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First edition (publ. Flamingo, UK)

Super-Cannes is a novel by the British author J. G. Ballard, published in 2000. It picks up on the same themes as his earlier Cocaine Nights, and has often been called a companion piece to that book.[1]

Plot summary[edit]

In the hills above Cannes, a European elite has gathered in the business-park Eden-Olympia, a closed society that offers its privileged residents luxury homes, private doctors, private security forces, their own psychiatrists, and other conveniences required by the modern businessman. The book's protagonist, Paul, quits his job as an editor and moves to Eden-Olympia with his wife Jane when she is offered a job there as a pediatrician. At first glance, Eden-Olympia seems the ideal workers' paradise, but beneath its glittering, glass-wall surface, all is not well. For if things are running smoothly, then why are all the residents — these well-established businessmen, doctors, architects, and producers — all suffering heavily from stress and insomnia? And why did Jane's predecessor, the well-liked and apparently quite sane David Greenwood, go to work one day with an assault rifle strapped over his shoulders, murdering several of his friends and co-workers, before he put the rifle to his own head?

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."

Chapter 18[edit]

Chapter 18: Paul, in the last chapter was investigating the last disturbed moments of Greenwoods time in Eden-Olympia. Paul, right now is at a bar in Rialto outside of Eden-Olympia, where he sees two brunette prostitutes. Whom were speaking French and Arabic to each other. This adds to the reasons why Paul wishes to escape Eden-Olympia, and says, “The business park was the outpost of an advanced kind of puritanism, and a virtually sex-free zone” (155). Watching the prostitutes, Paul thinks about Jane and his neglectful love life, and the unfaithful relationship of his parents, as he compares his dad to a secret agent. Paul follows the prostitutes, as they get up to leave. He thinks about the special requirement to having sex with prostitutes that he learned about in Germany, and how easy it was with his past girlfriends. He thought about the Polish whores in the bars outside of RAF Mülheim and calls them a different breed. He compares them to furies from Aeschylus, who loathed their clients, but wanted to be “used like appliances rented out for the hour, offering any part of themselves to the crudest fantasies of the men who paid them” (156-157). Paul followed the prostitutes past the Noga Hilton waiting to see how far he could go before the “puritan conscience pulled the plug.’’ He lost the women as they walked down the Rue Amouretti to the place Dubois. As Paul crossed the Rue d’ Antibes he noticed a lot of Arab pushers, waitresses working there. He went to get his Jaguar, but came across a young girl and two plain clothed police officers. Paul first thinks the child is caught trying to board the Paris Express, but new that was not the case when he saw her clothes, and what he says there was nothing childlike about her gaze when she turned to smile at him. Paul forgetting his car, took after them.. Paul confesses to coming by the shabby streets with Jane and was amazed of the different working children, and the indifference of how others viewed their job. Paul views the different transvestites who got picked up my different men. Paul follows the young girl to the end of Rue Valentine where he saw three vans with no license plates.

The young girl went into the van. He watches as the young girl sat obediently waiting for orders. Paul walked to the man that was next to the girls van where he tells the man in black to wait with her while he gets his car. The man says”sept mille Frances, and Paul responds by how much that is, and she must be very young. The man looked of twenty years of age, and wants seven thousand francs. Paul looked at his face, that had the same nose and chin as the little girl, and thinks he might be the child’s brother. Paul took all the banknotes from his wallet. When he gets the child, he will put her in his car, and will outrun the van. He offered three thousand Frances to the man, and said that he will pay him back later. When the man dismissed Paul, Paul negotiated with him again, by telling him that he has access to methadone, diamorphine, pethidine, and he can have as much as he wants. He agreed, but first wants his shoes too, and at that moment lights flooded the narrow Street, and Three Range Rovers swerved into the Rue Valentin, when the lights dimmed. The pimps, and dealers, and prostitutes were running towards the avenue of St-Nicolas. Burly men in black helmets, and wore tight waisted bowling jackets appeared. Clubs in hand, they took off after the crowd. Prostitutes that Paul saw from the bar, fell to the ground, as the men attacked them.

Paul knelt on the cobbled road and cut his hands with shards of glass. He noticed the schoolgirl had taken shelter behind the steering wheel and ignored the violence around her. Paul tries to warn her by tapping on the window before a hand gripped his shoulder. “Mr Sinclair… it’s time to leave” (169). Halder appeared out of nowhere looking like he was out yachting. He was unarmed and ducks when he sees an Arab man getting clubbed. He takes Paul with him. He sees that one of people attacking was Zander Pascal. Zander was accompanied by Dr Neumunster, Professor Walter, and Richard Maxted. “They lounged against the Range Rovers, joking with each other like hunters returning from a boar shoot, happily charged by adrenalin and the camaraderie of the chase” (170). The posse moved on through the streets heading towards Super-Cannes.

Halder tells Paul the school girl is better off staying there instead of going with them. Halder explains that the posse behind the attacks are a special action group who do these exercises as a therapy session to cure the disease that is Rue Valentin. The chapter ends with Halder promising to come around the next day to take Paul on a special tour. When Paul asks where they will be going, Halder responds that he’s never really seen the real Eden-Olympia.

Chapter 19[edit]

In chapter 19, titled “Elopement”, starts off with Jane swimming in the pool and practicing her dives as Paul watches. Jane then touches on the fact that the cold pool that she set for herself is to help her stay awake since she will be heading to Sophia-Antipolis to possibly share medical databanks to interlink them with her medical center. Paul then came home later that night to the door slightly ajar with cannabis and cigarette smoke hanging in layers. Through a blanket of pot, he noticed the scent of Simone Delage and went to the bedroom to find Jane asleep and grabbed her eyebrow pincers to look for shards of glass to see if there was any broken glass. Jane then awoke but went to sleep after questioning Paul, in which Paul saw the marks of her diamorphine injection to help her get some sleep. That next morning Paul listened to the news for the incident in the Rue Valentin but no one had reported it. Paul was remembering about the bruise on his back that he got and reflected on Pascal Zander on how him and his senior executives would “relish” the chance to break the heads of a few pimps and transvestites to impose the rule of a new corporate puritanism. The violence had been deeply satisfying for them, Paul states, this excerpt from the book is relatively similar to the acts of the Puritans in around the 1700 and 1800’s. J. G. Ballard used the puritan belief system in his book to display not only their ideologies, that are similar to that of Eden-Olympia, but also to the violence of it. Puritans fought for their religious ideologies and strove to commit violence on others if they believed differently as the puritans did to the indians since they had their own gods to look up to (Juster).[2] The puritan ideologies and the massive amount of violence they committed is comparable to that of Zander since they “relish” at the chance of committing violence against transvestites and pimps to back up their views since it is “deeply satisfying”, as Paul States, (Ballard 169) which overall interlinks with that of fetishisizing over violence within the novel. Continuing with the chapter, Paul and Jane talk amongst themselves which then Jane tells Paul that he is too much involved with the whole Greenwood incident in which Paul just shrugs it off and continues to do research on the incident. Paul then meets with Penrose to discuss the matters of Zander and his crew to which Paul refers to them as the “bully boys of Eden-Olympia”. Paul thinks it is wrong that these events happened but Penrose believes that Zander’s acts are okay and Penrose states, “ least it’s channeled into something socially useful”(Ballard 171) and Penrose even states again that, “There’s nothing like a little violence to tone up the system”(Ballard 171). Penrose’s statement is comparable to that of the famous saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, but in his case it’s violence instead of apples. The common acceptance and fetishizing of violence throughout Eden-Olympia is what helps for Penrose to make such a comment since he is a long time inhabitant there and he has become himself accepting of those ideologies that violence is a common thing. After that, Paul is given information by Penrose on Eden-Olympia’s corporate past on hard disks so that Paul can keep doing his investigation. Paul then discusses to Penrose that he wanted to save the Russian girl, who was hinted to be a prostitute, and take the child with her, but could not since the vigilante group had burst upon the Rue Valentin.

This chapter also deals with a number of revelations. At the beginning, Paul arrives home around midnight to find the front door wide open along with a strong scent of marijuana filling the lounge. This implies that there we possibly guests in the home while he was away. Shortly after analyzing the scene, Paul states, “I could smell Simone Delage’s pallid scent, a pheromone emitted by an ice queen.” (168). At this point, it is inferred that Simone Delage, Paul’s neighbor, has been involved in strange activities with his wife, Jane. The next revelation occurs shortly after when Paul steps into his bedroom to find Jane barely awake and appearing to drift in and out of consciousness. Paul was intrigued by her state, and decided to lean in to take her pulse. As he did so, he saw a puncture wound in her arm that seemed to be done recently. It is implied that Jane relies on drugs at this point in the novel. The morning after, Paul and Jane awaken and Paul seems to be waiting to meet with the ever-obscure psychiatrist, Wilder Penrose. Jane seems to have recovered from her drug-induced state from the previous night. Penrose is late to their meeting and feeling upset Paul says, “God. I’ve been stood up by a psychiatrist. That’s professional disgrace. I’ll report him to the GMC for ungallantry.” Jane tells Paul that Penrose would “love” that type of attention. Paul in his mind, is in disbelief about Jane’s drug use. He then recalls a time when Jane assured him that “physicians often prescribe themselves a sedative or booster, no more threatening to health than a double gin or a pan of Turkish coffee.” (179). Clearly the night before, when he laid eyes on the entry wound in her arm, it was more serious than a sedative or booster. Soon enough, Penrose arrives and begins to have a conversation with Paul regarding the violence that occurred when he met Halder on the Croisette. Penrose asks Paul what he was doing out there that night, and Paul is honest in telling him that he followed a girl accompanied by some thugs. Which turns out to be an underage teenage prostitute and her minders. As soon as Paul realizes this he says it was ‘sordid’ as to express disgust by what goes on with the girl. Penrose replies with, “Tragic for the child, but sexual pathology is such an energizing force. People know that, and will stoop to any depravity that excites them.” (172). Paul tells Penrose that the underlying reason he followed the girl was to buy her from the minders and deliver her to back to the refuge where she belonged with the African nuns in La Bocca. He then says, “At least, I think that’s what I wanted to do.” Implying that he had a strange, obscure agenda for the teenage prostitute, Natasha, that he was leading on to. When Paul asks him if his thoughts were wrong, Penrose replies with, “Seize the hour. Pay the price. Be true to your real self, embrace all the possibilities of your life. Eden-Olympia will help you, Paul…” It is at this moment in the novel where one can begin to link all of the crime that has been occurring with the one person that seems to be prescribing these deranged activities as a form of therapy, Wilder Penrose, resident psychiatrist.

Chapter 25[edit]

In this chapter Ballard talked again of sexual fetishes and violence. This chapter takes place in La Napoule Bay. Paul and Frances were on the balcony of a villa that Frances rents. They were having a conversation about the first time they had met at The Pierre Cardin Foundation. They also talked about how Frances left her car keys on purpose, so Paul can steal her car. While they were at the villa Paul found a brochure and notice that Frances last name was Delmas and not Baring. He remembered that the initials F.D. were on David’s hit list. They saw a team of people setting up some lights and cameras hundred yards away on a terrace. They were doing a photo shoot with Japanese models. Paul asked her about the brochure that her last name was different and she said that she was married before but got divorced. While they were talking they saw the models changing, and they had body guards because they had expensive fur coats. Then they saw the Japanese fighting with a group dressed in leather jackets. Paul recognized the leather jackets from the scene of the prostitution fight. They left the balcony and the guys with the leather jackets got in the Range Rover, stole the fur coats, left the scene with the lights off and they couldn’t be seen. Frances tried to call the police and Paul didn’t let her. Paul then started thinking about the robbery and he said, “The speed and aggression of the robbers, their brutal efficiency, had almost winded me. I forced myself to breathe, gasping the night air with its reek of burnt insects, fear and Japanese scent. I felt the hair prickling on the nape of my neck, and a stream of sweat cooling between my shoulder blades. A potent odour lifted from my crutch, a deep hormonal call to violence. My penis thickened, and my scrotum gripped my testicles like a fist (Ballard, 222).” One of the sexual fetishes Paul has is seeing violent crimes. Meaning that he gets an erection when he has an adrenaline rush. According to the CHIVE[3] another sexual fetish is Mechanophilia which is, “A sexual attraction to machines such as bicycles, motor vehicles, helicopters and airplanes (Ben).” Some sexual fetishes are more common than others. But some of them are out there that people don’t even know exist. Frances told Paul that they have to leave that the police where going to arrive. Paul said to lock the doors and it’s going to look like the house is empty, but Frances reminded Paul that her car was on the drive way. They decide to go to Marina Baie des Anges.

Paul and Frances begin to visit a vacant house built into the rocks of the Pointe de l'Esquillon. Frances looks and rents out houses, yachting resorts, to corporate visitors and high-powered academics. Through conversation, Paul begins to ask Frances if their meeting wasn't accidental which Frances responds it was not because she thought he looked interesting. Paul confesses to Frances that it was he who stole her car, practically begged for it to get stolen as she left the keys to the ignition on the passenger seat, but Frances had purposely left the keys to test Paul if he was capable of stealing and also to begin to alarm Paul about understanding Eden-Olympia. Frances lights up a cigarette and moves around the room as Paul alerts the audience to his sexual attraction towards Frances. Paul finds a brochure left on the terrace table and he turns it face down and reads the name 'Mme Frances Delmas' and remembers the cryptic initials on David Greenwood's hit list 'F.D.' F.D. Is actually Frances Baring; she had changed it after she separated from her husband, an accountant with Elf-Maritime, two years past. Paul is told by Frances the house is known as The Pierre Cardin Foundation, a painter and sculptor whose works will be shown there, and is used to rent out big functions – a Tokyo advertising agency making a fur commercial. Paul asks Frances about her affair, a word she dislikes, with David Greenwood and Frances tells him they were happy and not happy. Frances began to not enjoy the man David was becoming, the man Eden-Olympia was turning him into. David didn't like it either. Paul believes David was trying to murder Frances but Frances rejects this theory by explaining how David stood in front of her the day of the shooting with a rifle in his hands and didn't shoot her. Paul and Frances see a commercial being filmed for furs.

As Paul and Frances continue talking about Frances' past, they both witness a brawl happening with the Japanese commercial. A group of security men exited their vehicle and begin bashing their clubs at the Japanese filmmakers and camera crew. Paul recognizes the leather bowling jackets he had seen before at the Rue Valentin. Paul sees a man on some steps filming the entire assault with a camcorder. The gang and security men leave the camera crew and enter into their Range Rovers and begin to drive away. Frances tries to call the police but Paul stops her as he is trying to piece together the events that occurred with other events that happened throughout the novel. Frances doesn't understand why Paul doesn't want to call the police and questions whether Paul recognized some of the gang members. Paul begins to narrate about his feeling after watching the assault take place, he describes achieving an erection and excitement, the same feeling he had after his first solo landing at the RAF flying school. Frances invites Paul to return to Marina Baie des Anges, there are some things he needs to see.

Chapter 26[edit]

“Flying Again” entails of Paul getting in touch with the feeling of being alive again. In this case, feeling alive, or his humanity was felt through being able to be aroused again in the bedroom setting. Keep in mind; this all took place before Penrose revealed the hidden agenda behind his prescribed elite fight club. Even earlier in the book, through taboo acts, Paul is aroused. For example when Jane does something as small as stealing a magazine they soon after make love. Not only is Paul submitting to the corruption, he is also unconsciously filling the shoes of David Greenwood by yielding to the chaos that surrounds him, that including partaking in an affair with Greenwood’s ex-lover Frances Baring. Frances is an interesting character who pushes Paul to commit questionable acts in order to make him feel alive again, sounding extremely similar to Penrose. Frances opening Paul’s world in order to help him accept the fact that immorality is key in someone’s humanity is foreshadowing what was to come in the near future, Penrose’s reveal of his form of psychotherapy. The direct connection between taboo acts or immorality and sex is set throughout the entire book, but especially when Frances and Paul interact in the bedroom. In chapter 26, Frances pushes Paul to find his “…door, the special one”. Frances suggests Paul beating her, imagining Jane sleep with another man, and even takes it as far as actually urinating on Paul in order to get him aroused. Finally, Frances slips into a cheap looking dress similar to one of a street walker. Paul continuously describes adolescence and pubescence when seeing Francis in the dress and tells her that he feels young again. And so, the constant comparing of Jane to a child when they first arrive to Eden Olympia comes full circle. Paul feels alive again.

Chapter 29[edit]

Chapter 29 recaps and answers many questions formulated in earlier chapters. For example, in chapter 18 page 159 we learn that bizarre things take place in the dark streets of Cannes, specifically in the streets beyond the Boulevard D’alsace. Paul experiences and witnesses the prostitution of a young 13-year-old girl, thugs, pimps, whores and travesties dominating the streets. He also discovers that high ranked doctors and important personnel of Cannes are being part of the sex and violent scenes taking place in the darkness and questions how they could ever get away with it and why they were even doing these things in the first place.

In this chapter, all these previous questions are somewhat cleared as Penrose, the psychiatrist of Eden Olympia comes clean to Paul, as he explains to him in detail that all the violent crimes, drugs and kinky sex that take place in the darkness of Cannes are actually part of his therapeutic program. Penrose’s explains to him why he uses this type of “therapy program” and that is because people work for hours, and don’t get to live normal lives, thus causing them to become less humane. In his mind, people need to release their stress by hitting people, stealing or performing uncanny sex acts. Performing these outrages acts, according to Penrose, helps them, the hard working doctors and important personnel of Olympia, get back to their work and their daily lives with ease. In other words, acting like complete psychopaths helps these hard working personnel stay “sane”. Penrose goes on proving his point by talking about his success stories that have come from using this therapeutic method. He also goes on explaining how he got this idea. On page 259, it turns out that he got inspired to create this therapy group from one senior manager. This particular man had been out of work for plenty of months, even thinking of moving out of Eden Olympia since he had been suffering dermatitis. One day that senior manager witnessed a woman tourist being mugged by an Arab youth and gave him a good beating, kicking him so hard he broke two bones in his foot. When he returned to the clinic to have his cast removed, Penrose asked him about his dermatitis, it was gone. Ever since that beating he had felt more confident than ever. Quickly after learning what had happened to this man, he asked him if he could monitor his progress and very soon after the incident, they created a therapy group which has ever since grown and has become what Paul has witness in the darkness of Cannes. What had seemed to be something wrong and secret in the dark shadows turned out to be something very normal and expected of the important personnel of Eden Olympia.

However, the question about whether Dr. Greenwood had done the killings on May 28, because of this therapeutic method remains undiscovered in this chapter. Since according to Penrose, Greenwood was well aware of these acts but had never taken any part of them in any way, shape or form. He also briefly mentions that Greenwood wasn’t all for it or supported this type of program that Penrose carried, but carries on saying he had problems of his own. But we discover in upcoming chapters that he indeed was a major part of the violence taking place.

Regardless of anyone’s approval or not, Penrose stays confident and stays persistent in making Paul understand that his program will help the society of Olympia come together as a group and help them understand feelings and even find themselves as a person. Because Olympia is home of many intelligent and hard working people, it tends to deprive people from living regular lives. In Eden Olympia, there’s no such thing as social gatherings, leisure activities, or community life. It’s a childless, lifeless community were people have no time for understanding or expressing their own feelings or emotions. Engaging them in activities that spark adrenaline tends to remind them that they have emotions.

And there’s scarily a lot of truth in Penrose’s idea of Violence as a “stress reliever”. In an article,[4] something similar is discussed. According to psychology studies playing violent videogames reduces depression and hostile feelings, it was proven to decrease left alpha brain waves which are associated with decreasing depressive thoughts.

Paul, even after hearing all of Penrose’s reasons still questions him by letting him know that he’s concerned that these outrages aren’t the best way to “save” Olympia from insanity. He lets him know that he might let the Eden Olympia police know about the uncanny activities that have been happening are actually incited and not pure coincidence. Though Penrose makes him question his future actions and even tries making him feel uncertain by telling him that the police might or might not even believe him nor understand the situation and if they do, they might be on his side and get some important people of Eden Olympia in trouble and it would all be his fault if that were to happen.

Another chapter where violence is being shown as a form of therapy is chapter 29. This is one of the most important chapters in the book because it explains all the violence that occurs in the book. The chapter starts out by Penrose giving Paul a stole for Jane that was stolen from the Cardin foundation. After receiving the gift Paul comes to conclusion that Penrose knew all about the Cardin Foundation Robbery. Paul then starts listing all the violent acts that has been occurring at Eden and Penrose knows all about them. Penrose explains to Paul, “’ I mean a controlled and supervised madness. Psychopathy is its own most potent cure, and has been throughout history. At times it grips entire nations in a vast therapeutic spasm. No drug has ever been more potent’” (251). What Wilder is explaining to Paul here, is that committing violent acts and committing controlled madness can help the people at Eden. He’s also saying that no drug trying to cure stress of any type can cure like the way madness and psychopathy can. A Company that was started in 2008 called “Anger Room”[5] uses the same sort of tactics that Wilder tries to use with his patients. The company explains, “Place where you can let your hair down, gear up and destroy real-life mocked rooms that simulate an actual workplace, living area or kitchen. Complete with dummies, mannequins, TVs, tables and many, many more breakable items” (Anger Room). What this company is trying to do is help people relieve stress by breaking real life items. Like Wilder’s idea of using violence acts as a therapeutic act, The “Anger Room” does the same. Paul then tells Wilder that he’s going to report him to the authorities and Wilder remains calm as if he knows he’s not going to. Wilder then talks about his first arrival at Eden and explains how everything looked so well with all the big time companies reaching tremendous success, but then he says that most of the senior executives were mostly all mentally ill. At this point of the conversation between the two, Wilder is trying his best to turn Paul onto his schemes so he can see the positive outcomes of these violent acts. Penrose explains “’work dominates life in Eden-Olympia, and drives out everything else. The dream of a leisure society was the great twentieth-century delusion’” (254). What Wilder is trying to do here is simply explain the reason behind his therapy attacks. He’s talking about how work at Eden dominates everything and that’s all people do there is work. He explains to Paul that Eden lacks community life and also brings up the topic of Eden lacking in social events and gatherings. At this point Penrose is starting to get into Paul’s mind and is sort of starting to change his feelings towards the attacks. He explains to Paul that all he’s really trying to do is bring people together, especially the high class executives. He then explains that he tried other ideas of therapy like skiing, yachting and sex, but failed drastically. Penrose then talks about the fantasies that high professional therapist had which included violence and madness. He talks about the first experiment with a senior manager, he says “’ He saw a woman tourist in Cannes being mugged by an Arab youth, and went to her rescue. While she called the police he gave the fellow a good beating, kicked him so hard that he broke two bones in his right foot. He came in a week later to have the cast removed, and I asked him about the dermatitis. It had gone. He felt buoyant and confident again. Not a trace of depression’” (259). He’s explaining how a senior manager cured his dermatitis and depression after he took matter into his own hands and beat an Arab. That same manager went on and caused a scene with an immigrant, he then started to invite his friends to do the same and it ended up working for them because it cheered them all up. After this happened Penrose explains how he asks the group if he can help them out professionally, and soon they become a full therapy group committing violent acts on the weekends. Although these acts did have some harm on the executives, they all felt great and confident at the end. Penrose then explains how other groups went out and committed other acts, and groups of men were being paid as foot soldiers which gave them a decent bonus. The treatment of these crazy acts actually worked, Wilder claims that success came as fast as three months and there was no more people with cases of insomnia and depression. One of Wilders main enemy is guilt, because if someone breaks and tells the authorities, his whole therapeutic program is over. He explains how he sort of brainwashed every CEO to understand and see the positive outcomes of these therapies. Penrose begins to persuade Paul to a whole different level, he talks about madness being a freedom and a natural thing. He starts putting things together on how things would work in Eden, he says “‘a controlled psychopathy is a way of resocializing people and tribalizing them into mutually supportive groups’” (265). What he is trying to explain here is that controlled violence is the best way of getting people together and by putting people into groups is best because a group of people doing something they all like will bring them together. Towards the end of the chapter he begins to question Paul about reporting all the violence to the authorities. Paul is confused on what his decision will be weather to tell the police or not but it sort of seems like he’s not going through that route.

Chapter 32[edit]

Paul and Frances set off toward Antibes leaving Marina Baie des behind. Frances takes the wheel to the Villa Grimaldi Party as Paul sits in the passenger seat of the BMW. Paul frowns at the likelihood of attending the Villa Griimaldi party. “I lay back in the passenger seat and let the night air sweep across me, carrying away the last musty scents of Greenwood’s dinner jacket” (288).Frances took Greenwood’s suit out of her wardrobe and shared it with Paul. Paul explains how “a scent of past time clung to the fabric” (288). Imagined memories of Greenwood were triggered by Paul from just the vast scent of the dead man’s tuxedo. Although Paul was wearing the dead man’s tuxedo he felt oddly comfortable. Paul notices he is still wearing his leather sandals. Francis by chance found a pair of black esparadrilles for Paul. Paul and Frances finally reached Villa Grimaldi where they set eyes to the Palais des Festival. “A forced intimacy ruled the night, an illusion of good humour that seemed part of a complex social experiment” (290).

Frances leaves Paul so he can find Jane. Paul realizes Frances left so eagerly because she was trying to avoid a more serious admirer who had seen her arrive. Paul spots Pascal Zander moving unsteadily down the steps from the upper terrace along with Halder, as he held a mobile radio. Paul stopped Halder to ask for Jane. He had seemed surprised to see Paul and tells him that Jane had already left home. Paul was concerned about Jane’s health. Paul receives a heavy slap in the back from Zander he was very drunk. Zander was being obnoxious and Paul couldn’t believe “that this corpulent beach Beria had been appointed Eden-Olympia’s acting head of security” (292). Zander talks to Paul and mentions how he takes care of the people of Eden-Olympia he explains how Wilder Penrose is crooked. Zander wants to grow close to Paul in a devious manner.

Halder and Paul were not alone keeping watch on the security chief. Alain Delage and Oliver Destivelle were also around. Paul felt certain Jane was still somewhere within the Villa Grimaldi since Zander had mentioned it earlier. Paul stumbles across open connecting doors onto a formal drawing room. Within the room a television set stood on a black wood table. He was invited in by a man. Turns out it was Wilder Penrose. Paul is still concerned about Jane’s whereabouts and asks Dr. Penrose if he might have seen her. Dr. Penrose tells Paul that Jane is somewhere around in one of the bedrooms. He offers to explain to Paul where to find Jane but before that he wants Paul to look at the television screen. The footage that Paul was seeing was disturbing to the eye. “The sound was turned down but I could almost hear the screams and truncheon thuds. Headlights veered across an underground car park, where a trio of olive-skinned men lay on the concrete floor, pools of blood around their heads” (296). Dr. Penrose acknowledges that the footage is brutal, yet he defines his footage to be therapeutic. Paul also tells Penrose that Zander does not believe in Dr Penrose’s morals. “Though I hated everything he had done, and hated myself for failing to report him to the French authorities, I felt almost sorry for him. Mired in its mediocrity, the human race would never be insane enough for Wilder Penrose” (298).Paul confronts Penrose and asks him if the Arab men in the garage from the footage seen earlier were murders. Penrose denies and assures Paul that everyone recovered from the incidents. Penrose tells Paul to not listen to Zander because Zander is only putting ideas into Paul’s head.

Paul eventually finds Jane on a tiled bathroom floor. Jane had this blush of a large slap still burned on one side of her cheek. Paul asks Jane if Zander was responsible for her bruised face. Paul made the conclusion it might have been Zander because of his strong scented cologne. Paul could distinguish his cologne ever so clearly. Jane reassures that “it doesn’t matter, Paul high up here in Supper Cannes, nothing matters” (302). Jane says she had fallen over and that Zander was very drunk. Paul wondered what Zander was even doing their in the first place since he had smelled his aroma around the room. Jane tells Paul that “Alain set up one of his little games” (302). And did not tell her Zander was going to play. They pushed Zander in the bedroom and locked the door. Jane was lying in the bed as Zander was pushed. Jane kept implying that Zander was just too drunk. Paul wants to leave Eden-Olympia and take Jane with him. Jane refuses to leave and insists on staying because she is happy there. Jane tells Paul to leave to London without her.

Chapter 33[edit]

Chapter 33 continues with the end of the Cannes Film Festival and picks up after Paul and Jane’s conversation. As the night is drawing to an end, Paul compares the fireworks fading into the night sky to a hashish dream. “The flicker of flashbulbs marked the end of another premiere, and headlights glowed through the palm fronds as a motorcade left the Palais des Festivals” (304). Paul continues to drink champagne and thinks of Jane. He thinks of packing Jane into the Jaguar and leaving Eden-Olympia with her but hesitates with the idea, just like he hesitated with the idea to turn Wilder Penrose to the police. Paul convinces himself that hesitating was the right choice because he knows Jane would come right back to Eden-Olympia. “I resented Jane for no longer needing me. I knew that she would leave me at the first service station on the Paris auto route and hitch a lift to Cannes without a backward glance” (304). Paul decides to stay because he feels he is needed there by Wilder Penrose to help with his faltering dream of social madness.

He finds Frances Baring and Zander alone on a lower terrace dancing. He watches them and Frances notices Paul and waves at him. He sees her whisper to Zander and goes to greet Paul. “She embraces me, reeking of Zander’s cologne” (305). Paul is determined to speak with Zander, claiming that he will be the first policeman he will have ever punched. Jane thinks Paul wants to punch Zander for touching her, but Paul lets her know he touched Jane. As Paul squares his shoulders and heads for Zander he sees Halder. “I saw Halder raise a slim hand in warning” (305). He decides to talk to Zander another time instead. They forget about Zander for the moment and leave.

As they continue down the road in their car, Paul realizes that Eden-Olympia has turned off their emotions and only allow violence and aggression as a therapeutic regime. Off in the distance they notice two black Mercedes being followed by a commercial ambulance. Frances notices that the number plate on the ambulance reads “Toulon”. They believe the ambulance is only there for any emergency. Frances lets Paul know that there will be a ratissage that night. Paul doesn’t believe her at first, claiming,“Penrose would have told me..” (307). Paul assures her that Penrose was busy watching violent videos upstairs, to prescribe a violent therapy. Frances warns Paul that he should stop the ratissage. He declines because he appears in many videos of crimes and prefers not to go to jail. As they continue down the road, Frances lets Paul know that a car has been following them. “The Audi driver cruised through the red lights, and at the last moment swung round to follow us” (308). As the Audi continues to follow them they notice that there were two limousines similar to the ones they saw earlier, aggressively pursuing the Audi. “I saw a fist raised through the window, and his headlights flared when the tank-like limousine jolted his bumper” (309).

The Audi speeds past them followed by two Mercedes. They decide to follow the two Mercedes limousines, because they were chasing the Audi and not them. “The Audi was circling a nearby roundabout, chased by one of the Mercedes. Almost rolling the limousine onto its side, the driver rammed the rear of the Audi” (310). Paul convinces Frances to follow the deranged motorcade as it moved along the beach road. They soon noticed the Audi had crashed. “The Audi overran the stone kerb, struck the sea wall and whirled into the air before plunging onto the beach below” (317). Paul makes his way down the beach and see’s the Audi on its back, engulfed in flames. Some people exit the limousine to record the car wreck and film Paul, as he pleaded them to help the man in the Audi. Paramedics soon arrive and begin to remove the man from the Audi. Paul recognizes the man as being Zander Pascal. After failing to revive Zander, the paramedics leave his body and smoke cigarettes and talk on their radio. In shock of Zander’s death Frances gets in the BMW they were driving and leaves Paul behind. Halder arrives right before the police do, and warns Paul that they should leave immediately. Before they can leave, Alain Delage greeted Paul, from inside the other limousine. In the limousine Alain, Jane and Simone Dealge sat with the camcorder, which recorded the crash and Paul, sitting in their laps. Paul tries to tell Alain that they should speak with the police about the crash. Alain disregards Paul’s cries and tells them “the ambulance men will tell them everything” (321). Zander’s jacket detaches from his arm and floats off into the waves. As the chapter ends, Paul realizes that the night won’t be over any time soon.

Chapter 40[edit]

Paul was on his way to tell Francis that he was going to go back to London after he and Jane ended their marriage. He lets himself in her apartment, once he is inside, he smells what he thinks is cheap aftershave. He believes Francis is in bed with her lover and he has images of her lying naked next to him. When he opens the bedroom door his mind eases as he sees Francis lying in bed. Careful not to wake her, Paul walks across the darkroom quietly, and sat next to her on the bed. By trying not to move the bed by sitting on it, he uses his hands as leverage, by doing so he feels a patch of wetness that left the fabric warm. He soon realizes that Frances’s face was bruised up, her mouth was open with nothing but broken teeth, and she had blood on her forehead. As he tried to turn on the light to the room, a hand reached out and grabbed him, which was revealed to be Halder. Halder told him to not turn on the lights to the room because he was being watched by people who wanted to harm him. Paul wanted to help Francis hoping there was still a chance she was alive begging Halder to call an ambulance, but Halder said that she had been dead for thirty minutes already. He noticed a jacket that Halder had confirmed that belonged to Greenwood and that they must have worn in while they killed her. As Paul stepped back in horror he tripped on a tripod that he had not seen, to his horror they had made a film of the murder and rape of his lover. There was also a dress from La Bocca that Halder tells Paul that Francis probably refused to wear it and put up a fight. Paul thinking that Halder was there when it happened asked him, but Halder said he arrived ten minutes after everything had happened. Paul asked Holder how she died and Holder tells Paul that there is a knife in the shower so that the prints from the knife. Halder said that they will say that Paul was washing the knife after he made his movie with Francis and was washing the knife while they barged in. Paul still wondering who they were, ask Holder who then reveals that they were people working for Eden-Olympia, working under Alain Delage. Wondering what would happen if they left the room, Halder said that they would accuse Paul of a burglary gone wrong and get him at another time. Paul then picks up Greenwoods jacket and covers it over Francis, leaving it as Greenwoods final embrace. As they were leaving the apartments, Holder looks at Paul as if trying to convince himself that Paul had nothing to do with the crime, he then tries to wipe some blood off of Paul’s chin, which Paul does not allow him to do because he is still startled over the death of Francis, as they got to the ground floor a women saw Paul’s hands full of blood and screamed which causes a security guard from the hotel to approach them. Holder then guided Paul to the kitchen to try and hide the blood that belonged to Francis. Holder then instructs Paul to put his hands in a lamb to make it look like he was one of the cooks in the kitchen. The security guard comes in the kitchen and does not uncover Paul, as soon as he leaves Holder instructs Paul to clean off all the blood from the lamb and Francis. As soon as Paul was done, the exited the building through the basement because they feared that the security guard must have called the police. Sitting in the car Holder tells Paul that he was there to kill him, but did not do so because he actually likes Paul. Paul is worried that he has been seen by other people, but Holder assures him that he will be alright. Holder tells Paul that the reason that they killed Francis is because she was going to cause problems for Penrose and Delage. Paul then says that Penrose had told him that he was calling all the robberies and raids off, but Holder tells Paul that none of that is true and that Penrose was just trying to frame Paul. Paul worries about what would happen to Jane, but Holder tells Paul that they view her as one of them now because of how invested she is in Eden-Olympia. Holder soon reveals that he was behind all of the graffiti and green slogans. As they were leaving the building Paul notices that women who had seen him talking to police that seemed uninterested in her story, he then notices Alexei who had attacked him at his own home once before. He asks Holder what Alexei was doing there and Holder reveals that his real name was Golyadkin Dmitri. In shock Paul asks Holder if Dmitri could have killed Frances and Holder said it is very possible, but not to worry because Holder can take care of him later. Throughout the different chapters, Ballard shows acts of violence as a commodity that the reader gets kind of used to, but the death of Francis was by far the most unexpected and most horrific act in the novel. What made it even worse, is that no one did it as an act to relieve stress; she was killed out of cold blood and fear that Francis would cause Penrose and Delage problems.


David Greenwood[edit]

Dr. David Greenwood: Greenwood is an English pediatric doctor who worked at Eden-Olympia’s clinic and is famously known as the man who went on a shooting rampage killing ten of his well-known colleagues. His position is later fulfilled by a young doctor, Jane Sinclair, who moves into his home with her unemployed husband Paul. Greenwood’s narrative begins on May 28 as he kills seven executives at his office complex and makes his way home where he fatally shoots his last three hostages and himself in his villa’s garage. Paul follows Greenwood’s murder mystery heavily and begins to question the true motive and state of mind of David during the attacks. Later, stray bullets are uncovered and are found to be severely dented; which led to the conclusion that they were damaged from the impact of the victim’s bodies as they ran from Greenwood during the last shooting. With the newly found evidence, the truth of where and how the last three hostages were killed is reexamined. David’s file on his computer shows a hit list of executives, seven of which were murdered during his shooting spree. His former secretaries then attest that Greenwood, “stalked them one by one as he opened fire,” killing them in his office (112). Video footage later surfaces and David is seen completing the murders with an unknown accomplice and are caught “transferring weapons from an unmarked van” into his vehicle. Reporters then describe how Greenwood did a, “2.8 kilometer run on foot in less than three minutes,” to his villa estate to escape prosecution from the security task force (138). After investigation is done to clear the inconsistencies in David’s murder plot, it is told that Greenwood captured his three hostages, tied them up at his home, and left to the city to find his targets. He first shoots the head of security in his bedroom along with Greenwood’s friend from the refuge as she pleaded for mercy next to the dead body. The third person he killed was the chief pharmacist at the clinic while he was in the storage room where the drug operations occur. Then he went after his next victim at an apartment suite where stripped him down, took him to the Jacuzzi, and shot him dead. He made his way over to the seventh floor of the building where he convinced one of his patients to let him in. Once they reached the bedroom, he took his rifle and shot him and made his way over to his next target. By now the police and task force were on his trail and Greenwood knew it was the end for him. He made his way back home to the villa where a shooting altercation between the securities occurred, leaving David dead on the roof of his home. Lastly the three hostages Greenwood had kept were ordered to be killed off and the true story of the crime he had committed was unveiled. Soon after, Frank Halder confesses that he was the one who fired the bullet that killed Greenwood the day of the shootings. David is then discovered to be a part of the elite’s bowler jacket club who underneath practice violent acts amongst the citizens of Eden-Olympia. Greenwood was a part of the underage sex trafficking at the refuge in La Bocca, which caused him to gain severe amounts of guilt. Eden-Olympia’s lead psychiatrist, Wilder Penrose, and his former lover, Frances Barring, encouraged him to have sex with minors to live out his fantasies and Greenwood hated what he had become. With the enormous amount of guilt and hatred Greenwood held within for participating in the child-sex ring, he acted with his emotions and murdered the very ones who brought him to that current state of mind of insanity. May 28 was the real day for David, “to wipe out the self-hatred he felt…and kill the people who’d corrupted him” (354). David’s bowler jacket is even passed on to Paul as a he is now initiated into the same corrupted club that Greenwood was trying to end. It is last seen with Francis, when her murdered body was discovered clutching on to the tainted outerwear. In the end, Paul understands the true reason why David Greenwood snapped and committed an act Eden-Olympia will never forget. As Paul uncovers the flaws Eden-Olympia holds within`, he takes it upon him to finish what Dr. David Greenwood started.

Paul Sinclair[edit]

Paul, the narrator, is a pilot that moves into Eden-Olympia with his wife Jane after she is offered a job at the clinic to replace Dr. David Greenwood. Dr. Greenwood is said to have gone on a mass shooting without an apparent motive, the only motive they had come up with was that he had gone insane from so much work. Paul and his wife move into a villa that previously belonged to Greenwood which made Paul feel uncomfortable at first. He seemed unconvinced by the stories he had heard of Greenwood, and in attempt to figure out the truth behind the murders, he uncovers a whole new side of Eden-Olympia. He seems almost obsessed with finding out the truth and slowly comes to a realization that there was more to Greenwood than what was fully disclosed, and that he really did not commit suicide but was actually shot and killed by someone in Eden-Olympia. In the journey to finding out the truth, Paul doesn’t notice how he begins to change; he falls victim to feeling pleasure at things that aren’t necessarily correct. He starts off by stealing a car, then he begins to feel aroused at the sight of violent acts being committed, and he even begins to have fantasies with young women; he gets to a point where he has a woman, Frances, cosplaying an adolescent teen to get him aroused. He gets to see his wife becoming victim too, however in a slightly different manner; she uses drugs and sleeps with another woman while the woman’s husband is watching them. Paul almost ignores this, since he too is having an affair with Frances. Another thing he uncovers is Penrose’s therapeutic program; he discovers a group of senior executives at Eden-Olympia who go around committing violent crimes. When he discovers this group, he decides to confront Penrose (a psychiatrist) and discuss the topic with him, letting him know of his discovery and saying that he will let the police outside of Eden-Olympia know about everything that is going on but is left in disbelief when Penrose informs him that he has prescribed these executives a little insanity to keep them sane from the long hours of work and no leisure time. At first, Paul is conflicted on what to do, but in the end he even joins the group of men and though he doesn’t necessarily commit the crimes himself, he condones the violent behavior as it’s a real turn-on for him and doesn’t even realize it.

Jane Sinclair[edit]

A waiflike British doctor of pediatrician accepts a job at a private clinic in Eden-Olympia. The pediatric position was available because David Greenwood, a former London colleague of Jane's, went berserk and shot ten people at the park, before turning his gun on himself. Jane was the wife of Paul Sinclair that was a pilot and a publisher of aviation magazine. The relationship between Jane and Paul was good, but Jane had a serious attitude to her husband. She had no control in her life and her relationship with her husband was changing day by day. He noticed that she did not enjoy things because her attitude was distant, cold, her gaze was lost and her self-esteem was low. She thought that it was not worth anything, but her husband told her otherwise that she was worth a lot and nobody was more than her. However, they were different, but her husband tried to help her. She would not appreciate it. Jane was a person that she kept her own secrets Paul had not confessed to Jane that his father was alcoholic and his mother always suffered from the situation and Jane had not confessed to him the relationship between her and the doctor Greenwoods was very loyal but when she confessed to Paul his reaction was more or less confuse because he thought the relationship of his wife with the doctor Greenwoods was hiding more than a peer relationship. Both moved to Eden-Olympia for have a better life. When she takes up a post at the exclusive high-tech community of Eden-Olympia. The multinational corporations behind the business park are conducting a psychological laboratory there, a huge experiment in how to 'hot-house the future'. They become aware of the violence and paranoia under the project's glossy surfaces and its increasingly sinister undercurrents sado-masochistic sex, robberies, and racist attacks, unexplained murders. Jane falls into promiscuity and drug addiction, while Paul investigates the death of the former medical director of this 'Alcatraz-sur-Mer' in a deranged shooting spree. In the life of Jane were hidden much dark secrets that upon their arrival at Eden-Olympian were discovered. Her attitude complete changed when Jane stupefied with injected drugs and having had sex with a neighbor's wife. Jane was lesbian and never confessed to her husband because that was her darkest secret. However, Jane was a young person who had grown weary with an older man. Her ideas were totally different for her Eden-Olympia was the place where everything was perfect, but the people hide darkest secretes because they were controlled by themselves. The things were so discreet that no one was scared but it was not that they minded all keep dark secrets and each one knew how people was in Eden-Olympia. In the novel Super-Cannes, written by J.G. Ballard, the character of Jane had many sides that highlight her personality, her sexuality, and her insanity that showed that she was manipulated by Penrose and that made Jane's secrets revealed to her husband.


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