J.G. Ballard

Nice little interview with J.G. Ballard at the Guardian website. There really is no one quite like him. A couple of years ago I read a few of his books in the usual author flings I have, where I buy up lots of their books and proclaim them the best thing that ever happened to me, only to look back on them with fond memories. I really recommend reading—and sticking with—The Atrocity Exhibition. Whilst not on the surface an easy read, it seeps into your mind the way surrealism can do so well, with dazzling images, metaphors, and a prose that just absolutely sizzles. This edition is very useful, since it puts many of the sections into historical context. Being only a nipper of the SF/F world, I needed it.

Science fiction was a “chance discovery. It touched a spark, but I never wrote the kind of SF that was typical of the time.” The novelist M John Harrison, who was part of the editorial team of New Worlds, the magazine that published many of Ballard’s most controversial stories in the 60s, points out that he was “never well received by generic SF readers and activists. His work is too clearly poetic, satirical, metaphorical – all of which discourages suspension of disbelief and the immersive experience of the exotic on which SF pivots

Now that’s an interesting point, isn’t it? Perhaps never more so than in the modern publishing climate, where so few experimental works are published. So, many are put off when SF is too much involved with these things. I know I’m certainly not, but I’m not the average genre reader, having being knee-deep in the industry for a while.

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About Mark Newton

Born in 1981, live in the UK. I write about strange things.

One comment

  1. Ah, Ballard, I’ll get round to reading you one day.