Saw that there’s a movie out based on this book and decided to read it, if only because I rarely get the chance to watch movies anymore, and the book’s always better, right? I’m pretty sure, based on my reading, the movie will be nothing like the book.
That’s speculation, but offered as way to describe how the books seems to work. It’s kind of a horror novel, kind of a sci-fi novel, and while there are visceral scenes and action to be consumed, fit for filming, most of the novel works on a psychological level. Ballard begins by featuring a half-naked man on a balcony eating cooked dog, then jumps back to a civilized beginning to take the reader on a journey that eventually justifies that scene.
And he does so in quantum fits, choosing to show not transition between increasingly disturbing states, but instead the comfort and ease of the characters who dwell in these states. And that’s where the horror lies, in that, given some kind of social decline, people will just be people: adapt, adjust, accept.
Folks will compare High-Rise to Lord of the Flies, which is somewhat apt, and maybe even, dare I say, the madness and decay in that dystopian video game Bioshock. But I don’t think any of that’s the point. I think this is a book that wants to do nothing more than stroke that tenth of a percent of your inner self that enjoys depravity.