JG Ballard is not known for his sensitive or nuanced portrayal of women. Yet argue I that if we re-examine his classic 1962 novel, The Drowned World, can we find a powerful and admirable female character in the form of Beatrice Dahl.
I have read between the lines of this canonical sci-fi text to expose Beatrice’s hitherto marginalized history and liminal strength.
I carefully mined the novel for clues, then, using a strategy employed by both fan-fiction and post-colonial literature (see for example Peter Carey’s Jack Maggs and The Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys), I wrote an imaginary chapter into the existing plot framework of The Drowned World in order to reveal the complexity of Beatrice’s character.
Read my complete ‘missing’ Chapter 3.5 here: The Penthouse Pool_Tracey Clement
Read my essay, “Finding a hidden heroine in J. G. Ballard’s sci-fi novel, The Drowned World,” here.