster world is just stunning. The days are hot, hitting 140 degrees at noon. The people are languid. The scientists are taking data measurements no one may ever read and the last survivors are being rounded up to be moved northwards to Greenland. Meanwhile people start having dreams that seems to be reaching deep into their collective unconscious, of when dinosaurs ruled the earth and so forth. Short and compelling, the beautiful picture Ballard can create out of seemingly disasterous circumstances is his true forte.