J.G. Ballard Tributes and Links
(Author Rhys Hughes' tribute incorporates the elements of the surreal and dark humor that made Ballard's fiction so unique: "My tribute to J.G. Ballard who has just died... This photo cost £2.05 to create [£1 for the toy car, 85p for the firelighters stuffed into its chassis and 20p for the box of matches to ignite the wreck].")
On Sunday, the brilliant author J.G. Ballard passed away at the age of 78. Here at Omnivoracious we ran a tribute in which we wrote in part, "rewired the brains of generations of readers and writers. A member of the largely British New Wave movement of the 1960s, Ballard wrote mind-bending stories that changed reader perceptions of space and time, along with novels that dealt with every conceivable major theme of the twentieth century." Yesterday we also ran Geoff Manaugh's "spatial" appreciation of Ballard.
Here are a few of the other tributes and articles about Ballard and his work that we've found especially unique or eloquent.
Simon Sellars, founder of the Ballardian website:
"As publisher of this site, my goal has always been to take J.G. Ballard as a philosopher [which has] brought me into brilliant and inspiring contact with writers, artists, musicians, filmmakers and theorists who all see the world through that same Ballardian lens...Ballard articulates clearly to me the implications of living in an age of total consumerism, of blanket surveillance, of enslavement designed as mass entertainment. But he also speaks to me of resistance through irony, immersion, ambivalence, imagination--of remixing, recycling, remaking, remodelling."
From the Ballardian site, Michael Moorcock's tribute:
"Although the literary press was quick to minimise his years as an sf writer, he made no effort to divorce himself from his sf roots, though preferring to call himself first a ’speculative’ and later an ‘apocalyptic’ writer. His influence was seen in the work of several of his admirers including Martin Amis, Will Self, Iain Sinclair, M. John Harrison and Christopher Priest. Tending, in those early years, to rely on me to introduce him to fellow spirits, like Burroughs, Chris Evans, Eduardo Paolozzi and even his companion Claire Walsh, Jimmy remained a private, modest and rather shy man, a loyal friend who, in spite of being admired by some of our best known literary writers, avoided what he called ‘the literary crowd’ even more than sf conventions..."
Critic and author John Clute, in The Independent:
"His instinct from the first had been to apply the inward visions of surrealism and psychiatry to the outer worlds of science fiction and, by 1960 or so, he was already beginning to describe the Space Age as a last, doomed, phallocratic attempt, on the part of the Hollow Men of the West, to gain immortality. Ballard may not have coined the term 'inner space', which became a New Worlds catchphrase – J.B. Priestley, in They Came from Inner Space (New Statesman, 1953) was the first to use the term conspicuously – but he seemed to have taken to heart Priestley's description of the science-fiction invasion of outer space as a series of moves, 'undertaken in secret despair, in the wrong direction'. His genius was, devastatingly and unrelentingly, to take J.B. Priestley at his word."
Toby Litt in the Guardian, on the debt he owes Ballard:
"And slowly I came to realise that I owed Ballard a debt for having occupied what – for a long time – was a very isolated and fraught position. He was, in one person, both the mainstream and the avant-garde. He wrote genre fiction without condescension. He wrote contemporary fiction that was genuinely about the contemporary world. He was international in outlook, almost without seeming to think twice about it. He trusted his hunches, and his hunches didn't let him down."
Jonathan Waxman, Ballard's doctor, on "the sweet sage of Shepperton":
"He was a 'Jimmy', a surprisingly sweet name for a man of such seeming austerity. Although this austerity seemed to be part of the public persona, this view had no origin in fact. He was a man of warmth and love, and a man who himself inspired great love. I was a witness to the affection that people had for him and the tenderness that came to him from his partner Claire and his children."
Designer and artist John Coulthart, on Ballard relationship to art:
"Ballard was a lifelong and unrepentant enthusiast for the Surrealists, with repaintings by Brigid Marlin of two lost Paul Delvaux pictures prominent in one of his rooms (often featured in photo portraits). I always admired the way he never felt the need to apologise for Salvador Dalí’s excesses, unlike the majority of art critics who dismiss Dalí after he went to America."
The BBC online profiles Ballard's influence on music:
"His science fiction of the almost-normal--based around suburbia and urban hinterlands, fixations on celebrity and car crashes--became best known through the film Crash, and the surreal semi-autobiography Empire of the Sun. But his feverish imagination, stoked by pre-lunch whisky and sodas in his study, found an unlikely appeal among pop musicians--many of whom liked to invoke a bit of Ballard in their work."
David L. Ulin in the Los Angeles Times, on Ballard's visionary aspects:
"'The marriage of reason and nightmare which has dominated the 20th century,' the author wrote in a 1974 introduction to the French edition of the novel, 'has given birth to an ever more ambiguous world. Across the communications landscape move the specters of sinister technologies and the dreams that money can buy. Thermonuclear weapons systems and soft drink commercials coexist in an overlit realm ruled by advertising and pseudoevents, science and pornography. Over our lives preside the great twin leitmotifs of the 20th century--sex and paranoia.'"
BBC Channel 4 coverage, including this tribute:
The Ballardian site has an impressive collection of additional links of note.