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War Fever

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  333 ratings  ·  20 reviews
A war-ravaged Beirut is the setting for the title story of this visionary collection, a tale in which a young street fighter inadvertently discovers how to bring an to the bloodshed only to find that his solution is all too effective as far as some supposedly neutral observers are concerned. Other stories feature an assassination plot against an American astronaut, the lea ...more
Hardcover, 182 pages
Published April 29th 1991 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published June 1990)
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There is no consistent theme running through the fourteen short pieces from the early 1980’s in J G Ballard’s War Fever. There are the familiar Ballard themes of time standing still, an abandoned Cape Canaveral with its empty motels, man-powered light aircraft and effulgent jungle flora and fauna, but there are fourteen distinct mind-expanding ideas behind the fourteen works. The tendency over previous Ballard short story collections, such as it is, is towards whimsicality and good humour. Only ...more
A collection that shows of many of Ballard’s strengths and very little of his faults (only one empty swimming pool to be found). These frequently experimental narratives find Ballard in the mode of the Atrocity Exhibition and Crash, offering a surreal and haunting vision of the tomb humanity is digging for itself with its own technology and obsessions. These texts present themselves so seriously I find them quite funny in an odd way. The Swiftian savagery of the title story is satire so true it’ ...more
Keith Kenniff
One of my favorite book of short stories. I read this all practically in one sitting, totally enthralled by each surreal world that Ballard transports you to.
Daniel Gualtieri
This is a really top-notch collection of stories; Ballard has a very unique voice, dark and subversive but also visionary and forward-looking. While many of his themes in this book involve visions of futures gone awry, he maintains an often-tragic beauty in his style. Amazing writing, with some really interesting metafictional structures (most notably in The Index, one of the best stories in the book). My favorite story overall was probably Notes Toward a Mental Breakdown, an incredible exercise ...more
This is my favorite collection of Ballard's work, though I'd skip the first one (the title piece is the weakest of the bunch, unfortunately).

"Dream Cargoes" and "The Air Disaster" are two of the most haunting (and unsettling) short stories I've ever read, and "The Largest Theme Park in the World" is the only story told in omniscient third person plural that has ever really worked for me (I mean, there aren't many, but still).

I don't like everything that Ballard writes, but this is good, solid
David Peak
A very, very good collection of Ballard's short stories (blurbed by David Foster Wallace!), mainly speculative and sci-fi, and, for the most part, published in the 70s and 80s. All of his trademark obsessions appear here in full: messianic complexes, astronauts, Ronald Reagan, flight, wild distortions of time and space. There really isn't a bad story to be found. And a few, such as "The Enormous Space," "The Object of the Attack," and "Memories of the Space Age" are as good as Ballard gets. High ...more
For my money, J G Ballard was always a much better short story writer than novelist, and this is one of his better collections, containing a fine selection of some mid-period experimental works (e.g., "Answers to a Questionnaire"), as well as his trademark portraits of minds descending to very suburban forms of madness ("The Enormous Space") or nostalgic takes on present technology ("Memories of the Space Age"). The original hardcover of this book is one of my prized possessions.
I think one of my favorite stories of all time is in this collection. A group of space explorers lands on an abandoned station. They take a survey of it, only to discover that the more they explore, the bigger it gets until they are completely lost and totally consumed. RIP J.G.
He always has a cold brilliance.

"It was curious that images of heaven or paradise always presented a static world, not the kinetic eternity one would expect, the roller-coaster of a hyperactive funfair, the screaming Luna Parks of LSD and psilocybin. It was a strange paradox that given eternity, an infinity of time, they chose to eliminate the very element offered in such abundance."
My first JG. Ballard and its a very good collection. He is an author that makes you think about he is writing. His themes really work for me. I must read much more of him.

Quality stories in this collection War Fever,The Secret History of World War 3.
I've had this book of short stories for years and had only read a few of them for a class I took in college. Some of them were very good and others I didn't really care for. JG Ballard passed away on the day I began the book.
I read this book in a sitting, and I felt physically disjointed for days afterwards. This is not Ballard's very best collection, but it is nonetheless amazing. The story "The Astronaut" has haunted me ever since.
Most of these are great, standouts even for Ballard. I don't recommend it as your first Ballard short story collection necessarily, but there's a lot of great stuff here if you're a fan.
I loved every story in this book. Ballard shines best in the short-story format, and this is a great collection. This is also a wise place to start for people not familiar with his work.
Another great collection from Ballard. I especially enjoyed War Fever, The Secret History of World War 3, and The Air Disaster.
A collection of perfectly sharpened, concise little letters of hate to culture and geopolitics of the 1980s.
Gerald Lucas
Spanning sf, fantasy, and the twilight zone. These stories are what I think of when I hear J. G. Ballard.
Nov 20, 2007 Patrick rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Borges fans. Robert Smithson fans. Chris Marker fans.
Ian Curtis' favorite author. 'Nuff said.
this is the best book i ever read.
The 80's never looked so bleak!
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James Graham "J. G." Ballard (15 November 1930 – 19 April 2009) was an English novelist, short story writer, and essayist. Ballard came to be associated with the New Wave of science fiction early in his career with apocalyptic (or post-apocalyptic) novels such as The Drowned World (1962), The Burning World (1964), and The Crystal World (1966). In the late 1960s and early 1970s Ballard focused on a ...more
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