Here in northern Europe, we’ve been battered by record high winds over the last 48 hours (see BCC story). These and the growing number of climate change disasters being reported bring to mind The Wind from Nowhere, the first of J. G. Ballard’s novels and the first of a series of four, each of which dealt with a world experiencing (or coping with the aftermath of) a global climate change:
- The Wind from Nowhere (1961) is the most conventional of all Ballard’s novels and one he now dismisses the work as forgettable. High winds flatten the earth and survivors live in pits dug out in the remnants of ruined cities.
- The Drowned World (1962) foretells global warning and describes a world where London and New York are largely submerged and much of the planet is a series of large and strikingly beautiful tropical lagoons.
- The Drought (1964) (also published in the U.S. as The Burning World describes another man-made ecological disaster, in which the dumping of radioactive waste causes a shell to form over the seas, turning water into man’s rarest and most precious commodity.
- The Crystal World, the least overtly about climate change, is generally considered the finest of these novels. The story, about a British doctor journeying a leper colony, encountering a deep African forest to that progressively turns into crystalline forms, has obvious parallels with Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and marks Ballard’s own transition into more abstract and experimental worlds such as The Atrocity Exhibition