The Drowned World

by

J. G. Ballard

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Drowned World can help.

Dr. Robert Kerans Character Analysis

Kerans is the protagonist of The Drowned World. He's about 40 years old with a bleached white beard and tan skin that's sunken because of malaria. He was born and raised at Camp Byrd, a city in the Arctic Circle, and doesn't remember a time when the cities of the world were inhabited by humans. He began conducting ecological surveys of the changing planet in his early 30s. He works primarily with Dr. Bodkin to chart the evolutionary changes of plants and animals in Europe's cities, though he understands that doing so is somewhat useless since they're just confirming the predictions of 20 years ago. Throughout his three years in London, Kerans has been involved in a romantic relationship with Beatrice. Kerans is one of the last characters to begin experiencing the dreams that his colleagues have been experiencing, in which vivid scenes of prehistoric earth transport the dreamer back to a distant evolutionary past. Kerans ultimately decides to stay behind in London because of the dreams, which seem to make him wholly uninterested in the enterprise of human civilization. As the dreams become more intense, Kerans isolates himself more and more. Strangeman's arrival in the lagoon disrupts Kerans' inward journey, and Kerans dislikes him from the start though he often humors his invitations to dinner. When Strangeman gives Kerans the opportunity to dive and explore the underwater planetarium, Kerans almost dies when his air is cut off, and afterwards he struggles to understand whether it was a suicide attempt or not. Kerans is aghast when Strangeman drains the lagoon, as he finds the city obscene—a symbol of a past to which he knows it is impossible to return. After flooding the lagoon, he escapes and travels south along the system of lagoons. It's implied that he dies soon after the end of the novel from an infected bullet wound he sustained as he fled London. Kerans’s overall character arc is one of gradual disenchantment with the project of dominating nature in order to re-civilize the planet, culminating in his escape southward—which, although suicidal in nature, is not characterized by feelings of self-loathing or dread, but rather by a seemingly instinctive desire to submit to the natural progression of evolution and a knowledge that resisting such an unstoppable process is futile.

Dr. Robert Kerans Quotes in The Drowned World

The The Drowned World quotes below are all either spoken by Dr. Robert Kerans or refer to Dr. Robert Kerans. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Liveright Publishing edition of The Drowned World published in 2013.
Chapter 1 Quotes

The biological mapping had become a pointless game, the new flora following exactly the emergent lines anticipated twenty years earlier, and he was sure that no one at Camp Byrd in Northern Greenland bothered to file his reports, let alone read them.

Related Characters: Dr. Robert Kerans, Dr. Alan Bodkin
Page Number: 19
Explanation and Analysis:

... the somber green-black fronds of the gymnosperms, intruders from the Triassic past, and the half-submerged white-faced buildings of the 20th century still reflected together in the dark mirror of the water, the two interlocking worlds apparently suspended at some junction in time...

Related Characters: Dr. Robert Kerans
Page Number: 21
Explanation and Analysis:

Sometimes he wondered what zone of transit he himself was entering, sure that his own withdrawal was symptomatic...of a careful preparation for a radically new environment, with its own internal landscape and logic, where old categories of thought would merely be an encumbrance.

Related Characters: Dr. Robert Kerans, Strangeman
Page Number: 25
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2 Quotes

For a few moments Kerans stared quietly at the dim yellow annulus of Ernst's sun glowering through the exotic vegetation, a curious feeling of memory and recognition signaling through his brain.

Related Characters: Dr. Robert Kerans, Beatrice Dahl
Page Number: 41
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 3 Quotes

Is it only the external landscape which is altering? How often recently most of us have had the feeling of déjà vu, of having seen all this before, in fact of remembering these swamps and lagoons all too well.

Related Characters: Dr. Alan Bodkin (speaker), Dr. Robert Kerans
Page Number: 55
Explanation and Analysis:

A more important task than mapping the harbors and lagoons of the external landscape was to chart the ghostly deltas and luminous beaches of the submerged neuronic continents.

Related Characters: Dr. Robert Kerans, Dr. Alan Bodkin
Page Number: 58
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

"Colonel, there isn't any other direction."

Page Number: 71
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 5 Quotes

Nor had he tried to follow up any of Bodkin's or Riggs' oblique remarks about the dreams and their danger, almost as if he had known that he would soon be sharing them, and accepted them as an inevitable element of his life...

Page Number: 87
Explanation and Analysis:

Distantly in his ears he could hear the sun drumming over the sunken water. As he recovered from his first fears he realized that there was something soothing about its sounds, almost reassuring and encouraging like his own heartbeats.

Related Characters: Dr. Robert Kerans, Dr. Alan Bodkin
Page Number: 88
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6 Quotes

By and large, each of them would have to pursue his or her own pathway through the time jungles... Although they might see one another occasionally... their only true meeting ground would be in their dreams.

Page Number: 97
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

"Dr. Bodkin, did you live in London as a child? You must have many sentimental memories to recapture, of the great palaces and museums." He added: "Or are the only memories you have pre-uterine ones?"

Related Characters: Strangeman (speaker), Dr. Robert Kerans, Dr. Alan Bodkin, Beatrice Dahl
Related Symbols: The Planetarium
Page Number: 109
Explanation and Analysis:

"The trouble with you people is that you've been here for thirty million years and your perspectives are all wrong. You miss so much of the transitory beauty of life. I'm fascinated by the immediate past--the treasures of the Triassic compare pretty unfavorably with those of the closing years of the Second Millennium."

Related Characters: Strangeman (speaker), Dr. Robert Kerans, Dr. Alan Bodkin, Beatrice Dahl
Page Number: 109
Explanation and Analysis:

Kerans managed to take his eyes off Strangeman's face and glanced at the looted relics.
"They're like bones," he said flatly.

Page Number: 112
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 9 Quotes

For some reason the womb-like image of the chamber was reinforced rather than diminished by the circular rows of seats, and Kerans heard the thudding in his ears uncertain whether he was listening to the dim subliminal requiem of his dreams.

Related Symbols: The Planetarium
Page Number: 126
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10 Quotes

Yet he had a further neuronic role, in which he seemed almost a positive influence, holding a warning mirror up to Kerans and obliquely cautioning him about the future he had chosen.

Related Characters: Dr. Robert Kerans, Strangeman
Page Number: 134
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 11 Quotes

No longer the velvet mantle he remembered from his descent, it was no a fragmenting cloak of rotting organic forms, like the vestments of the grave. The once translucent threshold of the womb had vanished, its place taken by the gateway to a sewer.

Related Symbols: The Planetarium
Page Number: 147
Explanation and Analysis:

Dimly he realized that the lagoon had represented a complex of neuronic needs that were impossible to satisfy by any other means. This blunting lethargy deepened, unbroken by the violence around him, and more and more he felt like a man marooned in a time sea, hemmed in by the shifting planes of dissonant realities millions of years apart.

Related Characters: Dr. Robert Kerans, Strangeman
Page Number: 148
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 13 Quotes

"Colonel, you've got to flood it again, laws or no laws. Have you been down in those streets; they're obscene and hideous! It's a nightmare world that's dead and finished, Strangeman's resurrecting a corpse!"

Related Characters: Dr. Robert Kerans (speaker), Strangeman, Colonel Riggs
Page Number: 180
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 14 Quotes

Obscured by the events of the past week, the archaic sun in his mind beat again continuously with its immense power, its identity merging now with that of the real sun visible behind the rain-clouds.

Related Characters: Dr. Robert Kerans, Strangeman
Page Number: 183
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 15 Quotes

So he left the lagoon and entered the jungle again, within a few days was completely lost, following the lagoons southward through the increasing rain and heat, attacked by alligators and giant bats, a second Adam searching for the forgotten paradises of the reborn sun.

Related Characters: Dr. Robert Kerans
Page Number: 198
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Drowned World LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Drowned World PDF

Dr. Robert Kerans Character Timeline in The Drowned World

The timeline below shows where the character Dr. Robert Kerans appears in The Drowned World. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
1. On the Beach at the Ritz
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
The novel begins by stating that soon, it will be too hot. Dr. Kerans stands on the balcony of the Ritz hotel and watches the sun (which is now... (full context)
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Kerans wonders if he should try to contact Riggs, but remembers that his radio is buried... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
On the balcony, Kerans watches a thermal storm whip across the lagoon. When it passes, Kerans tells himself that... (full context)
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Kerans wonders what European city he's even in. The narrator explains that at the end of... (full context)
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
A giant mosquito darts across Kerans’s field of vision, heralding the coming heat of the day. Kerans finds the early morning... (full context)
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Kerans selects a silk shirt and pressed slacks from the financier's wardrobe and seals his room... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Riggs regularly calls on Kerans to help evacuate the last people who inhabit Europe's drowned cities. Kerans is also a... (full context)
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
When the men reach Kerans’s room, Riggs asks if there are any vacancies at the Ritz. Kerans deadpans that Riggs... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
As Kerans gives Riggs a drink, Riggs asks Kerans if he ever listens to his radio. Kerans... (full context)
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Kerans collects himself and says that he simply didn't think they'd be leaving so soon, and... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Kerans and Riggs head downstairs and board the cutter. Riggs mutters that the work they've been... (full context)
2. The Coming of the Iguanas
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
...The narrator says that the lagoons would've been beautiful if it weren't for the iguanas. Kerans thinks that the iguanas rekindle archaic memories of the Paleocene period, when mammals first became... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
...massive silt flats, and the only way to navigate the city is through the water. Kerans remembers his northward journey through the cities of Europe as they were taken over by... (full context)
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Kerans is entirely uninterested in the contents or the history of the cities, while Dr. Bodkin,... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
...fertility among mammals, such that only one in ten human couples are able to conceive. Kerans notes that at some point in the future, there will be a new Adam and... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Kerans notices Dr. Bodkin throwing berries to small monkeys from the testing station, while iguanas watch... (full context)
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
...rail until she notices him and reminds him she's "not a strip show." Riggs and Kerans walk down to the pool and sit next to her. Riggs reminds Beatrice that he... (full context)
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Beatrice asks if Kerans’s use of "they" means that he might stay with her. Kerans brushes this off and... (full context)
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Kerans lies back on his chair, and Beatrice sits at his feet. Kerans apologizes for losing... (full context)
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Kerans asks Beatrice why Riggs asked her how she slept. She says that she's had several... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Near noon, both Kerans and Beatrice go inside. Beatrice lounges on a sofa and Kerans admires a painting of... (full context)
3. Towards a New Psychology
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Kerans berths his catamaran (a type of boat) alongside the base and lets himself in. He... (full context)
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Macready tells Kerans that Dr. Bodkin needs his help with Lieutenant Hardman. Kerans thinks he needs to escape... (full context)
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Kerans leaves the armory with the compass. A sudden thought enters his mind of blowing up... (full context)
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Kerans enters the private room. Not only is the air conditioning off, but Bodkin has a... (full context)
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Kerans realizes that Hardman still looks emotionally well despite his illness. Bodkin says that Hardman might... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Kerans and Dr. Bodkin take Kerans’s catamaran to the testing station. The men enter their laboratory,... (full context)
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Kerans apologizes for telling Hardman that they're leaving, but suggests that the knowledge might jolt him... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Bodkin asks Kerans to summarize their findings of the last three years. Kerans says that with the rising... (full context)
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Kerans asks if the increased heat and radiation are triggering these fear responses in the human... (full context)
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Kerans gets up to look out the window and watches Macready and Riggs talk on the... (full context)
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Kerans sits at his desk and pulls out the compass. He wonders why he took it,... (full context)
4. The Causeways of the Sun
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
The next day, Lieutenant Hardman disappears. Kerans wakes early, spends an hour gazing at the lagoon, and then dresses in his drill... (full context)
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Despite all this, Kerans isn't anxious. He leaves his thermostat at the usual 80 degrees and thinks for a... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
When he reaches the third lagoon, Kerans stands and watches Macready tow the testing station towards the base. Rather than join the... (full context)
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Kerans finds Beatrice lounging in bed. He turns down the thermostat and tries to take her... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
When Kerans returns, Beatrice seems fully recovered and is painting her nails. He tells her that the... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
As the helicopter travels over the lagoons, Kerans, Riggs, and Macready scan the water and vegetation below for signs of Hardman. Kerans realizes... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
...is useless. The helicopter lands on top of a cinema. Looking out on the water, Kerans is reminded of how people described Egypt during times of flood. Riggs opens a map... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
...for 20 minutes, Riggs concedes that if Hardman wants to evade them, he knows how. Kerans’s eye is drawn to a half-submerged apartment building and what he realizes are footprints in... (full context)
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
...raft, made with two old tanks and a bed from the sick bay. Riggs praises Kerans for his insight and assures him that Hardman will be glad to see them, but... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Riggs, Macready, and Kerans begin to search the building from the lower floors up. With only two floors to... (full context)
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Kerans turns away from the window and notices a tall man with a black beard standing... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
...his raft back into the water. He's failing miserably in the wet silt. Riggs, Macready, Kerans, and two soldiers surround Hardman in the silt as Hardman continues to wrestle with his... (full context)
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
...Wilson in the elbow. Hardman runs for the jungle, pursued by Macready, while Riggs and Kerans help Wilson. When Wilson is stabilized, Kerans runs after Hardman. He follows the soldiers into... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
The helicopter appears overhead and the noise and the heat beat at Kerans’s brain. The helicopter begins to lose altitude, spins, and the tail rotor hits the courthouse.... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
The group sits for two hours on the museum steps in the square. Kerans tries to sleep but can't. A group of iguanas lurks around the square and brays... (full context)
5. Descent into Deep Time
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
That night, Kerans dreams that he walks to the deck of the testing station. The sun is giant... (full context)
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
When Kerans wakes, he has a splitting headache. He can still hear the beating sun, and he... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Bodkin is sipping coffee in the gallery when Kerans enters. He tells Kerans that he's "one of the dreamers now" and asks if the... (full context)
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Kerans looks out the window. Sergeant Daley is standing on the deck and Kerans wonders if... (full context)
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Kerans asks Bodkin for Hardman's alarm clock and mentions taking medication before bed. Bodkin firmly tells... (full context)
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Riggs enters the room and good-naturedly waves his baton at Kerans and Bodkin. He tells Kerans he looks glassy and then begins explaining his plans for... (full context)
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
...and that this city is the only home he's ever known. Bodkin stops abruptly, but Kerans asks him to go on. (full context)
6. The Drowned Ark
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
That night, Kerans and Bodkin silently move along the deck of the testing station. Kerans carefully frees the... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
The next morning, Kerans and Bodkin watch from Beatrice's apartment as the helicopter tries to land on the roof... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
...only to find the elevator out of order, which culminated in his attempt to reach Kerans and Bodkin via helicopter. After trying to speak to them, Riggs and the base leave... (full context)
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Beatrice expresses her relief that Riggs is gone, while Kerans realizes that he'd been dependent on Riggs’s good humor. He realizes it's up to him... (full context)
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Kerans realizes that the unity of the group won't last. He understands that they're entering a... (full context)
7. Carnival of Alligators
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Six weeks later, Kerans is abruptly awoken by loud sounds outside his window at the Ritz. He steps onto... (full context)
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
...around to cut it back. Silt accumulates in the small waterways surrounding the lagoon, and Kerans spends his days following his dreams, all of which center around a lagoon. He wants... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Kerans sees more signal shells over the far lagoon where Beatrice's apartment is, and then more... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Kerans notices that hundreds of massive alligators accompany the boats. They arrange themselves around the hydroplane,... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Kerans rushes down the building's fire escape to the catamaran, but finds that the churning water... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
When Kerans finally steps out of the elevator, Beatrice embraces him and asks if he's seen the... (full context)
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
A big paddleboat enters the lagoon, loaded with gear and cargo. Kerans thinks that this is the group's “depot ship.” He figures that this crew is likely... (full context)
8. The Man With the White Smile
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Kerans, Dr. Bodkin, and Beatrice sit with the hydroplane pilot, Strangeman, who has changed into a... (full context)
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
...and seeks to recapture memories, or if his only memories are "pre-uterine." This question alarms Kerans, but Bodkin absentmindedly waves a hand and declares that the recent past isn't interesting. Strangeman... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Kerans notices that Strangeman's face is very white: he's albino, and the fact that he's still... (full context)
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Strangeman then invites them to see his treasure ship. As they approach the ship, Kerans thinks it was probably once a gambling establishment. Now, it's filled with crates and cartons... (full context)
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
As he watches Strangeman show Beatrice the treasures, Kerans thinks of the Delvaux painting of skeletons. Instantly, Kerans begins to dislike Strangeman. Strangeman turns... (full context)
9. The Pool of Thanatos
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Over the next two weeks, Kerans sees Strangeman frequently while Strangeman drives his hydroplane through the lagoons and supervises his crews... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Strangeman invites Kerans, Bodkin, and Beatrice to a diving party. He has already begun to court Beatrice, but... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
At 7:00am, the Admiral collects Kerans, Dr. Bodkin, and Beatrice and takes them to the depot ship. Kerans is skeptical of... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
...and then "the church." Strangeman declares the diver a fool and sends others down as Kerans, Beatrice, and Bodkin sip cocktails. Beatrice asks Kerans if he's going to dive. He assures... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Kerans leans over to Bodkin and whispers that Strangeman is looking for his treasure. Strangeman notices... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Kerans dons the diving suit and Strangeman tells him to try to get into the auditorium.... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Strangeman checks in with Kerans over the radio, and Kerans begins to move towards the planetarium. Inside, Kerans sees that,... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Suddenly, Kerans sees another suited man and yells for Strangeman. He realizes that it's only his reflection... (full context)
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Kerans begins to feel as if nothing is more important than preserving the "sky" he sees... (full context)
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Looking up at the dome, Kerans feels as though the water pressure is soothing and that his blood is merging with... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Kerans regains consciousness on the bright deck, where the Admiral performing CPR on him. Strangeman's face... (full context)
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
As Kerans returns to the Ritz later, he thinks about his experience in the planetarium. He wonders... (full context)
10. Surprise Party
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Kerans is rudely awakened by Strangeman yelling from a lower floor of the Ritz. Kerans has... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Kerans asks how the diving is going, and Strangeman admits that it's not going well. Kerans... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
When Kerans heads to Strangeman's boat that evening with Big Caesar, the decks are strung with colored... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
The wedding in the painting is set on a galleon (a type of boat), and Kerans thinks that Strangeman's party mimics the canvas. He points out the resemblance to Beatrice and... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Kerans tries to ask again what the surprise is, but Strangeman declares that Kerans is missing... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
...recognizes where they are in the city. Beatrice watches Strangeman leave the deck and tells Kerans that he's insane. Kerans thinks that Strangeman's true evil character has come out now that... (full context)
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Beatrice says that the city is hideous and like Hell. Kerans suggests that they go south and asks Bodkin if he'd join them. Bodkin is still... (full context)
11. "The Ballad of Mistah Bones"
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Beatrice, Kerans, and Dr. Bodkin walk the streets a half hour later. Strangeman and his crew dart... (full context)
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Kerans notices some of the silt, which creates the dams around the lagoon, piled up on... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Over the next several days, Kerans feels increasingly disoriented. He wanders at night, unable to escape the memories of the lagoon... (full context)
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Kerans visits Bodkin after a few days, and Bodkin seems similarly distraught and isolated. He can't... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
...when he finds it empty except for a single mosaic. Strangeman's lack of success makes Kerans nervous. He tries to warn Bodkin, but finds that Bodkin has abandoned his hideout in... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
One night, Strangeman confides in Kerans that his crew fears him because they think he's dead. Strangeman laughs, and when Big... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Kerans finally runs after Strangeman's crew and watches Strangeman kick the bomb into the neighboring lagoon.... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Beatrice throws herself at Strangeman and promises that she and Kerans won't hurt him. She tears her jewels off, throws them to him, and asks him... (full context)
12. The Feast of Skulls
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Kerans is tied to a massive throne. Crewmembers dump a pile of human bones at his... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Kerans yells for Beatrice. It was a miracle that Kerans survived full exposure to the previous... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
At the beginning of the third night, Strangeman is surprised to see Kerans alive. Eventually, Strangeman gives the order for the throne and Kerans to be lifted into... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Kerans takes inventory of his bruised body and realizes that the left arm of the throne... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Strangeman doesn't send out search parties, and Kerans takes up residence in an apartment building. He finds water to drink and kills a... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
As Kerans surveys the damage in the room, he realizes he doesn't hate Strangeman. Rather, he thinks... (full context)
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Just before midnight, Kerans quietly climbs up the paddles of the depot ship. He waits until all signs of... (full context)
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Kerans quietly parts the beaded curtain and steps in. Beatrice pays no notice, and Kerans notices... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Grabbing Beatrice, Kerans leads her through the ship and declares that they'll have to leave via the gangway... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Kerans gives Beatrice his gun and walks out to Strangeman. When Strangeman begins to charge at... (full context)
13. Too Soon, Too Late
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Riggs is ready to speak with Kerans by 8:00 the next morning. Strangeman and his crew sit in the shade, supervised by... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Kerans asks Riggs why he doesn't arrest Strangeman, and Riggs incredulously reminds Kerans that killing in... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Kerans asks about the looting, and Riggs says that Strangeman is doing humanity a favor by... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Kerans implores Riggs to re-flood the lagoon. He insists that the streets are obscene and dead,... (full context)
14. Grand Slam
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Kerans observes the party going on on Strangeman's ship from an office building. Riggs is still... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Kerans runs along a silt bank at the edge of the empty lagoon. He's near one... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
...and then the entire silt dam disintegrates and rushes into the lagoon with immense force. Kerans hears Riggs call his name and turns as a shot whizzes over his head. Riggs... (full context)
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Beatrice suddenly rushes for Kerans. When she reaches him, she implores him to leave and escape Riggs. Kerans tells Beatrice... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Kerans locates his makeshift catamaran and pushes off into the next lagoon as Riggs continues to... (full context)
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
When Kerans wakes, he notices that the helicopter is flying a mile away, shooting into the islands.... (full context)
15. The Paradises of the Sun
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
...move in, and at noon the temperature is about 95 degrees. The cooler temperatures revive Kerans, and he feels well enough to start the catamaran's makeshift engine. In the rain that... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Kerans sleeps leaning against the catamaran that night, and the next morning he takes it apart... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Later, Kerans rests below a tree at the edge of the forest. He can hear bats and... (full context)
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
During one stop in the rain, Kerans enters a narrow valley. He stumbles into an abandoned church. The roof is collapsed, but... (full context)
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Kerans kneels down next to the man and the man asks Kerans where he came from.... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Kerans and Hardman remain at the church for three days. Hardman doesn't recognize Kerans, and Kerans... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Kerans waits for two days before he continues to follow the sun south. Kerans rests for... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Kerans lies back and thinks of his last years. He thinks of his "neuronic odyssey," of... (full context)