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Paperback Super-Cannes Book

ISBN: 0312306091

ISBN13: 9780312306090


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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

Eden-Olympia is more than just a multinational business park, it is a virtual city-state in itself, built for the most elite high-tech industries. Isolated and secure, the residents lack nothing, yet one day, a doctor at the clinic goes on a suicidal shooting spree. Dr. Jane Sinclair is hired as his replacement, and her husband Paul uncovers the dangerous psychological vents that maintain Eden-Olympia's smoothly-running surface.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

How quiet a violent world

I'm writing this review because I think it's an absolute tragedy that this book has only received an average of 3 stars. I think this book is a masterpiece. Ballard draws a wonderful dual picture: on one hand there are the perfectly manicured landscapes and perfect modern architecture of a sprawling campus of new corporate offices--nature has been silenced; on the other hand are the corporate employees whose bestiality wears through or erupts from this sleek surface. Sexual assault, murder, and racist hate crime occur here in such a fashion that their particular iterations seem to be regrown from the very texture of a slick, contemporary world. A fascinating novel rendered all the more pleasurable and ironic by the combination of Ballard's elegant writing with his nasty subject matter.

Brilliant Slow Burn Ballard

This book's story is told through the eyes of an english pilot (Paul Sinclair) who is recovering from knee injuries and unable to fly. The book begins with Paul accompanying his young wife Jane to Eden-Olympia - a semmingly utopian business park overlooking Cannes. They arrive to discover that they are taking over the house of Jane's predecessor - Greenwood - an englishman who went on an armed killing rampage through the park before turning his gun on himself. Sinclair detects that something is wrong with the whole Greenwood story and sets out to uncover the truth behind Greenwood's actions. From then on you sense that Ballard has the peices on the board just where he wants them. Truths about the overachieving inhabitants of Eden-Olympia are uncovered piece by piece as Ballard sets about laying down his vision of a possible near future gone wrong. Super Cannes isn't as "in your face" as some of Ballard's other works - this is very much an enjoyable slow burn. There are Ballard's usual themes of casual sex and mob violence - but they are carried out in the comfortingly civilised context of Super-Cannes and therein lies the point. This is a most enjoyable read that will please fans of Ballard's other works. There is a plenty to think about here and this cautionary tale deserves a wide reading.

A glimpse of the near-future now

Repeating his previous effort Cocaine Nights (also outstanding), JG Ballard once again uses the mystery-thriller structure to engage us in his deep thoughts about a society where people are obsessed with working 7-days a week for 16-hours per day with the drive for corporate profits a transcendent virtue. When Paul Sinclair follows his wife Jane to Eden-Olympia, Paul is plunged into a mystery which no one seems eager to solve. Located near Cannes, Eden-Olympia offers multinational corporations a high-tech tax haven with temperate weather similar to Northern California's Silicon Valley. Busy executives live in crime and sickness-free enclaves leading extremely productive lives. Everything seems perfect except for the shocking mass murder recently committed by Dr. Greenwood, the pediatrician whom Jane is replacing. While Paul recovers from his injuries, he plunges head-first into discovering the motives and possible conspiracies behind Dr. Greenwood's murders. Many literary critics consider Ballard to be a science-fiction writer. More accurately, I consider Ballard a futurist capable of offering a glimpse of the near-future which our society and culture may be headed for. In Ballard's Eden-Olympia there is "an inability to rest the mind, to find time for rest and relaxation". The only prescription offered is "small doses of insanity" taking the form of robberies, rapes (and other fetishes), drugs, and kiddie porn.If Ballard is correct in his bleak vision, is it not unsurprising that the captains of industry - Welch, Koslowski, Skilling - all decided to play God (to one extent or another)? Going "a little mad" with adulterous affairs, grand larceny, and other felonious activities may have been the only way of staying sane in an unforgiving world demanding performance.

Fine thriller though possibly not Ballard's best

J. G. Ballard's latest novel, the critically acclaimed "Super-Cannes", is a futuristic thriller set in a high-tech business park somewhere in Cannes, where the eerie hum of economic activity within the cloistered confines of offices and laboratories substitute for real human contact. The novel's protagonist and narrator, Dr Paul Sinclair and his wife Jane, arrive in Cannes and are immediately checked into the house formerly occupied by Jane's ex-colleague from England, David Greenwood, who shocked the township when he went on a murderous rampage one morning, killing several of his colleagues before turning the gun on himself. So, unlike a typical murder mystery, we know who did it. The question is why ? Incapacitated by a bad leg from a flying accident, Paul sets about investigating the incident while his wife disappears like clockwork into the shining concrete jungle every morning. The first half of the novel ticks like a detective story, focussing on Paul's sleuthing as he retraces the events of that fateful morning. Nothing unusual so far except for creepy new age characters like the chief psychiatrist, Wilder Penrose security guard, Frank Halder. Nevertheless, there is a mounting sense of disquiet as the story progresses. Notice you never actually see Jane or anybody else at work. In fact, the only people you meet are neighbours and others relevant to Paul's investigation. Then something completely unexpected happens and you feel as if you're in another story. Hints of weird goings-on (eg, racial violence, gang busts, etc) and drug addiction start to surface and when this coincides with Jane's growing estrangement from her husband, you know there's an external force at work and it's to do with powerful occupants of the tech park. That's when you feel you may be hallucinating or have wandered into a Ballardian science fiction novel by mistake. Unfortunately, that's also when the plot begins to feel a little contrived. Super-Cannes is a real page turner. No doubt about it. As a thriller, it succeeds well enough but its vision of a work obsessed society with the all the attendant value perversions that accompany it is, though frightening, not particularly illuminating. Super-Cannes may not be Ballard's best work but it's highly entertaining and definitely worth your time reading it.

freedom is psychopathology at Eden-Olympia

Welcome to Eden-Olympia, J.G. Ballard's latest setting for speculative fiction. Paul Sinclair just lost his pilot's license, and is moving with his young wife, Jane, who has just taken the pediatrician's position at the multinational business park and planned community. At first the only hesitation the couple has is that the gentleman who "vacated" Jane's post did so following a killing spree amongst his neighbors. Upon their arrival, everything seems perfect, too perfect. Slowly, the veneer begins to peel away. Why were they put into the deceased Dr. Greenwood's house? Why won't anyone talk about the terrible tragedy? Where do all the husbands and business men go at night in their matching leather bowling jackets? And just what is Dr. Wilder Penrose, resident psychiatrist, doing with his "recreational therapy" program?Driven by curiousity, and then fear for himself and his wife, Paul begins an investigation of his own, or is his just part of Penrose's alternative program?An excellent view into the warping of modern, technological life. Despite being set in France, this tale plays more like a subtle American reality. A gentle and creeping psychological thriller, much like Ballard's last novel, Cocaine Nights.

Super-Cannes Mentions in Our Blog

Super-Cannes in Put Your Weird Hat on for Mad Hatter Day
Put Your Weird Hat on for Mad Hatter Day
Published by Terry Fleming • October 05, 2020

On this day, it is acceptable to be weird and wacky. Let the goofiest part of yourself out the cellar of your mind to flap its arms and finger its lips while going blubblubblub. In other words, it's a day for odd fun. In the spirit of that, we at ThriftBooks have decided to recommend eight bizarro titles to help you get your Weird Hat on!

Super-Cannes in A Historic Cannes-cellation!
A Historic Cannes-cellation!
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • May 13, 2020
The Cannes International Film Festival has been postponed, along with just about everything else! Are we feeling a little bleu about it? Mais, oui! Nonetheless, we can find consolation in les livres. C’est la vie!
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