The Drought: A Novel
J. G. Ballard
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An apocalyptic dystopia like no other, one whose "originality and power [of] vision can be felt" (Times Literary Supplement).
Weird and mesmerizingly grotesque, The Drought tells the chilling story of the world on the brink of extinction, where a global drought, brought on by industrial waste, has left mankind in a life-or-death search for water. Violence erupts and insanity reigns as the human race struggles for survival in a worldwide desert of despair.
made physical contact with his hands. ‘It’s good of you, doctor. Grady’s the name, Matthew Grady. This’ll keep the kids going to the coast.’ ‘Drink some yourself. You look as if you need it. It’s only a hundred miles.’ Grady nodded sceptically. ‘Maybe. But I figure the last couple of miles will be really hard going. Could take us a whole two days, maybe three. You can’t drink sea-water. Getting down on to the beach is only the start.’ At the door he added, as if the water in his hand
were some twenty of the fishermen, their thin faces staring down the aisle at the pulpit. For a few moments they stood together, listening to Johnstone as he drew breath and continued his peroration. Then they shuffled into the pews at the back. Exposed behind them through the open door, the billows of smoke drifted across the rooftops fromMount Royal . Surprised by their visit to the church, in their black shabby clothes and old boots, Ransom moved down to the end of the pew, from where he
zoos need people like him, but he’s a menace on his own. It’s time to leave, or one morning you’ll come here and find all the cages open.’ Catherine wrenched her arm away from him. ‘Doctor, can’t youunderstand ? It might rain tomorrow, much as you may hate the prospect. I don’t intend to desert these animals, and as long as there’s food and water I certainly can’t destroy them.’ Lowering her voice, she added: ‘Besides, I don’t think Whitman would let me.’ She turned away and touched the cage of
hold. Painfully, Ransom managed to climb halfway to the rail, and Jonas’s strong hands reached down and seized his arms. He lifted Ransom on to the deck,then pressed him to sit down. Page 42 Ransom pointed to the tramp. ‘He’s injured. Can you bring him up here? I’m adoctor, I’ll do what I can.’ ‘Of course.’ Jonas waved a long arm at the look-out. ‘Go down and we’ll lift him out.’ As he held the ladder he said to Ransom: ‘A doctor, good. You’ll come withus, we need everyone we can find for
conveyors jutted from the dunes ahead. Small pools of water gathered around the rusting legs, and Ransom began to run faster, paddle whirling in his hands as he tried to gain enough momentum to sweep some of this along with him. Exhausted by the need to keep up a brisk trot, he tripped on to his knees, then stood up and raced after the pool as it approached the conveyor. A fish flopped at his feet, twisting on the salt slope. Leaving it, Ransom rushed on after the pool, and caught up with it as