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28 Apr 2009


The author JG Ballard, famed for novels such as Crash and Empire of the Sun, passed away last 19 April in London after a long illness. James Graham Ballard (1930 – 2009) was an English novelist and short story writer who was one the most famous members of the science fiction New Wave movement.
His best-known novels are the controversial Crash (1973), an exploration of sexual fetishism connected to traffic accidents, and the autobiographical Empire of the Sun (1984) based on his childhood in a Japanese prison camp in China during World War II.
Both books were adapted into films, by David Cronenberg and Stephen Spielberg.
His early novels include The Drowned World (1962), The Wind from Nowhere (1962), The Drought (1965) and The Crystal World (1966). These were followed by more experimental novels, such as The Atrocity Exhibition (1970), Concrete Island (1974) and High-Rise (1975).
More recently he has published novels like Cocaine Nights (1996), shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel Award, Super-Cannes (2000), Commonwealth Writers Prize and Millennium People (2003), a tale of violent political protest and social change.
J. G. Ballard's last novel was Kingdom Come (2006). In 2008, his autobiography, Miracles of Life, was published.
His friend and fellow author, Iain Sinclair, said Ballard had developed into a major literary figure:
"He was one of the first to take up the whole idea of ecological catastrophe. He was fascinated by celebrity early on, the cult of the star and suicides of cars, motorways, edge lands of cities. All of these things he was one of the first to create almost a philosophy of. And I think as time has gone on, he's become a major, major figure."
His work had such a strong personality that the adjective "Ballardian" entered the language, defined by the Collins English Dictionary as "resembling or suggestive of the conditions described in J. G. Ballard's novels and stories, especially dystopian modernity, bleak man-made landscapes and the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments."

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