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Archive for the ‘science fiction’ Category

Extreme Metaphors: ‘A Launchpad for Other Explorations’

By • Feb 1st, 2014 •

Category: Extreme Metaphors, features, inner space, Lead Story, New Worlds, non-fiction, Salvador Dali, science fiction, Shanghai, Shepperton

To celebrate the new paperback edition of Extreme Metaphors: Selected Interviews with J.G. Ballard, here’s Simon Sellars’ introduction to the book, which explores the true power of Ballard’s conversational style.



‘No Original Response’: J.G. Ballard predicts Social Media, CCTV, Reality TV

By • Jul 3rd, 2013 •

Category: alternate worlds, Applied Ballardianism, Bruce Sterling, CCTV, celebrity culture, dystopia, features, Gilles Deleuze, hyperreality, Lead Story, media landscape, reality TV, science fiction, surveillance, television, William Gibson, YouTube

A post at Buzzfeed has been doing the rounds this week, on how J.G. Ballard “predicted social media in 1977″. According to Buzzfeed, “he made this uncanny observation in a Vogue essay”. Here’s Simon Sellars’ response, in text excerpted from his forthcoming book Applied Ballardianism, about life through a Ballardian lens. Read on for Ballard’s disturbing warning about the dangers that await when we have the capacity to broadcast “the inside of our heads”…



Animal Spirits: A Ballardian Bestiary

By • Dec 12th, 2011 •

Category: academia, advertising, Anthony Burgess, celebrity culture, features, Freud, Gilles Deleuze, Jean Baudrillard, Lead Story, media landscape, postmodernism, science fiction

In this excerpt from his book Animal Spirits, Matteo Pasquinelli explains how ‘the novels of J.G. Ballard can describe the nature of technology and the contemporary mediascape better than any philosopher, media theorist or cultural studies academic — a sort of political agenda born from the perspective of science fiction’.



‘Flesh dissolved in an acid of light’: the B-movie as second sight

By • Mar 15th, 2011 •

Category: academia, alternate worlds, America, CCTV, computer games, consumerism, features, film, hyperreality, Jean Baudrillard, John Carpenter, Lead Story, media landscape, Roger Corman, science fiction, surveillance

What is the link between the film X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes (1963), directed by Roger Corman, the film They Live (1988), directed by John Carpenter, and the work of J.G. Ballard? Nothing less than the B-movie as a rearguard response to the gathering global and economic forces of late capitalism.



Better Living through Psychopathology

By • May 16th, 2010 •

Category: academia, advertising, Ambit magazine, America, consumerism, features, inner space, media landscape, psychopathology, science fiction, space relics, visual art, WWIII

Examining Ballard’s artwork from the late 60s, Benjamin Noys uncovers a future that never took place. The image he focuses on appears as a very 60s image, yet it disjoints itself from that moment by its prescient refusal of the usual models of repression, liberation, and recuperation.



The 032c Interview: Simon Reynolds on Ballard, part 2

By • Dec 7th, 2009 •

Category: Brian Eno, interviews, Lead Story, music, New Worlds, Philip K. Dick, science fiction, short stories, William Burroughs

Simon Reynolds is one of the most recognizable music critics around. His work reached a peak with the publication of Rip It Up and Start Again, a timely excavation of post-punk: Cabaret Voltaire, PiL, Magazine, and so on. What’s more, J.G. Ballard was a thread throughout the book, as Reynolds charted the influence of JGB — and especially his experimental novel, The Atrocity Exhibition — on the era. In this interview, as Simon meets Simon, these topics are discussed in the wake of JGB’s death.



Michael Jackson’s Facelift

By • Jul 2nd, 2009 •

Category: alternate worlds, architecture, body horror, celebrity culture, consumerism, features, horror, Lead Story, medical procedure, Michael Jackson, pastiche, science fiction

“As Michael Jackson reached middle age, the skin of both his cheeks and neck tended to sag from failure of the supporting structures. His naso-labial folds deepened, and the soft tissues along his jaw fell forward. His jowls tended to increase. In profile the creases of his neck lengthened and the chin-neck contour lost its youthful outline and became convex.”



Creating new worlds

By • Jan 30th, 2009 •

Category: Ballardosphere, science fiction, Toby Litt

Toby Litt on the best of JG Ballard.



Ann Lislegaard: 'Crystal World (after J.G. Ballard)'

By • Dec 12th, 2008 •

Category: animation, Ballardosphere, entropy, enviro-disaster, Fredric Jameson, science fiction, visual art

A slew of information on Ann Lislegaard, the brilliant artist behind ‘Crystal World (after J.G. Ballard’, the mesmerising animation that showed at the recent JGB exhibition in Barcelona. Includes links to an interview, video excerpts and stills.



'Confronting Ourselves': Ballard and Circular Time

By • Dec 11th, 2008 •

Category: alternate worlds, Andrei Tarkovsky, Chris Marker, features, film, inner space, Lead Story, memory, science fiction, temporality, time travel, WWII, YouTube

Time-travel, according to Ballard, Marker, Tarkovsky and Godard. Some thoughts on memory retrieval and personal mythology. Ballard and Marker’s ‘fusion of science fiction, psychological fable and photomontage … in its unique way a series of potent images of the inner landscapes of time’.



'To write for the Space Age': Moorcock on Burroughs

By • Dec 11th, 2008 •

Category: Ballardosphere, Michael Moorcock, New Worlds, science fiction, war, William Burroughs

A new interview with Michael Moorcock, discussing Burroughs, Ballard, the Bomb and more.



Feral architecture

By • Nov 14th, 2008 •

Category: architecture, Ballardosphere, film, science fiction

BLDGBLOG on Ballard, resampled architecture, homogenous global space and Michael Winterbottom.



JGB vs HPL

By • Jul 27th, 2008 •

Category: Ballardosphere, H.P. Lovecraft, science fiction

Surreal Documents gets to grip with Ballard and Lovecraft, with satisfying results.



Ballardoscope: some attempts at approaching the writer as a visionary

By • Jul 26th, 2008 •

Category: Alain Robbe-Grillet, America, autobiography, Barcelona, Bruce Sterling, deep time, drained swimming pools, features, flying, hyperreality, inner space, literature, medical procedure, science fiction, sexual politics, Shanghai, Shepperton, space relics, speed & violence, Steven Spielberg, surrealism, technology, war, WWII

Jordi Costa, the curator of J.G. Ballard: Autopsy of the New Millennium, currently exhibiting at the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, gifts us this incisive analysis of the major themes in Ballard’s work. Accompanying the essay is the alternate version of the exhibition’s promo trailer.



J.G. Ballard, Autopsy of the New Millennium: Press Release

By • Jul 22nd, 2008 •

Category: autobiography, Ballardosphere, Barcelona, dystopia, enviro-disaster, film, inner space, science fiction, sexual politics, Shanghai, Shepperton, speed & violence, suburbia, surrealism, utopia, visual art, WWII

Press release with fuller information and accompanying images for JG Ballard, Autopsy of the New Millennium, opening today at the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB).



Chris Marker: Imperfect Memory

By • Jul 18th, 2008 •

Category: Ballardosphere, Chris Marker, deep time, film, inner space, photography, science fiction

New Marker blog: ‘Quoting mostly, writing little, ever fascinated by and admiring always the oeuvre of Chris Marker, le plus célèbre des cinéastes inconnus.’



Disch on Ballard

By • Jul 9th, 2008 •

Category: Ballardosphere, Michael Moorcock, New Worlds, science fiction, Shepperton, Thomas M. Disch

Thomas Disch on J.G. Ballard.



Ballard: Big in San Marino!

By • Jun 7th, 2008 •

Category: academia, Ballardosphere, science fiction, visual art

Ballard makes it onto a San Marino stamp. In the absence of American recognition, this will simply have to do.



The Light-Painter of Mojave D: An Interview with Troy Paiva

By • Jun 6th, 2008 •

Category: alternate worlds, America, architecture, deep time, entropy, enviro-disaster, flying, interviews, Lead Story, Philip K. Dick, photography, science fiction, speed & violence, surrealism, urban decay, urban ruins, visual art

Troy Paiva’s desert photography evokes the crumbling, decadent resorts and enervated cityscapes of Ballard’s Vermilion Sands and Hello America stories. Enjoy this interview with Troy, the Light-Painter of Mojave D.



‘I really would not want to fuck George W. Bush!’: A Conversation with J.G. Ballard

By • May 17th, 2008 •

Category: America, archival, Bruce Sterling, consumerism, Germany, interviews, New Worlds, Philip K. Dick, politics, psychology, science fiction, short stories, surrealism, William Gibson, WWII

Dan O’Hara is back with another translation of a German Ballard interview, this time from 2007 with JGB in priapic, puckish form.



1971: Year of the Drake

By • Apr 19th, 2008 •

Category: David Cronenberg, fashion, features, film, Iain Sinclair, Lead Story, science fiction, YouTube

Here’s a tribute to Gabrielle Drake, a co-conspirator of Ballard’s and the undisputed Queen of both outer and inner space. All hail 1971, the Year of the Drake.



J.G. Ballard … you know, for kids

By • Apr 16th, 2008 •

Category: Ballardosphere, science fiction, television

Squirrel Boy meets Concrete Island, and the kids are alright.



J.G. Ballard: The Oracle of Shepperton

By • Feb 26th, 2008 •

Category: alternate worlds, autobiography, dystopia, film, inner space, reviews, science fiction, Shepperton, suburbia

The final version of Thomas Cazals’ tribute, ‘J.G. Ballard: The Oracle of Shepperton’, has been released. It’s one of the stranger JGB ‘adaptations’ around, and is told with considerable flair and skill.



R.I.P. Alain Robbe-Grillet

By • Feb 22nd, 2008 •

Category: academia, Ballardosphere, film, inner space, science fiction

A repost of this tribute to Robbe-Grillet, with the addition of some extra quotes that either illuminate or obfuscate…



‘This most astonishing penumbra’: Will Self on J.G. Ballard

By • Feb 2nd, 2008 •

Category: archival, dystopia, interviews, science fiction, Shanghai, Shepperton, urban decay, Will Self, William Burroughs, WWII

Will Self was recently interviewed on BBC Radio 4 by Mariella Frostrup about his admiration for J.G. Ballard’s work. Here’s a transcript of that interview.



More extracts from Miracles of Life

By • Jan 29th, 2008 •

Category: autobiography, Ballardosphere, boredom, psychology, science fiction, speed & violence, visual art

The Times has two more extracts from Miracles of Life. In the first, Ballard reminisces about his time as a trainee air force pilot. In the second, he discusses the ideas behind Crash.



La Jetée ciné-roman back in print

By • Jan 25th, 2008 •

Category: Ballardosphere, Chris Marker, film, inner space, New Worlds, science fiction

I am delighted to report that the book of Chris Marker’s La Jetée is back in print through Zone Books — and in hardcover, too. It will be out in (US) Spring 2008. Thank you, thank you: for years, second-hand copies were changing hands via Amazon and eBay for anything up to $400. Unable to […]



Authentic literature

By • Jan 23rd, 2008 •

Category: Ballardosphere, literature, science fiction

I had to smile when I read this from Wired’s Clive Thompson [via Boing Boing]: If you want to read books that tackle profound philosophical questions, then the best — and perhaps only — place to turn these days is sci-fi. Science fiction is the last great literature of ideas. From where I sit, traditional […]



Michael Jackson reads J.G. Ballard

By • Dec 28th, 2007 •

Category: alternate worlds, Ballardosphere, body horror, celebrity culture, music, posthumanism, science fiction

Chris N-B asks: ‘What is Michael Jackson’s favorite literary science fiction? I’ll bet you dinner at Picasso that right now he’s curled up in the overstuffed armchair of his penthouse suite at the Bellagio, giggling at The Atrocity Exhibition.’



How to Build a Utopia in Your Spare Time

By • Dec 23rd, 2007 •

Category: academia, alternate worlds, Australia, dystopia, enviro-disaster, film, Fredric Jameson, Iain Sinclair, Jean Baudrillard, Lead Story, literature, Pacific, reviews, science fiction, terrorism, utopia

A review of Demanding the Impossible, the Third Australian Conference on Utopia, Dystopia and Science Fiction, held at Monash University, Clayton, Melbourne, Australia, Dec 5-7.



Sam Scoggins: 'Unlimited Dream Company' Film

By • Dec 22nd, 2007 •

Category: features, film, filmography, Lead Story, science fiction, Shepperton, surrealism

Sam Scoggins has finally digitised his ‘lost’ 1983 quasi-doco on Ballard, loosely structured around themes found in The Unlimited Dream Company. There are plans for ballardian.com to interview Sam, but for now, enjoy the film.



An Archaeological Find

By • Dec 4th, 2007 •

Category: architecture, consumerism, death of affect, features, Fredric Jameson, Futurists, media landscape, science fiction, speed & violence, technology

Recently, Toronto’s Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation and Fantasy passed on to Rick McGrath a binder containing a slew of Canadian JGB reviews, Ballardian esoterica and the jewel in the crown: a long, unpublished interview with Ballard from 1974.



Grave New World: Introduction, Part 2

By • Nov 13th, 2007 •

Category: academia, Ballardosphere, features, Michael Moorcock, New Worlds, Salvador Dali, science fiction, Shanghai, Steven Spielberg, surrealism, William Burroughs, WWII

by Dominika Oramus World’s first hydrogen bomb explosion, Eniwetok Atoll, 1952. Dominika Oramus teaches Brit.Lit. professionally at the University of Warsaw. The following is Part Two of the introduction to Grave New World: The Decline of the West in the Fiction of J.G. Ballard, her post-doctoral thesis. Grave New World currently exists as a (very) […]



Grave New World: Introduction, Part 1

By • Nov 5th, 2007 •

Category: academia, David Cronenberg, death of affect, dystopia, features, Iain Sinclair, Jean Baudrillard, Michael Moorcock, New Worlds, psychiatry, Salvador Dali, science fiction, surrealism, technology, urban ruins, William Burroughs, WWII

Dominika Oramus reads Ballard’s work as a record of the gradual internal degeneration of Western civilization: though we are not literally living amidst the ruins, the golden age is far behind us and we are witnessing the twilight of the West.



First Instalment on the Future

By • Oct 31st, 2007 •

Category: alternate worlds, Ballardosphere, dystopia, film, gated communities, science fiction, utopia

I’ve just come across this excellent 2005 article from Chris Darke, published in Vertigo magazine, on Jean-Luc Godard’s masterpiece, Alphaville. It begins with a fascinating anecdote about gated communities in Brazil that are modeled after Godard’s modernist dystopia: Seven and a half miles from the heart of São Paulo there is a gated community which […]



Future Fascination: Ballard in SFX

By • Oct 30th, 2007 •

Category: Ballardosphere, film, Philip K. Dick, science fiction, terrorism

Dom passes on news of yet another Ballard mini-interview, this time in the December 2007 edition of SFX Magazine. It’s just a series of quotes pasted onto the above photo, with the terrible title, ‘Never Mind the Ballards’. Here’s the full text: NEVER MIND THE BALLARDS J.G. Ballard is still fascinated by the future, even […]



Harsh Realities

By • Oct 18th, 2007 •

Category: Ballardosphere, science fiction

Brian Aldiss, figurehead of the New Wave along with Ballard, has written a letter to the Times: Sir, At the Cheltenham Festival Margaret Atwood said that writers “are likely to be compulsive wordsmiths” — presumably a way of saying that writing is for some of us an expression of the life force. Her life would […]



Ragged Scaffolding

By • Sep 22nd, 2007 •

Category: architecture, Ballardosphere, science fiction, technology

Technovelgy is an intriguing site that explores the inventions of science fiction writers. And while we don’t often think of J.G. Ballard as a writer of predictive, ‘hard’ science fiction (ie, he’s never been bothered with imagining the shape of far-future technology, Asimov style, being far more interested in mapping out the psychological effects of […]



Fire Up the Core Cannon

By • Jul 29th, 2007 •

Category: Ballardosphere, Bruce Sterling, cyberpunk, literature, science fiction

Pedro writes: The canon of “Slipstream literature,” defined by a panel at Readercon has been posted by Paul DiFilippo. JGB is mentioned (Complete Stories as part of the “core canon” at number 10 and Empire of the Sun at 99). Kindness of Women was also suggested by one of the participants. Here is a response […]



Prophets of Doom

By • Jul 29th, 2007 •

Category: Ballardosphere, dystopia, Philip K. Dick, science fiction, Will Self, William Burroughs

In the Independent, Deborah Orr parses Ballard in her analysis of John Gray’s Black Mass: In his latest book, Black Mass, the philosopher John Gray traces the history of Western millenarianism … For Gray, it is utopianism itself that is the problem. He suggests that ‘it is dystopian thinking we most need.’ We must, if […]



UFOpunk: Mac Tonnies' Strange Blue World

By • Jul 3rd, 2007 •

Category: alternate worlds, Bruce Sterling, cyberpunk, David Cronenberg, interviews, paranormal, posthumanism, science fiction, William Burroughs

Mac Tonnies is a Kansas-based writer of post-cyberpunk science fiction (recently published by the redoubtable Rudy Rucker). He’s also the author of the book After the Martian Apocalypse, a speculative search for life on the Red Planet, as well as the originator of a ‘cryptoterrestrial’ philosophy that ambitiously seeks to explain (with ‘balanced skepticism’) a […]



Thirteen to Centaurus

By • Jun 24th, 2007 •

Category: alternate worlds, features, film, filmography, inner space, Philip K. Dick, science fiction, short stories, space relics

‘Thirteen to Centaurus’, directed by Peter Potter, is an adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s 1962 short story of that name, produced as part of the BBC’s Out of the Unknown series of science-fiction dramatisations. But at that time film and television was just not capable of delivering the frisson that the best SF literature provided (it […]



'Magisterial, Precise, Unsettling': Simon Reynolds on the Ballard Connection

By • Jun 2nd, 2007 •

Category: Brian Eno, entropy, interviews, music, New Worlds, Philip K. Dick, Salvador Dali, science fiction, short stories, William Burroughs

Interview by Simon Sellars. Simon Reynolds is one of the most recognisable music critics around — or at least his style is, not least for its willingness to tackle pop music as an art form worthy of sustained intellectual discourse rather than as a fleeting moment of adolescent flash. Reynolds breaks new ground, melding unbridled […]



A User's Guide to the Millennium (1996)

By • Sep 5th, 2006 •

Category: advertising, architecture, bibliography, boredom, celebrity culture, consumerism, death of affect, deep time, dystopia, enviro-disaster, fashion, film, flying, humour, invisible literature, media landscape, medical procedure, non-fiction, photography, politics, psychogeography, psychology, Salvador Dali, science fiction, sexual politics, space relics, speed & violence, surrealism, television, urban decay, visual art, William Burroughs, WWII

OPENING LINE: “In his prime the Hollywood screenwriter was one of the tragic figures of our age, evoking the special anguish that arises from feeling sorry for oneself while making large amounts of money”. (from ‘The Sweet Smell of Excess’). From the 1996 Harper Collins edition: The first-ever collection of J.G. Ballard’s articles and reviews, […]



J.G. Ballard: The Complete Short Stories, vols 1 & 2 (2006)

By • Sep 1st, 2006 •

Category: advertising, architecture, bibliography, boredom, celebrity culture, consumerism, death of affect, deep time, dystopia, enviro-disaster, flying, humour, invisible literature, media landscape, medical procedure, New Worlds, photography, politics, psychogeography, psychology, science fiction, sexual politics, Shepperton, short stories, space relics, speed & violence, suicide, surrealism, television, terrorism, urban decay, urban revolt, visual art, WWII

OPENING LINE: “I first met Jane Ciracylides during the Recess, that world slump of boredom, lethargy and high summer which carried us all so blissfully through ten unforgettable years, and I suppose that may have had a lot to do with what went on between us.” (from ‘Prima Belladonna’). From the 2001 Flamingo edition (originally […]



JG Ballard: Psychonaut of Inner Space

By • Jul 7th, 2006 •

Category: Ballardosphere, Iain Sinclair, Michael Moorcock, New Worlds, science fiction

These days, with all manner of theorists, futurists, architects, musos, journos, self-mutilators and even UFO freaks claiming JG Ballard as one of their very own, it’s easy to forget that the man with his finger firmly impressed on the cult of today once wrote what was considered to be actual science fiction, albeit of a […]



'Child of the Diaspora': Sterling on Ballard

By • Oct 7th, 2005 •

Category: Ballardosphere, Bruce Sterling, cyberpunk, enviro-disaster, flying, interviews, invisible literature, medical procedure, science fiction, sexual politics, Shepperton, urban decay, William Burroughs

Bruce Sterling is a prolific science-fiction writer, futurist, social critic and design professor, best known for his bestselling novels and seminal short fiction, and as the editor of the Mirrorshades anthology that defined the ‘cyberpunk’ subgenre. His nonfiction includes works of futurism such as Tomorrow Now; a regular column and blog for Wired; and his […]



J.G. Ballard Live in London

By • Oct 7th, 2005 •

Category: archival, censorship, consumerism, David Cronenberg, dystopia, film, gated communities, interviews, psychology, psychopathology, science fiction, sexual politics, Shanghai, television

Photo by Simon Sellars This transcript was first published in Sub Dee Magazine (no. 5 Summer 1997), a print project I was involved in long before Ballardian. At the time, J.G. Ballard’s career was in the ascendancy after what was perceived to be an average period in his writing. Cocaine Nights had just been released […]



Retrospecto: La Jetée

By • Oct 7th, 2005 •

Category: Chris Marker, deep time, film, New Worlds, Philip K. Dick, photography, reviews, science fiction, suicide

Nothing sorts memories from ordinary moments. They claim remembrance when they show their scars. Chris Marker. La Jetée. review by Simon Sellars The films of Chris Marker are often termed ‘essayist’, participating in a phenomenological play with deep roots in French intellectualism. Working within documentary and pseudo-documentary modes, they mimic the manner in which memory […]