New in Books:
In the cold latter-day novels of the late J.G. Ballard (1930–2009), the entire idea of science-fiction almost seems passé. Instead of imagining the far future, or a world of today turned upside down by some deus ex machine of a calamity, the novels of this onetime Pied Piper of the speculative fiction movement didn’t ask for much if any suspension of disbelief. In books like Cocaine Nights and Rushing to Paradise, Ballard instead plumbed the neuroses of the modern world by taking a particular ethnographic strata and bombarding it with a combination of satirical overkill and microscopically-observed sociological investigation. The people in these books were trapped in bell jars of their own downwardly-spiraling imaginations, occasionally threatening to take the rest of the world with them…
J.G. Ballard’s Millennium People is on sale now in finer bookstores everywhere. You can read my full review at PopMatters.