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Author Archive

The J.G. Ballard Book: An Interview with Rick McGrath

By • Dec 2nd, 2013 •

Category: advertising, Barcelona, biography, Chris Petit, features, Iain Sinclair, Lead Story, pastiche

Mike Holliday’s interview with Ballard fan Rick McGrath, who self-published The JG Ballard Book, an anthology of archival Ballard interviews, articles about JGB and other Ballardiana, including unpublished Ballard letters.



Fulfillment in a time of nihilism: John Gray and J.G. Ballard

By • Feb 27th, 2011 •

Category: consumerism, features, Lead Story, philosophy, religion, Shanghai, time travel, war, William Burroughs

The political theorist John Gray has long been an enthusiastic admirer of J.G. Ballard, and Ballard often expressed appreciation for Gray’s work. Mike Holliday examines the essental nature of this ‘two-man mutual admiration society’.



A Fascist State? Another Look at Kingdom Come and Consumerism

By • Jul 7th, 2010 •

Category: advertising, architecture, Bentall Centre, celebrity culture, consumerism, dystopia, fascism, features, Lead Story, media landscape, Salvador Dali, Shanghai, speed & violence, sport, surrealism

Ballard’s final novel, Kingdom Come, a dystopian account of consumerism as a type of ’soft fascism’, received lukewarm reviews and suggestions that the author was, perhaps, finally losing his touch. Others were eager to point to parallels between it and events around us: aggressive car commercials, racist behaviour by sports fanatics. In this article, Mike Holliday re-examines Kingdom Come and asks: can we really equate consumerism with fascism?



“Driven by Anger”: An Interview with Michael Butterworth (the Savoy interviews, part 1)

By • Nov 5th, 2009 •

Category: alternate worlds, Ambit magazine, body horror, censorship, horror, humour, Iain Sinclair, interviews, Lead Story, New Worlds, punk, Savoy Books, surrealism, William Burroughs

The story of Savoy Books is one of the strangest in publishing history: a tale of lost opportunities, missed opportunities, repression, censorship, imprisonment … and, most importantly, an incredible legacy of work that continues to disturb, challenge and confront. Mike Holliday talks to Savoy co-founder Michael Butterworth about all this and more, including the guidance Butterworth received as a young writer from J.G. Ballard.



‘A dirty and diseased mind’: The Unicorn bookshop trial

By • Jun 20th, 2009 •

Category: crime, death of affect, fascism, features, horror, Lead Story

Mike Holliday gets to the bottom of the 1968 obscenity trial brought against Bill Butler and the Unicorn Bookshop, for stocking Ballard’s ‘Why I Want to Fuck Ronald Reagan’. As prosecuting counsel Michael Worsley asked of Ballard’s work, “Is this not the meanderings of a dirty and diseased mind?”



Three levels of reality: J.G. Ballard's 'Court Circular'

By • Jan 11th, 2009 •

Category: advertising, Ambit magazine, features, sexual politics, visual art

Mike Holliday examines one of the strangest, most obscure artifacts of Ballard’s career: the concrete poetry and graphic art that make up ‘J.G. Ballard’s Court Circular’. As Mike discovers, even the most unremarkable of Ballard’s writings can repay close attention.



Ballard and the Vicissitudes of Time

By • Jul 3rd, 2008 •

Category: America, deep time, features, flying, inner space, Lead Story, space relics, temporality, time travel, urban decay

Mike Holliday investigates a strange interregnum in Ballard’s career, three short stories that return to earlier concerns: psychological dislocations and disturbances, somehow caused by human space-flight, in our perception of the flow of time.



A Home and a Grave: Mike Holliday on The Unlimited Dream Company

By • Jul 17th, 2007 •

Category: fascism, features, flying, Shepperton

Cover detail: The Unlimited Dream Company (Cape 1979; artwork by Bill Botten). Mike Holliday explains how to read J.G. Ballard’s 1979 novel The Unlimited Dream Company as a fascistic work. Ambiguity is one of the defining features of J.G. Ballard’s fiction. Consider, for example: + Empire of the Sun and The Kindness of Women – […]



Angry Old Men: Michael Moorcock on J.G. Ballard

By • Jul 9th, 2007 •

Category: Borges, Brian Eno, film, Iain Sinclair, interviews, literature, Michael Moorcock, music, New Worlds, Shepperton, Steven Spielberg, William Burroughs

Michael Moorcock, J.G. Ballard and JGB’s partner Claire Walsh in September, 2006 (photo courtesy Linda Moorcock). ———————————————— Interview by Mike Holliday ———————————————— Michael Moorcock has been a prolific writer and editor for the last five decades. Born in London, he was editing his first magazine by the age of seventeen, and started writing genre fiction […]



The Exhibition of Crashed Cars

By • Nov 28th, 2005 •

Category: Ballardosphere, speed & violence, visual art

In 1970, Ballard put together an ‘exhibition’ centred on a number of crashed cars that had been retreived from a London scrapyard. The background to the exhibition, its wider place in Ballard’s ouvre, and the effect on attendees, are all examined by Simon Ford in an article published in the online journal /seconds: “Ballard’s choice […]



JG Ballard vs Dismal Jargon

By • Sep 15th, 2005 •

Category: Ballardosphere

JGB once complained about the "dismal jargon" of over-intellectualised SF criticism. Here is a wonderful example of this sort of stuff. In a short analysis of "The Crystal World", the author manages to name-check Heidegger, Deleuze, Levinas, Derrida, Richard Feynman, Stephen Hawking, Henry James, Kierkegaard, Jesus Christ, Saussure, Levi-Strauss, Lacan, Kristeva, Guattari, Barthes, Foucault, Althusser, […]