J.G. Ballard



A note on the local geography

Frequent visitors to the French Riviera will be familiar with Marina Baie des Anges, the vast apartment complex that lies like a second Colosseum under the Nice Airport flight path. The Pierre Cardin Foundation, at Miramar to the west of Cannes, is difficult to find but well worth a visit, and must be one of the strangest buildings in Europe. Port-la-Galère, nearby, is another architectural oddity, with its honeycomb facades worthy of Gaudi.

Antibes-les-Pins, at Golfe-Juan, is part of the high-tech Côte d'Azur that is rapidly replacing the old. An even better example, and the inspiration for Eden-Olympia, is the landscaped business park of Sophia-Antipolis, a few miles to the north of Antibes.

Super-Cannes is a luxury enclave on the heights above the Croisette, but the term might well refer to that whole terrain of science parks and autoroutes on the high ground above the Var plain. Together they make up Europe's silicon valley, a world away from the casinos and belle époque hotels that define the Riviera of old.

Nostalgic Aviation, a cheerful museum of aircraft memorabilia, stands at the entrance to Cannes-Mandelieu Airport, and is a haven for flying buffs. On the new Riviera, even aviation is now consigned to a fondly remembered past.

– J. G. Ballard


Chapter 1 Visitors to the DreamPalace

The first person I met at Eden-Olympia was a psychiatrist, and in many ways it seems only too apt that my guide to this 'intelligent' city in the hills above Cannes should have been a specialist in mental disorders. I realize now that a kind of waiting madness, like a state of undeclared war, haunted the office buildings of the business park. For most of us, Dr Wilder Penrose was our amiable Prospero, the psychopomp who steered our darkest dreams towards the daylight. I remember his eager smile when we greeted each other, and the evasive eyes that warned me away from his outstretched hand. Only when I learned to admire this flawed and dangerous man was I able to think of killing him.

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