Thursday, November 20, 2014

Book Review: High-Rise

A lot of the science fiction I've read over the years tends to put the blame on "the other", whether an alien invasion, technology gone wild or even "the bomb", but every once in a while I hit a story that puts the blame for its setting squarely on society, and J.G. Ballard's 1975 novel High-Rise fits that bill exactly.

The book focuses on the occupants of a luxury high rise building, which bears a lot in common with the concept of an areology, wherein a densely populated building includes schools, shopping, entertainment, etc. allowing many of its dwellers to spend their entire lives within.

This book however, focuses on how quickly things can go wrong in a confined environment and in addition to being a hyper-violent often shocking narrative, for me the focus is on how much the occupants work (both directly and indirectly) to ensure no one else sees exactly how bad things get inside the building.

The book was dark, harrowing, and surprisingly effective, and is well worth the read.

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