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10 thoughts on “The Day of Creation

  1. MJ Nicholls MJ Nicholls says:

    Like the antihero of Werner Herzog s masterwork Fitzcarraldo, the narrator of Ballard s novel is a semi cracked basket case with an insane dream and an insane level of stamina and persistence In Fitzcarraldo, the mission is to build an opera house for the Peruvian people through hauling a ship over a mountain to scout for rubber In Ballard, rogue doctor Mallory seeks to forge a river to rival the buried waters of the Sahara and bring fresh water to the parched basin of the Central African Repu Like the antihero of Werner Herzog s masterwork Fitzcarraldo, the narrator of Ballard s novel is a semi cracked basket case with an insane dream and an insane level of stamina and persistence In Fitzcarraldo, the mission is to build an opera house for the Peruvian people through hauling a ship over a mountain to scout for rubber In Ballard, rogue doctor Mallory seeks to forge a river to rival the buried waters of the Sahara and bring fresh water to the parched basin of the Central African Republic Using a corrupt Captain s ship replete with limosuine , and with the help of a teenage native, Mallory s obstacles include frequent helicopter fire, a rabid guerilla group, a purblind documentary filmmaker, an Indian naturist, a strange brothel ship madamed by a former lover, and his own diseased lust for the underage girl The astonishing descriptive powers that Ballard summons up to create this sweltering hell are the star of this riveting misadventure Herzog missed a trick in not filming this


  2. Darwin8u Darwin8u says:

    Sooner or later, everything turns into televisionJ.G Ballard, The Day of CreationA hypnotic and dreamy parable or perhaps a freakish and hallucenegenic and moody allegory, The Day of Creation drifts along with Ballard s beautiful sometimes absurdly quirky prose I ve read roughly eight of his novels orand I ve yet to be disappointed really in any of them The book is slippery It isn t really plot driven I guess all river novels have some direction and plot to them Think of soSooner or later, everything turns into televisionJ.G Ballard, The Day of CreationA hypnotic and dreamy parable or perhaps a freakish and hallucenegenic and moody allegory, The Day of Creation drifts along with Ballard s beautiful sometimes absurdly quirky prose I ve read roughly eight of his novels orand I ve yet to be disappointed really in any of them The book is slippery It isn t really plot driven I guess all river novels have some direction and plot to them Think of some strange combination of Conrad s Heart of Darkness , Twain s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn , the African Queen , Burton s The Source of the Nile , etc., all mixed with a flavor of Greek myth Dr Mallory floats upstream with his girl Friday, his nubile Jim Noon to discover the source of the river Mallory created The further up the river he floats, the crazier and sicker everybody becomes The novel bloats and floats on a lot of the fluvial space Ballard loves environmental extremism, political absurdity, war, madness, nightmares, violence, sex, and technology.If you are new to Ballard, I might not recommend you start with this one Ballard is like raw oysters, pickled beets or artichoke hearts he s slippery, earthy, and an aquired taste So, start with something a bitmainstream But if you are into funky contemporary literature and are willing to drift, float, and eddy around a bit while drunk or high this novel might just be exactly what you weren t looking for but might want anyway


  3. Damian Murphy Damian Murphy says:

    I m not sure if I m being entirely fair in my 3 star rating of this book I think I ve hit my Ballard saturation point I ve read about 80% of his work and every time I read something new I feel like it s simplyBallard, not particularly different from the Ballard I ve read before I do feel that Ballard s narratives aren t tremendously strong and that his strength lies in his ideas, which may have beenor less played out by the time he wrote this one.


  4. Lee Foust Lee Foust says:

    While it hasn t the wholly transgressive and mind bending appeal of the classic Atrocity Exhibition or Crash, this Ballard offering is unique of the novels of his that I have read, eight or so of them now in its balance of realism and imagination In fact, it seemed to me to be an extended metaphor for a trip inside the protagonist s mind in the form of a journey up a river Unmistakable, then, is the sly reference updating of Conrad s Heart of Darkness Thus the novel works on a few levels a While it hasn t the wholly transgressive and mind bending appeal of the classic Atrocity Exhibition or Crash, this Ballard offering is unique of the novels of his that I have read, eight or so of them now in its balance of realism and imagination In fact, it seemed to me to be an extended metaphor for a trip inside the protagonist s mind in the form of a journey up a river Unmistakable, then, is the sly reference updating of Conrad s Heart of Darkness Thus the novel works on a few levels as an adventure story, a psychological exploration of the self destructive urge, a literary quotation of sorts, as a kind of political commentary updating European imperialism in Africa for the 1980s, and even given the title as a kind of postmodern creation myth I liked all of these levels, particularly thethoughtfully symbolic ones, for the actual adventure journey wasn t really interesting enough for the 200 pages Still, Ballard s forte is how well he diagnoses the sicknesses of modern culture, particularly pop culture and visual media, and shows how such things lie deep in our minds now, as if spliced into our DNA Which makes me think and I thought it several times while reading this one that David Cronenberg who later made a film version of Crash was probably reading a lot of Ballard when he wrote Videodrome Although this particular novel might seem muchprimitive, and Conradian, with the African setting and all, than that urban film about visual media and reality collidingstill, The Day of Creation has a lot to say about how nowadays, and for some time now, we can only really experience the world as a TV show that s the way we ve been trained since childhood to understand reality Thus Africa, to a modern Anglo European, can only be 1 2 adventure film Conradian novel and 1 2 safari documentary Food for thought.A brief for instance Last night on Bill Maher s Real Time the panel was discussing the recently published excerpt from the new book on the Trump presidency and the shocking scene of his first meeting withe the Pentagon military bigwigs and his tirade and calling them dopes and babies It was mentioned that he was doing it as good reality tv Maher, often a little thick in my mind, didn t get it But there was no audience, he said Bill doesn t understand that audience doesn t matter, that Trump lives every minute as if he were on his reality tv show, that he s living the drama that will get him ratings whether there s a camera or audience or not This certainly explains much of his behavior, his inability to distinguish reality from fiction, self interest from madness, a good decision from a bad one he s just living the drama as if that the ratings that good drama garner are all that matter, are all that s at stake


  5. F.R. F.R. says:

    When I read Rushing to Paradise the other month, I think I said that Ballard had managed to create a good sense of place away from his normal Shepperton stamping patch But even though The Day of Creation has an African setting, that sense of place is sadly lacking Indeed it is so vague as to be almost dream like, and that the whole thing is a dream is an interpretation Ballard positively invites Although bearing in mind that Ballard also wrote the likes of The Atrocity Exhibition , this When I read Rushing to Paradise the other month, I think I said that Ballard had managed to create a good sense of place away from his normal Shepperton stamping patch But even though The Day of Creation has an African setting, that sense of place is sadly lacking Indeed it is so vague as to be almost dream like, and that the whole thing is a dream is an interpretation Ballard positively invites Although bearing in mind that Ballard also wrote the likes of The Atrocity Exhibition , this is a farlucid dream However that dream quality means that it isn t a particularly compulsive read, almost drifting by the reader.A young doctor discovers, then tries to destroy a river in Central Africa No reading of Ballard is ever wasted, but he wrote better novels


  6. Alan Alan says:

    J.G Ballard was a giant of speculative fiction His feral visions of futures in decay were a tremendously influential perspective on what had all too often been an unreflectively triumphalist literature After encountering works like High Rise, The Terminal Beach, The Drowned World, The Crystal World, The Atrocity Exhibition and of course Crash, it becomes muchdifficult to accept wide eyed technological utopias without at least a degree of skepticism His books take hold of the mind and w J.G Ballard was a giant of speculative fiction His feral visions of futures in decay were a tremendously influential perspective on what had all too often been an unreflectively triumphalist literature After encountering works like High Rise, The Terminal Beach, The Drowned World, The Crystal World, The Atrocity Exhibition and of course Crash, it becomes muchdifficult to accept wide eyed technological utopias without at least a degree of skepticism His books take hold of the mind and won t let go, like the dried black green algal bloom adhering to the sides of an empty swimming pool in the courtyard of the last Martian hotel.I think it may be telling that my most memorable Ballard moment is Kara murmuring Maybe the next one, as she watches traffic from a hotel room balcony, a line which as far as I can tell is actually from the David Cronenberg film rather than from the book Crash but in any case, when I ran across this recent reissue of Ballard s 1987 novel The Day of Creation on the new books shelf at my local public library, I knew I had to pick it up.The packaging of this edition is simple and eye catching without being gaudy I especially liked the edgy display font chosen for the chapter titles lines which, thus set off, become one line short stories in their own right, like The Impresario of Rubbish Out of the Night and Into the Dream and Journey towards the Rain Planet Unfortunately, I cannot put a name to that face there was no Note on the Fonts in the volume at hand, nor did it turn up using the web services Identifont and WhatTheFont.The Day of Creation s locale is suitably exotic, or will be to most of Ballard s readers an imaginary Central African region abandoned by its own people when the encroaching Sahara Desert all too realistically dried out all their farmland It s set in a time that is also rapidly becoming exotic, an era of clocks without hands p.106 , devoid even of the concepts of cellphones, laptop computers and ubiquitous wireless connectivity the 1980s.It is not primarily a work of scientific fiction, though The events described are realistic, or at least start out that way, set in motion by an unprecedented but nontheless plausible shaking of the earth A great river appears out of, essentially, nowhere Dr Mallory, the narrator of this story, a medical doctor and quondam water prospector, witnesses what he takes to be its day of creation, springing from beneath the exposed roots of a great old oak tree near the empty village on the former shore of dry Lake Kotto where Mallory has his clinic This third Nile promises to revivify the Sahara seemingly overnight and of course Mallory s first impulse is to own, to control, even to destroy what he, in hisfeverish moments, believes he has created He embarks upon an upstream journey to find the source of this natural prodigy after all, Men must play their dangerous games p.86 Dr Mallory, whose first name is never mentioned, is not a very likeable character, and The Day of Creation is a story of unpleasant emotions, of hubris, lust, anger and fear, played out against a surreal background that seems to be as much internal landscape as it is navigable river The Africa he sees is a very European one, mysterious and powerful but even so a mere possession, subject to his whims, full of benighted natives obsessed with Western gadgetry but incapable of maintaining it for themselves It s an outsider s imperialist view that was hardly tenable even at the time Ballard was writing, and seems even less so now And Mallory s obsession with the just pubescent guerrilla girl Noon is, if not technically criminal in this jurisdiction, certainly unwholesome I began thinking of The Day of Creation as something like Heart of Darkness crossed with Lolita though not, I suspect, likely to be remembered as long as either God rested on the seventh day in order to look at the rushes p.64 I did like the ambiguity of this line, though the rushes denoting both the film from the Japanese documentary crew encamped near Mallory s clinic, and the reeds now growing along the newborn river However, this was not my favorite of the Ballard I ve read.Maybe the next one


  7. Baal Of Baal Of says:

    Ballard writes ugly novels filled with ugly characters, and stories that reflect his disgust for humanity Part of me agrees with him, when I see the ugliness of the current state of American politics with the rise of the racist, fascist right, and the regressive stupidity of Trump and those who continue to support and defend him Another part of me wants to just throw this book away since it feels like wallowing in despair, with its ecological undertones revolving around the nastiness that fill Ballard writes ugly novels filled with ugly characters, and stories that reflect his disgust for humanity Part of me agrees with him, when I see the ugliness of the current state of American politics with the rise of the racist, fascist right, and the regressive stupidity of Trump and those who continue to support and defend him Another part of me wants to just throw this book away since it feels like wallowing in despair, with its ecological undertones revolving around the nastiness that fills the magical river Adding to all the unpleasantness is the main character who is loathsome in just about every way, and particularly with his sexual obsession with Noon, the 12 year guerrilla girl he ends up travelling with As the novel progresses, the imagery around the river and the attempts by the people to control its waters become increasingly sexual as well, and even though Ballard s adeptness with language kept me from giving up entirely, by the end of the book I was just glad it was over, and I was left with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach


  8. Logan Logan says:

    SPOILERS AHEAD Once I realized what THE DAY OF CREATION was about, I was a little surprised it took me so long to get there I mean, it s right in the damn title But, I got about halfway through the book before it occurred to me the whole thing is an allegory for the creative process There s Mallory at a dry lake bed in an town nearly devoid of people He wants to fill the lake bed, but what, exactly, he s doing about it is a little unclear He s inert, not doing much of anything really T SPOILERS AHEAD Once I realized what THE DAY OF CREATION was about, I was a little surprised it took me so long to get there I mean, it s right in the damn title But, I got about halfway through the book before it occurred to me the whole thing is an allegory for the creative process There s Mallory at a dry lake bed in an town nearly devoid of people He wants to fill the lake bed, but what, exactly, he s doing about it is a little unclear He s inert, not doing much of anything really There is, however, two guerrilla armies fighting each other and threatening to kill him from time to time These warring factions seem to be far too interested in him, as well Like, what are they fighting about and why do they keep coming back to him He then creates the river, which was a complete accident not even caused by himself, but by a tractor uprooting an old tree Though it wasn t even his own action, he proceeds to take full credit for having created this river in the middle of the Sahara In fact, he goes on to own it by purchasing it And of course he names the river after himself, the Mallory He then goes back and forth between wanting to kill the river at its source and wanting it to thrive i.e., the struggle of the artist And of course the river, along with guerrilla soldiers, a filmmaker, and a floating brothel of women, attempt to kill him But Mallory, himself, becomes determined to kill the river, i.e., finish the process Meaning, the book, as far as I can tell, which, I suppose, is also like killing off a little bit of yourself As soon as he does kill the river, the book ends, pretty much back where it started But, if the whole thing is an allegory, that begs the question Did Ballard think Mallory s inappropriate relationship with the twelve or thirteen year old Noon could be explained away because she was merely a symbol of his id or the driving force behind the creative process Perhaps I think it was a poor choice and needlessly distracted from the book, though Why throw that monkey wrench into the works I m sure if he were here he would have an explanation, but still Of course, Mallory was never a likable character and maybe he chose to have the id represented in such a way to ensure we never fully embrace this conflicted, narcissistic character Anyway, there probably is a lotto be dissected here, but I won t because the book never fully grasped me I m not really interested in putting too muchtime into this book than I already have For me, I had a hard time envisioning a lot of this book Ballard has a particular way with imagery in some books that simply doesn t work for me I can t get the picture in my head I m trying to figure out what exactly it is, as others don t seem to have the same problem But, for me, I ve had a hard time running the movie in my head for at least a small handful of his books that I ve read I think in some books he gets over specific For instance, in a single paragraph he ll say that something is 30 yards that way while in the east, another 200 yards is something else In my brain, I m trying to get the picture of distance between subject and object while juggling everything else the sentence paragraph demands of me, and I get lost And meanwhile there s all this vegetation I ve never heard of and all these topographical terms that mean nothing to me because they re too specific Like, if it s a hill, man, just call it a damn hill Etc etc I d bet if Ballard could have used the scientific terms for things, he would have And, yes, I could stop every other sentence and look the word up, but at some point it s just like, um, no I love Ballard but some of his books seem to get stuck in second gear This is one of them Still, it has the requisite weirdness, the typical Ballardian obsessions of psyche and society, etc etc, and the poetic language in this book, perhaps a littleforced than usual As well, this book may work best if read in a few sittings I took way too long with it In any case, I ll keep plodding away through Ballard s bibliography


  9. Terence Terence says:

    This is a fever dream high within Joseph Conrad and post colonial distress It is full of the incredibly surreal, reminding meof The Electric Dream Company than Crash , in that it meanders through a half hearted quest to find the source of the new river, getting lost, stuck in dream like scenarios reflecting the true heart of the callous creator and his lascivious vision of a new Nile One of my favorite scenes is the protagonist, who has been naked for some time on the river dodging re This is a fever dream high within Joseph Conrad and post colonial distress It is full of the incredibly surreal, reminding meof The Electric Dream Company than Crash , in that it meanders through a half hearted quest to find the source of the new river, getting lost, stuck in dream like scenarios reflecting the true heart of the callous creator and his lascivious vision of a new Nile One of my favorite scenes is the protagonist, who has been naked for some time on the river dodging rebels, and pursuing an underage girl, gets covered in talc making himwhite than his whiteness There is also this longing sense that perhaps the new river doesn t exist that infects the whole story Worth your time


  10. Brendan Brendan says:

    This is not my favorite of Ballard s novels the narrator s obsession with an underage girl is just a little bit too unsettling for me, in the long run but overall, this is yet another excellent story of Ballardian obsession in a strange, beautiful world that seems to be just a slight misstep away from our own.


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The Day of Creation On the arid, war plagued terrain of central Africa, a manic doctor is consumed with visions of transforming the Sahara into a land of abundance But Dr Mallory s obsession quickly spirals dangerously out of control First published in , this classic Ballard thriller continues to resonate with dark implications for the future of humanity Publishers Weekly ➹ [Read] ➵ Gender in Psychoanalytic Space By Muriel Dimen ➼ – 9facts.co.uk war plagued terrain of central Africa ❮Download❯ ➵ Insight and Interpretation Author Roy Schafer – 9facts.co.uk a manic doctor is consumed with visions of transforming the Sahara into a land of abundance But Dr Mallory s obsession quickly spirals dangerously out of control First published in ➼ [Reading] ➾ Good People in an Evil Time By Svetlana Broz ➱ – 9facts.co.uk this classic Ballard thriller continues to resonate with dark implications for the future of humanity Publishers Weekly


About the Author: J.G. Ballard

James Graham J G Ballard 15 November 1930 19 April 2009 was an English novelist, short story writer, and essayist Ballard came to be associated with the New Wave of science fiction early in his career with apocalyptic or post apocalyptic novels such as The Drowned World 1962 , The Burning World 1964 , and The Crystal World 1966 In the late 1960s and early 1970s Ballard focused on an eclectic variety of short stories or condensed novels such as The Atrocity Exhibition 1970 , which drew closer comparison with the work of postmodernist writers such as William S Burroughs In 1973 the highly controversial novel Crash was published, a story about symphorophilia and car crash fetishism the protagonist becomes sexually aroused by staging and participating in real car crashes The story was later adapted into a film of the same name by Canadian director David Cronenberg.While many of Ballard s stories are thematically and narratively unusual, he is perhaps best known for his relatively conventional war novel, Empire of the Sun 1984 , a semi autobiographical account of a young boy s experiences in Shanghai during the Second Sino Japanese War as it came to be occupied by the Japanese Imperial Army Described as The best British novel about the Second World War by The Guardian, the story was adapted into a 1987 film by Steven Spielberg.The literary distinctiveness of Ballard s work has given rise to the adjective Ballardian , defined by the Collins English Dictionary as resembling or suggestive of the conditions described in J G Ballard s novels and stories, especially dystopian modernity, bleak man made landscapes and the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography entry describes Ballard s work as being occupied with eros, thanatos, mass media and emergent technologies.