Without knowing it, he had constructed a gigantic vertical zoo, its hundreds of cages stacked above each other. All the events of the past few months made sense if one realized that these brilliant and exotic creatures had learned to open the doors.
High-Rise, the latest movie by director Ben Wheatley (you remember Wheatley; he directed the Doctor Who episodes “Deep Breath” and “Into the Dalek”) is scheduled for limited release this Friday. Of course I’m going to go see it (Tom Hiddleston, natch), so I was trying to decide if I should read the book it’s based on before or after seeing the movie. I tend to prefer whichever version of a story I experience first, and I have a bad habit of pointing out all the ways the movie is different from the book. Might be better to wait.
Then I found out the book’s author, J.G. Ballard, wrote the short story Chronopolis, which remains one of the best stories I’ve ever read. SO, off to the bookstore I went.
Ballard’s 1975 novel High-Rise is both more and less grounded in reality than Chronopolis. It has a similar theme (how technology “improves” everyone’s life to the point where humanity’s only purpose is to serve the technology), but High-Rise takes things much further. The book focuses on how modern comforts separate humans from each other, stripping away our ability to see anyone else as human. And then we see what’s left when those comforts are taken away.