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Kingdom Come

3.38 of 5 stars 3.38  ·  rating details  ·  1,394 ratings  ·  131 reviews
Richard Pearson, unemployed advertising executive and life-long rebel, is driving out to Brooklands, a motorway town on the M25. A few weeks earlier his father was fatally wounded at the Metro-Centre, a vast shopping mall in this apparently peaceful town, when a deranged mental patient opened fire on a crowd of shoppers.
Hardcover, 280 pages
Published September 4th 2006 by 4th Estate (first published 2006)
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Last night I stayed up late (well, for me) and finished Kingdom Come's last 100 pages. I don't normally stay up late, but I did last night because:

1) I wanted the book to end.
2) I wanted to see how the book ended.
3) I couldn't sleep.

So, while reading the novel's last pages by the light of Nook screen, I decided that I like but don't love this book. Kingdom Come focuses on the transformation of a depressing lower-middle class airport suburb's into a bonkers, riotous state via the raw emptiness an
Apr 20, 2009 Brad rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Eric, Ruzz & Gio
We lost J.G. Ballard today.

If you've never read him before make sure you pick up one of his books this week so that you can get a taste of one of those rare, truly unique artists.

For the first time in a long time, I am completely baffled by a book. The fourth and last installment of JG Ballard's psychopathology cycle, Kingdom Come, has left me full of questions and my mind racing for answers.

Straight away I wonder what Ballard is saying about psychopathy? Is it the root of human greatness, or
Ben O'loughlin
Others have written that Ballard’s novels are not in fact novels, but social theory that happens to be put in novel form. They are to be read not for plot, character or plausibility, but to see how Ballard identifies trends and brings them together in imaginative ways to provoke and disturb the reader. The trends in Kingdom Come’s version of contemporary England are consumerism, anti-immigrant violence, and sport fanaticism, which come together in small towns in the home counties to form what Ba ...more
The plot is really good but unfortunately it is very repetitive...which may be on purpose to up the anxiety levels even more, but for me it would've been more effective as a shorter story.
It's pretty much about a shopping complex built off of the M5 motorway in London. The people of the town see "The Metro Centre" as the place where all their problems are solved (pretty much because you can buy a whole bunch of useless crap there)..sound familiar? I think that's why I didn't like this book much
I enjoyed this at first, but as I went on with it the writing became less plausible, until it just became obvious in every sentence that what Ballard was doing was writing a novel. That may seem like a bizarre criticism, but the story just didn't grab me, nor did any of the characters - one of the names even crops up for another character in Concrete Island, whether in a touch of laziness or forgetfulness I don't know.

The whole thing read like an episode of The Bill trying to be a less profound
Stephen Curran
Sort of a novel length paraphrase of Cocaine Nights. Instead of the Spanish resort of Estrella de Mar, Kingdom Come is set in Brooklands, a London suburb dominated by a giant shopping center and leisure complex. In both books, a mass murder takes place, with prime suspects who appear to have been wrongly accused. A relation of someone closely involved in the cases arrives to investigate and decides to stay in town, believing that becoming immersed in the environment will present them with the so ...more
Lee Foust
"For some peculiar reason, they call it shopping. But it's really the purest kind of politics."

As a fan of what Europeans call "the novel of ideas" it's not at all strange that I would read and enjoy some of the socially-conscious/committed science fiction authors like Ballard, Ellison, and Dick. Kingdom Come, apparently, was Ballard's very last novel, and while I did not enjoy it nearly as much as his more experimental and challenging works such as Crash or Atrocity Exhibition (novels which ins
I'm going to divide Ballard's stuff into two category's. The Surrealist experiments and his Novels-of-Ideas. In the first category: The Unlimited Dream Company and The Drought. And in the second: Cocaine Nights, and this little gem. Its the latter category that holds my true affection, though the surrealist stuff is by no means to be ignored. The primary ideas featured here are Fascism and Consumerism, Ballard brings them together in his imaginative laboratory and carefully details the ensuing i ...more
Oliver Twist & Shout
En el fondo se trata de una novela con partes interesantes, con un punto de vista pesimista acerca de la sociedad de consumo que tan desencantados nos tiene a muchos y se expresa mediante la mezcla de novela detectivesca con ciencia ficción disóptica, lo que parece prometer grandes cosas.

Que al final no llegan.

El principal problema que le encuentro es que la prosa de Ballard es tan funcional y plana que al final cualquier giro o tumbo que da la trama siempre resulta insípido o inane. La obsesión
This book was supposed to be a dystopian novel about sports hooliganism turning into the militant branch of "soft fascism" through the subtle prodding of an ad agency and a charismatic closed-circuit shopping channel spokesman; I think we can drop the "dystopian" label (it smacks of fantasy; the tarnished raygun shooting a warning shot into the toxifying atmosphere) - Ballard has extrapolated so keenly, that the whole text seems to be an eventuality, not the see-saw "soft maybe" of prophecy.

I have often wondered if it would be possible, given the state of the world, to develop a sustainable economy NOT based on consumerism. A consumer economy has no real substance; it's all smoke and mirrors. It's small-minded and mean. It uses up and doesn't give back or replace or renew. It is, ultimately, unsatisfying, even wearying; there's no point. As the saying goes, there's no "there" there.

Ballard's world sits eerily and uneasily on this real local, national, and global state. Ominous from
La Stamberga dei Lettori
E' il ventunesimo secolo. Il mondo civilizzato si apre ad una fase post-democratica. Il tardocapitalismo "si gratta le emorroidi" e cerca di capire "quale sia la prossima merda che può produrre". E la noia finisce col travolgere completamente la bassa borghesia provinciale inglese, che vive di sport violento e di consumismo sfrenato. Questa, la premessa ad un nuovo spaventoso totalitarismo, che unisce politica, religione, sport ed economia: il nuovo fascismo consumistico (cit!).

Chissà se Ballard
Heavy handed indictment of consumerism, capitalism and the rise of the suburbs and the particular racism and prejudices associated with them. Some good points but Ballard really beats you over the head with them ... except when he's being very obscure. William Gibson's Pattern Recognition also was a scathing commentary on marketing and capitalism but far more eloquent and captivatingly written. Kingdom Come did make me think about suburban violence and the effects of boredom and consumer culture ...more
Roger Cottrell
Ballard's last book was also his best. His vision of a near future in which fascist nationalism has become a consumerist brand with loyalty cards attached, and shopping malls are the Cathedrals to false Gods, about sums uo where our sosiety is headed at the moment.

There were always two strands to Ballard's writing. That which begins with THE SUBLIMINAL MAN in which he exposes the venality of consumerist capitalism and CRASH where he explores society's lack of moral boundaries. In his last four w
It's the ideas of this book that are fascinating. The characters are mostly stale, the plot (when it's finally explained toward the end) doesn't really hold together all that well. But none of that is the point. Ballard is a SciFi writer who moved into "contemporary" settings. This book's exploration of the ideologies of late capitalism is exquisite! He must have read Frederic Jameson V E R Y carefully, and then decided to perform the thought experiment. For a last novel before dying, Ballard co ...more
Nedokázal jsem to dočíst, ani z úcty k dobré práci překladatele, jímž je Ladislav Nagy. Ač na první pohled to nevypadá špatně. Předměstí Londýna, velké nákupní centrum, na povrchu všechno v pořádku, pod povrchem napětí a do toho přichází čerstvě vyhozený reklamní textař, jehož otec byl při náhodném incidentu v tom nákupním centru zastřelen. Ballard se rozhodl pro tezi, že konzum je novým náboženstvím, které má blízko k fašismu —budiž. A ilustroval ji ve svém stylu, s velkou nadsázkou, dost mecha ...more
George Carlin once said (and I'm paraphrase here, George, so forgive me) that wars are fought to protect white man's property. In Kingdom Come, Ballard takes that notion and focuses on consumerism as the bastion of a quiet fascism, and racial intolerance. With unerring prose, Ballard chronicles the violent, religious fervor of British suburbs (easily transferrable to the US) under the control of a massive shopping complex. This is the perfect book to read at this time of year when the malls are ...more
Una novela sobre el fascismo blando que produce el capitalismo tardío y sobre la dificultad de hacer duelo cuando fallece un "padre ausente" (también un espectro de la posguerra). La novela es vívida y clínica, la prosa es atrapante. La falla en el texto es que Ballard se esfuerza por dramatizar los disturbios violentos que se desatan en un suburbio, con epicentro en un enorme centro comercial. Hoy sabemos que hace falta poco más que perder un campeonato deportivo para que una muchedumbre ebria ...more
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This was my first J.G. Ballard novel and it was good enough that I'll likely read at least one more. Philosopher John Gray has said repeatedly that he formed a large portion of his view of human nature from Ballard's novels, so I was curious to look for the parallels. They are definitely there. The two men share many of the same insights and in my opinion a few of the same flaws. Gray's ideas about humanity are very coordinated and specific at the macro level but often seem to leave no place for ...more
If you really hate shopping malls this might be the book for you. Can't say it grabbed me much - I kept rolling my eyes and all the completely unsubstantiated things the main character would presume about other characters. All the characters seemed very nebulous, samey and inconsistent and Ballard beats you about the head with his rampant consumerism = boredom = sick civilisation = people dying to do something mad and violent message. I get it, already! Nearly gave up on this one several times.
Christopher Dennis
Reviewing this book straight after completion may not give the same rating as I would give after some gentle reflection.
I feel that Kingdom Come had a very strong and gradual build up with constant tension rising and intrigue building in each paragraph. The sense that something is coming is so exciting and compulsive yet I felt that the reading of this book needed to be measured almost rationed as I wanted to savour every part of it. For me the result of the build up is not as satisfying as I th
Having now read a few novels by Ballard, I can declare my ambivalence towards him. I find his writing style to be a bit disjointed, confounding, and dry. His characters and situations are recycled; indeed, the similarities between the characters and narratives of "Kingdom Come" and "Super Cannes" are so alike as to be nearly the same story. The dialogue is unnatural, amounting to lectures and pedantic philosophizing. At the same time, his themes and world-view are revalatory. His ideas about the ...more
Charles Dee Mitchell
While it is entertaining to read Ballard's deliciously sour descriptions of the Heathrow suburbs, their inhabitants, and their elevation of consumerism into a religion, the book's tone becomes hectoring and repetitious. The outrageous plot has its own logic, but the first-person narration keeps Ballard from letting the narrative become as outrageous as the actions he depicts.
Luke White
This was the first Ballard novel I've read. I picked it up after I heard that Stanley Donwood did some covers for the more recent editions of Ballard's books.

I really didn't like it. The thing that stood out as I started it was how pretentious the narrator was. He just makes these vacuous assumptions about every other character that usually turn out to be wrong. Speaking of which, let's talk about the other characters. Almost every single one appears to change alliances multiple times throughou
4 Stars

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First Impression: Its an arc but in black and white so its kinda hard to give the art a review. In black and white its hard to tell what is what. There is an ad in the book that promises that the final copy will be in color.

Really cute story about a little kid who gets superpowers after his superhero is killed. Cute and I think its aimed at young boys. I just wish I could have reviewed a color copy. But its definitely a sweet story. I look forward to reading future books
An interesting dystopian novel; perhaps if Ballard had had time to polish it, the moments of redundancy and confusion would have been eliminated. The concept, that our society's consumerist obsessions are creating the potential for a new sort of totalitarian state is interesting, and if the characters had been a bit less wooden and predictable the novel might have held together a bit more tightly.

Still, as a late novel by the author of the semi-autobiographical Empire of the Sun, this book curio
It's been a long time since I read a Ballard novel, but I've been dipping in and out of his short stories for ages. As you can imagine, I was fairly accustomed to his pathologically pessimistic world view, and his apocalyptic snapshots of human society on the verge of final collapse.

However, this came as a total revelation. It's a contemporary real-world thriller, set in Ballard's familiar milieu of commuter towns and motorway intersections. An apparently random shooting at an out-of-town shoppi
"Comprare una lavatrice è un atto politico, l'unica vera forma di politica che ci rimane al giorno d'oggi."

E' il ventunesimo secolo. Il mondo civilizzato si apre ad una fase post-democratica. Il tardocapitalismo "si gratta le emorroidi" e cerca di capire "quale sia la prossima merda che può produrre". E la noia finisce col travolgere completamente la bassa borghesia provinciale inglese, che vive di sport violento e di consumismo sfrenato. Questa, la premessa ad un nuovo spaventoso totalitarismo,
Kathleen Hulser
ferocious read on consumer fascism tying it neatly to the channeling of violence through sports spectatorship, football hooliganism and mall culture. Set in the British motorway towns (exurbia) bubbling with racist rancor against Asian shopkeepers and other affronts to national pride, the action tracks the evolution of politics from a practice associated with Parliament, voting booths and democratic discussions to a set of emotional impulses linked to cash registers, easy credit, retail complexe ...more
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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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“The human race sleepwalked to oblivion, thinking only of the corporate logos on it's shroud.” 22 likes
“I accepted that a new kind of hate had emerged, silent and disciplined, a racism tempered by loyalty cards and PIN numbers. Shopping was now the model for all human behaviour, drained of emotion and anger.” 5 likes
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