“Everything is becoming science fiction. From the margins of an almost invisible literature has sprung the intact reality of the 20th century.”
J. G. Ballard
’James Graham Ballard (15 November 1930 – 19 April 2009) was an English novelist, short story writer, and prominent member of the New Wave movement in science fiction.
The literary distinctiveness of his work has given rise to the adjective “Ballardian,” defined by the Collins English Dictionary as “resembling or suggestive of the conditions described in J. G. Ballard’s novels and stories, especially dystopian modernity, bleak man-made landscapes and the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments.”
‘With the exception of his autobiographical novels, Ballard most commonly wrote in the post-apocalyptic dystopia genre. His most celebrated novel in this regard is Crash, in which cars symbolise the mechanisation of the world and man’s capacity to destroy himself with the technology he creates; the characters (the protagonist, called Ballard, included) become increasingly obsessed with the violent psychosexuality of car crashes in general, and celebrity car crashes in particular. Ballard’s disturbing novel was turned into a controversial—and likewise disturbing—cerebral film by David Cronenberg.’ —-wikipedia
From J.G. Ballard’s obituary in The New Yorker:
‘When J. G. Ballard, who passed away Sunday, at the age of seventy-eight, was trying to place “Crash,” his dystopian masterpiece of “auto” eroticism, with a publisher, he received a note with a rejected manuscript: “This author is beyond psychiatric help. Do not publish.”
He regarded it as a sign of “complete artistic success.”’
The first short story of Ballard’s I read was ‘Memories of the Space Age’ – which stunned me with its contemplative, horrifying and melancholy beauty. Ballard’s images of waste, abandonment and empty landscapes are compelling and full of ruminations on the issues of humanity, our relationship with our world and technology. I believe Ballard was a philosopher as well as a novelist – often he considered and brought home to us the significance and ‘implications of living in an age of consumerism and ’enslavement disguised as mass entertainment’. Ballard’s writing is full of vivid and evocative prose, he was an architect of dystopias, a prophet of modern madness, so in touch with where we are as humans and where we are going that his work is frighteningly relevant.
Films based on JG Ballard’s works