The dedication is a tipoff. In most books, a dedication is in an enigmatic one-liner such as “To Billy.” In this book, it is a full two pages that includes books, movies, cartoons, tv shows, comic books, famous characters, authors, and ends with “WITH LOVE, to the Green Hills of Earth.”
It does not have a dedication to J.G. Ballard, but my supposition is that this entire book is a dedication to the works of Ballard. My evidence? First, Logan 3 and Jessica 6 are seeking a man named Ballard. Second, they pass through all of Ballard’s worlds: the ice world, the desert world, the jungle world. Third, once they’ve found Ballard, they go on to “Cape Steinbeck!”
Fourth, the repetitive word use of “wild” and “wind” to embody the themes of youth in a decaying culture are elemental like Ballard’s “Elemental Novels,” and are also reflected in poetically wild and windy language. The working title of this book was A Wild Run for Morgan 3. (My favorite word in this book: cavernicolous). Fifth, Nolan was a well-read man who had written books on other authors such as Hemingway and Hammet, who would surely know of Ballard. (Johnson, a screen-writer who wrote Oceans 11, I credit for the snappy dialogue, telegraphed actions scene, and the worst ending ever written for any book, ever.)
The science fiction elements in Logan’s Run are fiercely imaginative and creepily presented, I loved the background story for Logan, and the book additionally took frequent polite bows to other books: Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Frank Herbert’s Dune, Ursula LeGuin’s icy prison in The Left Hand of Darkness, Huxley’s Brave New World, and perhaps others I haven’t even read yet. I have no doubt that this was book was an influence on George Lucas, whose chase-scenes in his later movies have undeniable parallels. On influence, I wonder. When is it outright theft and when is it respectful? These may be unrealistic lines to draw, and based on whether the work ultimately succeeds on its own. For me, this one does.
What makes this book wonderful is how imaginatively the themes and concerns are turned into settings, which is very Ballard-esque. I also appreciate how words are cobbled together to describe images – they fit poetically, but not necessarily logically. “They came out beneath a clean, cold waterfall that speared white music into the deep gorge.” I like it a lot.