The Crystal World

The Crystal World J G Ballard s fourth novel which established his reputation as a writer of extraordinary talent and imaginative powers tells the story of a physician specializing in the treatment of leprosy who is

  • Title: The Crystal World
  • Author: J.G. Ballard
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 484
  • Format: Paperback
  • J G Ballard s fourth novel, which established his reputation as a writer of extraordinary talent and imaginative powers, tells the story of a physician specializing in the treatment of leprosy who is invited to a small outpost in the interior of Africa Finding the roadways blocked, he takes to the river, and embarks on a frightening journey through a strange petrified fJ G Ballard s fourth novel, which established his reputation as a writer of extraordinary talent and imaginative powers, tells the story of a physician specializing in the treatment of leprosy who is invited to a small outpost in the interior of Africa Finding the roadways blocked, he takes to the river, and embarks on a frightening journey through a strange petrified forest whose area expands daily, affecting not only the physical environment but also its inhabitants.Through a leaking of time, the West African jungle starts to crystallize Trees are metamorphosed into enormous jewels Crocodiles encased in second glittering skins lurch down the river Pythons with huge blind gemstone eyes rear in heraldic poses.Fearing this transformation as a herald of the apocalypse, most flee the area in terror, afraid to face a catastrophe they cannot understand But some, dazzled and strangely entranced, remain to drift through this dreamworld forest Travelling through this gilded land, the doctor tries to resist its strange allure while a tribe of lepers search for Paradise

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      Published :2019-08-03T23:36:02+00:00

    1 thought on “The Crystal World”

    1. a physician in africa; a world of disease. decay takes strange shape! a move into the unknown; the inexplicable finds its form and renovates, reconfigures: a new, dead life! figures in a landscape become one with that landscape stylized characters form a comic tableau, fighting and fucking and dying, always dying a journey up-river into the heart of an exterminating whiteness leprosy and crystallization, two sides of one coin. this cartoon world ends - not with a bang - but with stasis; an alien [...]

    2. Kind of a wild mix between Joseph Conrad and Erich Maria Remarque, with a nod to Malcolm Lowry and with the edgy other worldliness of Philip K. Dick. The comparisons to Vonnegut’s Ice nine from Cat's Cradle will be inevitable, but the distinction is one of procedure rather than substance.Vonnegut used Ice nine as a plot device, whereas Ballard’s crystals are a metaphor for our unavoidable demise, our inescapable mortality. The novel’s protagonist Dr. Sanders’ specializes in the treatment [...]

    3. What do I think of this novel? I already got a glimpse of it amidst several of the first half of the complete short stories of Ballard, so I knew what to expect before sinking my teeth in it. Time flowers leads to these crystals. The Illuminated Man himself was drawn into the theme of the Crystal World. There's a lot of great imagery going on, and surprisingly, it isn't just the descriptions of the the world being consumed by a time-reversed (or rather, collided time with anti-time) semi-liquid [...]

    4. Ballard novel: subject, end time. Crystal, metaphor. Verbs? Inappropriateness. Nouns, exclusivity. Technique: problems. Action-omission. Review: inanity, boredom. Book: impossibility. Author-choices, comprehension. Ballard: uniqueness, praise. OULIPO? DisagreementD? Certainty.

    5. The Crystal World: Time and death are defeated as crystallization takes overOriginally posted at Fantasy LiteratureThe Crystal World (1966) is J.G. Ballard’s third apocalyptic work in which he destroys civilization, the other two being The Burning World (1964) and The Drowned World (1962). It seems he likes the elements, having employed floods, draughts, and now crystallization. The process somewhat resembles Ice-9 in Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle (1963), but there is no ironic humor to be [...]

    6. JG Ballard’s The Crystal World is a mindbending book that, by the last page, I was glad to end. The premise is fascinating; out of nowhere jungles across the globe begin to crystallize. The crystallization slowly spreads, enveloping everything in its path, including animals, buildings, and people. Ballard is enamored with describing the silent, alien landscape inherent in the crystal zone, definitely to the point where the jungle becomes a character and possibly to the point of overkill. The n [...]

    7. I found a fossilized chiffon cake in a cave. Ballard popped out of it and I fired at him with my shotgun, setting off a storm of falling stalactites. The sound of them exploding against the cave floor was deafening, but that's not what stunned me. It was the efflorescence of the fractured crystals releasing trapped light and time. I wondered if this was all a metaphor for wanting to fuck one of my literary heroes. "You know, overall, you're not really that great of a writer." "Yes," he said, "Bu [...]

    8. Later in his career, J.G. Ballard advised that a writer shouldn't write too many books. I took this to mean that a person can expend their reserve of creativity and end up becoming a pale imitation of themselves. I also gathered that this advice came from Ballard's personal experience.I haven't read most of his material, but I have dipped into examples from numerous points in his career, and while I agree that his later offerings were rather flat, the problem of diminishing returns can be seen a [...]

    9. Legendarily inspired by a boat ride through the Everglades on hallucinogens, this is a novel driven primarily by the crystalline clarity of its images. Plot and character wind through the annealed alien formations with the cold delineation and pre-determination of icons in a symbolist frieze. This makes for a rather distanced reading, but the sheer descriptive imagination and conceptual grandeur -- yes, this is a novel about the crystallization of the the entire universe, perhaps a phase shift i [...]

    10. Ο Ballard είναι περίεργη υπόθεση, το ίδιο και το βιβλίο του αυτό.Υπερσυμπιεσμένη πλοκή, αντιπαθητικοί χαρακτήρες, περίεργη ανάπτυξη της ιστορίας, αντικλιματικές σκηνές δράσης.Και όμως, όπως και τα κρύσταλλα του δάσους, υπάρχει στο έργο μία σουρεαλιστική θα έλεγα ομορφιά καθώς [...]

    11. Perhaps my favorite Ballard novel so far, the most impressive element being the endless variety of descriptions of this crystallizing jungle in the heart of Africa. Ballard is one of the few writers I've encountered who can utilize descriptive language to its full effect, without sounding like he wrote with the thesaurus open on his lap, and without sounding kitschy. The prose mesmerizes.Like his other novels, Ballard is concerned with the effects of modernization on humanity, and how it dehuman [...]

    12. Probably the best of the Ballard "elemental apocalypse" quartet (or it ties with The Drowned World at least). Once again, it's Ballard taking apart Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness and reassembling it as a post-modern tale of apocalypse and humanity's failings - a journey up river through an African jungle slowly being encroached on, and transformed into, crystal. Time itself is the cause - like a dissolved material reaching maximum load in a solution, it begins to precipitate out into spacetim [...]

    13. Ballard achieves a kind of psychedelic realism in this novel - although at times it did get a bit too action-adventurey for my liking. What really stuck with me was the image of the vitrifying forest itself; with its crystal river, kaleidoscopic trees, and jewelled crocodiles, the mysterious Suzanne with her 'leonine mask' of leprosyhorrible and beautiful, and written in a kind of hypnotic, trance-like language which makes the plot itself seem less significant.

    14. A leper doctor arrives in an African backwater. He is mildly interested in renewing an adulterous affair with the wife of a friend who runs a mission upriver, but what is finds is a world undergoing a sea change. The jungle, the wildlife, even the people are all becoming something rich and strange. This is a sci-fi mash up of Joseph Conrad and Graham Greene. Faced with the inexorable march of the crystallizing environment, the hero perhaps bows to the inevitable, but he also embraces it.

    15. The Crystal World made me feel uncomfortable, in ways both good and not so good. On the good side, the constant repetition of the same descriptions and words (jeweled, deliquescing, glittering, etc.) added to my understanding of the crystallization process by creating a kind of textual parallel: images and metaphors, like the reduplicating crystallizing objects, jut out of the text without any noticeable purpose but to better draw a landscape that is difficult to "see." Ah, but not really, see. [...]

    16. Nutshell: when the world turns to glass, real men hoard women.Situated between Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Wayne Madsen’s Decade of Death Secret Wars and Genocide in Africa 19932003, we have here the colonialist traveling to the heart of sub-Saharan Africa and finding horror therein.Opens at a port in Gabon where protagonist, one Dr. Sanders (potentially related to the colonel? (yeah, I’m a dick)) discusses with a priest how the light “is always like this, very heavy and penumbral—d [...]

    17. SpellbindingThis is an interesting piece of literature, not quite a fantasy story, but not quite within the bounds of reality. The characters are normal people, the setting is a small town with nothing special about it, except that it is beside a jungle where jewels grow out of the ground like weeds, and as a tumor, overtake anyone or anything in their way. If you can find your way out, before becoming a frozen statue of gems, the crystals melt away as you cross an invisible threshold. It's mesm [...]

    18. Trippy Science fict/fan. 1966 Post apocalypticYYYAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!JG Ballard is an amazing writer with an amazing life story. He wrote "The Empire of the Sun" as a semi autobiographical story about growing up in the internment camps in WWII Japan. It was made into a great movie, where Christian Bale, as a child, played the author. The Observer calls this book, aptly, "A haunting picture of diseased beauty,."West African jungle starts to crystallizeman vs.himself

    19. This is a sci-fi take on Conrad's _Heart of Darkness_. I remember this book's theme and the gradual crystalization of the living things, a sort of leprosy of inertia. It was quite an interesting idea.As I recall, we read this in my UW Sci-fi class.

    20. 60s adventure pulp trash. So many things are wrong with this book. In it, you'll find the sexism and racism you'd expect from this era and this genre. The main character is a dull block of wood with no personality, almost a complete lack of motivation, and no visible character arc. The supporting cast are all one-dimensional. It even fails as science fiction: the main idea is that somehow (?) some kind of time crystals are forming in a jungle somewhere, the author waves his hands about this repr [...]

    21. This is my third Ballard novel and I am getting used to the way he writes; heavy use of imagery, plot as a vehicle for the thinly veiled subtexts, characters on a quest to discover something about themselves and cryptic, stilted dialogue with much left unsaid leaving the reader to fill in the gaps.Thought provoking as ever, one really needs time to digest the book and no doubt would benefit from a re-read.The science behind the premise of this book is mind baffling nonsense as far as I know but [...]

    22. I can't read any book where I can feel the thesaurus in the author's lap. It's pompous and inauthentic. I made it about halfway through The Crystal World, but had to finally put it away shortly after seeing the words "deliquescing," "coruscation," and "palimpest" in one paragraph. Some may think that makes me seem uneducated or simple; people who feel that way can continue to feel that way because their opinion is irrelevant. When I read an author that is trying this hard to use impressive langu [...]

    23. The story got off to a slowish start as, with most JG Ballard stories, you do need to focus on his writing style. As I got into it,I got much more involved with the plot, basically a Doctor, in Africa, travels up-river to find his friends. He discovers that the forest and area where he wishes to go is being transformed, the vegetation, even the people, into crystal. It's an interesting journey, as he becomes involved with other peoples' stories and tries to stay alive. It's worth reading if you' [...]

    24. Wow. For a "classic," this is one of the most intelligence-insultingly terrible books I've ever made the slogging effort to finish.Seriously, WTF? Who the fuck thinks this is a "classic"? Honestly, this is a shitty, incoherently plotted, carelessly inconsistent, ten-year-old-wish-fulfilment-kind-of-ridiculous potboiler of a hack job. And, yeah, it does have a much-more-than-usually-serious Aesthetic Concept at the center, but uh that alone doesn't make for a good, or even readable, book. I don't [...]

    25. I've been a long-time fan of J.G. Ballard, but this isn't his best book. There are only so many ways you can describe a crystalline forest. To his credit, Ballard tries all of them, but there's a certain repetitiveness to the writing that starts to grate after a while. So I look to the characters and the action for brilliance. Ballard has never been a character-centered writer-- his talent lies in his ability to render a bizarre world. It's not a horrid book, but it would have been far better as [...]

    26. One of Ballard’s armageddon pieces. In his three previous books (The Drowning World, The Drought (also called The Burning World), and The Wind from Nowhere) destruction comes from natural disasters. In the Crystal World, destruction comes under the guise of beauty — and few seem able to resist. But more than a dire warning about the disasters we’re calling down on our own heads, this is also a meditation on the price of immortality. To gain eternal existence we lose our movement through ti [...]

    27. It's an eery world that J G Ballard shows us in this book. There is always the threat of the crystallization of the world advancing in the background, against which the main characters fight.A lot of mental images have stayed with me after reading this. Well worth a look.

    28. I wasn't as blown away by this as I expected to be and weirdly, I'm developing this idea that it's just a metaphor for really good weed, which I can dig. Appreciated the partially palindromic conclusion, though I suppose even this felt a little hollow.

    29. Beautiful imagery and a good ideabut the characters are shallow and the plot is slow-paced. It was written in the 50'sbut still excuse.

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