J.G. Ballard

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1930 - 2009

J.G. Ballard was born in Shanghai and spent two years in a Japanese internment camp in World War II. These experiences formed the basis of his novel Empire of the Sun which was made into an Academy-award winning Spielberg film. He later moved to England to pursue a career in clinical medicine, but he left to become a full-time writer.

Ballard is considered one of the major contributors to the New Wave of science fiction, a movement in the mid 20th century characterised by a high degree of experimentation and literary artistic form. Many of his novels are dystopian with flawed and often deviant characters. He is most famous for Empire of the Sun and his controversial novel Crash in which the characters' fetishes with car crashes parallels mankind's severe dependence on technology.

QUOTES:

"Our lives today are not conducted in linear terms. They are much more quantified; a stream of random events is taking place."

"Everything is becoming science fiction. From the margins of an almost invisible literature has sprung the intact reality of the 20th century."

"A lot of my prophecies about the alienated society are going to come true ... Everybody's going to be starring in their own porno films as extensions of the polaroid camera. Electronic aids, particularly domestic computers, will help the inner migration, the opting out of reality. Reality is no longer going to be the stuff out there, but the stuff inside your head. It's going to be commercial and nasty at the same time, like "Rite of Spring" in Disney's Fantasia ... our internal devils may destroy and renew us through the technological overload we've invoked."

"I would sum up my fear about the future in one word: boring. And that's my one fear: that everything has happened; nothing exciting or new or interesting is ever going to happen again ... the future is just going to be a vast, conforming suburb of the soul."

"I think we are moving into extremely volatile and dangerous times, as modern electronic technologies give mankind almost unlimited powers to play with its own psychopathology as a game."

"God was a clever idea ... The human race came up with a winner there."

"I wanted to rub the human face in its own vomit and force it to look in the mirror." [on why he wrote Crash