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The Day After

Three novels written by J.G. Ballard present visions different from an Earth upset by the apocalypse.

The Absorbed World depicts an Earth transformed by the atmospheric reheating and the general rise of the level of the oceans. The few emerged grounds are now covered with a thick jungle, while the majority of the mammals left the place to giant reptiles. A few million human only survived, among which biologists, studying the evolution of a modified ecosystem, and hunters of treasures, excavating in the wrecks in search of testimonys of the old civilization.

In Hello America, a crisis of world energy and a climatic upheaval transformed North America into desert on the eastern part, in tropical jungle on the western part. Emptied of its inhabitants, the continent became in one century will terra incognita, until a small forwarding, part of England, moved by nostalgia and the ambition, again cross the Atlantic in an antique steamer, in search of adventures in territories returned for a long time to nature.

The Crystal Forest presents certainly the apocalyptic vision strangest in the work of Ballard. A progressive crystallization of the rocks, stretches of water, alive beings takes place: in the large tropical or equatorial forests, embryonic crystalline zones appear. The plants and the trees are the first affected organizations: their sheets and their branches are covered with a splendid translucent sheath.

The motionless plants by nature seem to be most vulnerable, but forwardings sent end up meeting crystallized animals: crocodiles solidified in a river of quartz, birds statufied on Christmas trees. The men themselves must be wary of any immobility in the affected zones; a frozen draught, accompanied by a tinkling, is announcing a new crystallization; the safiest means of escaping from it is then not to remain on the spot, but to run away.

Among films, Mad Max beyond the Thunder Dome (1985) directed by George Miller presents a rocambolesque and baroque vision of a small city rebuilt of bric and pitcher in the Australian desert, after an atomic war. The upper town presents the visible face: barter, combat of gladiators, government ensured by a queen (interpreted by Tina Turner).

The under city provides energy, extracted from methane produced by the dejections of an immense herd of pigs. The worst punishment is well-sure to be sent in the under city as a pig-keeper...


Romain Dabek
Novels about this theme
Doctor Bloodmoney or how we got along after the bomb
Hello America
Hyperion volume 1
Hyperion volume 2
Mad Max beyond the Thunderdome
Make Room ! Make Room !
The Crystal World
The Drowned World
The Fall of Hyperion volume 1
The Fall of Hyperion volume 2
Partners

Amazon, the well-known on-line bookshop, provides SFPanorama with images representing the covers of the works mentioned in the articles

Drawer of the famous "bellaminettes" pinups, author of the "Sylfeline", comics, published by Dargaud


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