A young man loses his leg in a car accident, and is pressed into a campaign to encourage “regenerative surgery” for an increasingly elderly population despite his misgivings.
This has some interesting echoes with “The Giaconda of the Twilight Noon” -the turtle-devouring gulls on the beach before the accident, and reappearing at the end of the story, feel like the ominous gulls in “Giaconda” – and also some resonances with “Crash,” though without the lurid sexualization. Its suggestions of a geriatric future that has been overcome with malaise and melancholy also feels like P.D. James’ “The Children of Men” (the book, not the movie), though not explicitly explored. There’s also a hint of body horror – not quite to Cronenbergian levels, but palpable and certainly interesting. The regenerative surgery in the story is still just out of reach – I’m not aware of any successful limb transplants as described in the story – but it’s certainly on the edge of possibility, which seems to be Ballard’s preferred milieu.