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3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  7,401 ratings  ·  680 reviews

When a class war erupts inside a luxurious apartment block, modern elevators become violent battlegrounds and cocktail parties degenerate into marauding attacks on “enemy” floors. In this visionary tale, human society slips into violent reverse as once-peaceful residents, driven by primal urges, re-create a world ruled by the laws of the jungle.

Hardcover, 204 pages
Published March 1st 1977 by Holt McDougal (first published 1975)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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mark monday

Luxury Living - To Die For!

Our extra-ordinary apartment complex is a full-service microcosm and so offers all the comforting amenities and thrilling excitements of the modern world - in one lavish locale. Imagine never having to step foot outside again! Whether your interests include swimming, shopping, the education of youngsters, simply lounging about without a care... or even more outré amusements such as rape, murder, incest, cannibalism, and the creating of sm
Jeffrey Keeten
"A low crime-rate doctor," she told him amiably, "is a sure sign of social deprivation."

Anthony Royal built the Titanic of skyscrapers.


A state of the art, megalithic structure suitable for 2,000 tenants. It is a self-contained environment with everything a tenant would need such as shopping or exercise or even schools for their kids. The people the building attracts are white collar, well educated, professionals. The apartments sell out quickly and as everyone start to settle into their new li
Later, as he sat on his balcony eating the dog, Dr Robert Laing reflected on the unusual events that had taken place within this huge apartment building during the previous three months.
This is one instance where I'm painfully aware of the inadequacy of a star-rating system for books. To give Ballard's High-Rise three stars does very little to capture its strengths, but more importantly, its ultimate failure as a novel. I'm going to try and do that in my review here, but just in case my ramblin

High-Rise is not an easy novel to fit into a specific genre. It's not exacly science-fiction because the time frame is contemporary England (cca. 1975). Yet the novel does try to use a scientific approach to the study of human behaviour - psychology. So, I guess you can call it 'soft' SF. You can also call it a dystopian novel, a horror novel or a thriller, but for me the best description is as an adult, x-rated version of "Lord of the Flies"

Now the new order had emerged, in which all l
I haven't read much Ballard so I don't feel like I've read this book by him before. Apparently, this is a kind of common theme with him. Affluent people turning savage in the modern world.

Any book that promises rich people acting all Lord of the Flies on one another is going to catch my interest. And this one caught my attention and was pretty successful at holding it.

The book takes place in a 1960's/70's version of a state of the art high rise apartment complex. It's an almost totally self-co
High-Rise: Lord of the Flies in an urban luxury high-rise
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
If you had the chance, would you live in a massive, 1,000-unit luxury high-rise, with it’s own supermarket, liquor shop, schools, pools, gyms, etc? Instead of living in some dreary suburb with boring, prosaic neighbors, why not join an elite group of young and successful professionals, like-minded and sophisticated, with immaculate taste and superb social connections? Who wouldn’t jump at the chance t
Ruby  Tombstone [With A Vengeance]
Alternative title: "THIS is why we can't have nice things"

Okay, having collected my thoughts, here are the points I think worth mentioning.

*I loved the book. Just fucking LOVED the book. As in, "I will read everything this author ever wrote" loved the book. My first impression was that this is Lord of the Flies for adults. I enjoyed this a lot more than I did Golding's book.

From here on out, the whole thing is pretty much one big spoiler. S
Fascinating social commentary set in a new and luxurious high-rise complex in London.

Petty conflicts between the different floors escalate alarmingly quickly to extreme levels.

We are following three main characters from each of the different classes/floors who represent their peers (grouped by job status). Each character does have his own personality and is not a complete slave to his class stereotype - the individual experiences are just as interesting as the the whole social picture.

The violen
A forty storey high-rise apartment building stands surrounded only by it's tenants' parking spaces and then, other soon to be completed forty storey high-rise apartment buildings.

All is well, initially, as the building fills up with tenants who only need to leave to go to work - the building itself has gyms, swimming pools, supermarkets, hairdressers, restaurants and other shops and services. Soon after the last apartment is occupied, however, things take a strange turn. Services such as elevato
I need to think about this one. Is it well written. YES . Might it be a story ahead of it's time, perhaps. Is this science fiction? Horror? Literature? I think it is all of them. Did I like it? I don't know. Some things bothered me.

I just deleted 50 sentences of rambling.Not ready to write this.

Six hours later: I know what bother's me. This is not about a general societal collapse. Funny, that I can handle. This is something more insidious. This is a group, a collective, who all deliberately ch
This is an excellent, disturbing and visionary novel which shows Ballard on absolute top form. The residents of a tower block – the ‘High Rise’ of the title’ – find that within the building’s confines, society begins to crumble and their notion of humanity becomes more and more feral. At the beginning this takes the form of petty disputes, but soon the residents of each floor form themselves into packs and battle for control of the lifts and stairwells, and even launch raids onto other levels. A ...more
J.G. Ballard’s dystopian novel, High Rise, opens with one of the more memorable first sentences I’ve encountered in contemporary fiction:

“Later, as he sat on the balcony eating the dog, Dr. Robert Laing reflected on the unusual events that had taken place within this huge apartment building during the previous months.”

The novel essentially starts at its ending. But Laing does have a story to tell. What starts out as some minor vandalism between the floor inhabitants, escalates into violence, mur
Emily Harris
Good concept: to explore social disintegration as facilitated by - and contained within - a high rise building. The internal collapse of its occupants' morality, and grip on reality, is skilfully mapped within the structure.

But I had issues with the book: firstly, I was increasingly uncomfortable with the women in this text (vulnerable wives open to sexual assault, passive victims, evil witch-like figures, Freudian-destructive mothers - not a single woman written on an even level with the men),
Yes, yes, it's just Lord of the Flies in an apartment building. But the apartment building aspect is an important aspect, more than enough to distinguish these two works from each other. Let me see if I can explain why.

I wish I'd read this before moving into the house that I first moved into when I arrived in Boulder, because of how eerily accurate some of the events of the first half of the book are. The house I moved into was a big old ramshackle ranch-style house, with three bedrooms on the g
It sometimes happens, that my suspension fails and so my disbelief prevails, unchecked. I realise that it then becomes MY failure, rather than the authors, to attribute a signifier of connoissaince. Thus it happened here: I tried and tried, but ‘I’ve giv’n it all shes got Captain, an’ I canna give her no more’.

Two thousand residents in an expensive high rise in London ‘short circuit’ and turn feral. As to what shenanigans they get up to: nobody explains it better than Mark in his wonderful revie
Jeff Jackson
-Read this with a few friends. Interestingly, a fellow writer thought it was unspeakably awful, complaining about the "poor characterization," "unliterary language," and "unrealistic plot." Which reminds me of... Tom McCarthy on JG Ballard: "I think the guy was a genius. He was the only contemporary British writer that interested me or had any kind of influence on my work. The thing about Ballard is that he’s a great writer without being a good writer. I mean he’s not Nabokov or Updike. He doesn ...more
MJ Nicholls
These Flamingo Modern Classic reprints of Ballard books are an annoyance: they are stuffed with extraneous extra material of a facile internetty nature. Read this next! If you liked this, read this next! This book is also a film! Wow! Isn't that great! Buy the film now! Read this boring interview!

Of all the new modern classic editions I've read, Ballard's book get the biggest advertising shunt. Probably because Ballard was never anti-capitalist as such: he seemed to delight in the digitisation o
Later, as he sat on his balcony eating the dog, Dr Robert Laing reflected on the unusual events that had taken place within this huge apartment building during the previous three months. How's that for a great opening sentence?

I picked High-Rise at random from a load of books I'd downloaded onto my Kindle - simply because I had no idea what to read next, it's fairly short, and the first page really grabbed my attention. It's set completely within a vast, self-contained tower block containing not
Dec 11, 2007 Ollie rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sci-fi lovers and high-rise inhabitants
J. G. Ballard is a bit of a one-trick pony. Every novel I've read of his (and I've read quite a few) features the same type of characters going through the same type of breakdown, usually engineered by a powerful psychotic antagonist or a dystopic setting, with always a pessimistic end result. The Drowned World explored this in a planet where the polar caps melted; The Drought went the opposite way, thrusting the characters into a mad world with no water; Super-Cannes showed what happened when b ...more
Emma Sea
Visionary. And all metaphoric-y. Amazing imagary that will stay with me always.
 Charlie - A Reading Machine
This is a brutally good and introspective book about a community left to it’s own devices and the speed at which life can unravel.

The residents of the 40-storey high rise are all well off professionals with decent jobs ranging from Airline hostesses, to school teachers, to doctors and lawyers and all the way up to the top floor where the architect lives. Within the walls of the building are schools, supermarkets, swimming pools and everything else a community might need to function. Shortly afte

Per carità, carissima, che non ti venga in mente di leggerlo, perché si tratta di un'altra banda di squinternati, che seviziano gatti, mangiano cani, si ammazzano a vicenda senza alcun motivo, affogano nella spazzatura e negli escrementi, giocano alcuni a fare dio, altri a fare i bambini dell'asilo e, per soprammercato, sono pure felici che le cose stiano così.

A dispetto dei fiumi di inchiostro spesi per elogiare questo libro, a me non è piaciuto proprio per niente. L’autore voleva descriv
Andrea Dowd
I'm quitting half-way through. In 'High Rise', the apartment complex with all the amenities you ever need without leaving your apartment complex is like one giant psychological God. People hate each other immediately and take everything as a personal affront. Then they kill people, pets, disorderly conduct ensues, vandalization, utilities going unfixed, factions of "classes" based on floor level...blah blah blah. The women are either whores or become insane, the men are either violent or oblivio ...more
Charles Dee Mitchell
Imagine the bloated bestseller that could be made from the material in this book. We would be introduced to characters as they moved into their apartments, background sketches of each provided, then the first hints that something was beginning to go wrong would appear, graphic sexual and violent acts would be described in detail, and 458 pages with wide margins later, things would come to an end.

This is how Ballard opens his novel:

Later, as he sat on the balcony eating the dog, Robert Laing refl
Guy Portman
Set in an apartment tower block in London, High-Rise is a dystopian tale about the intense animosity that develops between the building’s various floors. The story centres around three main characters - Robert Laing, an instructor at a medical school, Richard Wilder, an aggressive, alpha male type TV documentary producer, and the building’s architect and top floor resident, Anthony Royal.

The building mirrors society’s class distinctions, with the upper echelons, who include television producers
Leo Robertson
Something something high rise... something, something something dogs, eating dogs, violent dogs... concrete, video camera dogs, dogs violence, blood dogs, alsatian concrete bodily fluid dogs posh people, posh names, video camera, concrete, high rise and dogs.

Oh, sorry- spoiler alert.
Amber Wilkinson
I was deeply disappointed by this book. Based on the idea alone, I could have easily given it a four-star review. However, the way the idea was executed was poorly done, and, in my opinion, extremely ignorant and regressive in some cases. I clearly have some strong opinions about this novel, so I'll begin with the few things I enjoyed about it (some spoilers):

The notion of the occupants in the high rise regressing into a primitive state of being is the book's selling point. The collapse of all h
This novel is a cross between Lord of the Flies and Absurdist Theater. Another entry in Ballard’s obsessive cataloging of the thin barrier separating humanity from complete savagery and the compliance of technology in breaking of that barrier. The absurdity of the situation (break down of order in a high rise that everyone refuses to leave) and the sensory realism make a disconcerting and affecting blend. An onslaught of sensory details and the darkest cooks and crannies of human malevolence. Li ...more
This was hard work. As mentioned EVERYWHERE the first paragraph is incredible. And the writing style (not to mention quality) is kept up throughout. But it was mentally exhausting to read.

It works perfectly as a microcosm of society and is totally believable. We really are savages at heart. The savage nature of man and beast side by side etc.

I have nothing new to say about the content, there are many excellent reviews already, so i'll keep it short. Well worth reading. Being a masochist may not
Justin Evans
Yesterday, I read about an interesting study: books that are awarded prizes receive far more reviews on sites like GR and amazon, but their average rating goes down. Books that are *nominated* receive more reviews, but their average rating stays the same. The authors suggested three possible reasons, but I only remember two: first, readers approach the award winner with unrealistic expectations; second, readers who wouldn't usually read this kind of book are suckered into buying it by the shiny ...more
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Chaos Reading: DISCUSSION OPEN! HIGH-RISE Group Read *spoilers* 43 135 Jun 13, 2015 06:36AM  
North Yorkshire L...: General thoughts 4 9 May 12, 2015 11:07AM  
North Yorkshire L...: "Ballardian" riots 4 7 Apr 12, 2015 02:03AM  
North Yorkshire L...: Film adaptation 5 22 Mar 16, 2015 08:29AM  
North Yorkshire L...: Reviews 1 4 Mar 13, 2015 09:39AM  
North Yorkshire L...: Early thoughts NO SPOILERS 1 7 Feb 23, 2015 05:19AM  
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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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“They thrived on the rapid turnover of acquaintances, the lack of involvement with others, and the total self-sufficiency of lives which, needing nothing, were never dissapointed.” 24 likes
“First she would try to kill him, but failing this give him food and her body, breast-feed him back to a state of childishness and even, perhaps, feel affection for him. Then, the moment he was asleep, cut his throat. The synopsis of the ideal marriage.” 11 likes
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