Synopses & Reviews
Long-regarded as one of the true visionary writers of the twentieth century, J.G. Ballard was one of the first British writers of the post-war period to begin to see, and to map out in his fiction, the future course of our civilization. For forty years his unflinching eye has turned to the point where the advancing edge of our technological progress has worn away our inner humanity.
Eden-Olympia is more than just a multinational business park, it is a virtual city-state in itself, with the latest in services and facilities for the most elite high-tech industries. Isolated and secure, overlooking the luxurious French Riviera, the residents lack nothing. Yet one day Dr. Greenwood from Eden-Olympia's clinic goes on a suicidal shooting spree. Dr. Jane Sinclair is hired as his replacement, and she and her husband, Paul, are given Dr. Greenwood's house as a residence.
Unable to work while recovering from an accident, Paul spends his days taking a
close look at the house where Dr. Greenwood shot himself and three hostages. He discovers clues in the house lead him to question Eden-Olympia's official account of the killings. Drawn into investigating the activities of the park's leading citizens, while Jane is lured deeper into Eden-Olympia's inner workings, Paul uncovers the dangerous psychological vents that maintain Eden-Olympia's smoothly running surface. An experiment is underway at Eden-Olympia, an experiment in power and brutality. Soon Paul finds himself in race to save himself and his wife before they are crushed by forces that may be beyond anyone's control.
"There are many good reasons to read J. G. Ballard. But the best may be the chance of running into lines like 'Paul, these bullets don't get too involved with them' and 'The sea was smooth enough to xerox, a vast marbled endpaper.' Both come from the latest nightmare romp by the British author (Crash
, Empire of the Sun
) whose name is synonymous with utopias run amok. And both are redolent of a psychological displacement that makes Ballard's fictional world like no one else's a place where a young wife, presented with evidence of a bloodbath near her swimming pool, merely deems it wise not to get 'too involved'; a place where even the beauty of the sea is best appreciated in terms of office machinery." Michael Upchurch, Atlantic Monthly
(read the entire Atlantic review
"Ballard quickly and effectively makes the point that corporatism has crushed our souls, then spends an awful lot of time reaching the conclusion, when all the evil machinations at Eden-Olympia come out. Some readers will get tired of waiting and will find it hard to believe that Paul and Jane didn't duck out sooner. Those who persevere, however, will find the final pages persuasive and gripping." Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal
"Ballard actually seems to have penned a story with a clear-cut hero (if the reader overlooks Paul's drug use and pedophiliac urges) and villain ('I don't want to start a race war or not yet'), with the fate of civilization in the balance. This novel, for all the author's trademark grotesqueries, may be Ballard's most commercially viable yet." Publishers Weekly
Eden-Olympia is more than just a multinational business park, it is a virtual city-state in itself, built for the most elite high-tech industries. Isolated and secure, the residents lack nothing, yet one day, a doctor at the clinic goes on a suicidal shooting spree. Dr. Jane Sinclair is hired as his replacement, and her husband Paul uncovers the dangerous psychological vents that maintain Eden-Olympias smoothly-running surface.
About the Author
J. G. Ballard
is the author of numerous books, including Empire of the Sun
, Concrete Island
and The Kindness of Women
. He is revered as one of the most important writers of fiction to address the consequences of twentieth-century technology. He lives in England.