High Rise

Toward A Ballardian Future

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The problem with J G Ballard, from a filmmaker’s perspective, is that he does not tell stories. He suggests futures and new psychologies. His characters are ciphers, his plots are liminal and his prose is exquisite, none of which makes him easy to adapt. Spielberg made a fine job of ‘Empire Of The Sun’, although […]

JG Ballard’s Psychotic London

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When you think of London books, a familiar list at first appears; Dickens for ‘Our Mutual Friend’, ‘Oliver Twist’ and ‘Bleak House’, Virginia Woolf for ‘Mrs Dalloway’, George Gissing for ‘New Grub Street’, George Orwell for ‘Keep The Aspidistra Flying’, Monica Ali’s ‘Brick Lane’, Colin MacInnes for ‘Absolute Beginners’, Patrick Hamilton’s ‘Hangover Square’, to which […]

Why Ballard’s Still The Boss

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It is now six years since Jim Ballard died. In a world with few heroes, he was one of mine. He began writing short stories in 1956, part of SF’s ‘new wave’, in which space ships and intergallactic battles were eschewed in favour of 20th century problems taken to extremes. His work is therefore more […]

Going Up: Would You Live In A High Rise?

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In one sense high rises are very egalitarian. The resident in the 16th floor of a council tower block gets the same view as someone in an equivalent floor of the Shard – but JG Ballard’s novel ‘High Rise’ imagined a block divided by its Have and Have-Not residents until a full class war broke […]