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Playboy Loves Crash

Author: • May 17th, 2006 •

Category: Ballardosphere, sexual politics, speed & violence

Playboy has announced its ’25 Sexiest Novels of All Time’, with Crash coming in at No. 5. That’s remarkable, considering the manuscript was initially rejected by a publisher’s reader with the warning, ‘This author is beyond psychiatric help. Do not publish’.

From Playboy:

Crash by J.G Ballard (1973)

Plot: Group of Londoners discovers that they are turned on by automobile crashes. Scars become a new erogenous zone.

Why it’s on the list: Ballard’s 1973 tour de force weds the sexual with the industrial. He imagines the body is branded by the metal parts of an automobile “like the contours of a woman’s body remembered in the responding pressure of one’s own skin for a few hours after a sexual act,” and his work yields remarkable energy and obsession.

Excerpt: Catherine visited me. She would soap her hand from the toilet bar in its wet saucer inside my cupboard, her pale eyes staring through the flower-filled window as she masturbated me….

Did Catherine respond to the…dark bruises of my body and the physical outline of the steering wheel? In my left knee the scars above my fractured patella exactly replicated the protruding switches of the windshield wipers and parking lights. As I moved towards my orgasm she began to soap her hand every ten seconds, her cigarette forgotten, concentrating her attention on this orifice of my body like the nurses who attended me in the first hours after my accident. As my semen jerked into Catherine’s palm she held tightly to my penis, as if these first orgasms after the crash celebrated a unique event.”

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