Super Surreal Fiction

I just finished reading J.G. Ballard‘s Super Cannes.  It was an amazing book: I don’t know if I’ll ever again find a book that mixes corporate intrigue, mass murder, psychopathy and architecture in a great read.  For those who don’t know, Ballard narratives tend to involve similar worlds to ours, except that the architecture frequently has an overpowering effect on the characters.

Throw in a dash of great lines and you’ve got rewarding literature.

For your pleasure, here are a few lines that caught my fancy.  For more, read the book:

I began to count the pools, each a flare of turquoise light lost  behind the high walls of the villas with their screens of cycads  and bougainvillaea. Ten thousand years in the future, long after  the Cote d’Azur had been abandoned, the first explorers would  puzzle over these empty pits, with their eroded frescoes of tritons  and stylized fish, inexplicably hauled up the mountainsides like  aquatic sundials or the altars of a bizarre religion devised by a race  of visionary geometers.

Reflections from its disturbed surface seemed to bruise the smooth walls of the house.

Civility and polity were designed into Eden-Olympia, in the  same way that mathematics, aesthetics and an entire geopolitical  world-view were designed into the Parthenon and the Boeing 747.

The strong  sunlight had stirred up an atlas of currents that cast their shadows across the tiled floor…

The mental climate that presided over Eden-Olympia never varied, its moral thermostat set somewhere between duty and caution.

Memories jump the rails and speed off down the wrong track.

They were pleasantly high, but in an almost self-conscious way, as if they were members of a tontine blessed  by the unexpected death of two or three of its members.

The twentieth century was  an heroic enterprise, but it left us in the dark, feeling our way  towards a locked door.

Dust lay over the swimming pool, an overnight veil disturbed by the feeble movements of a waterlogged  fruit fly, struggling against the meniscus that gripped its wings  in a mirror harder than glass.

Ten feet from my kerbside table the limousines moved on towards  the Palais des Festivals between the lines of police and security men.  Helicopters circled the Palm Beach headland, waiting to land at the heliport, like paramilitary gunships about to strafe the beachside  crowds. Their white-suited passengers, faces masked by huge shades,  stared down with the gaze of gangster generals in a Central American  republic surveying a popular uprising. An armada of yachts and motor  cruisers strained at their anchors two hundred yards from the beach,  so heavily freighted with bodyguards and television equipment that  they seemed to raise the sea.

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