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Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Super-Cannes (2000) by J.G. Ballard


Book Review
Super-Cannes (2000)
 by J.G. Ballard

  Make no mistake about it, J.G. Ballard is one of my favorite contemporary authors. Mostly because he's one of the 20th century authors who pioneered the concept of speculative fiction as literary fiction, escaping the confines of genre and emerging as a serious writer with serious ideas, but also someone who enjoys dsytopias and sci fi.  This is one of my favorite themes of 20th century fiction, the elevation of non serious fiction into serious literature, how it happens, why it happens, the consequences of it happening.

  Super-Cannes is often called a companion piece to his 1996 novel,  , both set in hyper-modern developments in south-western Europe.  In Cocaine Nights, the development is a "leisure world" for retired and semi-retired expatriates, living on the coast of Spain.  In Super-Cannes, the development is a combination business park and residence for multi-national corporations.   Both books cover the same territory:  An outside is drawn to the community by accident, in Cocaine Nights it is the untimely death of the brother of the narrator, in Super-Cannes it is the untimely death of a doctor in the development, which leads to his replacement with the wife of the narrator.

  Thematically both books lie squarely within what you might call Twin Peaks territory, where everything is not what it seems under a placid surface.  Perhaps a better comparison is Blue Velvet.  Both Cocaine Nights and Super-Cannes make for fun reading, plenty of sex, violence, drugs and death, but also enough depth to make you reflect, even if Ballard's ideas have largely been co-opted by a generation of pop culture content creators, it still seems fresh enough to engage a reader.

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