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Millennium People

3.33 of 5 stars 3.33  ·  rating details  ·  1,424 ratings  ·  150 reviews
Violent rebellion comes to London's middle classes in the extraordinary new novel from the author of 'Cocaine Nights' and 'Super-Cannes'.
Hardcover, 294 pages
Published September 1st 2003 by Flamingo (first published 2003)
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Community Reviews

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Pressure Drop
Weirdish, drifty tour of turn-of-century London, a future-now drama where everything is wound a little too tightly for words. Which is fine, as we are subject here to nothing less than harrowing, relentless, millennial dread, and at epidemic levels.

War Ina Babylon
Ballard wants to do --surprise-- a world out of balance, that creaks and shrieks and runs off the tracks wherever it possibly can. On the one hand a millennial, 9-11-adjacent dystopia, and on the other an older author's d

THE MILLENNIUM PEOPLE is a wry take on Karl Marx's revolutionary theory. Marx felt that the end of the political status quo would occur when the workers on the bottom of the economic pyramid called it quits, and turned to violence, however Ballard sees the impetus for revolt coming from the more well-off middle class. Ballard envisions radical social change as a kind of, "Upholstered Apocalypse".

David Markham's ex-wife is killed by a terrorist bomb at Heathrow Airport, and this seems to be conn
I read a comment piece this week about how the London-centric nature of the British media distorts the national argument. It put forward the theory that those working for newspapers, TV and radio don’t really appreciate that the views of their friends and neighbours in Islington or Hampstead are not necessarily shared by the wider populous. That piece (by whom, and where I read it, are details I’m afraid I cannot remember) stayed vivid in my mind as I read this novel about residents of well-to-d ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
First published in the UK in 2003, Millennium People was not even released in the USA until 2011. I thought I'd complained about publisher antics before! I'm not sure if they thought a story set in England wasn't universal enough, but the book would have been a disturbingly prophetic read in 2003.

Ballard discusses what happens when people reach a place of complacency, and the danger of the middle class. One of the major characters tries to prove that it is only random violence that helps us und
Steve Petherbridge
Can the middle classes revolt like the Marxist proletariat against what they perceive as oppressive living conditions? JG Ballard puts forward this supposition in Millennium People. It resonated with me, as in Ireland, the middle classes have been imposed with the task of rescuing the failed Celtic Tiger Economy, brought about by a combination of mismanagement, failed oversight and some corruption by the ruling cabal of politicians, property speculators, rich businessmen, civil servants and othe ...more
I've read the previous two novels Ballard wrote before this one, Cocaine Nights and Super-Cannes, and this continued to explore the themes of middle class rebellion against a society they have unwittingly created. The story is about a violent uprising championed by a small group of disillusioned professionals including a doctor and parish minister. You can almost imagine it happening. The things the middle class aspire to - good housing, schooling, law enforcement, job security - have become bey ...more
Ballard transplants Dostoyevsky's Possessed, Conrad's Secret Agent, and DeLillo's Mao II into the gated-residential purgatories of riverside London in 2003's Millennium People, one of his most polished and disquieting satires.

Upfront Disclaimer: If you're put off by mordantly hyperbolic similes or characters who pontificate like Kevin Spacey in Se7en, you'll probably want to skip this one (and everything else by JGB). Dust on a coffeetable is described as "a nimbus that seemed like an ectoplasmi
from audiogo for review

Listened 12/22/11 - 1/9/12
3 Stars - Recommended to readers familiar with genre
8 CD's (approx 9 hours)
Audiobook Publisher: AudioGo

The middle class residents of Chelsea Marina are rebelling. Tired of being squeezed, they are influenced by neighbor Richard Gould to make a stand - by refusing to pay their mortgage and heating bills, smoke bombing random pedestrian businesses, and setting fire to their homes as the police come to evict them.

Meanwhile, David Markham - this stor
Grady Ormsby
Aug 03, 2015 Grady Ormsby rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
We’ve all heard the phrase, “an act of senseless violence." I find it interesting because it makes me wonder whether there is such a thing as “an act of meaningful violence.” Though Millennium People by J.G. Ballard is not a particularly shocking nor gory book, violence is one of its thematic ideas. Spiritual evolution in the Twenty-first Century is akin to the story about the Emperor's new clothes. Religion seems be at the center of many of our social and political conflicts and yet any true se ...more
Matthew Fray
An intriguing and amusing premise - a middle class revolution - attracted me to this. The satire is occasionally amusing but the rebellion itself like the characters and the story didn't quite ring true. The story is told from the point of view of David Markham - a psychologist - but you never really get to see inside his head, most of the prose describes the events and the scenery he sees in the moment and yet it doesn't give the story the immediacy that you would expect. What he was describing ...more
So far I can say that this is the dirty story of a twisted and cynical middle class rebellion. I read this first quarter on the plane including on an internal flight in PNG. Prob best to avoid this. The man sitting next to me read it over my shoulder and excitedly pointed out the words porn and fucking in the text. I acted like it was no biggie and gave him the book for the rest of the flight mumbling something pathetic like "yes it's a bit rude but it's actually about social movements...!"
J.G. Ballard always brings out the maiden aunt in me as I cannot help but feel that he is a deeply disgusting man, in fact a completely grubby pervert. Despite my personal dislike for his characters and worldview I cannot help but admire the way his books highlight developments in their embryonic stage and his talent as a writer. In this book he describes the new working poor as they lose their bearings in a world that is moving past them at a rapid clip and exploits them thoroughly.
Bob Reutenauer
Ballard writes of middle-class revolutionary movement sweeping Britain. Well done. A fun read.. pretty straight forward rejection of mass consumerist alienating conformist modernity.. but without much politics. Makes it very fun and reckless. No one really knows what is going on. The French Revolution anyone? Big middle-class revolution. I thought of this a few times, not sure. I am sure that the writing is very inviting. Have a look at two passages.

"I watched you in court this morning. The magi
Jon Stutfield
The middle class are the new proletariat. Sounds ludicrous, but this book describes a life very familiar to my London suburban upbringing, and I began to believe Ballard was on to something.

I've already started to plan my first picket outside of the Didsbury branch of M&S Food.
Alan Islas Cital
An interesting idea (a revolution of the well-off) but that could never gain any semblance of reality or feasibility in my mind. When reading "Millennium people" I always had the nagging sensation that the characters were bad actors in trying to do their best when working with a weak plot. In these pages I never felt the authentic fear of violence, the absurdity and rupture of reality, the vacuum of the middle class in contemporary times, the cosmic profundity of meaningless randomness, which I ...more
just dull which really surprised me. i must have picked the dud Ballard novel
Mark Speed
I think this was the first Ballard I ever read. I'd heard great things but wasn't sure what to expect.

Here they are - middle-class, well-educated, well-heeled Brits rebelling against society, pretty much because they can. It puts me in mind of a twist on the Atlas Shrugged story.

And you know what? When the riots came to London in the summer of 2011, there were plenty of bored middle-class kids getting involved for kicks. However, the adults rallied around and rebelled in the other way: cleaning
I did not like this book.
I hate when I do not like a book.
I am a JG Ballard fan, but this was only so-so which is yes, disappointing.
In the societal collapse as it implodes on itself, Ballard rings true. This is essentially about a middle class revolution - an uprising over community maintenance fees. With a central character who we are not really sure if he's a pawn in a bigger picture, or a willing participate. Possibly the target. Random acts of violence in attempt to make a point.
I found my
Dave Hatt
Private School fees are raising, London property prices have sky-rocketed and then there is the burning issue of Council taxes... The [upper] middle classes in Chelsea are revolting against a society then no longer recognise.

Millennium People has some interesting concepts, although I never quite bought the premise of a middle-class attempting to vandalise 'bourgeois' society. This really undermines the book and although the idea of solicitors and dentists throwing Molotov cocktails (made with b
David Hallard
Re-reading Ballard's later novels is a rare pleasure, like returning home on a winter's evening to an open fire and a black turtle bean and leek supper.

'Millennium People' is the penultimate of the swansong quartet of detective fictions that turbocharged his profile and drove into the popular imagination shards of his uncompromising themes, like shrapnel from a terrorist's bomb.

The format suited his style very well, and the old preoccupations, woven seamlessly, define the pattern in the new rug.
I was first introduced to J.G. Ballard through High-Rise and was immediately struck by the novel's prescient nature. In the same vein, Ballard explores similar themes here; relating to modernity and the vulnerability of civilization. In both books, Man abandons the societies he has created finding them to be too stifling. There Is also the persistent theme of social and class stratification and the numbing effect consumerism has.

Here, those themes, though slightly more fleshed out, aren't told w
Matt Getty
The set up grabbed me from the start. The idea of a middle class revolting against itself for unknown reasons is at once absurd and dead on for our times.

One thing I truly love about Ballard is his understated dead-pan humor. Take, for instance, when the protest at the cat demonstration turns violent. The final image he leaves us with is the overwhelming smell of cat urine. There's a wonderful absurdity to that moment.

My one critique is that at times the novel felt a bit inflated. That is, ther
Nicholas Karpuk
Something can only strive for a certain level of irony before I start feeling like I don't know how seriously to treat the subject matter.

Oddly, this feeling comes from the quality of J.G. Ballard's writing. It's very fluid and pulls you into the situation with ease. The trouble is the situation.

It all centers around a middle class rebellion that the narrator gets pulled into through a bomb at the Heathrow airport that kills his ex-wife. The middle class rebellion in question is over utterly pet
There is something a bit pedantic about Ballard's portrayal of the folk of Chelsea Marina and their attempt at middle class revolution. Over-hiked service charges, parking fines, the stress induced by school fees and riding lessons leads to a monumental sense of grievance for this 'new proletariat which provokes rent strikes, demos and symbolic acts of property destruction.

But this satire is the backdrop which allows Ballard to engage with the personality of Dr Richard Gould, a nihilist for whom
I'm nearly half way through this book and I'm struggling to come up with reasons to continue. I have a pretty hard and fast rule, that if I start a book, I finish the book. I can think of only one other book in my entire life that I began but didn't finish. This may become the second.

Filled with uninteresting characters who simply fill their days trying to justify their own existence, having woken from the dream they realize that the life that they and their predecessors worked so hard to creat
Artur Coelho
Ballard é o Le Corbusier da literatura. Frio e preciso, colocou a mão no pulso da modernidade contemporânea - o urbanismo alienante e os indivíduos solipsistas obcecados na vivência das suas neuroses. Este livro tem todas as peças do puzzle que é um livro de Ballard, mas falta qualquer coisa nesta história de um grupo de pessoas da classe média que ao concluírem que são o novo proletariado se revoltam, quase proclamando um estado anarquista num condomínio fechado, vista pelos olhos de um psicólo ...more
Susan Emmet
Have heard of JG Ballard, but didn't realize he was such a prolific novelist and short story writer. Plan to find more of his work at the library.
Although I liked this dysutopian, futuristic-in-the-now novel, it was uneven in execution. I found it gripping for two-thirds and a bit "convenient" the last third, especially the very end. David Markham, a psychologist twice married, becomes involved with a terrorist "group" and actions in London. His first wife had been killed in a bomb attack at Hea
Nov 09, 2011 Megan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who get fed up with the daily grind.
Recommended to Megan by: $5 book store.
I am surprised so many people gave up on this book.

This is the first Ballard novel I've read, and the last one he wrote. I picked it up at a $5 book store, and I'm glad I did.

Ballard doesn't waste time developing three dimensional characters or an extensive background. The story starts on the first page, and what we need to know, we find out along the way.

The book follows David Markham, a psychologist, whose private investigation into his ex wife's death in a bombing at Heathrow Airport leads
Tommy Carlson
New Ballard? But he's dead.

Oh, it's new to the US. Well, okay then.

I'll admit, right out front, that I love Ballard. I will also admit that he writes the same damn book over and over.

It's always about society changing in some way, with people forming new ways to interact and new societies. It could be a high-rise apartment building. Or an island sanctuary. Or a gated community. Or a river. Or a car crash.

Millennium People is the same damn book. This time, it's the middle class getting pissed off
Chris Meigh
‘The next revolution will be about parking’ – stark words that resonate throughout Millennium People showing a revolution amongst the middle class, who have become the new proletariat.

After a bomb goes off at Heathrow Airport, David Markham is perplexed by the seemingly random act that has killed his ex-wife. Before long, he descends into the world of Chelsea Marina where the middle classes have started to rebel by committing small acts of violence. Before long, these acts become highly violent
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J.G. Ballard: Millenium People 10 25 Mar 29, 2013 03:47AM  
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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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“Remember, the police are neutral - they hate everybody.” 7 likes
“When Armageddon takes place, parking is going to be a major problem.” 5 likes
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