The Drowned World Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Drowned World

In the second of Ballard's early end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it novels, 60 or 70 years of increased radiation due to solar instability have driven up temperatures some 60 degrees in the equatorial zones and submerged much of the coasts and lowlands of the world, and the UN has supervised colonization of the Antarctic plateau and the northern borders of Russia and Canada. Robert Kerans, 40, works at a biological research station at some submerged European city, studying the profusion of ancient jungle plants and reptiles that are throwbacks to the Triassic and Cambrian. A small military detachment has been keeping the peace, but is ordered back to Camp Byrd in Greenland, leaving Kerans, his colleague Dr. Botkin, and the gorgeous, languid Beatrice Dahl at the lagoon. After the troops have left, a white scavenging pirate named Strangman shows up with a depot ship, some hydrofoils, heavy arms, a small army of natives, and a flotilla of giant alligators. An uneasy joviality develops as everyone waits to see what Strangman plans to do. Almost everyone has hard dreams of returning to their embryonic past. Like Ballard's other early novels, this 1962 evocation of an entirely different Earth environment is richly realized.
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The review of this Book prepared by David Loftus

Chapter Analysis of The Drowned 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    -   depressing/sad FANTASY or SCIENCE FICTION?    -   science fiction story Explore/1st contact/ enviro story    -   Yes Explore:    -   post environmental/nuclear disaster, fighting MadMax gangs    -   surviving natural elements on planet Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book

Main Character

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


Terrain    -   Water Earth setting:    -   near future (later in 21st century) Takes place on Earth?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment scientific jargon? (SF only)    -   some scientific explanation Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references only 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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