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Kingdom Come

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  2,047 Ratings  ·  182 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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Mar 25, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
J. G. Ballard's last novel proves to be... problematic. It has all the Ballard tropes we've come to expect (oracular prognostications of the near future, human versus nature versus human melees, oversimplified speech and wacky, token weirdos in secondary roles), but this time their arrangement seems to be glossed over completely, humanity's de-evolution favored (and only favored) by anarchy (In Ballard, the best use of architectural terror occurs in "High-Rise"; ironically, the best love stories ...more
May 02, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Sep 06, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Mattia Ravasi
Dec 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
#10 in my Top 20 Books I Read in 2015:

Very much Ballardian in that human interactions all feel kinda offbeat and weird; also, the book is basically a philosophical treaty (on how capitalism and consumer society lead to/are a form of fascism) with a story draped all over it.
That said, the story is interesting and thrilling and suites the treaty quite well, and for a book so sure that human beings all suck, it's not too terribly bleak. You might need to be
Dec 16, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 15, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017

The suburbs are lame. That, I suppose, is the bare minimum of a premise for this book. Add in the fact that sporting events are often associated with hooliganism and proto-fascist, xenophobic behavior. Finally, concede the point that consumerism has strangled the life out of humanity after first dragging us to our basest level of moral ground. When you have acknowledged and laid out this trifecta of bleakness on the mental table in front of you, consider whether you would want to read a novel th
Oct 20, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
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.

Sep 22, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Jun 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Ben O'loughlin
Aug 29, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 06, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rita De oliveira
Jan 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Depois de ter lido Arranha-céus, fiquei fã das narrativas de J. G. Ballard, sempre pontuadas por cenários quase apocalípticos e críticos da vida de hoje.

Em Reino do amanhã, passado numa cidade dos subúrbios de Londres, o sentido da vida é consumir e os centros comerciais são as novas catedrais, na verdadeira aceção do termo. São o local onde todos procuram refúgio, onde veneram os seus ídolos, onde vivem o seu quotidiano. Simultaneamente, este ambiente gera uma espécie de governo nacionalista, e
Oliver Twist & Shout
Dec 27, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british
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
Jul 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
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
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
Nov 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
My car had problems, so I took the bus. The nearest stop to my destination was at a large shopping mall. I took this book with me, so I found myself sitting in a mall, reading a high moral tale about the insanity and inanity of the group mind that develops among those who pledge allegiance to a shopping center.

Oh, I love this book. It is filled with fine writing, and explosive ideas. I am convinced that if Ballard were alive now, he would take great delight in the Occupy movement and other resi
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
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ci-fi
Familias felices paseando con bolsas de grandes almacenes en la mano. Grupos de amigos uniformados con la camiseta de su equipo, celebrando por la calle un nuevo triunfo. El escaparate apedreado de algún pequeño comercio asiático o hindú. Columnas de humo sobre el barrio inmigrante...

Bienvenidos a Metro-Centre describe a la perfección el reverso oscuro de una sociedad adicta al consumo y a los espectáculos deportivos, una clase media que ha convertido los centros comerciales y los estadios en lu
Oct 27, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have no idea what this is really supposed to be. I know, from reading the description of the book on the dust jacket, that it's supposed to be some type of dystopian warning from the near future. What it really seems to be is a tone deaf attempt to turn some vague idea into a novel-length story that could have maybe been a decent but quickly forgotten short. Perhaps one of the most annoying things about it is that there is SO much damn repetition. I wish I would have counted the references to ...more
Matt Benzing
Jul 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
This is the first book that I've read by Ballard. I know how highly regarded he is, so I'll just have to hope that this is one of his lesser efforts. The book had some interesting themes; certainly consumerism is every bit as threatening as he depicts, and he is right that malls and other synthetic environments are creepy (although George Romero nailed this first in his 1978 horror film "Dawn of the Dead" with its mall walker zombies and clever play on the term "consumer"). Yet "Kingdom Come" fa ...more
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
Feb 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Roger Cottrell
Sep 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nyt
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
Nov 11, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 mech ...more
Sep 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
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.
Dec 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Predizioni (?)

Ballard è sempre uno dei miei più cari amici scrittori cui periodicamente ritorno, perchè è come una necessità, una consolazione, ma non "consolatorio", anzi, tutt'altro. Il terrore che incute te lo sbatte in faccia, senza pietà, e tu sai che non è crudeltà la sua, ma soltanto la pura verità. Quello che esce fuori dalle sue pagine è qualcosa di cui è già intriso il presente, quella mostruosità del quotidiano apparentemente innocua, che tale vogliono farci sembrare. Ma non è così.
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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.” 42 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.” 10 likes
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