April 19th, 2009 / 5:03 pm
Author News

R.I.P. J.G. Ballard

The author JG Ballard, famed for novels such as Crash and Empire of the Sun, has died aged 78 after a long illness.

His agent Margaret Hanbury said the author had been ill “for several years” and had died on Sunday morning.

Despite being referred to as a science fiction writer, Jim Ballard said his books were instead “picturing the psychology of the future”.

The Ballard stories I always think of whenever I hear his name are “The Enormous Space,” “Report on an Unidentified Space Station,” and “War Fever,” all of which are included in the collection pictured above. The first two stories I studied as an undergraduate, not in a creative writing class but in a literature course called “Eccentric Spaces and Spacialities.” Not “space” as in “outer space,” but as in “the distance between here and there, or “the place I call home,” etc. We read Ballard alongside Gaston Bachelard (Poetics of Space), Marilynne Robinson (Housekeeping), excerpts from Dante and Homer (descents into Hades), Jules Verne (Journey to the Center of the Earth)¬†and plenty more that I’m forgetting just now. The third story, “War Fever,” was on my radar when I was editing¬†The Apocalypse Reader, but my query about reprint rights wasn’t returned by FSG until well after the book had been finalized, and sent to press. But it’s a magnificent story–they all are.

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19 Comments

  1. anthony l

      Ballard is one of my favorites–a true giant.

  2. anthony l

      Ballard is one of my favorites–a true giant.

  3. pr

      I loved Kindness of Women.
      He had a good long life. God bless.

  4. JW Veldhoen

      Concrete Island get a vote for one of the weirdest novels ever. America and The Drowned World are excellent too. Great writer.

  5. JW Veldhoen

      Concrete Island get a vote for one of the weirdest novels ever. America and The Drowned World are excellent too. Great writer.

  6. Nathan (Nate) Tyree

      fuck

  7. Nathan (Nate) Tyree

      fuck

  8. Jonny Ross

      Just finished studying a bunch of his stories for a sci-fi lit class. Of them, Billennium stood out, a humorous take on the possible consequences of overpopulation in an urban setting. Great intelligent, inventive, funny writer. A modern day Aldous Huxley.

  9. Jonny Ross

      Just finished studying a bunch of his stories for a sci-fi lit class. Of them, Billennium stood out, a humorous take on the possible consequences of overpopulation in an urban setting. Great intelligent, inventive, funny writer. A modern day Aldous Huxley.

  10. John Madera

      This is devastating news.

  11. John Madera

      This is devastating news.

  12. andy.riverbed

      i read abou that class you took in your article about serafini. seemed like a dope class. i don’t see classes like that at UF anymore. there was a class on internet lit i think, or multimedia lit, where i think part of the class was making a blog. i had to drop it because of my linguistics classes, but next semester will be every good to me. i’m gonna use government to visit new york and get me a job for 2010.

  13. andy.riverbed

      i read abou that class you took in your article about serafini. seemed like a dope class. i don’t see classes like that at UF anymore. there was a class on internet lit i think, or multimedia lit, where i think part of the class was making a blog. i had to drop it because of my linguistics classes, but next semester will be every good to me. i’m gonna use government to visit new york and get me a job for 2010.

  14. Justin Taylor

      Andy- Gainesville! It’s been way too long since I was down there.

      You should look Dr. Harpold up and see what he’s teaching these days. I know he’s still there, and teaching. If he’s teaching anything that you can make time for, do it. He’s among the most intelligent, passionate, dedicated, and all-around worthwhile professors I’ve ever had–not just at UF, but overall. I took a second class with him the next year (it was an honors seminar on hypertexts and videogames-as-texts) and then he was my thesis advisor. I’d say even if it seems like a topic you’re not remotely interested in, if you go in with an open mind he’ll draw you in before you know it. And of course, if you do wind up in his class, be sure and tell him who sent you.

      Cheers, friend-

  15. Justin Taylor

      Andy- Gainesville! It’s been way too long since I was down there.

      You should look Dr. Harpold up and see what he’s teaching these days. I know he’s still there, and teaching. If he’s teaching anything that you can make time for, do it. He’s among the most intelligent, passionate, dedicated, and all-around worthwhile professors I’ve ever had–not just at UF, but overall. I took a second class with him the next year (it was an honors seminar on hypertexts and videogames-as-texts) and then he was my thesis advisor. I’d say even if it seems like a topic you’re not remotely interested in, if you go in with an open mind he’ll draw you in before you know it. And of course, if you do wind up in his class, be sure and tell him who sent you.

      Cheers, friend-

  16. Kevin O'Neill
  17. Kevin O'Neill
  18. Pour a forty out for J.G. « Suffer the Gringo

      […] Atrocity Exhibition author J.G. Ballard died yesterday at 78. Justin wrote about it here, and I talked about it a bit on the TONY blog. He was a daring writer, which is more than you can […]

  19. Barbara70

      We have to is regard them, in principle, as being of equal right -for the normal characters have also arisen from mutations. ,