Monday, April 20, 2009

J.G. Ballard RIP

Wow, I only just picked up, what was it, "Atrocity Exhibition" and "Unlimited Dream Company", or "Concrete Island"... last week (on Tom's insistence), and given that I couldn't get into "Cocaine Nights" for some reason I thought I'd better have another go at some of his shorter stuff. I had read "Crash" of course (and watched it), and "Drowned World" (decades ago) and watched the "Empire of The Sun" movie a squillion times... Like Kavan, J.G. Ballard was someone I felt I needed to get back into, and was just on the point of doing so. Like BS Johnston, like Ann Quin, those weird English experimentalists from the 1960s, Ballard was both atttractive and yet threatening. Difficult, opionated, emotional, slightly to majorly fucked up.

Izzy was sitting by the pool on Saturday reading "Atrocity..." as I was finishing of Kavan's "Asylum Piece"... Weird, leh?

Wasn't it Ballard (or was it Brian Aldiss) who insisted on Kavan's "Ice" as the Science Fiction Book Of The Year in 1967? Ah, no it was Aldiss. Nevermind, Ballard's dystopias and "Ice" have been compared, similarly being pigeon-holed marketing-wise as Slipstream Fiction - the category for otherwise uncategorisable not-quite-SF, not-quite-not-SF stories.

Martin Amis has been a huge fan of Ballard too, so it is politically permissable to read his stuff even though it has been made into movies.

Image of Empire of the SunImage of Crash

Don't you feel weary, walking along the road of time, watching the inevitable new gravestones appear as milestones on your journey? I suppose so long as you don't read your own name for a while yet, hey?



Dick Headley said...

'Difficult, opionated, emotional, slightly to majorly fucked up.'

Hey, those are all the things I like about Ballard! That said I don't think he's a great writer. I highly recommend 'The Kindness of Women''s semi-autobiographical and it explains a lot.

Old Knudsen said...

atttractive and yet threatening. Difficult, opionated, emotional, slightly to majorly fucked up. Are you talking about me? With every gravestone of someone who has been there all yer life in the public eye you feel a bit of yer own existence is chipped away at.

expat@large said...

Dick: yep it's on my list. And of course those are the things to attract me to certain writers as well, present company excepted.

Knuds: that's exactly what I was trying to say at the end. Yer a fucking marvel.

Momentary Madness said...

"Cast a cold eye on life, on death. Horseman pass by."

"Many times man lives and dies
Between his two eternities,
That of race and that of soul,
And ancient Ireland knew it all.
Whether man die in his bed
Or the rifle knocks him dead,
A brief parting from those dear
Is the worst man has to fear.
Though grave-digger's toil is long,
Sharp their spades, their muscles strong,
They but thrust their buried men
Back in the human mind again."


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