The Best Short Stories of J. G. Ballard
First published in 1978, this collection of nineteen of Ballard's best short stories is as timely and informed as ever. His tales of the human psyche and its relationship to nature and technology, as viewed through a strong microscope, were eerily prescient and now provide greater perspective on our computer-dominated culture. Ballard's voice and vision have long served as...more
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Originally published at Fantasy Literature
The Best Short Stories of J.G. Ballard (1979) was published in 1977 in the UK and 1978 in the US. It contains a few stories from J.G. Ballard’s earlier, more conventional SF phase in the late 1950s, his most productive and lyrical phase in the early and mid 1960s, and a small sampling of his experimental ‘condensed novel’ phase of the late 1960s/early 1970s. The stories are ...more
It's useful, I think, to compare Ballard to Philip K. Dick -- they tread similar thematic region in their short fiction, and early in their careers employed a similar clipped cadence, where every character is simply Barker or Tallis or Ridgway and there are no female characters (or, indeed, any developed characters at all) to get in the way of the ideas. Their development as writers also followed comparable arcs, arcs followed by most cutting-edge writers of science fiction as the field entered ...more
High highs and low lows here average out to a three. The variation in quality was not among stories, a flaw that ...more
The former is a riveting, almost ballad-like chronicle of D's infatuation with the myth and larger-than-life heroism of the former Marion Morrison, and some speculation on the application of this tragi ...more
DISCLOSURE: I have given a short description/teaser of what each story is about, so if you consider pretty much anything a spoiler, d ...more
With this collection, start your Ballard experience by reading the haunting "The Drowned Giant." How does a community respond to the sudden appearance of an enormous drowned human bein ...more
The Drowned Giant, included, is probably his most famous piece unless something else is. It's about the human reaction to a giant humanoid that washes up dead on a beach. It rings ...more
The Subliminal story was spot on- and a much better treatment of advertising, consumption, and humanity than Dick's story... I can't remember the name of Dick's story right now, but I remember the guy gets a robot and blasts into space and ends up committing suicide. ...more
"Drowned Giant" is as key to my reading experience as anything. Says as much about our capacity to get used to and blow off any of the astonishing things about the world as anything else I've read.
The one downside for some of these stories is their dependence on cer ...more
Is a story of a dead giant washed ashore. It is not a story of a land where mythical giants live, but of one where the real oddity of discovering a giant is a shocking and mysterious encounter. The event is traced by the eyewitness of a researcher who is skeptical at first, but later comes to keenly observe the unmoving mammoth body, along with the reactions to thousands of curious visitors who employ it under their own personal recreation, like som ...more
What if the Earth were monstrously overpopulated?
What if all the water (ALL THE WATER) was pumped from our oceans and there was one fish left living in one scummy pond and then it got bashed to death by loathsome, cackling teenage spawn?
What if evolution went haywire in a controlled laboratory experiment and produced gruesome lifeforms? What if these gruesome lifeforms drove scientists to suicide?
What if a man was made so insane by the inanity of everyday living that he ...more
Skimming over a few of the reviews given for 'Best Short Stories' I cannot believe that no one mentions the content from pg 296 to finish. Maybe they didnt reach that far? Im not sure. I did find this short story collection a struggle to get through and think that at least half of these stories should never have been included in the 'best' category. There are a few little gems though such as The Garden of Time, End Game and The Drowned Giant. A lot of the other stories included lose momentum and ...more
Between the style of writing and misunderstanding of science, these stories really show their age. The last two stories, "Plan for the Assassination of Jacqueline Kennedy" and "Why I Want to Fuck Ronald Reagan," were actually my favorite of the stories I read, since they're experimental and funny enough to be interesting. The other stories had decent ideas in them, but I can only think to describe the writing as "generic." It took me a mont ...more
However, these minor negative marks could not remove the beauty and warning in Ballard's prose.
Though, honestly, why do most short story collections end with the least f ...more
Paradoxically or not the more he became self aware and gained an objective knowledge of how his own past shaped him and was echoed in his work the less power his fiction had ,in my opinion.
Much better than his more ...more
Manhole 69 • (1957)
Chronopolis • (1960)
The Voices of Time • (1960)
Deep End • (1961)
The Overloaded Man • (1961)
Billennium • (1961)
The Garden of Time • (1962)
Thirteen to Centaurus • (1962)
The Subliminal Man • (1963)
The Cage of Sand • (1962)
End-Game • (1963)
The Drowned Giant • (1964)
The Terminal Beach • (1964)
The Cloud-Sculptors of Coral D • [Vermilion Sands] • (1967)
The Assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy Considered as a Downhill Motor Race • (1966) ...more