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It’s Ballard’s world

Quillblog would be remiss if we didn’t mark the passing of British science-fiction pioneer J.G. Ballard (though somewhat ironically, his most famous book, Empire of the Sun, wasn’t science fiction at all). The L.A. Times blog has a thoughtful retrospective on Ballard’s work.

A member of the New Wave science fiction movement of the 1960s, Ballard started out writing proto-environmental thrillers that highlighted the prescience of his imagination: The Wind From Nowhere posits a world-wide windstorm that becomes apocalyptic, while The Drowned World is about a planet swamped by risen seas.

It was really in the 1970s, however, that Ballard found his voice as a writer, focusing on the dangers of mechanization and socialization, the tension between the veneer of civilization and the animal brutality it sought to conceal.

[…]

It’s easy, from the perspective of the present, to minimize just how revolutionary all this was “ we now live, after all, in Ballard’s world.