Did you read the recent, and excellent, Laura Miller piece in the New Yorker about dystopic YA literature? It’s built around Suzanne Collins’ massively popular Hunger Games novels, which I’ve read (clumsy sentence-for-sentence writing, but great/addictive plotting) and which are basically Battle Royale for younger readers (group of kids dropped into arena/island, forced to hunt and kill each other as part of a game)… but it also name-checks the great House of Stairs and Singularity author William Sleator (with whom I once did an interview in which he effectively came out of the closet), Patrick Ness (whose The Knife of Never Letting Go had big problems, but was still immersive), and M.T. Anderson, whose amazing novel Feed is like A Clockwork Orange or The Informers or J.G. Ballard stuff masquerading as a YA novel. It’s really brilliant in every respect including the prose, and you should read it immediately if you haven’t and you’re into that sort of thing.
June 24th, 2010 / 11:05 am
Jacket art is an interesting thing. Besides blurbs, it’s one of the factors that most influences your casual, agendaless bookstore browser (as well as your rating on Jimmy Chen’s list, or so I like to believe). It is with this in mind that I’d like to share with you the greatest piece of cover art ever made. I came across this Kosygin-era collection of Ballard short stories last week while buying flannel in a thrift store, and I haven’t even really been able to get past the cover yet to start reading the stories. Besides the cumulo nimbus unicorn and rose and torso-less cloud lady, there is also a jauntily colored glider flitting around that mighty rock formation to the right. Directly underneath that monolith is what looks like some kind of Dodge Dart that probably gets 13 miles to the gallon and two people talking, probably about the Jets and their improbable 3-0 start (Ballard was something of a futurist, after all). Actually, you probably can’t see that part, due to the poor quality of my photography skills. How does it all tie together? Knowing Ballard, probably with the unicorn partially dismembered and violated.
JGB: Gone too soon.