JG Ballard, self-confessed visionary of “the psychology of the future” and author of works such as Crash and Empire of the Sun, died on Sunday morning after a long illness. He was 78. Ballard outgrew the ‘cult author’ tag to cross over into the mainstream. His novels were widely read, beyond the boundaries of the oft-derided …
You will be sadly missed
Please move Ballard's books to the Non-Fiction shelves, probably among the Owner's Manuals next to "1984", which is also an accurate guide to the world we see around us.
I actually had to look up 'prdystopian'
Just to make sure you weren't referring to the little known (and horribly violent) breakaway post-Soviet republic of "Prdystopia". :)
In fact, the only result that came back from Google was this very article - which Google has already indexed, mere minutes after it went onto the Web... Which is kind of Ballardian, in its own way.
RIP JG Ballard
We have lost the single most innovative British writer of the later 20th century. We have nobody to match him and his unsentimental look at future societies. Never mind what the literary critics might say, who are often so far up their back passages that they can't see what the value of ideas are. I'm going to be depressed for the rest of the week over this news which he characteristically forewarned us of in his recent autobiography.
Totally bizarre and thoroughly engaging! I still love Concrete Island, my favourite JGB book.
OK - now we know what the readership of this rag is like. Death of a towering figure of British intellectual and literary life, five comments to data. Over four times that number for the death of the producer of the Carry On films and an apparently endless string of Paris Hilton jokes.
I think JG would have appreciated that...
Probably one of the most important authors in my reading history. Low Flying Aircraft, The Day Of Creation, Concrete Island, and the many others, have all informed my dreams of the future that we live in.
You know you're getting old
when the SF authors start dying. If nothing else, JGB showed that SF is truly a genre of ideas, not tied into juvenile fantasies of space captains travelling the galaxy with a pouting aluminium bikini-clad babe at his side, solving all problems with his trusty blaster and a dose of good old-fashioned humanity. The future is not a glittering shiny crystal city, but a dark place of human mores entwined and entombed in technology, as the cyberpunk movement showed.
RIP, JG. RIP.
Although the Sc-Fi tag always amused me (and probably him too) - one of those great moments of unintend irony
Very good a rattling peoples cages, in a world where Martin Amis gets a job at Manchester University I always secretly hoped Ballard would be offered the it.
Still what he left behind will be remembered for a long time.
David Cruise is Kilroy-Silk anyone?
Even the obit is confused
The difficulty with Ballard is the difficulty of separating the modern and the postmodern. Unlike prior epochs, which follow in sequence, the postmodern coexists with the modern. This feature is present in Ballard's work, and is makes it equally problematic for a baggaged reader to understand. Thus Crash is both too bizarre and too normal to be modern, and frustrates expectations of a ROTM dystopianism. But that is to read it as real, when in fact it should be read as hyperreal. It is, in genre, a joke, albeit a dark one. (The characteristic modesty of an English rather than American writer should not deceive us here).
But the problem with appraising Ballard might be compared to appraising C.S.Lewis. Even with the code in hand (done for Lewis, todo for Ballard), is the work any more than the conceit of an attractive metaphor writ large? I don't know. It would be nice to think there is a job there for someone to do.
Are you being serial, or just talking a load of Ballards?
What does a dead guy expect? He names a book "The Wind From Nowhere" and not a single fart gag.
If anyone who hasn't read any Ballard is reading these coments -- buy some and read it!
Times like this I wish I believed in an afterlife -- I can just imagine the riots and the fires and the mayhem erupting in paradise right now.
I trust he will be buried with the notional pudenda of Ralph Nader.
I always enjoyed his short stories.
Alas he stopped writing them because no-one buys magazines which feature short stories any more.
...and now he can never write any more.
A truly sad day.
The world is slowly becoming a dull, dark place ...
He will be sorely missed by me. Is there actually an intelligensia left in this country tworthy of replacing these towering challengers to narrow, provincial thinking once they've all gone?
Or are we forever to slitter and dribble about in the filthy, depressing quagmire of mediocrity reflected by the Big Brother's, X-Factors and Britain's Got Talent's of this world?
Urrrrgggghhh! Pass me the sick bucket.
@ Steven Jones
But wasn't your smug sense of intellectual superiority was satisfied by all the 'good riddance' type remarks when Jade Goody died? And please don't use 'we' in this sort of thing. I already knew (along with the one or two other normal readers,) what people are like here. Like you, unfortunately. You're a horse's arse.
@ Luther Blissett - was that meant to be posted here, or to your English Literature teacher? That has to be one of the most pompous comments I've ever read here. Let me guess - yours is the one with leather elbow pads and a pipe in the pocket?
Another light gone out
Yet another literary light gone.
I've spent a bit of time in Shanghai over the years, and I re-read 'Empire of the Sun' before I went there the first time.
It helped win a few jobs there, as the locals were impressed that I had some interesting local knowledge - most of them had read some of his works too.
His visons of the future are pretty much spot-on, the only modern authors that come close for me are Stephen Baxter (UK - to be read when feeling like suicide and/or massive civil unrest) and Kim Stanely Robison (US - to be read when feeling happy, he's way more optimistic)
J.G. you'' be missed. Thansk for the stories.
Melting Ice Caps?
What a man of tremendous insight. Perhaps the scaremongers/IPCC should look at the effect of solar flares and what it is doing to our weather. Not so much science fiction methinks...!
Oh dear - didn't get the joke did you? As for any nasty messages about Jade Goody, well anybody who wrote those is a despicable, so I'm not sure how you made that connection that what you know doubt consider intellectual snobs would cheer that stuff along. Which leads me to suspect that you haven't much notion about anything.
nb, there is an element of truth in a joke though - culture doesn't feature strongly in the comments on this site
Nowadays, it seems the post-modern pre-dates the modern. Have we stopped reversing into the future?
He was one of my favourite authors. 'Nuff said.
P.S. Are you a singular "Luther Blissett" or a plurality?
I read crash in high school, it unsettled me. Love Cronenberg but the film was a candle to the books star.
@ Steven Jones
Give us a chance, I've almost finished all the PKD books.
I promise I'll move onto JGB next, how's that.