Know Your History – 15th November – J.G.Ballard born

know your history - writingOn this day… 15th November 1930 – J.G. Ballard born.

James Graham “J. G.” Ballard (15 November 1930 – 19 April 2009) was an English novelist, short story writer, and essayist.

On Writing

Ballard came to be associated with the New Wave of science fiction early in his career with apocalyptic (or post-apocalyptic) novels such as The Drowned World (1962), The Burning World (1964), and The Crystal World (1966). In the late 1960s and early 1970s Ballard focused on an eclectic variety of short stories (or “condensed novels”) such as those found in The Atrocity Exhibition (1970), which drew comparison with the work of postmodernist writers such as William S. Burroughs. In 1973 the highly controversial novel Crash was published, a story about symphorophilia and car crash fetishism; the protagonist becomes sexually aroused by staging and participating in car crashes.J.G.BALLARD_WORK

The adjective ‘Ballardian’ is now in the dictionary. Like George Orwell, whose work has spawned the term ‘Orwellian’, Ballard has been paid one of the highest literary honours: he has his own adjective. Like ‘Orwellian’, the word ‘Ballardian’ refers to a dystopian vision of society: the Collins English Dictionary defines it as ‘resembling or suggestive of the conditions described in Ballard’s novels and stories, esp dystopian modernity, bleak man-made landscapes, and the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments’.

Did You Know?..

When they rejected J. G. Ballard’s 1973 novel Crash, one publisher remarked that the author was ‘beyond psychiatric help’.

Known for exploring unusual and controversial human impulses and their relationship to modernity and technology, Ballard said that everything he wrote was inspired by his early childhood and teenage experiences in a Japanese internment camp in Shanghai in the early 1940s. His most popular novel, Empire of the Sun (1984), is about these early years which showed him the ‘pathology’ underlying modern life.

Review of Second Chance by Dylan S Hearn

Second ChanceSecond Chance by Dylan S. Hearn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I discovered this author’s blog prior to his novel and admired his unusual style of writing. This novel is no exception. This is a multi-viewpoint story so tells the story from the perspective of four different characters: a politician, an investigator, an information cleanser (someone who searches the internet and deletes any unsuitable information), and a science technician.
The story had an interesting premise, set in a futuristic world with scientific research taking a lot of worryingly advanced steps. The author seems to have researched a lot of detail making it very realistic. On the night the politician is elected, a university student goes missing, an event that connects the main characters. It is not a light-hearted thriller! Suspense, drama, politics, weird science and odd incidents all add to this dramatic story.
I did feel the characters could be explored/ explained a little more and think Hearn has a lot more story to tell with the characters in his future books. The reader did get glimpses of the characters pasts, the futuristic present and also a further uncertain future. At which stage does science go too far and will those at the top cover it up?
This book captures your interest in a particularly bizarre setting. These books will appeal to fans of George Oswell; dark, twisted and gritty storylines with plenty of action (and the odd bit of compassion) to keep the reader going. Looking forward to future reads from this author.

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