The Crystal World Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Crystal World

Dr. Edward Sanders, a physician with a leper hospital in the Cameroon, is puzzled by letters from his recent lover Suzanne at the jungle clinic where she's gone with her husband. He makes his way upriver as the army is shutting down the area because of some sort of ecological anomaly: a virus or something that is turning everything -- plants, animals, the surface of the river, army vehicles, even humans -- into brilliant crystals. Sanders hooks up with a young French female journalist named Louise who is investigating the phenomenon as well. Among the increasingly-crazed locals Sanders encounters are a diamond mine magnate and an architect who are battling with firearms over a woman, and a priest who won't desert his mission. Suzanne seems entranced by the way the jungle is changing. This is the last of Ballard's four end-of-the-world ecological disaster novels from the early 1960s, and probably the most colorful. His descriptions of the creeping menace are achingly gorgeous -- you yearn to see them brought to life on film.
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The review of this Book prepared by David Loftus

Chapter Analysis of The Crystal World

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book Descript. of chases or violence 20%planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 20%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 20%Descript. of society, phenomena (tech), places 40% Tone of book    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) FANTASY or SCIENCE FICTION?    -   science fiction story Explore/1st contact/ enviro story    -   Yes Explore:    -   preventing/surviving an ecological disaster Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book

Main Character

Identity:    -   Male Profession/status:    -   doctor Age:    -   40's-50's


Terrain    -   Jungle Earth setting:    -   20th century Takes place on Earth?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   moderately detailed references to deaths scientific jargon? (SF only)    -   a moderate amount of scientific explanation Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references only    -   descript of kissing How much dialogue?    -   significantly more descript than dialog

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J.G. Ballard Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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