Ballardolution

The majority of people who recognise the name of JG Ballard, I imagine will do so because of the Spielberg film ‘Empire Of the Sun’ which was adapted from his semi-autobiographical novel of the same name, or for the controversy that surrounded the film ‘Crash’, another adaptation. Although many recognise his talent, he was always a somewhat peripheral writer, politely feral and unashamed. What I consider to be some Ballard’s finest work is his exegetic meta-novel, which began with the seemingly depraved, narcissistic indulgences of the super-solvent in ‘Cocaine Nights’ (in retrospection I have come to realise it started before that in the work of ‘High Rise’ with its claustrophobic atavistic tribalism), and concluded with the darkly populist frustrations of ‘Kingdom Come’. This corpus of work was intended to lead the reader through the writer’s preoccupations with the pathologies and irrationalities of neo-bourgeois existence.

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Blundering Blindly

It has always been tempting for thinkers and historical observationalists to overlay a narrative onto to what they have known of the world; humans have a long and colourful history...

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