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  • seandodson 11:03 am on April 21, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , dystopia, empire of the sun, , , jg ballard future, jg ballard oscars, jg ballard quotes, ,   

    JG Ballard: his life in quotes 

    JG Ballard, who died on Sunday, will be remembered mostly for his fiction As noted in today’s Guardian he left a legacy right across the spectum of the arts, but he also left behind some of the most apt aphorisms and witty one-liners of the last century. Here is a sample of the most memorable:

    On the legacy of science fiction:

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

    On fear of the future:

    “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.”

    On the internet:

    “Twenty years ago no one could have imagined the effects the Internet would have: entire relationships flourish, friendships prosper…there’s a vast new intimacy and accidental poetry, not to mention the weirdest porn. The entire human experience seems to unveil itself like the surface of a new planet.”

    On rockets:

    “Rockets “belong to the age of the 19th century, along with the huge steam engines. It’s brute-force ballistic technology that has nothing to do with what people recognise as the characteristic technology of this century: microprocessors, microwave data links – everything that goes in the world at the speed of an electron.”

    On space travel:

    “The suspicion dawned that Outer Space might be – dare one say it – boring. Having expended all these billions of dollars on getting to the Moon, we found on our arrival that there wasn’t very much to do there.”

    On the American dream:

    “The American Dream has run out of gas. The car has stopped. It no longer supplies the world with its images, its dreams, its fantasies. No more. It’s over. It supplies the world with its nightmares now: the Kennedy assassination, Watergate, Vietnam.”

    On the American people:

    “Americans are highly moralistic, and any kind of moral ambiguity irritates them. As a result they completely fail to understand themselves, which is one of their strengths.”

    On American politics:

    “The president of the United States bears about as much relationship to the real business of running America as does Colonel Sanders to the business of frying chicken.”

    On his night at the Oscars:

    “A wonderful night for any novelist, and a reminder of the limits of the printed word. Sitting with the sober British contingent, surrounded by everyone from Dolly Parton to Sean Connery, I thought Spielberg’s film would be drowned by the shimmer of mink and the diamond glitter. But once the curtains parted the audience was gripped. Chevy Chase, sitting next to me, seemed to think he was watching a newsreel, crying: `Oh, oh . . . !’ and leaping out of his seat as if ready to rush the screen in defense of young [Christian] Bale.”

    On the 20th century:

    “The marriage of reason and nightmare which has dominated the 20th century has given birth to an ever more ambiguous world. Across the communications landscape move the specters of sinister technologies and the dreams that money can buy.”

    On novel writing:

    “Any fool can write a novel but it takes real genius to sell it. “

    On life:

    “If you can smell garlic, everything is all right.”

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    • lee 7:30 pm on April 21, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      I saw Empire of the sun years ago,but never read the book.now i will,is dystopia painful? i hope he didnt suffer.

  • seandodson 12:42 am on April 20, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , empire of the sun, , , obituary JG Ballard, , writers   

    In remembrance of the great JG Ballard 

    jgballardJust want to pay my tributes to the great JG Ballard, who has died of prostate cancer. For me he was one of the most truly original thinkers around and one of our most gifted writers.

    Some of the early coverage: The Times got hold of Iain Sinclair last night, which was the most appropriate thing to do, as well as pointing out that, if nothing else, he added at least one word to the English language.

    Salon.com has put up a guide to his greatest work. The Guardian has put up an extract from Empire of the Sun, which seems a safe choice. Maybe they’ll put up the Atrocity Exhibition later. They’ll be much more up tomorrow morning, I’ll add to this list then.

    AP have put out a story headlined “Empire of the Sun author dies” which is not on quite the same freeway as the Sun’s similarly reductive response to the death of Orson Wells (headline: Sherry Man Dies). Ballard was so much more than that. So much more of him to miss. His contribution to literature was just so immense, but I can’t yet fathom it.

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    • krv 8:15 am on April 20, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Here here. It’s been coming for a while I suppose, but I’ve been dreading it.

      There’s something about the way he wrote, though, that makes this unlike other public deaths. The surrender to time in Crystal World, or the endless sun segues of Myths of The Near Future, or the neo-primitivism of High Rise… it’s almost like the Ballard you got to know from his books will arrive at death and find it just another set of chaotic conditions to adjust to.

      R.I.P., then. Looking forward to the retrospectives.

    • Tim Chapman 3:03 pm on April 21, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      A credit for the photo there would be nice, Sean. It is copyright protected, and flagged as such on Flickr.

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