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The Drought

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3.60  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,299 Ratings  ·  92 Reviews
The world is threatened by dramatic climate change in this highly acclaimed and influential novel, one of the most important early works by the bestselling author of 'Cocaine Nights' and 'Super-Cannes'. Water. Man's most precious commodity is a luxury of the past. Radioactive waste from years of industrial dumping has caused the sea to form a protective skin strong enough ...more
Kindle Edition, Reissue, 240 pages
Published October 20th 2009 by Harper Perennial (first published 1964)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,604)
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Nate D
Jun 14, 2012 Nate D rated it liked it
Recommends it for: pool herders of the salt channels
Recommended to Nate D by: a fish traced in dust
As Maya noted when she was reading this, there's a certain stodginess about the style, a certain pre-modern feeling at odds with the novel's future disaster premise, but as Will Self notes in his afterword, it's hard for that to really slow things up too much when the story is so full of mirage-wavered portents and apocalyptic tableaus. The strangest aspect, though, is not that tension, but the general ellipticness of and hazyness of the storytelling, the characters are inscrutable gamepieces, t ...more
Jonfaith
May 16, 2013 Jonfaith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Channel your interior Robbie Krieger and prepare for pondering The End. No. I don’t mean David Beckham’s retirement, but rather closing time, like permanently. One of my criticisms of The Road was its attempt to capture the After with an almost biblical gravity of language. J.G. Ballard appears too savvy for those traps. His exploration is empty. Life is vast and bleak. It isn’t going to rain anymore. We’re sure as hell Doomed, done for. Experiences don’t amount to much anymore. I wouldn’t waste ...more
Leo Robertson
Skimmed this pretty heavily. I love Ballard's descriptions and scientific speculations, but he always seems to fail me when it comes to character or plot. But descriptions and speculation are enough to validate a read anyways :)
Bill
Apr 15, 2016 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: clifi-ecofiction
Drought is a surreal tour through the end of a current Western civilization somewhere near the seashore. Think dry, sand, thirst, hunger, when all one's time is spent merely surviving, a state common to most of human history for all but the wealthy and powerful. Even they succumb to this global drought.

Ballard is a master at painting milieu and zombie-like emotional states. His prose I find delectable and full of word puzzles for a US English speaker at least.

The only real problem with the nov
...more
poingu
Mar 22, 2016 poingu rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
#2 in my Ballard Binge. The Drought is almost exactly the same book as the book that preceded it, The Drowned World, except, as the titles suggest, the first novel's apocalypse is caused by too much water, and the next novel's apocalypse by not enough. The prose in both novels is so consistently overwrought that it entertains on a different plane of reading, one that is experiential and a little bit nauseating, and that has nothing to do with the story itself. As with the last novel, this novel ...more
Shawn
Jun 15, 2011 Shawn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-lit, read-sci-fi
As noted in the review for The Drowned World, another part of the quartet of Ballard's "Elemental Apocalypse" - formerly titled THE BURNING WORLD, this describes a future in which water has grown scarce (yet another possibility for our future, sadly). IIRC, it starts out with the realization of what's going on just beginning to grip the populace of a British suburb, and then at mid-book jumps ahead a number of years to the dessicated, blasted future where rag-tag groups skate across vast salt pl ...more
Kate Sherrod
Oct 07, 2012 Kate Sherrod rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
surfmadpig
May 25, 2016 surfmadpig rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, read-in-english
Ballard likes to put normal people in times of crisis and destruction, so as to explore their limits, their morals, often their humanity. I haven't read many of his earlier works, but it seems to me that while in this one the crisis is more obvious than in some of his later novels, Ballard still manages to come up with an exciting read.

The best element of "The Drought" is not the plot, which is interesting but ultimately fails to come together completely. For me it was the prose, especially pera
...more
Itchload
Jan 16, 2014 Itchload rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At first look, The Drought would seem to be a simple transposition of Ballard’s previous novel, The Drowned World. Given that plots and conceits can often just be skeletons for Ballard to hang his singular language and obsessions atop, this didn’t seem an unlikely supposition. And there is great similarity between the two novels (as there is with most Ballard). However, what surprised me was how often The Drought resembles a Ballardian crack at the Southern Gothic novel.

The setting of a small ri
...more
Linda
Nov 23, 2014 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book feels very contemporary or timeless given that it was written in 1964. If you are looking for a psychological post-apocalyptic read - this is your book.
Roddy Williams
I’m not clear if Ballard ever composed poetry, although I’m of the opinion that if he didn’t then he should have.
This is an expanded version of the original 1964 novel, ‘The Burning World’ and is one of a quartet of post-apocalyptic novels Ballard wrote early in his career, which may well have been based on the concept of the four alchemical elements. This is the fire section.
It’s not perfect by any means. Other reviewers have remarked that there is a surplus of characters. Of the males, those
...more
David Williamson
There are serious moments you think this book is really going to kick into gear and then doesn't. Aspects of the book are unclear and at times I wasn't sure what was going on. It is not the easiest or flowing of books, and it is rather unengaging. However, ...

The use of language with regards to time is very good, as the drought is in its first couple of months at the beginning of the book, society rapidly deteriorates, creating a suspended sensation of time, it is merely weeks after the drought
...more
Corey Ryan
The last Ballard I read was "The Unlimited Dream Company." That book was amazing. This book was ok-pale in comparison to that.
Ballard's prose is nothing special. His sentence structures never attracted me to his writing and honestly, sometimes his use of similes becomes quite annoying (especially when too many end the paragraphs). What attracts me to his books are simply his stories. The oddness of the way environments can make us behave or the way the environments appear to react to our existe
...more
Jan-Maat
Like The Drowned World this early Ballard novel is visiting through fiction the experience of a world turned upside down that is described in Empire of the Sun. Here a drought drives society out of the familiar. The cities become empty while the seashore becomes an encampment for the population, working to produce fresh water rather than finding food that was Ballard's boyhood experience in China.
Michael
A surreal post-apocalyptic novel filled with hallucinatory and mirage-like imagery, The Drought (1965) is an expanded version of The Burning World published in 1964. Something about the novel reminds me more of the "Lost World" novels of H. Rider Haggard than of more contemporary post-apocalyptic fiction. Perhaps better in conception than in realization, the novel presents the effects of a multi-decadal drought on the environment and inhabitants of a lacustrine/riverine community near an unident ...more
James Perkins
Dr Charles Ransom lives on a houseboat on a rapidly receding river, victim of a worldwide drought, caused by pollution that has covered the Earh's oceans with a thin film, preventing almost all natural evaporation. So there is no rain, no new water, and people are only too aware that what they have left won't be there for long. The story relates Ransom's attempts to deal with the rapidly diminishing water supplies. Starting with a group of mildly eccentric characters, the novel ends up as an abs ...more
Jorge Jaramillo Villarruel
Las novelas de Ballard suelen estar plagadas de coincidencias del tipo Deus ex machina que, en otros autores empobrecerían la narración, al grado de hacerla quedar como un artificio inverosímil. la diferencia es que las obras de Ballard son estructuradas como "una ecuación de emociones y relaciones". Los personajes se encuentran constantemente en los momentos precisos, como si se llamaran o tuvieran una cualidad extrasensorial que les permitiera saber a cada momento dónde se encuentran los demás ...more
Mr_wormwood
Quite a different style compared to his later work (Cocaine Nights). He's more interested here in experimenting with the surrealism that catastrophe allows. There's not much of a plot, instead what we have is an ever expanding collection of the most bizarre, and yet carefully assembled, imagery upon the stage of the 'Apocalypse'. The lesson learnt? there is no 'end of the world' instead there is only the rise of a new, infinitely stranger and more dangerous world. Sometimes the kaleidoscope of v ...more
N.J. Ramsden
Feb 25, 2014 N.J. Ramsden rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
One of Ballard's early novels, and one of the 'catastrophic environmental' set, this is a bit of a bodged job, I'm afraid. The premise is interesting enough and Ballard elides what's necessary to elide in order to show that the premise is not really the thing to be interested in - so what's the book about? It's not about characters, that's for sure, and it's not even about the plot, which is superficial and fails to really develop in any way at all. So what's it about? It's not about the message ...more
Alexander Lawson
Only 3 stars

Either I did not understand the book, or the author failed in his intent, or both.

I think Ballard's main themes were: an examination of what would become of society if it did not rain; drought (or other natural disaster) as an opportunity to decide what you want to be; and the dangers of pollution and what could happen if unchecked.

The chapters were too short for my taste. The book was focused on its themes with limited character development, except for Ransom. The story was not quit
...more
Vanessa
My recently discovered preference for reading books that were written pre-mobile phones, email and high technology lead me to The Drought. It works especially well in this bleak apocalyptic story of a global cessation of rain brought about by disposal of industrial waste. Water is evaporating rapidly, people are migrating to coastlines, the sea is drying up and those left alive are eking out water and using it as currency.

The Drought steers us through a global drought which is lasting 10 years l
...more
Wendy Crittenden
Apr 11, 2013 Wendy Crittenden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Started out slow and got so awesome bizarre. My only complaint was the way it ended... I wish it was resolved better instead of the easy way out the author took. Such very strange and interesting characters.
David
Feb 24, 2016 David rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: big-white-square
I think I liked this even less than The Drowned World. That's it for me and JG Ballard.
Alison
Apr 02, 2016 Alison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was definitely over 200 pages? So I don't know why the page count is wrong for this edition on goodreads? Anyway. I LOVED THIS BOOK AND THERE ARE HELLA OBVIOUS SHAKESPEARE REFERENCES AS WELL AS MORE NUANCED ALLUSIONS AND I'M GOING TO WRITE A RESEARCH PAPER ON THESE ALLUSIONS AND HOW THEY ALLOW BALLARD TO HINT AT A CONCEPTION OF TIME IN HIS NOVEL THAT SHAKESPEARE ALSO MAY HAVE HINTED AT, ACCORDING TO OTHER SCHOLARS AND STUFF. That's all. Originally I really didn't like this book; reading abo ...more
Jane
Nov 10, 2015 Jane rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's hard going. Nothing happens in a normal way. A siren hoots warningly, a woman moves languidly, hot sunlight spangles...
People don't sit they sprawl. There are about ten analogies per page and I find myself skim reading to try and get to the point.
What does a perspiring Pikeman lunge like?! Really?
Some sentences are so over the top I feel like I'm reading an English essay.
I feel like the author is frightfully clever with words and is so busy painting pictures it slows the pace of the book t
...more
Aaron Kent
Jan 11, 2011 Aaron Kent rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
way ahead of its time
Lisachan
Mar 16, 2013 Lisachan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ape
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Literary Relish
To tell you what the book is about would really be to insult your intelligence, I’m sure the title and the tap on the front cover gives a solid clue but I’ll tell you nonetheless… In a none too distant future the world as we know it is slowly turning to dust and all, unsurprisingly, due to mankind’s disregard for the planet. Increasing levels of industrial waste have slowly formed a large film over the world’s oceans, disrupting the precipitation cycle and leaving the world to die of thirst. The ...more
Baal Of
Oh but don't you understand that this apocalyptic tableau represents humanity's ceaseless struggle against its own repressed psycho-sexual longings, reflected in the eternal conflict of male vs. female vis-à-vis the phallic paddles attempting to control the last vestiges of the feminine water resources, enveloped by the pollution of capitalistic hegemony, trapped and removed, ultimately desired and lusted after but eternally disappearing, hated and repressed, never understood through the hazy dr ...more
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J.G. Ballard: The Drought 4 24 Oct 07, 2015 09:27AM  
  • Some Will Not Die
  • Greybeard
  • The Last Gasp
  • After London: or, Wild England
  • A Wrinkle in the Skin
  • The Genocides
  • The Apocalypse Reader
  • Drowning Towers
  • Greener Than You Think (Classics of Modern Science Fiction 10)
  • When Worlds Collide (When Worlds Collide, #1)
  • A Boy and His Dog & "Repent, Harlequin!" said the Ticktockman
  • Queen City Jazz (Nanotech, #1)
  • Dr. Bloodmoney
  • This Is the Way the World Ends
  • Aftermath (Supernova Alpha, #1)
  • The Bridge
  • The End of the World: Stories of the Apocalypse
  • The Squares of the City
7010931
James Graham "J. G." Ballard (15 November 1930 – 19 April 2009) was an English novelist, short story writer, and essayist. Ballard came to be associated with the New Wave of science fiction early in his career with apocalyptic (or post-apocalyptic) novels such as The Drowned World (1962), The Burning World (1964), and The Crystal World (1966). In the late 1960s and early 1970s Ballard focused on a ...more
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“Most known motives are so suspect these days that I doubt whether the hidden ones are any better. All the same,” 1 likes
“He looked at the craft beached around him. Shadowless in the vertical sunlight, their rounded forms seemed to have been eroded of all but a faint residue of their original identities, like ghosts in a distant universe where drained images lay in the shallows of some lost time. The” 1 likes
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