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Creating new worldsAuthor: Simon Sellars • Jan 30th, 2009 •
It seems strange that in the SF & fantasy component of the Guardian’s ‘1000 novels everyone must read’ feature, Ballard is referenced extensively…
JG Ballard, the writer who brought SF into the mainstream, has remarked that “Everything is becoming science fiction. From the margins of an almost invisible literature has sprung the intact reality of the 20th century.” Ballard’s visions of “inner space”, Orwell, Huxley and Atwood’s totalitarian nightmares, Kafka’s uneasy bureaucracies, Gibson’s cutting-edge cool — all are examples of a literature at the forefront of the collective imagination. Every truly original writer must, by definition, create a new world. Here is a whole galaxy of worlds to explore.
Still, mustn’t grumble: there is Toby Litt’s ‘Best of JG Ballard’ subsection instead:
When I read JG Ballard, I go into a particular kind of trance. The effect of his books isn’t comparable to those of any other writer. His prose, right from the beginning, has a mesmerising pace, rhythm and decorum all its own. Even more remarkably, Ballard has established his own set of visionary locations. Plenty of other writers now fictionally venture into multistorey carparks, airport hospital wards, decaying hotels, but they do so in the knowledge that they’re trespassing on Ballard’s territory. He was here first; he was the pioneer — back when these places were seen as totally unliterary. What could possibly happen on a motorway embankment that was of interest?
Newer: 'Naive allegory; messianic tendencies' »