April 20, 2009

JG Ballard, 1930-2009



"I think my work is superficially dystopian, in some respects, but I’m trying to, as you say, affirm a more positive worldview. I lived through more than two-thirds of the last century, which was one of the grimmest epochs in human history — a time of unparalleled human violence and cruelty. Most of my writing was about the 20th century, and anyone writing about the 20th century writes in a dystopian mode without making any effort at all — it just comes with the box of paintbrushes.

"You know, to be a human being is quite a role to play. Each of us wakes up in the morning and we inhabit a very dangerous creature capable of brilliance in many ways, but capable also of huge self-destructive episodes. And we live with this dangerous creature every minute we’re awake. Something like The Atrocity Exhibition sums up my fiction: the attempt by a rather wounded character — in this case, a psychiatrist having a nervous breakdown; there are similar figures throughout the rest of my fiction — to make something positive out of the chaos that surrounds him, to create some sort of positive mythology that can sustain one’s confidence in the world."

JG Ballard interviewed by Simon Sellars, 2006.