For the first time, the complete collected short stories of the author of 'Empire of the Sun', 'Cocaine Nights' and 'Super-Cannes' -- regarded by many as Britain's No. 1 living fiction writer. With sixteen novels over four decades -- from 'The Drowned World' in 1962 to his highly acclaimed 'Super-Cannes' in 2000 -- J.G. Ballard is firmly established as one of Britain's most highly regarded and original novelists. For all that time he has also written short stories; in fact, many people consider that he is at his best in the short-story format. These stories have appeared in magazines such as 'New Worlds', 'Amazing Stories' and 'Interzone', and in several separate collections, including 'The Voices of Time', 'The Terminal Beach', 'The Day of Forever', 'The Venus Hunters,' 'The Disaster Area', 'Vermilion Sands', 'Low-Flying Aircraft', 'Myths of the Near Future' and 'War Fever'. Now, for the first time, all of J.G. Ballard's published stories -- including four stories that have not previously appeared in a collection -- have been gathered together in one volume and set out in the order in which they were originally published, providing an unprecedented opportunity to review the career of one of Britain's greatest writers.
Publisher and industry reviews
'The most important contemporary British writer.' Will Self, Independent 'He has had from the start an extraordinary descriptive gift, an eye for the mood and code of the visual environment that is like Poe's, but steadier. He remains most effective in the tight capsule of the short story.' Richard Holmes, The Times 'Ballard is the most modern of writers; his art engages with the artefacts and obsessions of the second half of the century in a manner and with an intensity umatched by any other writer.' William Boyd, Daily Telegraph 'J.G. Ballard is a magician of the contemporary scene and a literary saboteur. Ballard's fantastical landscapes are among the most haunting in English literature. No one else writes with such enchanted clarity or strange power.' Ian Thomson, Guardian
UK Kirkus review
It is over 45 years since J G Ballard's first short story, 'Prima Belladonna', was published in the science fiction magazine Science Fantasy. Since then, he has written over a hundred short stories, 96 of which are gathered together in this awe-inspiring volume. The stories are arranged chronologically, beginning with 'Prima Belladonna' and concluding with 'Report from an Obscure Planet', first published in 1992. So much for the facts. But what is it about Ballard that makes this publication such a landmark event? He's traditionally regarded as one of science fiction's most brilliant visionaries, with a sharpness of insight unequalled by his peers, but the stories in this collection also show how he transcends the genre to make bold, often terrifying, observations on the ultimately bleak nature of human existence. His futuristic visions are unremittingly grim in the earlier stories, many of which hinge upon man's desperate need for two things - personal space and a framework for measuring his existence. The true hell in 'The Concentration City' is never being able to leave it; in 'Billennium', Hell really does turn out to be other people - so many other people, in fact, that personal living space is rigidly controlled, and people jams of up to two days are commonplace. Other stories focus on the way men disintegrate without any means of marking time - such as Ryker's fixation with clocks in 'A Question of Re-Entry' and the city in 'Chronopolis' where clocks have been banned altogether. The later stories display a great energy and daring - 'The Index' and 'Answers to a Questionnaire' are almost teasing in style, deceptively light-hearted yet constructed with painstaking care. However, this is a collection which is uniform in its quality - it is rare indeed to find a writer who can maintain such consistently powerful, original prose for over 40 years. Many images will linger in the mind long after the final page has been turned: the dead astronaut endlessly orbiting the Earth in his spaceship; the miniature world of Mr Goddard which is a microcosm of his life outside; the thousands and thousands of people being drawn inexorably towards the sea in 'The Reptile Enclosure'. In a recent interview, Ballard said of this book, 'No one's going to sit down and read it all the way through, unless they've got very empty lives.' The reader may beg to differ with him on this point - reading this magnificent collection at one go is a truly enriching experience. (Kirkus UK)
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