In HELLO, AMERICA by J.G. Ballard, depletion of energy resources results in America being abandoned, while damming the Bering Strait has resulted in most of the continent being turned into a desert populated by derelict cities. After detecting radiation reaching Europe from the continent, an expedition sets out to discover its source.
The novel is classic Ballard, with an affectionate but tense relationship between a man and a boy, a boy who wants to claim the world as his own, and a villain who wants to seduce the protagonists to join him. By the end, the story takes on the feel of a fable. The animosity between the characters manifests naturally but is never really explained. The book features many clever elements, such as natives who worship the dead culture of their predecessors, and continual fascination by the explorers for the vibrant dream that was America and its cultural icons.
I enjoyed the read, and it was innovative for its day, but it’s not as deep and abiding as other classics such as ALAS, BABYLON, ON THE BEACH or THE DEATH OF GRASS.