High-Rise by J.G. Ballard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I read this as primarily, even entirely, satire.
Sure, it has a lot of the great dystopia themes going on and for 1975 it's rather delicious and evil, reminding me of a souped-up version of something Silverberg once wrote but it's mostly all Ballard.
The writer is all about upper-middle-class anyone falling down the trash disposal of history, the total degradation of social mores, civilization, and tapping into that lizard self.
What we have here is a forty-level self-contained condominium that has it all. Everything the tenants need to survive. It's not locked from the outside world but no one wants to leave even when things start getting really Lord of the Flies. What starts from social snobbery falls into murder and raiding parties, whole floors against whole floors, falling further into smaller raiding parties and hunters as the trash piles up down below and the richer raiding grounds beckon to them above. All social order breaks down and rapes, murders, and cannibalism becomes the name of the game.
They believe they all have the very best of any world.
Do you see any similarities to us?
Read this way, I had a very delicious time with this book. I see something of Howey's Wool in it and I think I'd have an even better time seeing a totally modern take on this same idea. I'm sure we could all come up with some rather nasty new ways to flush society down the toilet assuming we can suspend our disbelief long enough. :)
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