Read The Terminal Beach by J.G. Ballard Online


The Terminal Beach is one of Ballard's most brilliant collections of short stories, ranging from the title story's disturbing picture of an abandoned atomic testing island in the Pacific to the shocking Oedipal fantasy of 'The Gioconda of the Twilight Noon'. At the heart of the stories lies the bitter paradox that the extraordinary creative power of man's imagination is maThe Terminal Beach is one of Ballard's most brilliant collections of short stories, ranging from the title story's disturbing picture of an abandoned atomic testing island in the Pacific to the shocking Oedipal fantasy of 'The Gioconda of the Twilight Noon'. At the heart of the stories lies the bitter paradox that the extraordinary creative power of man's imagination is matched only by his reckless instinct for destruction. Contents:- A Question Re-entry- The Drowned Giant- End-Game- The Illuminated Man- The Reptile Enclosure- The Delta at Sunset- The Terminal Beach- Deep End- The Volcano Dances- Billennium- The Gioconda of the Twilight Noon- The Lost Leonardo...

Title : The Terminal Beach
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ISBN : 9780140024999
Format Type : Mass Market Paperback
Number of Pages : 224 Pages
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The Terminal Beach Reviews

  • Ahmad Sharabiani
    2018-10-18 16:38

    ‭The terminal beach, 1993, J.G. Ballard The Terminal Beach is a collection of science fiction short stories by British author J. G. Ballard, published in 1964.British edition: "The Terminal Beach", "A Question of Re-entry", "The Drowned Giant", "End-Game", "The Illuminated Man", "The Reptile Enclosure", "The Delta at Sunset", "Deep End", "The Volcano Dances", "Billennium", "The Gioconda of the Twilight Noon", and "The Lost Leonardo".تاریخ نخستین خوانش: بیست و سوم ژانویه سال 2011 میلادیعنوان: ساحل پایانی (دوازده داستان کوتاه)؛ نویسنده: جیمز گراهام بالارد؛ مترجم: علی اصغر بهرامی؛ تهران، نشر چشمه، 1388؛ در 326 ص؛ شابک: 9789643625443؛ موضوع: داستانهای کوتاه از نویسندگان انگلیسی - قرن 20 مدوازده داستان در گونه علمی‌ تخیلی؛ عنوان داستانها: «مشکل ورود مجدد»، «غولی که غرق شد»، «آخر بازی»، «مرد نورانی»، «جایگاه مخصوص خزندگان»، «دلتا به هنگام غروب»، «ساحل پایانی»، «رقص آتش‌فشان»، «بیلنیوم»، «ژوکند در گرگ‌ و‌ میش ظهر» و «لئوناردوی گمشده». ؛. شربیانی

  • Stuart
    2018-10-25 16:41

    The Terminal Beach: The best of Ballard’s early storiesOriginally posted at Fantasy LiteratureJ.G. Ballard is best known for his autobiographical novel Empire of the Sun (1984), along with his early novels like The Drowned World (1962), The Crystal World (1964), The Atrocity Exhibition (1970), Crash (1973), Concrete Island (1974), and High-Rise (1975). But many consider his best work to be his huge catalog of short stories, many of which were pivotal in the New Wave SF movement in the late 60s/early 70s. Ballard’s style may have been suited to the short form, as it plays to his strengths (hallucinatory imagery, bizarre concepts, powerful descriptions) and avoid his weaknesses (lack of empathetic characters, weak plots, unrealistic motivations). He has published many short story collections, but the publishing gods have seen fit to be kind and provide readers with a single volume, The Complete Stories of J.G. Ballard, which contains 98 stories (1,200 pages) from throughout his career. Not only is this available in hard copy and Kindle, it is also available for a single credit on Audible, providing 65 hours of thoughtful listening pleasure, read by 5-6 excellent veteran narrators. However, to provide a balanced overview, I will review some of his most famous collections separately.The Terminal Beach (1964) was published as a paperback in the US from Berkeley Books, and as a hardcover from Gollancz in the UK. The contents of the two collections are very different, and my review will cover the UK version. These are stories in the UK edition:“The Terminal Beach” (1964), “A Question of Re-entry” (1962), “The Drowned Giant” (1964), “End-Game” (1962), “The Illuminated Man” (1964), “The Reptile Enclosure” (1962), “The Delta at Sunset” (1964), “Deep End” (1961), “The Volcano Dances” (1964), “Billennium” (1961), “The Gioconda of the Twilight Noon” (1964), “The Lost Leonardo” (1964)Ballard’s stories generally feature solitary characters in strange, doomed situations. There is often a feeling of entropy, melancholy, hopelessness, and (sometimes) transformation and revelation. The language is formal, lush, hallucinatory, and detached. Frequently the world is succumbing to some form of environmental disaster, like rising seas, crystallization, overpopulation, etc. He is also deeply interested in ‘inner space,’ modernization, obsession with technology, and alienation with the environment. His characters usually seem resigned to their fates and contemplate them with intellectual detachment. Sounds unappealing, you say? No fun, perhaps? And yet if you open yourself to his stories and images, you will find yourself drawn into his inner space, and the worlds he creates have a strange and hypnotic beauty. These are the standout stories:“The Terminal Beach” Perhaps the most quintessential Ballard short story. A disturbed man named Traven has lost his wife and son in a car accident and smuggles himself onto Entiowok Island, the site of an abandoned nuclear testing site. The island is covered with concrete bunkers, disturbing test dummies, and decay. There are some biologists conducting tests there, but when Traven encounters them he is not happy at encountering other people — instead, his rapidly deteriorating mental state mirrors the state of the island with its empty monuments to the nuclear age. He escapes them and takes refuge in the bunkers, aimlessly exploring the bizarre and inscrutable symbols of man’s modern alienation with himself and submission to the imminent possibility of atomic destruction.“A Question of Re-Entry” Here we have another classic Ballardian tale of exploration of ‘inner space’ in the form of a symbolic journey up a river a la Heart of Darkness to encounter a Colonel Kurtz character who has set himself up as a god to a local tribe of Indians. His means of control turns out to relate to an artificial satellite that revolves through the sky, mystifying the Indians who worship its movements. The title of the story refers in part to a crashed space capsule and the mission to recover its astronaut, but can also refer to the choice of whether to re-enter civilization or remain among the primitive peoples.“The Illuminated Man” This is a longer story that eventually was expanded into the novel The Crystal World. It details the strange crystallization of the forest in central Africa, a process that seems to stop time and transform plants, animals and minerals into beautiful crystals. Ballard includes some pseudo-scientific explanations of why the process occurs, but the story is stronger when it focuses on the process itself, and people’s varied reactions to it. Ballard leaves it very open to interpretation, but the loving descriptions of crystal houses and plants and eventually people are guaranteed to haunt your imagination and memory.“The Drowned Giant” This story is deceptively simple and fable-like, in a Borges vein. A giant’s body washes ashore one day, and a series of scientists, curious onlookers, and profiteers come and take what they want. Initially people are amazed and intrigued by the body, but as it starts to decompose, their wonder gives way to indifference, and then finally the body is carved up and sold to museums and other institutions. In the end, the memory of the giant fades, and even the preserved parts are misidentified by museums as belonging to a whale. Perhaps Ballard is suggesting that we take what is wondrous in the world and make it prosaic. Or maybe something else entirely?“The Delta at Sunset” Here is another story that has the typical Ballardian elements: scientists in remote and primitive locations, a protagonist who is suffering from some type of malaise, a jaded love triangle in which the principals don’t even seem that upset, mysterious worms that appear and multiply, references to the prehistoric past, visions of antiquity that nobody else sees, and finally the main character states something to the effect that “As a paleontologist, he was searching for a past in which life made sense. He had never really liked other people, and didn’t particularly like himself either.” Let’s hope these sentiments don’t represent the author himself.Overall, I think The Terminal Beach is a perfect introduction to J.G. Ballard’s most recurrent themes, images, and storylines. A number of these stories also appear in his collection The Best Short Stories of J.G. Ballard, but that collection has stories from his earlier, more conventional SF period, along with his weirder, more experimental period, as seen in Crash and The Atrocity Exhibition, so in terms of consistent quality, I would recommend The Terminal Beach or Vermilion Sands, which is set in a remote desert community of artists, former film stars, and wealthy eccentrics.

  • Vit Babenco
    2018-10-20 14:00

    The Terminal Beach is probably J. G. Ballard’s best collection of short stories – the stories are quite diverse but uniformly dark and pessimistically prophetic.“Once he entered a small street of metal shacks, containing a cafeteria, recreation rooms and shower stalls. A wrecked jukebox lay half-buried in the sand behind the cafeteria, its selection of records still in their rack.Further along, flung into a small target lake fifty yards from the shacks, were the bodies of what at first he thought were the former inhabitants of this ghost town – a dozen life-size plastic models. Their half-melted faces, contorted into bleary grimaces, gazed up at him from the jumble of legs and torsoes.”The title story, opening this collection, is a powerful metaphor of self-destruction of both individual man and humanity as a whole – any time the earth may turn into a terminal beach and become a graveyard.“On the morning after the storm the body of a drowned giant was washed ashore on the beach five miles to the northwest of the city. The first news of its arrival was brought by a nearby farmer and subsequently confirmed by the local newspaper reporters and the police. Despite this the majority of people, myself among them, remained sceptical, but the return of more and more eye-witnesses attesting to the vast size of the giant was finally too much for our curiosity.”The Drowned Giant is an ironic parable of nine day wonders and short memory of mankind.But of course dystopian tales are the best, of which sardonic Billennium is most original and memorable.“All day long, and often into the early hours of the morning, the tramp of feet sounded up and down the stairs outside Ward's cubicle. Built into a narrow alcove in a bend of the staircase between the fourth and fifth floors, its plywood walls flexed and creaked with every footstep like the timbers of a rotting windmill. Over a hundred people lived in the top three floors of the old rooming house, and sometimes Ward would lie awake on his narrow bunk until 2 or 3 a.m., mechanically counting the last residents returning from the all-night movies in the stadium half a mile away.”The planet is overpopulated and every square foot of the living space is an object of a fight.J. G. Ballard’s unique mentality made his stories unique as well.

  • Matthew
    2018-10-23 19:56

    Tarkovsky's 'Stalker' and the work of De Chirico vividly sprung to mind when reading this collection.

  • Tamara Romero
    2018-11-05 19:57

    This book has the best short story about overpopulation EVER!

  • Evan Rail
    2018-10-20 14:55

    Generally very good, often excellent. Ballard's language is occasionally overgrown here, but it's never flat — I don't know why the man isn't recognized more widely as a significant prose worker. While The Terminal Beach is ostensibly a collection of short stories, they fit together nicely, with numerous repetitive themes and images, making it seem like a single work. A few of the stories are true gems: "End-Game," "The Illuminated Man," "The Reptile Enclosure," "Billennium," and "The Lost Leonardo." Others — like "The Terminal Beach" and "The Gioconda of the Twilight Noon" — are maybe not as successful in some ways, but I find they give me even more to think about. (Note the continuation from "The Gioconda" to "The Lost Leonardo," which finish the book in that order.) My caveats: I don't care as much about these characters as I could. I'm actually not sure I'm supposed to. Many of the main characters are almost two-dimensional mirrors of each other, with names like Connolly, Charles Marquand, Charles Sherrington, Roger Pelham, Charles Gifford, Rossiter, Richard Maitland, Charles Vandervell, and yet another Charles in "The Lost Leonardo." In that story — my favorite — one character appears to have changed his name several times, perhaps echoing the characters of these stories — or is it just one character, over and over again? — themselves. A second caveat: situation is sometimes more important than plot here. You've got crazy settings, bizarre concepts, but sometimes not much is happening. I hope to try more by Ballard soon. I think this and "Super-Cannes," which I really enjoyed, are the only two I've read.

  • Christopher
    2018-10-16 17:50

    Taken from a review posted on my blog hereBefore ‘The Terminal Beach’ I hadn’t read any Ballard before, but I’m aware of his other work (Empire of the Sun, the Crystal World, the recently cinematised High-Rise) and the reputation he’s built on them. I’ve spoken before on this blog about the trepidation one can feel approaching a renowned authors work, and with Ballard it was no different. But short stories are an ideal way of sampling an authors work before undertaking their novels, and The Terminal Beach has certainly inspired me to explore his other output.This collection was published in 1964, and so contains some of his earliest short form fiction. Most of it was written at the height of the cold war, and the themes and locations reflect the times; abandoned nuclear testing grounds, spacecraft crash sites, the effects of contamination by alien substances, all set a vivid scene for the, at times psychological, drama to come.The title story, “The Terminal Beach” (1964), appears half way through the collection, and explores the uniquely artifical landscape of Eniwetok (a collection of islands in the pacific, now officially spelt ‘Enewetak’) through the eyes of Traven, willingly marooned on the atoll after the death of his wife and daughter in a car crash. The site for 43 Atomic weapons tests in the 1950’s, Eniwetok is scattered with reminders of what Traven calls the ‘Pre-Third’ age, the years before the seemingly inevitable third world war, characterised “above all by its moral and psychological inversions, by its sense of the whole of history, and in particular of the immediate future… suspended from the quiversing volcano’s lip of World War III”. The creepiest inhabitants of the island are the plastic test dummies, their shadows burned in to the concrete pens and bunkers dotted around the rim of the atoll by the initial flash of the tests.The human mind is a common subject across all of these stories, and in “The Terminal Beach” it is the main scene for the narrative. We see Traven’s mental deterioration first hand: he begins to hallucinate, seeing mirages of his dead family, as a result of dehydration, hunger and isolation, but also, Ballard seems to suggest, as a direct consequence of the bleak, foreboding landscape he has immersed himself in.“Billennium” (1961) is one of my favourite stories from the collection. The premise is simple - unabated population growth has swelled the world’s cities to the point where they are almost uninhabitable, creating a Malthusian nightmare. Persons are restricted to four square meters of floor space each, so when the heroes of the story discover a large uninhabited room they are almost overcome with the space it affords: “For an hour they exchanged places, wandering silently around the dusty room, stretching their arms out to feel its unconfined emptiness, grasping at the sensation of absolute spatial freedom”. Paradoxically, families with children are granted extra floor space, incentivising the population growth that is drowning the world - a stark warning against future socio-economic mismanagement.“Deep End” (1961) also portrays a dystopic vision of humanities future on Earth, depicting a world dehydrated through the mining of oxygen from the oceans. When a young romantic, who has chosen to remain on Earth despite all his fellow adolescents migrating to the space colonies and other planets, discovers one of the last remaining fish in a small pool, he dreams of preserving it, a relic of the Earth that once was.“A Question of Re-entry” (1962) is symbolic of Heart of Darkness, following a scientist as he travels up an Amazonian tributary to a local tribe, searching for any evidence of a stricken space probe. The tribe is controlled by a shady westerner, who has a mysterious control over the tribes affairs. A fascinating collision of the traditional and the space age; the title refers to both the fall of the space probe, as well as the questions around assimilation of traditional tribes and peoples in to twentieth century civilisation.“The Illuminated Man” (1964) was apparently the basis for Ballard’s later novel ‘The Crystal World’. It follows a journalist granted access to a mysterious crystalline growth off the Florida peninsula, and the futile resistance of the plants, animals and people against it. One particularly chilling scene depicts a priest marooned in his church, who sacrifices himself to the growth. The style of the story, and the effect of the interminable growth on the characters, reminded me a little of the style and characters in the game ‘Bioshock’, where the societal and physical decline of Rapture turns the inhabitants slowly insane.“The Reptile Enclosure” (1962) is set on a crowded beach on a sunny day, but builds in dread to a terrifying climax. It’s one of my favourites from the collection for its mix of the modern and the Lovecraftian. “The Delta at Sunset” (1964) also follows this formula, with a psychological decline of its main character similar to ‘The Terminal Beach’, and a mix of the prehistoric with the contemporary portrayed through chilling visions of snakes writhing in the sunset.“The Drowned Giant” (1964) is one of the shorter, more romantic of the novels. A giant, dead, washes up on the coast of England, and people travel from far and wide to see it. As it begins to decay, interest wanes, and pieces of the remains are removed and taken away indiscriminately and exhibited across the continent, often without attribution to the original fantastical source. A commentary on our tendency to dismantle the extraordinary and make it ordinary?Some of the stories are not strictly science fiction at all. “End-Game” (1962) follows the trials and deliberations of a Soviet official awaiting the execution of his sentence whilst imprisoned in a remote chalet. Unfortunately for him, the sentence is death at the hands of his sole companion at the chalet, a strong but quite man who both guards him and provides his final company. “The Volcano Dances” (1964) is a bizarre, stunted story of a man and a woman living on the side of the active Mexican volcano Iztaccihuatl, accompanied by a mad, dancing shaman who they appease with regular donations of a single dollar. “The Gioconda of the Twilight Noon” (1964) exhibits the lovecraftian themes of ‘The Delta at Sunset’, such as the disintegration of the mind under stress. The collection ends with the “The Lost Leonardo” (1964), a biblically inspired detective story, set in the gossiping art world of Western europe.Ballard’s prose can get a bit overblown and flowery at times. My vocabulary was certainly given a good work out; I now know ten different ways of describing the way light eminates from crystals thanks to ‘The Illuminated Man’.In all, this is a brilliant short story collection, and if it is indicative of the quality of his novels, a great introduction to Ballard.

  • Tim
    2018-10-22 21:30

    This collection of Ballard's stories contains some of his earlier stuff; it may have been his first published collection. For someone like me, who has read a few of his books, it is interesting to see how some of the ideas he brings out here got worked on and elaborated in later books. Overall, it is a mixed bag, not as consistent conceptually as some of his other collections. Here are Ballard's lonely, stoic heroes, confronting extreme circumstances that are not always technological in origin. Some of the pieces find them dealing with primitive worlds, or inner demons, or the horrors of contemporary life. Ballard is usually not at his best when describing relationships; he is much more powerful when he focuses on his bleak speculative fictions, and he does this very well in the title story. "End-Game" is another good one; a look at a condemned politician from a totalitarian country who tries desperately to win over the thug who is watching over him.I did at times have to ask myself what was enjoyable about this book. His prose is admirable, for one thing - always very cool and precise, with a powerful vocabulary and detailed descriptions. Below this metallic surface is often something dark and disturbing, a hypothetical scenario of the world falling apart, yet doing so in a way that is fascinating and strangely beautiful. There is a lot of unstated fear lurking in the corners of these stories and their dangerous speculative settings, and yet they can be very interesting places to visit.

  • Roy
    2018-10-18 13:45

    Ballard is one of my favourite English writers and this volume collects some of his best short stories from the sixties .

  • 7thTrooper
    2018-10-18 14:34

    Ballard har jag pratat om förut, flera gånger, men har egentligen aldrig utforskat hans kortare verk. Har läst hans bidrag till "Dangerous Visions", men det tillhörde inte precis toppskiktet i den samlingen. Må så vara att han hade hyfsat starkt motstånd, minst sagt. Men här finns det guldkorn, det ska gudarna veta. Det är egentligen bara den sista, "The Lost Leonardo", som jag inte alls gillade och så gott som hoppade över helt. Kändes helt malplacerad bredvid resten av novellerna. Den och "A Question of Re-entry" är egentligen de enda två jag hade klarat mig utan. Den förstnämnda är inte dålig, egentligen, och känns inte heller så malplacerad men är istället ganska ointressant med undantag för några språkliga krumbukter. Ballard kan ju skriva prosa med de bästa när han så vill. De teman som sträcker sig över samlingen är ganska typiska för författaren. Det är mycket sammansmältningar av inre och yttre rymd, för att använda författarens egna term för det. Speciellt i titelnovellen och "The Delta at Sunset" som tillsammans med "The Illuminated Man" (förlagan till romanen "The Crystal World") utgör de starkaste korten. Språket är bra och tematiken stark så gott som rakt igenom. Ballard kan ju som bekant sina saker. De två bästa är onekligen "Delta..." och "The Terminal Beach", båda noveller där fokus läggs på en karaktär och sedermera på hur hans (alla huvudkaraktärer är män) mentala värld smälter samman mer och mer med den yttre världen. Asknarkigt och alldeles fantastiskt. Känns ganska underligt att det tyngsta karln nånsin intog var alkohol, minst sagt.

  • Graham P
    2018-10-17 20:54

    JG Ballard is a master of the psychological SF short, and with clinical intentions, his surreal landscapes tend to gather more substance as the character in the story slowly devolves, as they usually do in his fiction. Madness, desperation, even sentimentality are what fuel his characters, and a mere means of survival is replaced by the characters submitting to the landscape, whether an island ravaged by atomic testing or a quaint riverside in the English country. This collection is superior, a must-have for any fans of SF, Horror, Surreal Fantasy.Quick breakdown of some of the best tales in this collection:'Question of Re-Entry' - Ballard's ode to 'Heart of Darkness' with satellites crashed in the jungle becoming holy, interstellar artifacts.'Terminal Beach' - a man hides on an island used for nuclear testing, and he finds that he's not alone. Amidst the sun-bleached concrete towers and buildings, he follows his dead wife and son to what he hopes will be a reunion.'Drowned Giant' - here Ballard takes the symbolic stamp of Swift's Gulliver and tears it to shreds in this haunting, acidic yet humorous tale of humanity.'The Reptile Enclosure' - Ballard is a cynic and misanthrope and here takes an apocalyptic vision to a crowded beach during summertime. He describes the mass of half-naked bodies sunning as if they were 'boiled pink meat'. This one is so good I didn't want it to end.'The Gioconda of the Twilight Noon' - an Oedipal dream-like tale of what dangers day-dreaming can bring. Horrific visuals climax this one.'The Illuminated Man' - In Florida, something is turning all the vegetation into crystals. Horror and surreal match up so well here, and the last visual he leaves us with is a beautiful image, no matter how terrifying it is deep down.'Billennium' - a rare sense of humor carries this story of overpopulation into a sad, frightening vision of city life in the future.And the rest of the book is staggering as well. He even takes some tropes of fiction, the lost painting and a chess-match ('The Lost Leonardo' and 'End-Game'), and adds his own unique spin on them with his bountiful imagination and his scalpel-like pen. Truly he was one Britain's finest writers.A classic collection, one of the best.

  • Zantaeus Glom
    2018-11-10 19:42

    A rather curious read for one of the hottest days thus far, but oddly appropriate; especially given the apocalyptic overtones of this exemplary collection of truly eerie, unsettling sf short stories.I don't think I will ever forget the grim pathos and soul-searing melancholy of 'Deep End' - a truly devastating piece of speculative fiction! Terminal Beach is so beautifully written it could make a life-long sf reader out of the hardiest literary curmudgeon.Ballard really is on form here, and I cannot wait to get started with his 'Voices of Time' collection - For me, the short story idiom doesn't get much better than this. These fervid tales burrow into your head like ice-cold brain parasites. (Colin Wilson would heartily approve!)I got this horrible sinking feeling whilst reading 'Terminal Beach' that much of this might not even be fiction at all. Perfect dystopic tales to darken even the sunniest day.

  • Daniel McCaffrey
    2018-11-08 16:42

    Ballard's first major collection of short stories are a veritable feast of a new and emerging talent, a brave voice filled with conviction, style and courage. Some of the stories are insular and personal, and somewhat like sketches, but others are vast and broad-based, set against the largest backdrop of all - society itself. Questions of the nature of art itself, pure mathematics and statistics, morality and life and death itself are explored through a selective, yet all-encompassing painter's eye. Overall, the stories are so filled with intellectual, poetic and philosophical energy that one simply sits back in awe and gratitude at such a vast display. A great book for the neophyte Ballard reader.

  • Vanessa
    2018-10-18 14:43

    I liked this better than "Empire of the Sun" because the short story format let me power through Ballard's tendency to rambling and metaphysical hoopla and get on to a different story. Not much of a compliment, that, but I did enjoy several of the stories. My favourite was "Billenium", with honourable mentions for "Deep End", "End-Game", and "The Drowned Giant". The other stories were either a little too "out there" or just not compelling enough for me, but there were only 1-2 that I actively disliked. Nevertheless, I'm taking any remaining Ballard works off my "to read" list. He's just not my style, I guess. Too long winded, too "literary", too introspective, whatever you want to call it. I've read enough for a while.

  • Rory Tregaskis
    2018-11-09 18:59

    The cover of my edition describes the book as "12 chill splinters of unreality." It's a spot on description. Some of these stories are funny and weird, others are creepy as shit. Stories about insanity, nuclear testing, over population, reasoning with the man who is going to kill you. I've never read stories like these. Sometimes it's hard to even put your finger on what they're about. I read Billenium in The Oxford Book of Science Fiction Short Stories, so I knew that was a good 'un. The other stories live up to it. J G Ballard was a smart guy. One sentence has stuck in my mind, about a nuclear testing site, he describes it as " an Auschwitz of the soul, whose the mausoleums contained the mass graves of the still undead."

  • Ian
    2018-10-15 15:53

    Ever wondered why some people are great authors and you aren't. Empire of the Sun tells you all you need to know. I don't mean that you need to have amazing/terrible experiences like the protagonist, who is based closely on Ballard's own experiences as a child in WWII in China. What I mean is that you need to have the imagination and determination that this character displays. Without the imagination, well, you have a poor story. Without the determination, well you don't have a finished book. Without either one, you don't have a chance in hell.

  • Christian
    2018-10-17 18:36

    I actually read this on the beach and it's perfect for that heatstroked state where you're half awake and half asleep. Most of the stories concern the permeable barrier between the external and internal worlds - is reality just a reflection of the mind, or vice versa? Ballard creates some indelible images, like a forest made of crystal, a nuclear test island filled with concrete monoliths and a beached giant. (He also predicts Sydney's housing market with a comic story about people confined to 4 meter apartments.)

  • Alien
    2018-11-04 19:56

    When I was younger, I didn't like J.G. Ballard. I still see why that was the case. His stories are often vague, cryptic, open ended. He's not interested in the science in Science Fiction. His science is often incidental and does not hold water. His protagonists are not rational, they follow strange urges from their past or from their subconsciousness. They do this without consideration of their health or even life. Well.. nowadays I like all this. And I also appreciate that his language is more sophisticated than that of most SF authors

  • Keith Davis
    2018-10-30 15:34

    Ballard's short stories are not really comparable with those of any other science fiction writer. These stories fall somewhere in between his atmospheric disaster novels and his later more literary works. There is an air of post-imperial decline to these stories, the glorious dreams of early SF already fading into cynicism and decadence, but there is a beauty in the ruins that Ballard depicts perfectly.

  • Chris
    2018-11-13 18:43

    3.5 stars. Ballard must have been the life of a party. That's the thought I had over and over while reading this. Some of the stories condemn humanity directly and others are more abstractly unsettling. He finally gets playful in "Billennium" but joke is on humanity. And the book ends with "The Lost Leonardo" which stands the whole collection on it's head. It is a crime mystery that quickly turns fun and farcical. Things might be ok after all.

  • Richard
    2018-11-10 17:41

    I still think this is the best collection of Ballard short stories, showcasing a great variety of styles and themes. Contains my favourite - 'The Drowned Giant' (a nod to Swift), and the title story which was a forerunner for the 'condensed novels' of The Atrocity Exhibition.

  • Maria Beltrami
    2018-10-14 20:44

    Una carrellata delle visioni oniriche e castrofistiche di Ballard.I racconti sono cerebrali, surreali, dotati di una logica stringente, ma al di fuori degli schemi logici dell'universo normale, assolutamente perfetti.

  • Tony B
    2018-11-06 21:31

    This book got me totally hooked on Ballard. I found it while searching for The Drowned World. It's a very fun read. I read it along with Duma Key and both genres paired very well. Definitely looking foreword to read more.

  • Chilly SavageMelon
    2018-10-17 15:56

    This collection varies from "Twilight Zone-esque" quickies to short versions of what would become standard Ballard fare: psychological sci fi set in desolate, bleak and apolcalyptic scenarios. The novels tend to be btter explorations of his bizarre ideas.

  • Hojaplateada
    2018-10-15 20:58

    Gracias a este libro descubría a Ballard, me dijeron que era parecido a Ray Bradbury y ahora que lo pienso, no tiene mucho que ver, pero le agradezco a mi vieja :P

  • Fantasy Literature
    2018-10-21 15:35

    4 stars from Stuart:

  • Lisa Fazackerley
    2018-10-29 17:59

    A must have for the literary sci-fi fan.

  • Jim
    2018-11-10 20:53

    Bizarre and disturbing, as I recall.

  • Angela
    2018-10-27 17:54

    Possibly my favourite collection of short stories by my favourite author. My favourite story is a little gem entitled 'Endgame'.

  • Michael Lisk
    2018-10-17 18:32

    Great stories by one of my favorite writers. "The Drowned Giant" is one of the best stories I've ever read.