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Ballroom of the Skies
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Ballroom of the Skies

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  253 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Have you ever stopped to wonder why the world is eternally war-torn? Why men of good will, seeking only peace, are driven relentlessly to further disaster? MacDonlad's novel suggests a strange and sinister explaination.

Here we enter an intricate future society, in which India rules the globe. The First Atomic War has just ended, and already momentum is clearly building for
Mass Market Paperback, Fawcett Gold Medal R1993, 176 pages
Published September 1968 by Fawcett Publications, Inc. (first published 1952)
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Feb 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
I'm most familiar with John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee mystery series. I was surprised to find that he had also written a few Science Fiction (or as he calls them, science fantasy) stories. Ballroom of the Skies was originally written in 1951. It's an interesting story and takes a bit of time to get into the flow of what is happening.
We find the Earth working through the First Atomic War and being threatened with the 2nd. The US is no longer a powerhouse, instead it is the PacIndia that is the
Dec 18, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This 1952 novel is John D. MacDonald's second science fiction entry of the three he wrote in his long career. AT this point, he had been writing novel length fiction for two years and was still learning his craft.

SciFi - After WWIII, the United States has been reduced to a second rate country, tensions in the world are high, and Dake Lorin has taken a year to help Darwin Branson work out a peace accords with all the nations. He witnesses Branson accept watered down conciliations from Irania and
Dec 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Wasn't sure where this one was going for a while, but the plot turn at the end really made this book for me. I'm really starting to appreciate and enjoy 50's science fiction far more than contemporary. Maybe the ideas were just newer, fresher, more bizarre. Not a "classic" in the most rigid sense, but a great and rewarding read, nonetheless.
Joshua Buhs
In a career as prolific as MacDonald's, there's bound to be some clunkers, especially early on.

And this is one.

MacDonald is mostly known as a mystery writer, but he had an itch to write some science fiction toward the beginning of his career, and turned out this one and the earlier Wine of the Dreamers, both on the same theme. Judging by the afterword of these edition, MacDonald wasn't exactly familiar with the genre--thinking science fiction necessarily included either bug-eyed monsters, space
Feb 19, 2018 rated it liked it
MacDonald expressed some interesting and thought provoking ideas about war and peace and progress. What was disappointing for me was the story as a story; I have read roughly a dozen or more books by MacDonald, not just Travis McGee tales, and the storytelling here is the weakest I have read by him.
Mortimer Roxbrough
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the best alien invasion novels I have ever read. If you want something a bit different in that line then this is highly recommended, try it
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
This interesting tale explains why the world is eternally war torn.
Nov 26, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: macdonald
26 nov 15, #62 from macdonald for me...just finished The Damned. macdonald rocks the casbah, always entertaining...have read the other sci-fi story...forget the title. Wine of the Dreamers a good one if you're in the market. onward upward

29 nov 15 finished.
good story. i don't remember much about wine of the dreamers although i think that one also contained the idea expressed best by macdonald in an afterword in this story:

the two novels are companion pieces in that they provide two congruent met
This is a classic sci-fi book written in the 1950s. By the time it came up on my list and I started reading it, I had forgotten when it was published and was very confused about the timeline, especially when they kept talking about the ‘70s and things being only fifty years after silent films. I finally figured out this book is set in the 1970s, which was the future. War has shaken up world politics and India is the lead country. Americans are second class citizens. Instead of building skyscrape ...more
Aug 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
I enjoyed this book. It lit up my imagination, lots of visuals came throughout the story. MacDonald had a writing style that I thoroughly enjoyed, many choice sentences that could have have stood completely alone, which in this day of age, where internet "memes" are all the rage, is a wonderful plus. thoughtful, artful construction of words. which MacDonald also communicates his respect for in the way he illustrates the topic of communication throughout this book.

it was less alien and spacey th
Oct 24, 2012 rated it liked it
Frankly a little disappointing. This is one of those books that has a really interesting build up, but about half way through it fizzles. The first half of the book featured some really interesting scenarios: the political scene with Pak India on the rise, the vivid telepathic illusions, the Matrix-like puppet-puppetmaster chase scenes. But about halfway through he just lost it. The ending was rushed and disjointed,so many avenues that could have been explored were just dropped, and the whole re ...more
Mark Patterson
Feb 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf-50s
Shame to realize that MacDonald abandoned science fiction after 3 books, because Ballroom is pretty imaginative and dense, if a little too short.

Published at a time when the author saw fit to question the hands of authority, Ballroom systematically goes through all of our support systems (our governments, our countries, our own minds, our universe) and shows us how little we can depend on them. And how little we're willing to accept change.

He touches on how progress (but who's progress?) is trie
Jun 29, 2014 rated it liked it
This would have been a two star read until the last 4 pages. It was an odd science fiction story that didn't really make sense to me, and I nearly gave up part way through. However, the last 4 pages pulled the whole thing together in a very clever way. Left me thinking about what an ingenious plot line it was.

First published in the early 50's and re-released in the late 60's, this story is set in the late 1970's after a series of devastating wars on Earth. Interesting to look at the state of th
Oct 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
Dake Lorin is an idealist in this future world of the late 1970s. He stumbles onto a group of people with fantastic mental talents that seem to be manipulating world affairs.

World War III is in the recent past and things already seem building up for IV.

Lorin tries to get the word out but is frustrated at every turn. He gets dragged right into the middle when apparent Earth folks take him off planet and begin training him.

When he learns what is really going on....
Jan 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
It's hard to believe that this book is over 60 years old considering a lot of the themes are still quite powerful today. I read this while on a SciFi kick and read two or three of MacDonald's books back to back. I'd comment more on this novel but I don't want to spoil it and I don't believe in spoiler tags. The ending really stuck with me though.
May 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sf
I read this as a kid and LOVED it. It's one of the first SF books I remember reading. Would likely give it fewer stars now if I re-read it. What I remember is the guy being chosen and going through agonizing ordeals to get some, basically, superpowers. And I seem to remember the ballroom scene--how cool is that? Oh wait...I've done that in Second Life now...times change...
Terryann Saint
Aug 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Been awhile, but I remember it being good.
Jul 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
Definitely SF here. And very good.
William Gibson
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Aug 01, 2007
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Jul 26, 2012
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John D. MacDonald was born in Sharon, Pa, and educated at the Universities of Pennsylvania, Syracuse and Harvard, where he took an MBA in 1939. During WW2, he rose to the rank of Colonel, and while serving in the Army and in the Far East, sent a short story to his wife for sale, successfully. After the war, he decided to try writing for a year, to see if he could make a living. Over 500 short stor ...more
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