Super-Cannes
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Super-Cannes

by J. G. Ballard
Release date: 2000
Type: speculative fiction
Genres: science fiction

A high-tech business park on the Mediterranean coast is the setting for crime of the most disturbing kind in this extraordinary new bestseller from the writer widely regarded as Britain's No 1 living novelist – author of Cocaine Nights.

Paul Sinclair and his bright young wife Jane drive down to the south of France in his vintage Jaguar so that she can take up a post as doctor to the new community of Eden-Olympia, just above Cannes. Multinational companies and their sharpest executives have converged on this high-tech business park, tempted by its location and facilities, by its efficiency and its security, and by something far more disquieting. According to its resident psychologist, Wilder Penrose, the community is "a huge experiment in how to hothouse the future... an ideas laboratory for the new millennium". In such a place, he claims, one is absolutely free to "board the escalator of possibility". Jane does just that. But Paul hesitates before boarding, pausing to look around. He finds what he sees mystifying and unsettling; when he learns that he and his wife have been housed in a villa whose previous occupant had been driven to massacre notable executives on a horrific shooting spree, he begins to look under the surface. For all the dawn-to-dusk hard work, for all its productivity and profits, Eden-Olympia is the venue for games of the most serious sort. So Paul joins in...

On one level Super-Cannes is a romantic fable of a husband's search for a lost wife. But far larger issues are involved that go to the heart of a new kind of social pathology. J.G. Ballard, Britain's most consistently daring and surprising novelist, has again brought his powers of discovery and dissent, curiosity and wit, to a tale as pacey, gripping and illuminating as his previous bestseller, Cocaine Nights.

(updated 2017-01-16)

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