J.G. Ballard, R.I.P. : 1930 – 2009

Just saw the news that British author J.G. Ballard passed away today at age 78.  I first found Ballard in the mid-eighties, and was pretty blown away by the RE/Search volume containing several interviews that expanded my sense of what he was all about.  He had a clear-eyed view of the world, formed in part by his extreme experiences in his youth in Japanese war camps in Shanghai, that made for a potent literary imagination.  Some nice quotes from Iain Sinclair:

Everything that everybody else was bored by or appalled by, he was excited by. He wasn’t really interested in English literary parties and kept himself outside that.

He was bored by the heritage of Central London and, unlike other writers, never wanted to talk about what he was writing. He preferred to talk about ideas, or some weird news cuttings he had brought along.

Living out in Shepperton for so long, he was one of the first to undersand that the psychosis of suburbia was a fascinating thing to pursue.

I assisted with the RE/Search reprint of The Atrocity Exhibition that came out in 1990, and still have a copy of the manuscript for the annotations that Ballard did for that edition.  I remember that his short notes on certain surrealist art were very illuminating.  I will miss this true individual.

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