J. G. Ballard
So J. G. Ballard has died.
Not unexpected, but still very sad.
The first novel I remember reading of his was The Drought, or maybe The Wind From Nowhere. Strange post-disaster chronicles, concentrating as much on people’s obsessions and how they felt, than about responding to their changed circumstances in appropriate (for mainstream sf) ways…
I was also reading other ‘new wave’ authors who were following in his footsteps, looking into crystaline pools in metal salt marches like M. John Harrison or brooding on the futility of trying re-ignite humanities dreams like Mark S. Geston. Michael Moorcock and his doomed heroes… the strange introspective novels of Barry Malzberg…
Ballard was there before them all, creating strange new landscapes – dare I mention empty swimming pools! – and broken characters who acted out their hopes an dreams. Hello America, Concrete Island, Myths of the Near Future…
Some great novels and short stories, also some lesser work in his later years which seemed unable to break new territory, although it remained very readable, as he set stories against the harsh light of the French Riviera or the repetitive landscapes of modern suburbia.
From the early 80s on, he wrote quite widely about his early wartime life (his article in Foundation 24 was, I think, the first major autobiographical piece, later expanded into Empire of the Sun) and his life in the 50s & 60s in The Kindness of Women (with the accompanying press stories of inaccuracies and divergences from the facts).
Despite this, he revisited many of the same events again in his autobiography Miracles of Life: Shanghai to Shepperton, his most recent and, I believe, final book, written after his terminal illness had been diagnosed…
He’ll be missed.
[this replaces a very similar post made earlier in the day because I changed the photo and I had to re-post this to make it visible… ]
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Transreal Fiction is a shop dedicated to selling science fiction, fantasy & related books, together with a limited selection of other merchandise.But really, it’s about books. Transreal Fiction opened in April 1997 in Cowgatehead and moved to it’s present location nearby in June 2011. The owner, Mike Calder, first sold sf & f books many years ago and has worked in the business either part- or full-time since. For years he also had a respectable job as well, but that’s another story…
The shop is named after the term coined by Rudy Rucker to describe his fiction and I thought it an apt name for a shop specialising in speculative fiction. And, in case you’re wondering, yes, Rudy Rucker was happy to allow me to use of the term as a name for my shop.
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