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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 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...
Published on October 18, 2001 by Rae Schwarz

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Problem with Kindle version
The book was pretty good, but I wanted to leave a note about a small problem I had with the Kindle version. If you go to location #956, you'll see there's some text missing. One paragraph ends (..."faint but potent scent."), and the next one begins in the middle of a sentence ("over my wine glass."). Probably not a huge gap, but there is a new character in the scene who...
Published on February 21, 2008 by Edith Frost


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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars freedom is psychopathology at Eden-Olympia, October 18, 2001
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This review is from: Super-Cannes: A Novel (Hardcover)
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.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine thriller though possibly not Ballard's best, May 7, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Super-Cannes: A Novel (Hardcover)
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.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A glimpse of the near-future now, September 22, 2002
This review is from: Super-Cannes: A Novel (Hardcover)
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.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The wayward Sun, November 21, 2001
By 
This review is from: Super-Cannes: A Novel (Hardcover)
In a continuation of the theme he explored in Cocaine Nights, as well as other works, author J.G. Ballard pens a mystery about a cloistered, high-tech community coming to terms with its need for recreational sociopathology.
Eden-Olympia is an ultra modern business park and insular community nestled uncomfortably among the olive groves and marinas of the Cote d'Azure and where recently a respected young doctor embarked on a vicious killing spree. New residents soon find they have little time for anything but work and begin showing mental and physical problems that threaten to overtake the would be corporate paradise. In classic ballardian form, rogue psychiatrist Wilder Penrose steps in and implements a regime in which workaholic CEO's, presidents and junior vp's are encouraged to sublimate their fantasies of criminality, sexuality and violence by taking part in "therapy sessions" of a most uncoventional type. While investigating the bizarre murder-suicide of the former doctor, protagonist Paul Sinclair soon finds himself drawn deeply into this ferment of bright modernity and dark venality.
While not on a level with some of his other work; (and his best work is awesome) and although his characters are rather remote, (as usual) Super-Cannes is still an invigorating book. Ballard's mythologizing of crashed airplanes...abandoned runways...car parks... swimming pools...and other totems of our time forms one of the more exotic contributions to literature, yet it works. A strangely lit poetry suffuses his novels, short stories and essays; and one can always count on him for an an unexpected vista. His relentless probing of the social/technological interface has yielded some unsettling prophecies. Super-Cannes is basically a parable about the future; and as Ballard views it, the future is now.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You'll hate this book, and that's why you should read it., June 14, 2006
By 
Allison H. "SoCal Student" (orange county, california) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Super-Cannes: A Novel (Paperback)
I felt like writing a review because it's been probably 2 years since I read this book and I still think about it from time to time (and somehow keep reccommending it to my friends). Aside from its dystopic classification, this book is a study in dichotomy. The depravity of some of the characters in a pristine community. How disconnected it seems from real life and any semblance of morality. How sometimes the crisp, white pages of my book seemed to be covered with a greasy film. I originally read this book because I was looking for something different, something that didn't have a happy ending. I got what I asked for--I had to put it down several times because it made me uncomfortable to read. But I always picked it up again, I couldn't stop. I hated the characters, but I had to see what happened to them. Ballards writing is uncensored, unemotional and sterile, but full of beauty at the same time. The way his prose seems so disconnected (purposefully, I might add) from the events of the plot, the way he mixes the clean and sharp with the oily and jagged nature of things is unsettling but somehow you keep turning the pages.

The novel is not very long and I finished it quickly, I found out what happened to the character's I despised. The ending was not what I expected and left me unsettled. I still don't think I've reconciled what happened in the book, but not because it was badlly written, it is because it was so well written, so complex, and challenged my morality so thoroughly (but I assure you, my morality remains intact).

If you are looking for a feel good story or a light read--stay as far away from j.g. ballard as you can get. But if you are looking for a truly interesting experience, pick up a ballard novel. I'm not sure I'm ready for my next one yet, but I have one working its way to the top of my stack of books to read.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Problem with Kindle version, February 21, 2008
By 
Edith Frost (San Antonio, TX) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The book was pretty good, but I wanted to leave a note about a small problem I had with the Kindle version. If you go to location #956, you'll see there's some text missing. One paragraph ends (..."faint but potent scent."), and the next one begins in the middle of a sentence ("over my wine glass."). Probably not a huge gap, but there is a new character in the scene who wasn't there before, so there must be at least a line or two missing.

I notified Amazon about this, just to be a good citizen. They told me they saw the problem too, opened a trouble ticket and told me they'd write me back when the problem was fixed. (They also gave me a $5 credit for my trouble, which was nice.) A few weeks later I got the e-mail that the text had been corrected, and to please re-download. Which I did, but nothing had been fixed at all; it was exactly the same as it was before. So I told them so, and re-explained the problem. Well, I got another message back from a different support person, saying they were sorry but they didn't understand what the problem could be...? It struck me as a bit lame, but whatever. Maybe I should have written to the publisher instead.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tech Park Dystopia, August 27, 2002
By 
This review is from: Super-Cannes: A Novel (Hardcover)
Ballard's latest offering is a murder mystery set in the high tech perfection of Europe's premier silicon valley.
A young couple, Paul and Jane Sinclair, leave London for blue chip promises in France's newest tech park, Eden Olympia in the Cote d'Azur. It soon becomes apparent that all is not as it seems
in this tranquil, modern utopia. Crippled aviator, Paul finds himself drawn to investigate a murder spree by Jane's predeccesor, Dr David Greenfield. As he retraces the steps of the murders, and interacts with the various characters peopling the park, the dream perfection that is Eden Olympia takes on nightmarish proportions, unveiling an underbelly of sex and violence spiralling out of control.
Although the book reads like a pacy noir thriller, sustaining the reader's attention throughout, it's real appeal lies in its surrealist vision .Ballard's genius lies in his concept of a 21st century dystopia, borne of the culture of consumption but unable to be sustained by it. In his paranoid vision of humanity, psychopathic violence becomes the key that keeps the wheels of perfection turning. This is the 1984 meets A Clockwork Orange of the 21st century, a Darwinian Lord of the Flies set in a Silicon valley so perfect that its executives dine rather than binge.Excellent reading and excellent food for thought.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Slow Burn Ballard, October 7, 2006
By 
This review is from: Super-Cannes: A Novel (Paperback)
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How quiet a violent world, April 17, 2009
This review is from: Super-Cannes: A Novel (Paperback)
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.
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21 of 30 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Again, one monolithic vision of dystopia., May 5, 2003
By 
Michael Varga (Montreal, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Super-Cannes: A Novel (Paperback)
Though most of Ballard's work contains unvarying plots, motifs, characters, etc., I was quite stunned to find that `Super Cannes' and `Cocaine Nights' are - albeit with minor tweaks and variations - actually one and the same book. From the backdrops to the manic idiosyncrasies of the characters, the key components in each enjoy such thorough correspondences and identity that a synopsis of one book effectively adumbrates the other. It seems Ballard's technique of thematic reiteration and repetition has achieved such perfection as to suggest that an author has finally (and remarkably) cloned his own work and slipped it over the transom. Read both books if you wish to scrutinize the sublime homogeneity of Ballard's imagination. Or pick one or the other, and feel satisfied that you've economized on money and time.
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Super-Cannes: A Novel
Super-Cannes: A Novel by J. G. Ballard (Hardcover - October 5, 2001)
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