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Iterative Architecture: a Ballardian Text, part 2

Author: • Jul 23rd, 2009 •

Category: academia, alternate worlds, America, architecture, death of affect, deep time, film, inner space, invisible literature, memory, New Worlds, pastiche, perception, Shanghai, short stories, temporality, time travel, WWII

Ballardian: Ian Fleming

‘Iterative Architecture: a Ballardian Text’

by Brian Baker

..:: CONTINUED from >> Part 1 ::…


The Joker. The Joker in the pack is the card that, in some games, can replace (or substitute for, take the place of) any of the others. In this sense, the Joker is the empty sign.


Hearts ♥

(A♥) Time Drill. ‘I don’t remember much about my father,’ replied B.
‘No, I’m sorry, you misunderstand,’ said Bluefield. ‘I meant Markham, Sir Richard Markham.’
‘Ah…’ B looked a little confused, then passed a thin, sunburnt hand across his eyes. Bluefield thought B looked exhausted after his ordeal in the Pontiac. Karen Blunt had finally rescued the half-blistered scarecrow figure in his ragged flying jacket, and at least the soft flying helmet had prevented too much sunstroke. Even now, after a week’s rest and medical attention, Bluefield could see the sores around B’s dirty neckline, beneath the leather collar of his jacket.
‘Are you really a doctor?’ asked B, looking up.
‘Of a special kind.’

(2♥) Unwritten histories. ‘You’ve been in Florida before?’ asked Karen.
B was surprised to hear her speak in light, rather melodious accentless English.
‘Yes, some time ago. I met a man by the name of Scaramanga.’
Blowfield smiled gently and looked down at his large, soft hands. Pink and scrubbed, they looked out of place on the dusty grey melamine table-top. They sat in a red vinyl horseshoe-shaped booth in the abandoned diner, three Coca-Colas in green bottles growing ever closer to blood heat in front of them.
‘I read that case,’ said Blowfield. ‘You weren’t quite yourself to begin with, I recall.’
B’s eyes flickered as he began to enter another fugue.
‘And who am I now, doctor?’

(3♥) Whisky and soda. The fugues seemed to take the place of any true dream sleep, but that afternoon B drew up a sun-lounger beneath an overgrown palm, and drifted to sleep by the side of the drained swimming pool. He dreamed of flight. Propeller blades flashed from his shoulders in the golden sunlight as he ascended into the Florida sky, below him the gantries and concrete aprons of Canaveral. A space-age archangel, clothed in light, he rose until he could see the curvature on the blue rim of the earth and the vault of the sky deepened to a crushing black. Turning on his back, in coronation armour flashing like a new star, he awaited blissful deliverance.

(4♥) Kuomintang. B sat in the wrecked Aston, its red leather trim burst like a rotten scarecrow. He toyed with the broken instrument stalk as he stared at the cracked dials and buckled binnacle, the Aston’s instruments frozen at the crash speed of a hundred and twenty. Feeling his cracked kneecap, B pressed down on the accelerator pedal and saw, through the frosted windshield, the roads of the International Settlement in Shanghai, where he sat on his father’s lap as they drove down empty boulevards in the grandiose Packard that his father bought to impress high-ranking Chinese officials.

(5♥) Viennese Benediction. ‘Who do you want to be, James?’ asked Blovelt.
‘Is it a matter of choice, doctor?’
‘For you, it’s a matter of necessity,’ said Blovelt, drawing aside the Styrofoam cup of coffee.
‘I think you may have the question wrong, if I may say so,’ said B. ‘It’s not a matter of who do I want to be, but why?’
Blovelt slowly traced the parabola of his pink skull with his left palm.
‘Have you seen her, again?’
B seemed, with an effort of will, to come to himself, and looked searchingly at Blovelt, certainty and horror at home in the grey eyes.
‘She’s out there on the gantries, doctor,’ said B. ‘She keeps escaping me, and I don’t have much time left. But I’ll find her.’

(6♥) X-1. In one of his increasingly rare periods of physical activity, B walked towards the Apollo gantry and heard the spluttering engine of the Cessna. Through the cockpit window, as the aircraft circled the gantry, B could make out the habitual white coat, red shirt and pink skull of Blyfield, the man who had murdered his wife, but who had now somehow brought her back to him. Blyfield was waving, pointing to the top of the gantry, and as B looked up, he saw a figure clambering among the rusted geometry of the access platforms. There she was. As B made his way to the stairwell on aching, sore legs, he heard the Cessna’s engine cut out, and watched as Blyfield wrestled the aircraft to a controlled crash landing on the concrete apron.

(7♥) Cobalt Blue. B and Blueweldt met in the mezzanine of the Monte Carlo convention centre, which presented itself as a provincial casino without the formal wear. The foyer was crowded with middle-aged men in light summer suits.
‘Dr. Blueweldt, I assume?’ asked Bond, peering at a name tag.
‘My dear James! How lovely to see you here!’ Blueweldt warmly clasped B’s hand. ‘How have you been?’
B looked searchingly into Blueweldt’s eyes for signs of dissimulation.
‘Have you been to any of the panels?’ asked Blueweldt ruefully. ‘Second rate, to a man. As you can see, they all look like middle-management executives. Appearances, in this case, are not deceptive.’
Blueweldt’s own light-blue three-piece blended him in perfectly with the crowd, but B’s worn leather jacket, cracked aviator glasses and khaki pants identified him either as a media don or a stray patient. B opened his conference pack and scanned the schedule of panels.
‘Nothing of interest next, doctor. Shall we step outside for a sundowner and a talk?’

Ballardian: Ian Fleming

ABOVE: Artwork by Jeffrey K. Potter for ‘Myths of the Near Future’ (commissioned for the collection Memories of the Space Age).

(8♥) Yarrow Stalks. As he finally stepped onto the access platform near the top of the rusting Apollo gantry, legs shaking and a fugue beginning to come on, B saw his wife looking at him from a pool of silver sunlight. His wife pointed away from Canaveral, out into the light and air. He wondered if she was beckoning him to step out into the æther and join her. He edged further along the platform towards the open end, feeling the pull of the light airs that breathed past the gap. As he approached, time slowing, he realised what his wife was pointing towards – there he seemed to see, in the far distance, the light shining on the Everglades, a burnished mirror of the sun. He stared, the reflected light searing an image onto his retina. Turning, slowly turning, he realised that his wife had gone.

(9♥) Dilation of the Iris. Ordinarily, B only found motor vehicles interesting if he was behind the wheel, and despite the glamour of the grand prix circus that had now arrived in Monaco, this week was no exception. He had lost track of Blaufield some time before the end of the neurology conference, having become bored by the presentations of the delegates and unimpressed by the exhibits and displays. He had drifted off into strolling the streets of the city principality, unwilling to return to London and admit – perhaps to himself most of all – that he had lost the urgency of the hunt. He haunted the harbour, obsessed with the Mediterranean light playing upon the water and the large white motor yachts that now filled the marina. Time, here in this piece of France that was not France, seemed to stretch into a long, martini-filled afternoon.

(10♥) Emergency Procedures. Using his conference accreditation to flash the security staff, B made his way with the crowd onto the deck of a large motor launch and accepted a glass of champagne from a waiter. His worn leather jacket and aviator sunshades gave him just the right kind of down-at-heel glamour so that the crowd accepted him as an out-of-work American character actor or throwback racing driver, scion of a far less technical and bureaucratic age. Bored by the upscale small talk, he drifted to the stern rail of the launch and looked back across the marina. At his elbow, a young woman in matching aviator glasses coughed slightly, and said, ‘Thinking of jumping?’
He turned and looked at the self-possessed young woman in the pale blue silk dress who leaned into him, looking up, and saw his own rather ragged features reflected in her glasses. She was a head shorter than B, but held herself with a kind of rakish confidence that marked her difference from the crowd behind them.
‘No, of flying,’ he said.
‘You’re not a race driver, then?’
‘I can’t say I’m much of anything.’
‘You do, however, have a name?’
‘It’s James. James B.’

(J♥) Facts in the Case. They stood arm in arm as the fumes from the high-octane engines hazed the sidewalk, pressed as it was with spectators. Their ill-timed stroll had locked them into the very circus they had hoped to avoid. The falsetto roar of the factory-team racing cars blasting past the barriers stilled their conversation, and they communicated by way of near-hysterical mime, raised eyebrows, pointedly directed eye movement and clasps of the hand. Both wore smiles that the crush and the noise could not erase. B motioned with his head to cut past the end of a run-off area to walk away from the crowds and up into the town away from the circuit. As they disengaged themselves from the crowd and walked past a race marshall frantically waving a red flag, B was suddenly conscious of a blast of engine-hot air that lifted him bodily then slammed him back onto the asphalt. Time and space wheeled like a burst tyre. His ears full of the roar of the dying high-performance engine, he turned his head to the right and saw her propped up against the buckled armcove, smiling slightly at him and tenderly brushing away the drops of blood that spilled from a graze in her scalp onto the white cotton dress.

(Q♥) Left Luggage Office. ‘Come in,’ said Markham.
‘Thank you,’ replied Professor Blowfield with a slight bow. ‘You would like to discuss the case of James B?’
‘Yes. Although when he came back from Switzerland, he professed the desire to return to active service, his behaviour has been erratic to say the least. Here is a record of the surveillance that one of our top female operatives has been conducting.’
Blowfield took up the file that had been slid across the desk to him, and scanned down the list of B’s movements and activities. His eyebrows, beneath the dome of his naked forehead, raised in surprise once, then again. ‘Here?’
M smiled ruefully. ‘I thought that once B’s dalliance with a wife had been ended, he would come back to us. It seems he has, in fact, gone much further away. Is there anything else we can do?’
Blowfield winced, and dipped his head. Looking up at Markham, he said, ‘There’s one more thing we can try. After that…’

(K♥) Zoëtropic. B drove out to one of the abandoned small towns on the edge of the glades, looking for an airboat. He finally found one in the late afternoon, one that started after a little tinkering, and seated high in the driver’s chair, he powered up the caged propeller and swung the airboat out into the middle of the reed-choked creek. He throttled back and let the engine idle as the boat skimmed out into the glades proper, skirting the causeway he had driven on. Once out into flat water, he opened the airboat up, skimming at a speed that seemed literally unearthly, a dream of flight, airborne on water, airborne on light. He glanced to his left and saw his wife sitting beside him looking forward into the sun, dark hair streaming behind her, light cotton dress swept against her breasts and torso. He looked ahead, feeling the fugue coming on him again, and pointed the airboat towards the sun that dipped molten gold into the Everglades.

Diamonds ♦

New Worlds (6♦). Under Michael Moorcock’s editorship from 1964, New Worlds magazine became the home of the science fiction ‘New Wave’. The archetypal New Wave science fiction story was textually experimental and formally and/or generically self-conscious; alienated from the mores and conventions of contemporary mainstream culture (and mainstream ‘literary’ writing); and infused with a cynical, dystopian or counter-cultural politics, signified in the recurrent use of the scientific concept of entropy. Moorcock has written about New Worlds:

Style and technique was merely a means to an end – frequently a very moral means to some very moral ends. We were looking at the Vietnam War, Kennedy’s assassination, the computer revolution, the armaments industry, the manipulations of the media, the profound hypocrisies of the liberal bourgeoisie, the appalling condition of the majority of human beings on the planet, the useless currency of outmoded or inappropriate political language. But our response was scarcely a puritan one and neither did we recoil from experiencing our subject matter. We relished and embraced change, we celebrated the advent of new technologies and theories which opened up the multiverse for further exploration, which helped us understand our own behaviour and which provided us with some profound and spectacular metaphors! If the world was going to hell, we were determined to see how, but we were also determined to enjoy it while it was happening. Our curiosity was considerably greater than our uncertainty. [12]

The iterability of Ballard’s work makes him a central player in the ‘New Wave’ and in New Worlds.

Ballardian: Ian Fleming

Out There (8♦). James Bond is crucially implicated in the social and ideological practices of tourism and consumerism; but Bond is ‘at home’ anywhere, as in From Russia, With Love, where he is accepted in the Turkish gypsy caravanserai as a kind of ‘brother’ and is even accorded the honour of judging the outcome of a dispute between women. As Vivian Halloran notes in ‘Tropical Bond’, the issue of ‘passing’ for local recurs in Bond texts which consistently, she argues, ‘complicate Bond’s whiteness’; following Edward Said’s argument about Kipling’s Kim in Culture and Imperialism, I would like to stress here that Bond can ‘pass’, even as a non-white other, where the ethnically troubling ‘villain’ (from Dr No onwards) most assuredly cannot. [13] Ballard’s protagonists are alienated everywhere, even ‘at home’; the fragmentation of the Traven/ Talbot/ Tallis figure is of a different order to the disguises that Bond affects, under which the ‘real’ James Bond still exists. In The Atrocity Exhibition, there is no such foundational unitary subjectivity. Where the Ballardian protagonist travels to different parts of the world, he only ‘passes’ in that the indigenous people recognise such a radical psychological dislocation in him that he is not really there at all.

Pleasure Periphery (7♦). Ballard and Fleming share an interest in what Michael Denning calls the ‘pleasure periphery’, ‘the tourist belt surrounding the industrialized world’: the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, or certain parts of East Asia. The centrality of tourism and travel to Bond texts is echoed in such Ballard texts as ‘Having a Wonderful Time’ (1978) or, more importantly, Cocaine Nights (1996). Denning writes, after quoting from a scene in Fleming’s From Russia, With Love:

Here we find the epitome of the tourist experience: the moment of relaxed visual contemplation from above, leaning on the balustrade; the aesthetic reduction of a social entity, the city, to a natural object, coterminous with the waves of the sea; the calculations of the tourist’s economy, exchanging physical discomfort for a more “authentic” view; and the satisfaction of having made the ‘right’ exchange, having “got” the experience, possessed the “view”. [14]

It is no coincidence, argues Denning, that the Bond narratives find their location in the ‘pleasure periphery’: Fleming’s texts articulate the ‘tourist gaze’ (analysed by John Urry), the mobile gaze of consumption embodied by jet-age travellers to ‘exotic’ tourist destinations. [15] In Ballard’s fictions, the ‘pleasure periphery’ is the location for what Andrzej Gasiorek diagnoses as ‘a world dominated not by work but by leisure’, although in Kingdom Come (2007) and elsewhere, the ‘pleasure periphery’ has now been imported to the centre. [16]

Queens and Kings (3♦). In ‘Confetti Royale’/‘The Beach Murders’, Quimby, who is identified several times as the ‘dealer’ of the deck of cards that ‘he set out […] on the balcony table’, both plays a card game alone (with which he ‘amused himself in his hideaway’) and, by extension, with the other characters in the story. [17] Each card has two aspects: the number or face upon it (denoting its value), and on the reverse or back, a picture of the bullfighter Cordobès, whose image is thereby repeated fifty-two times across the table, another figure of iteration. There are no easy homologies between Queen, King and Jack and the characters in ‘Confetti Royale’, however (even though there is a Princess): what is important is the role of the dealer, and the game itself. The game as metaphor for espionage informs this short story as it has the spy genre since Kipling’s Kim (1901) and the colonial ‘Great Game’ played by Britain and Russia for domination of the Indian subcontinent. Kim’s fluid and liminal subjectivity is an index of the instability of the spy-subject at the centre of espionage narrative: the secret agent becomes the ‘double agent’. [18]

Ballardian: Ian Fleming

Illustration by Michael Foreman for the original Doubleday edition of The Atrocity Exhibition.

Reified Subjects (4♦). David Punter, in The Hidden Script, identifies the centrality of subjectivity to Ballard’s concerns in his fiction. Punter writes:

The long tradition of enclosed and unitary subjectivity comes to mean less and less to him as he explores the ways in which person [sic] is increasingly controlled by landscape and machine, increasingly becomes a point of intersection for overloaded scripts and processes which have effectively concealed their distant origins from human agency. [19]

Punter’s assessment of Ballard’s critique of subjectivity can be exemplified most clearly in The Atrocity Exhibition, where the Traven/Tallis/Talbot figure, whose ‘breakdown’ is materialised in the fragmented form of the text and in the iterated (‘obsessional’) motifs, is a liminal or fractured subject. Ballard’s critique of contemporary life is articulated largely through his destablisation of unitary subjectivity, a fragmentation which leads to the release of ‘unconscious’ forces and desires which remain obscure (as conscious ‘motivation’) to the subject that enacts them. Figures for the fragmented or replicated subject can be found in ‘Confetti Royale’, for instance, in the repeated image of the bullfighter Cordobès on the backs of the cards, or in the first paragraph, where Princess Manon sees herself in the mirrors: ‘In the triptych of mirrors above the dressing table she gazed at the endless replicas of herself’. [20] Ballardian subjects are rarely agents in their own narratives; agency is displaced on to the ‘provocateur’ antagonist, Vaughan or Wilder Penrose, the third point in the Ballardian triangulation.

Secret Agent (5♦). Fleming’s Bond, by way of contrast with the Ballardian subject, seems all agency, however ‘secret’. Bond, though, is acted upon in the death of his wife in OHMSS, and is subjected to a beating of his genitals, administered by Le Chiffre, in Casino Royale. There are limits to Bond’s agency. Also in Casino Royale, Bond is at first ‘defeated’ by Le Chiffre and the cards and is only saved in his mission by the offer of ‘Marshall aid’ (American finance) by the CIA operative Felix Leiter. His rescue from Le Chiffre is also ex machina, as a Smersh agent enters and kills Le Chiffre and his crew, only to leave Bond alive as he has no orders to kill the British agent. The fantasy of total agency represented by the figure of Bond, an expression of Cold War and decolonisation-era anxieties about Britain’s geopolitical role and influence, is destabilised by the texts themselves.

The Beach Murders (2♦). At the missing centre of ‘Confetti Royale’, the 1966 short story that was renamed ‘The Beach Murders’, is Quimby, the ‘absconded cipher chief’ from the US State department, who is the ‘dealer’ of the pack of cards that feature throughout the narrative. Quimby is an encoder, the master of this textual game, though he himself remains an enigma (his motivations obscure even to himself: ‘what these obsessives in Moscow and Washington failed to realize was that for once he might have no motive at all’). [21] The retitling of the story – the text becoming its own double – emphasises the murders rather than the Cold War espionage milieu, placing the enigma ‘who killed?’ at the heart of the generic recoding: the text becomes a detective fiction rather than a spy fiction. As the ‘Introduction’ to the text suggests, the form of the story is an invitation to the reader to decode the narrative, recombine the 26 alphabeticized paragraphs and narrative events to resolve the text by identifying the murderer(s). No such resolution can take place. Of the murders, the following can be stated:
1. the Russian agent Kovorski murders the Romanoff Princess Manon (with certainty: her death is described).
2. the ‘American limbo dancer’ Lydia is killed (accidentally) by a bomb planted in the CIA agent Statler’s Mercedes by Kovorski (paragraph ends at the point at which she presses the starter and sets off the device)
3. Quimby kills the Russian agent Raissa (less certain, but probable)
4. Kovorski is shot and killed by an unknown assailant
5. Statler is killed in an unknown manner by an unknown assailant
6. Quimby and Sir Giles are left alive at the end of the narrative (probable, because there is no narrative of their deaths)

Of the murders, then, one is known; two are probably ascribable; two remain mysteries. The fate of two characters, including Quimby the ‘dealer’, in unknown. The recombinatory game ‘fails’ because there is, and can be, no solution to this criminal narrative. We might suspect that Quimby, as the ‘dealer’, is responsible, but the murderer(s) might also include Sir Giles or other (unknown) figures. The ‘Introduction’ also suggests that the textual game of deduction is doubled: the ‘solution’ to the ‘mystery of the Beach Murders’ requires a ‘key’, perhaps the very phrase that Lydia lifts from Kovorski’s Travel-Riter ink ribbon. As the text foregrounds from the very beginning, ‘any number of solutions is possible, and a final answer to the mystery […] lies forever hidden.’ [22]

Ballardian: Ian Fleming

Upwardly Mobile (10♦). James Bond is a curiously classless figure, despite the over-coded aristocratic connoisseurship purveyed by the Roger Moore film incarnation. In the film of Casino Royale, Bond and Vesper Lynd travel by high-speed train to Montenegro (the re-location of the casino). After dinner, the two swap character assessments/ character assassinations. After Bond essays a rather trite analysis of an anxious, beautiful-but-brainy femininity, Lynd reverses the trick: Bond is an orphan, the product of a public school and Oxford education (where he never ‘fitted in’), and MI6 via the SAS. Lynd then asks how his lamb was for dinner; ‘Skewered,’ says Bond. ‘One sympathises.’ Bond may be embarrassed by the ease in which Lynd is able to ‘skewer’ his character, but its detail signifies how dis-located he is in terms of social structures: he is an outsider, ‘maladjusted’, a status which in fact generates his mobility as a secret agent. Bond’s popularity can partly be read as a reflection of the aspirational, economically mobile, consumption-oriented imperatives of the British middle class in the 1960s and afterwards – the period of the Bond film phenomenon. Ballard’s own life history echoes Bond’s: not an orphan, but with distanced parents and Chinese servants in loco parentis; public school in England post-war (the Leys School in Cambridge), then Cambridge University; a short spell in the RAF, then marriage and life as a professional writer. Ballard’s connection to, and insight into, the mores and aspirations of the affluent British middle class is clear throughout his writings. Ballard is, in some ways, as exemplary a twentieth-century Englishman as is Bond, even though both are ‘outsiders’.

Vesper Lynd (Q♦). The second point of the Ballardian narrative triangulation, the wife or lover, is often unfaithful or even lost to the protagonist. Even Crash’s Catherine Ballard is no femme fatale, however; sexual infidelity is less a matter of betrayal than of a mirror-image of the protagonist’s own personal trajectory of (self)alienation and (self)discovery. Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, drawing upon the critical work of Rene Girard in her text Between Men, writes of an ‘erotic triangle’ in texts, where the (unspoken) relationship between two rival males predominates over, and regulates, the relationship each has with the ‘third’ point of the triangle, the female. The female thus becomes a counter or marker in a system of exchange: a medium or locus of repressed male desire. [23] Ballard’s triangulations are a geometry of homosociality and homoeroticism, made most explicit in Crash, but present everywhere.

War Fever (J♦). The title of Ballard’s last short story collection, ‘war fever’ symbolises the underlying pathology at work during the Twentieth century: an implication of desire, destruction and death.

X = ? (A♦). Ballard’s texts tend to work particularly through the recognition of the component. This is most evident in The Atrocity Exhibition, where each chapter is itself a ‘condensed novel’ and each titled paragraph thereby a ‘chapter’. Here, the architectural/ iterative imperatives of the Ballardian text are at their fullest extent. Brian McHale, in Postmodernist Fiction, suggests that ‘a pattern of repetition-with-variation’ is a central compositional motif in Ballard’s 1960s disaster fiction, and goes on to propose that ‘a fixed repertoire of modules, many of them repeated from the earlier apocalyptic novels, are differently recombined and manipulated from story to story’. ‘All this suggests,’ argues McHale, ‘the game-like permutation of a fixed repertoire of motifs – “art in a closed field”’. [24] Ballard’s ‘modular’ texts are therefore devices to work another iteration on the Ballardian algebra, the triangulation of protagonist, wife and provocateur/antagonist. Where P is the protagonist, A is alienation, V is the provocateur, W is the wife, and T is time:

X (Transcendence, Escape, Death) = ((P/A x V) +/- W) –T

It is not the aesthetic of the fragment that is central to the Ballardian text; it is the algebra of the iterative component or module.

You Know My Name (9♦). The title song of the 2006 Casino Royale was written by Chris Cornell and David Arnold, and performed by Cornell. Its rock dynamics give the title sequence a kinetic edge, and is one of the more memorable of recent times. Its title and refrain, ‘You Know My Name’, signifies that the Bondian imaginary, like the Ballardian, is recognisable without (necessarily) being explicitly named.

Zones of Transit (K♦). The Ballardian protagonist is often in movement, physically and metaphysically; between one place and another, between one state and another. Cast in the role of detective in Cocaine Nights, Super-Cannes and Kingdom Come, what is revealed by the protagonist’s investigations is of less importance than the progressive shedding of the layers of repression, self-delusion or unknowingness that constitute the protagonist’s world-view, compromised by the experiences the investigation leads him into. Just as there is no solution to ‘The Beach Murders’, only a game to be played, Ballard’s texts remain unresolved, in transit.


The Joker. There are two jokers in the pack; like Gemini, twins, red and black. They do not conform to one of the four suits, but take their colours. They are part of the pack but not part of it, always present but unused in many card games. The extra two cards, a kind of supplement, disrupt the seductive numerology of 13 that otherwise attends the ‘French deck’ of cards: 52 cards, in 4 suits, 13 to a suit; 13 x 2 = 26, the letters in the alphabet; 13 x 4 = 52, the number of weeks in a year; 13 is the number of disciples present at the Last Supper, the unluckiest of numbers. The extra two cards, the jokers, the twins, indicate that all this significance is but a game. The jokers are the fly in the ointment, the empty sign, the absent code.


Ballardian: Ian Fleming


[1] Dan Lockwood, ‘J.G. Ballard and the Architectures of Control’, Ballardian: The World of J.G. Ballard, 3 January 2008 . Accessed 18 February 2008.
[2] ‘Obeying the surrealist formula’: Iain Sinclair & Hermione Lee on Ballard’, Ballardian: The World of J.G. Ballard, transcription of discussion between Mark Lawson, Hermione Lee and Iain Sinclair on Front Row, broadcast BBC Radio 4 5 February 2008
. Accessed 18 February 2008.
[3] David Pringle, Earth is the Alien Planet: J.G. Ballard’s Four-Dimensional Nightmare (San Bernadino CA; The Borgo Press), p.16.
[4] Simon Sellars, ‘My name is Maitland, Donald Maitland’, Ballardian: The World of J.G. Ballard, 9 February 2008
. Accessed 19 February 2008.
[5] Ken Cooper, ‘“Zero Pays the House”: The Las Vegas Novel and Atomic Roulette’, Contemporary Literature 33:3 (Fall 1992), 528-544 (p.539).
[6] J.G. Ballard, ‘The Index’, The Complete Short Stories (London: Flamingo, 2001), pp.940-945; ‘Notes Towards A Mental Breakdown’, The Complete Short Stories, pp.849-855; ‘Answers to a Questionnaire’, The Complete Short Stories, pp.1101-1104.
[7] J.G. Ballard, ‘A Question of Re-Entry’, The Complete Short Stories, pp.435-458 (p.453).
[8] J.G. Ballard, ‘Memories of the Space Age’, The Complete Short Stories, pp.1037-1060 (p.1049).
[9] David Punter, Modernity (Houndmills: Palgrave, 2007), p.137.
[10] J.G. Ballard, ‘The Terminal Beach’, The Complete Short Stories, pp.589-604 (p.595).
[11] Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin, ‘Translator’s Foreword’ to Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project, trans. Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin (Cambridge MA and London: Belknap Press, 1999), pp.ix-xiv (p.xi).
[12] Michael Moorcock, ‘Introduction’ to The New Nature of the Catastrophe, Moorcock and Langdon Jones, eds. (1993) (London: Orion, 1997), pp. viii-ix.
[13] Vivian Halloran, ‘Tropical Bond’. Ian Fleming and James Bond: The Cultural Politics of 007, Edward P. Comentale, Stephen Watt and Skip Willman, eds. (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2005), p. 158-177 (p.165).
[14] Michael Denning, Cover Stories: Narrative and ideology in the British spy thriller (London and New York: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1987), p. 105; p.104.
[15] John Urry, The Tourist Gaze, 2nd edition (London: Sage, 2002).
[16] Andrzej Gasiorek, J.G. Ballard (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2005), p.26.
[17] Ballard, ‘The Beach Murders’, The Complete Short Stories, p.663.
[18] See Brian Baker, Masculinity in Fiction and Film: Representing Men in Popular Genres 1945-2000 (London and New York: Continuum, 2006), chapter 2.
[19] David Punter, The Hidden Script (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1985), p.9.
[20] Ballard, ‘The Beach Murders’, The Complete Short Stories, p.663.
[21] J.G. Ballard, ‘The Beach Murders’, The Complete Short Stories, pp.663-668 (p.664).
[22] Ballard, ‘The Beach Murders’, The Complete Short Stories, p.663.
[23] I have myself written on this in relation to Crash: Brian Baker, ‘The Resurrection of Desire: J.G. Ballard’s Crash as a Transgressive Text’, Foundation 80 (November 2000), pp.84-96.
[24] Brian McHale, Postmodernist Fiction (London: Methuen, 1987), p.69; p.70.

..:: Previously on Ballardian:
+ The ‘DNA of the Present’ in the Fossil Record of the Cold War Through the Imagery of JG Ballard, Related Sources and Documents in Various Media
+ ‘My name is Maitland, Donald Maitland’

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2 Responses »

  1. An extraordinary piece of work Brian, crashing Ballard into Bond to great effect. I’ll be reading and re-reading it for some time to come.

  2. as i boy i read all the fleming novels, and as a young man i had my mind rearranged by ballard. i’ve always figured connections, but never so brilliantly as this. bravo!

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