“Set in 2145, The Drowned World is a haunting vision of post-apocalyptic London. Following the melting of the polar ice-caps through fluctuations in solar radiation, major geophysical upheavals have upset the Earth’s ecological balance, and nature is on the rampage. London has been transformed into a primeval swamp in which mutant botanical forms ‘sometimes over three hundred feet high’ engulf the physical landscape and overwhelm the reader’s vision. Enormous gymnosperms, ‘intruders from the Triassic past’ compete with ‘giant tree forms of the Carboniferous period’ whilst giant lizards, dragonflies and insects compete to assert themselves as the dominant species. Anthropocentric narratives are being radically rewritten in this submerged landscape. The few human inhabitants who remain in the sinking cities are ‘either psychopaths or suffering from malnutrition and radiation sickness’ and human fertility is in radical decline. London, meanwhile, is reimagined as ‘a garbage- filled swamp’ of rotting organic forms and decaying matter. The city’s buildings are drowning in infested waters, office blocks are smothered under silt, and rusting shells of cars and other fragments of urban wreckage clutter the landscape. The result is an ambiguous and fascinating surrealist landscape in which fragments of the ancient and the modern, and aspects of life and death are radically juxtaposed.”
Baxter, Jeannette. “The Drowned World “. The Literary Encyclopedia. 1 October 2004.