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Goodbye J.G. Ballard

Most pertinent fact: James Ballard, author of nineteen novels and godfather of the affluent apocalypse, has died of prostate cancer.  He was 78.

Also pertinent: BaBallardllard is probably best-known for his autobiographical novel Empire of the Sun, a story of growing up in Singapore at the end of the Second World War.  The book was adapted for the screen by none other than Stephen Spielberg -  a man who would seem to be the imaginative antithesis of Ballard - and starred an eight-year-old Christian Bale (or perhaps an adult Bale who shed 50 pounds and 18 inches to play the part).  Ballard's other notorious work is 1974's Crash, a strange tale of people who found erotic satisfaction in car crashes.  Crash was made into a film in 1997 by Canadian freakazoid David Cronenberg. I highly recommend the movie if you've ever wanted to see James Spader having sex with a wound in Rosanna Arquette's thigh.  But read the book first.

Ballard wrote about airports and freeways.  He wrote about high-rise condominiums, luxury gated communities and psychotherapists who spend the end of the world getting a suntan.  He wrote about doctors and lawyers and scientists who stalk each other down the hallways of their well-appointed apartments.  He wrote about bacchanalian sacrifice in communities of millionaires.  In short, he wrote about howling dogs in human form who pull down 100,000 Euro incomes and drive BMWs to work.  Ballard's novels were like masks pulled over the world that showed the world more clearly than its true face.

Author Mark Dery called J.G. Ballard "the pathologist of the 20th century," which is as good an epitaph as any for the man.  For all things Ballard-related, go to Ballardian.com.







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Comments

BaltimoreGal

I can't believe the same person wrote Empire of the Sun and Crash! And way to throw a spoiler in there- not for me, of course- I heard James Spader and sex and rented that sucka the moment it was available...

Palinode

I suppose that was a spoiler - but I considered it more of a warning. Or a tease, depending on what you like.

BaltimoreGal

The movie ended up being a bit much for me, as you might guess. (OMGWHATARETHEYDOINGAAAA!)

plotline

Ahhh, but how can you beat a younger James Spader and sex. The man was just sexy in spades and sure knew how to do a sex scene, hmmmmmm.

Marmite Breath

James Spader always creeped me out. I think I always knew he would end up knobbing somebody's leg.

blackeyedgurl

Spader made Crash at his weird indie sex film pinacle. I do loves me some Spader & weird sex. But I'm weird, so it figures.

Crash is one of those movies tho, that may take a piece of your soul with it. Just warning you.

Now I want to read the book tho, cos I really had no idea there was a book. Thanks for the heads up DUDE!

bd

Ok, I have seen both movies, and Empire of the Sun is one of my absolute faves, my younger self first fell in love with Christian Bale right then. But Crash freaked me the fuck out. I cannot believe they were written by the same person.




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