Rushing to Paradise

J. G. Ballard, Author
J. G. Ballard, Author Picador USA $21 (238p) ISBN 978-0-312-13164-7
Reviewed on: 05/01/1995
Release date: 05/01/1995
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-312-13415-0
Analog Audio Cassette - 580 pages - 978-1-85695-849-3
Paperback - 267 pages - 978-0-87140-337-7
Open Ebook - 240 pages - 978-0-87140-346-9
Paperback - 238 pages - 978-0-00-654814-0
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In one of Picador's first hardcover titles, Ballard (Crash) offers another of his tautly imagined experiments with 20th-century pathology. Here he traces an environmental crusade from its media-driven invasion of a South Seas atomic test site to its establishment of an endangered species' sanctuary, to its metamorphosis into an atavistic cult. Ballard's futuristic characters are nearly always less individual personalities than mutating preoccupations, and this cast of environmental utopians who quixotically strand themselves to save an albatross colony is no exception. Sixteen-year-old Neil Dempsey, who is drawn into the expedition by the charismatic, inscrutable ``Dr. Barbara'' (Rafferty), is joined by a Hawaiian who dreams of an independent island kingdom, a Boston Brahmin missionary, an animal-rightist airline stewardess and a band of German eco-hippies. Amid Ballard's hallucinatory evocation of the island's native flora, imported endangered fauna and abandoned military and scientific installations, Dr. Barbara proves ready to sacrifice anything or anyone for her unstable cause, whether to the international media, the island jungle or her artificial paradise. Although the naive and uncertain Neil proves a comparatively weak narrative lens for Dr. Barbara and her spiraling projects, Ballard's story moves tensely along, an apocalyptic cautionary tale for the millennium. (May)
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