J.G. Ballard: Appreciations

My piece on Ballard for Omnivoracious, with appreciations by Mike Moorcock, Liz Hand, Paul Di Filippo, and others. There’s also this piece on BBC and in The Guardian. And more at The Guardian.

This one strikes a little too close to home, just kind of got to me. On a personal note, I came to Ballard through his short stories while still a teenager, through collections like Terminal Beach (1964) and Vermillion Sands (1971). I first encountered Ballard on the back shelves of used bookstores, and thought he was one of the best treasures I ever discovered there. I always felt, reading his work, that I didn’t process a Ballardian piece of fiction; instead, it processed me. I saw the world differently after reading Ballard. Often, while in the middle of one of his stories, I would literally feel as if the spatial dimensions around me were shifting and that I was adrift. Somehow, as Martin Amis has said, Ballard got to a different part of your brain than other writers. This sense of enveloping the reader in the unknown and alien had a huge influence on my own fiction, and gave me permission to experiment in a way I don’t think I would’ve done otherwise.

I’m going for a walk.