The Burning World is a 1964 science fiction novel by British author J. G. Ballard. An expanded version, retitled The Drought, was first published in 1965 by Jonathan Cape.
In contrast to Ballard's earlier novel The Drowned World, The Burning World describes a world in which water is scarce. After an extensive drought, rivers have turned to trickles and the earth to dust, causing the world's populations to head toward the oceans in search of water. The drought is caused by industrial waste flushed into the ocean, which form an oxygen-permeable barrier of saturated long-chain polymers that prevents evaporation and destroys the precipitation cycle.