Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Ballard, J G

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(1930-2009) UK writer, born and raised in Shanghai and interned in a Japanese civilian POW camp during WWII, experiences recalled in his autobiographical Empire of the Sun (1984), filmed by Steven Spielberg as Empire of the Sun (1987). Generally regarded as a writer of Science Fiction, and more recently accepted by the mainstream, JGB produces work that is sui generis, occasionally drifting into the realms of the Fantastic. The setting of his Vermilion Sands stories, which include his first story sale, "Prima Belladonna" (1956) for Science Fantasy, depicts the Decadence of a future resort for creative has-beens amid the atmosphere of a timeless Afterlife. These stories were collected as Vermilion Sands (coll 1971 US; with 1 story added 1973 UK). A similar mood of desolation pervades many of JGB's other stories, such as "The Terminal Beach" (1964 New Worlds), and this tone was ideally suited for his disaster novels of the 1960s; these began with The Wind from Nowhere (1961 New Worlds as "Storm-Wind"; 1962 US) but became increasingly more surreal by The Crystal World (fixup 1966), which is almost an Instauration Fantasy. This whole Perception of changing awareness took JGB toward fantasies of death and entombment, as conceptualized in Crash (1973), Concrete Island (1974) and High-Rise (1975) – which, while not Urban Fantasies, nevertheless used the urban image with considerable potency – and then inevitably to the Posthumous Fantasy The Unlimited Dream Company (1979), an instauration fantasy deploying the motifs of the urban Fairytale. All of JGB's works focus on perception and change. While most are not intrinsically fantastic, neither are they rooted in reality. [MA]

other works: The Drowned World (1962 US); The Voices of Time and Other Stories (coll 1962 US); Billenium (coll 1962 US); The Voices of Time, And Other Stories (coll 1962 US); The Four-Dimensional Nightmare (coll 1963; rev 1974; vt The Voices of Time 1985); Passport to Eternity (coll 1963 US); The Terminal Beach (coll 1964 UK), not to be confused with Terminal Beach (coll 1964 US); The Burning World (1964 US; rev vt The Drought 1965 UK); The Drowned World and The Wind from Nowhere (omni 1965 US); The Impossible Man (coll 1966 US); By Day Fantastic Birds Flew through the Petrified Forest (1967 wall-poster), incorporating text from The Crystal World; The Disaster Area (coll 1967); The Day of Forever (coll 1967; rev 1971); The Overloaded Man (coll 1967; rev vt The Venus Hunters 1980); Why I Want to Fuck Ronald Reagan (1968 chap); The Atrocity Exhibition (coll 1970; vt Love and Napalm: Export USA 1972 US; rev 1990 US); Chronopolis and Other Stories (coll 1971 US); Low-Flying Aircraft (coll 1976); The Best of J.G. Ballard (coll 1977); The Best Short Stories of J.G. Ballard (coll 1978 US); Hello America (1981); Myths of the Near Future (coll 1982); News from the Sun (1982 chap); The Day of Creation (1987); Memories of the Space Age (coll 1988 US); Running Wild (1988 chap); War Fever (coll 1990); The Kindness of Women (1991); The Crystal World; Crash; Concrete Island (omni 1991 US); Rushing to Paradise (1994).

James Graham Ballard


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.