Sunday, April 19, 2009

J.G. Ballard -- no longer running wild

One of my favorite writers died today. As I observed in a long previous post, J.G. Ballard often dwelled on the psychic implications of humans disconnected from nature, lost in anomie and madness. From the Telegraph (UK): Before the success of Empire of the Sun Ballard was known principally for darkly surreal novels such as The Crystal World (1966), which described a West African country undergoing an inexplicable process of petrifaction, and Crash (1973), in which he put forward the idea that modern society finds traffic accidents erotic. Despising the term science fiction, Ballard never used it, preferring to describe his work as "apocalyptic".

….He became a professional writer and his first novel The Drowned World was published in 1961. In it he put forward one of the first theories about global warming causing the flooding of the world's major cities. His second book, The Terminal Beach, followed a year later.

….Ballard returned to his "apocalyptic" vision of the future with The Day of Creation (1988). The novel told the story of a doctor, working in Africa, who opens a small spring which rapidly grows into a river. As the flood transforms the country around it the doctor feels compelled to find the source of the river and to try to dam the flow. "Obsessions again," Ballard recalled. "I think people often feel like that, they create something and then become frightened of it, people become jealous of their own children."…

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