Quickly bored with life in Eden-Olympia ("the kind of adolescent society where you define yourself by the kind of trainers you wear"), Paul decides to investigate the events that led to Greenwood's death, and begins walking in his footsteps. He soon discovers that just beneath the calm, well-mannered surface of his new home lies an underworld of crime, deviant sex, and drugs that seems to be prospering and growing. And all the residents at Eden-Olympia seem not only to be aware of this, but to encourage and welcome this underworld, as it provides them with a means to relate to something other than their jobs, and — by entering that world — to let go of the social restraints and etiquette that define their lives.
Paul discovers that Eden-Olympia's resident psychiatrist, Wilder Penrose, is eagerly encouraging his patients (and there are many of them) to indulge themselves in activities involving sex and violence, as a (successful) cure for their symptoms of stress. Says Penrose: "Psychopathy is its own most potent cure, and always has been. At times, it grasps entire nations in its grip and sends them through vast therapeutic spasms. No drug in the world is that powerful."
Books: That Sublime Riviera Touch ; Super-Cannes by J G Ballard Flamingo, Pounds 16.99, 392pp; Nicholas Royle Visits a Coast of Dreams with the Century's First Essential Novel
Sep 02, 2000; STEPPING FORWARD to accept the outstretched hand of the new century, JG Ballard must have experienced the sensation of meeting...