The Drowned World - J.G. Ballard Civilization is a tenuous thing in a Ballard novel. It is a illusion which is easily exposed leaving the protagonist in a precarious and existentially challenging position. The Drowned World is no exception. In the 21st century, the earth has heated up immensely, melting the icecaps and drowning most of the Earth. The remaining population is living in the Arctic or Antarctic. A research crew is exploring the remains of London which is now submerged in a swampy jungle that is reverting to the Triassic Era. Not only is the Earth devolving but it is affecting forgotten parts of the human brain causing the characters to have memories and instincts relating to the same ancient era. Surprisingly our protagonists welcome this and this is where the novel gets its energy. Civilization and savagery are never very far apart in a Ballard story and there are plenty examples of that in this excellent early work of one of the later 20th century's finest writers.