Sunday, April 26, 2009

J G Ballard - Obituary

Unquestionably, James Graham Ballard was one of the most important writers of this or any other generation. In the wake of his passing, many writers and other artists have felt compelled to write about him and about his work - more significantly about how his writing influenced and inspired them to take risks with their own art and their own notions about what art is/could be. It will be interesting to see how history records his achievements because, like Philip K Dick, Ballard seemed to have an uncannily prior knowledge of the future - at any rate, its predilections, its obsessions, its preoccupation with irrelevance. It would be easy to dismiss much of what Ballard wrote; especially the earlier magazine work/novels, as genre fiction. This is a mistake and, worse, inexcusably lazy - Ballard's greatest achievement is as an eminently readable novelist supremely in control of his characters and the superbly drawn situations they cannot help finding themselves in. The future is ours, but it was Ballard's first.

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