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Super-Cannes (2000)

Author: • Sep 5th, 2006 •

Category: architecture, bibliography, psychology

Ballardian: Super-Cannes

OPENING LINE:
“The first person I met at Eden-Olympia was a psychiatrist, and in many ways it seems only too apt that my guide to this ‘intelligent’ city in the hills above Cannes should have been a specialist in mental disorders.”

From the 2002 Picador edition:

“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.”

“Each page, and this is a page-turner, might have the mind’s knees knocking, the mind’s flesh horripilating. Super-Cannes … confirms J.G. Ballard’s substantial place in contemporary fiction”.
The Washington Times

“Ballard is our poet laureate of Modernism’s dead zones… [Super-Cannes] achieves a brilliant, thorny ambiguity — the kind that lodges splinterlike in your imagination, and refuses to come loose”.
LA Weekly

Indeed, Super-Cannes is a knockout, a corruscating, brilliant examination of a “new kind of human being”, capped by one of the darkest Ballardian endings of all. This book has a superior charge to it, and is filled with the most potent imagery found in a JGB novel for a good long while. In fact, it’s so hyperaware of the affective nature of built space, it could almost be used as a textbook in architecture courses:

Reversing from a cul-de-sac at Cagnes-sur-Mer, I cracked a rear brake light against a badly sited lamp standard.”

J.G. Ballard. Super-Cannes (p.119).

Chris Nakashima-Brown delivers a coolly observed review of the novel:

Sorry, no spaceships. Once again, Ballard explores Earth as the alien planet. A speculative fiction of inner space, where the mind creates reality. The tabula rasa of the new city allows its inhabitants to invent their own bloody therapy games, exporting their post-bourgeois pathologies to the Mediterranean lumpenproles outside the castle. The protagonist finds himself drawn in, alternately as jaded participant and righteous counter-vigilante, right up to the ambiguous denouement.”

Chris Nakashima-Brown. ‘Catastrophically Cozy: J.G. Ballard’s Super-Cannes’.

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2 Responses »

  1. Super

  2. […] 1859, in Cannes. 150 years and 3 days later, J.G. Ballard, author of creepazoid milennial dystopia Super-Cannes (2000), died. The first line from Super-Cannes reads as follows: The first person I met at Eden-Olympia […]

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