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Rushing to Paradise

3.27 of 5 stars 3.27  ·  rating details  ·  447 ratings  ·  43 reviews
This dark and compelling satire, from the author of Empire of the Sun, exposes the dangerous evils of extremism of all kinds.
Paperback, 239 pages
Published May 1st 2001 by Flamingo (first published June 1994)
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In 1995 France decided it would be a good idea to renew nuclear testing, and set off several bombs in the South Pacific. ‘Rushing to Paradise’ is J.G Ballard’s reaction. But this being Ballard, this is no simple anti-nuclear tract, or even environmental tale. In fact this is one of the trickiest, most inventive and impossible to predict books I’ve read in a long awhile.

Neil, a British adolescent, hooks up with Dr Barbara – a struck off and clearly disturbed doctor, with a passionate interest in
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In order to review this novel I must quote my last one, Flaubert's Parrot, in which the writer attempts to make some rules for publishing:

"There shall be no more novels in which a group of people, isolated by circumstances, revert to the 'natural condition' of man, become essential, poor, bare, forked creatures. All that may be written is one short story, the final one of the genre, the cork in the bottle. I'll write it for you. A group of travellers are shipwrecked, or airwrecked, somewhere, no
Jul 11, 2007 Lisa rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: post-apocalyptic, Lord of the Flies fans, fans of Alex Garland's The Beach
J. G. Ballard is his own beast. At least, I think so right now. I've only read The Day of Creation and Rushing to Paradise. The tone is unlike any other author I've read, yet. It's detached and cold but dreamlike at the same time. His take on a small group of people living on a remote island is comedic, depraved, and disturbing. It forms part of a tradition: Heart of Darkness, Lord of the Flies, and following Ballard's entry, The Beach. Does society devolve into power and violence when sealed in ...more
It only gets three stars because i could foresee having interesting conversations with people about why they do or dont like it. All the characters got on my nerves and I don't think they were written in a way that explained their actions enough for it to be any kind of allegory or completely true comment on environmentalism or feminism. Just leave the damn island! If there was the inclination to stay despite how difficult it was, I don't think the book conveyed what that motivation was very wel ...more
Heather Browning
Very typical Ballard, with the same strengths and weaknesses. I find the books well-written and intellectually intriguing. He creates complex flawed characters and explores varied dystopic worlds. But I feel like I can never quite connect to the stories, they are dry and emotionless and I need the emotional connection to feel really compelled. In this book, we move through the darker side of ecological activism through to isolation and extreme feminism, up to psychosis. It's hard to connect or r ...more
Ballard has nailed it again; I've read many of his books and I thought this one would be a stinker, but somehow it's another masterpiece. I'd give it 4.5 stars if possible, but I guess I'll settle for 4.
The book does the old bait-and-switch. It starts off as some lame narrative about environmentalists going to an island to try to protect some endangered albatross. Really boring stuff. But then the shit hits the fan.
It has a lot of cool elements. It has that Robinson Crusoe survival hermit island
It was cool and progressively creepy. The only thing I knew about Ballard before was that he wrote a short story about people getting aroused by Ronald Reagan appearing phallic or in car crashes. This was great though, acting as an allegory of some dark, deep human reveal, Lord of the Flies-esque in its societal disintegration.

I loved the irony of liberating an island from animal execution and nuclear testing, with the crew then becoming destructive in their own right -- even killing the birds o
My second JG Ballard book, and sorry to say another dud, though this time round I managed to force myself to finish this rather short (thankfully) novel. Again, I was drawn to the exotic setting, interesting premise (society on a deserted tropical island with conservation thrown in!) and critical acclaim of the author. While the plot had a good twist, it felt like it could have been kept a short story instead of being drawn out into a full length novel, as the interesting events that happen are ...more
"Il più grande problema che ha di fronte il mondo non è che ci sono troppo poche balene, o troppo pochi panda, è che ci sono troppi uomini".

Un'iniziativa ambientalista-animalista, una spedizione a salvaguardia di un atollo nel Pacifico, terreno di prove nucleari francesi, si trasforma nell'esperimento sociale di una utopia femminista selvatica. Attorno a questo intreccio, Ballard imbastisce il suo solito romanzo a tesi, questa volta distinguendosi per l'arguzia delle sue osservazioni e delle sue
"This is one of my favorite novels by Ballard and is probably the best one I have read so far. Taking note that I only read three of his novels and he is my favorite author for I read many of his short stories and essays online, it is a feat to be noted for that. This novel even talks about two major views in this world today being feminism and environmentalism and how they can be dangerous as well as helpful.

Before continuing with this novel, the best I can say is ""Lord of the Flies"" with adu
Well I didn't find in a "hllariously cold-blooded satire" as the book jacket suggested I would. Not particuularly humorous, and it never delves deep enough into its subjects to be an effective satire. While billed as a book blasting feminism and environmentalism, it seemed to have a lot more to say about cults (especially personality cults), group think, and perhaps about the coercive use of power than about its stated subjects. Perhaps it is beacuse the particular shades of environmentalism and ...more
Tommy Carlson
I just read a book in reverse. Why? Well, let me tell you.

When I was just a wee lad. Well, okay, not wee, but still a lad in high school, I read 2010: Odyssey Two. I opened the book up somewhere in the middle and randomly ended up at the part where they land on Europa. I read the page, then decided I really wanted to see what came before, so I read the previous page. And so on, until I eventually worked my way all the way to the beginning. Then I went back to where I started and finished off the
Low 4. Ballard has created another dystopian vision in isolating a group of eco-warriors on a South Pacific atoll, determined to save the albatross from being culled so that nuclear tests may proceed on this island outpost. The author has peopled this environmental action group with a motley collection of fanatics and eccentrics who all fall under the influence of their charasmatic yet disturbed figurehead, Dr Barbara Rafferty. As her shady medical record comes to light so does her vision for th ...more
Jason Sheets
I think this is the least enjoyable book I have read in quite some time, and it is truly disappointing because I have pretty much loved everything else I have read by Ballard. This novel felt very non-Ballardian from page one, and the only reason I kept reading was because I was waiting/hoping for that moment when, with the turn of a page, the story changes from so-so to terrific. It never happened.

According to the back cover, this novel is meant to be a satire of environmentalism and feminism.
Cathy (cathepsut)
Teenager Neil gets enchanted with animal rights campaigner Dr. Barbara. He follows her to the island St. Esprit, where the French plan to start nuclear testing, threatening a large colony of albatross nesting there. Dr. Barbara's plans are successful and very soon she turns the island into a sanctuary for all endangered wild life. Others join her and the community grows.

Neil tells the story. Eventually you start wondering, who the endangered species is on that island. On the back flap the book i
Charles Dee Mitchell
Ballard sets this one up like a comic novel, with eccentric characters gathering for what promises to be a fool's errand to save the albatross endangered by the new threat of French nuclear testing. You could almost imagine the Tom Sharp's take on this material, but of course Ballard heads into much darker territory. The apocalyptic worlds he creates in The Drought and The Crystal World are in many ways more coherent and believable than the society he places on Isle Saint Esprit, but realism is ...more
Hrafn H.
Good Ballard, critical if not cynical of environmentalism and feminism. Completely off the mark to describe his message as misogynistic, misanthropist is more accurate.

This stuff matters. It's basic message is Lord of the Flies like - civilisation is a sham and there isn't even a noble savage.

In his more widely read novels Ballard's defining characteristic is atmospheric descriptions of architechture and the modern condition. In this novel - which more or less takes place in a Pacific Island par
Agghiacciante, un ritmo ipnotico per una storia terribile.
Personaggi ben più che credibili
A boy, and others, who are under the spell of an exuberant female environmentalist sail to an island to save it from the French who are killing the albatross.

While that is the premise of the book it is really about the power that a person (Dr. Barbra, the crazy feminist, in this instance) has over people.

A little bit like Lord of the Flies mixed with Jim Jones' leadership skills.

Disturbing? Yes.

Would I recommend it? If you like dystopian literature. I thought High Rise by J.G. Ballard was bette
This book has it all: pedophilia, stockholm syndrome, utopian societies run amok, infanticide, homicide, sexual perversion, pyschopathologies, general barbarism, etc., etc. That's all you really need to know. If you enjoyed Lord of the Flies, but wished it was about a matriarchal society, this book is for you! I was engrossed in reading this and overall pleased, but the coup de grace left me a little unhappy or displeased. Overall I give this book seven thumbs up.
James Burton
A fantastically dark ending. Ballard writes in his usual impassive and detached style about a young boy who falls under the spell of a domineering and peculiarly strong personality. A group of misfits, with nothing in common, bar the subordination to this one personality are brought together on a tropical island. The camp soon turns into a personality led cult. Why do people follow, why don't they just leave, even when the truth outs? Brilliant.

I kind of did not like this, but the amount of time I spent thinking about it after I was done with it made me give it the extra star.
Maybe halfway through the book you kind of have an idea of what is going on and you wonder how the people on the island can be so blind, and I started to get pretty irritated with the lot of them, but when I was finally through with it I found it on my mind for a number of days afterwards.
Read it on the beach which probably added to the feel of the book. The opening page to the last paragraph is put together like a collage of immoral acts which all humans are capable. The reduction of human nature to that below the animals we are trying to save is the ultimate irony. The "breeders" act as the purist feminist statement. As always, Ballard was way ahead of his time.
Tim Boudreau
I read the first half in a few days, the second in a few hours. The book was waaaay front heavy. If Ballard made love as slowly as he builds a plot, then he could probably just quit writing and become a very successful male escort. He would probably have a lot more satisifed customers. The book ended with a bang, but I'm not sure if it was worth it.


the blurb on the back page was accurate
This is pure Ballard in style, but I'm starting to think that Ballard was a bit of a one-trick pony, and anyway the characters here are so irritating that it's hard to extract much pleasure from the read, which unfortunately meant that what I thought would be a brief but enjoyable sojourn was really more of an arduous, painful trek. Not recommended.
Kent Winward
Gender wars. Ecological hypocrisy. Distorted utopianism that transforms into dystopian island bound Lord of the Wives. Yes, you have entered the world of J.G. Ballard. In the end the real question is what paradise are you rushing towards and you should check your premises, because you might not like it when you get there.
I enjoyed reading this book- as always Ballard is wacky and pushes your comfort level with extraordinary surprises and unimaginable scenarios- of course all of them very symbolic. This book I found to be less hallucinogenic and crazy than High Rise, but its still a terrific read.
Tristan Louth-Robins
Pretty poor. Not Ballard's best by a considerable stretch.
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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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