Saturday, December 14, 2013

Meet your neighbors

I just started reading High Rise today.  It's a pretty well known dystopian science fiction novel, written by J.G. Ballard in 1975.  The novel concerns a forty story high rise - hence the title - that serves as not only a living space but potentially the entire social world for its tenants.  As in, why ever leave?  But there are downsides to having such a closed-off society.

The book starts in media res - or perhaps after all the action; like I said, I just started - with the protagonist chowing down on someone's dog.  So yes, I am aware that this is an interesting choice of Holiday reading.


susan said...

I haven't read J.G. Ballard in a long time and never this particular book. From what little I do know about it I can't help but be somewhat reminded of what it's like to live in a large high rise building surrounded by places inhabited by transient students (our Park Vic experience). Probably it's not even close to the novel you're reading, but insofar as the bizarre behaviour allowed by anonymity is concerned I get the idea.

We saw the movie 'Empire of the Sun' a few years ago - a close approximation of Ballard's early years in Shanghai during the Sino-Chinese part of the Second World War. It's quite good.

Ben said...

I haven't seen "Empire of the Sun" yet, but now that you mention it I'm curious. Christian Bale appears to have been disturbingly intense already. The publicity surrounding the movie was really the first time I'd heard of Ballard, so the kind of fiction he usually does came as a surprise.

It's a creepy novel. You can't really sympathize with any of the characters, at least not by the standards you come in with, as everyone is psychopathic and few even have a sense of self-preservation. It's the kind of books that sticks with you, though.