A User's Guide to the Millennium: Essays and Reviews
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

A User's Guide to the Millennium: Essays and Reviews

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  231 ratings  ·  9 reviews

Over the course of his career, J.G. Ballard has revealed hidden truths about the modern world. The essays, reviews, and ruminations gathered here—spanning the breadth of this long career—approach reality with the same sharp prose and sharper vision that distinguish his fiction. Ballard's fascination for and fixation upon this century take him from Mickey Mouse to Salvador
Paperback, 320 pages
Published April 15th 1997 by Picador (first published 1996)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
The Crystal World by J.G. BallardCrash by J.G. BallardThe Kindness of Women by J.G. BallardThe Drowned World by J.G. BallardEmpire of the Sun by J.G. Ballard
Best of J.G. Ballard
11th out of 17 books — 7 voters
I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts by Mark DeryThe Rest Is Noise by Alex  RossThe Pursuit of Loneliness by Philip SlaterMythologies by Roland BarthesTravels in Hyperreality by Umberto Eco
Cultural Criticism Classics
11th out of 25 books — 4 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 406)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Ballard is a randy old goat who writes elegantly and thinks future civilizations will remember us by our motorway flyovers. He doesn't say this in an irritating "satirical" Bill Bryson/David Brooks way, he actually thinks it, and he's utterly convincing.

It's amazing, when I look at the shit that passes for commentary in the British press 99% of the time, that most of the essays in this book originally appeared in newspapers. The stuff on classic Hollywood and Sci-Fi is great. And although, by th...more
John Kenny
A Users Guide to the Millennium by J.G. Ballard is an absolute treasure chest for anyone interested in 20th century pop culture. It's a collection of essays and reviews that spans 30+ years, culled from a wide range of magazines and covers such subjects as art, history, science, cinema and science fiction and such personalities and icons as Marilyn Monroe, Elvis, Dali, William Burroughs, Howard Hughes, Einstein, Warhol, Henry Miller, the list goes on.

Most of the pieces are short but pack a punch...more
Al Young
In modern alt-literature, there are two names that tower above everyone else- William S Buroughs and Ballard.

So regardless of what I think of him, I have to acknowledge the debt that stuff I like owes to him. For starters, I will give you Joy Division, David Cronenberg, and Grant Morrison, to name three.
The guy is so influential his name is an adjective. The idea of dystopia, post apocalyptic misery- of industry and technology making life unbearable- hey right down my alley.

The truth is though...more
Ted Laderas
Fantastic short essays that turn your viewpoint on its head...the title essay describes 10 influential surrealist sci fi movies, although some (like Douglas Trumbull's "Silent Running") are a bit dated and painful to watch. Mostly I'm grateful to this book for introducing me to Godard's "Alphaville" - a no budget sci fi film that fuses ultramodern Paris locales with gumshoe detectives and a paranoid computer named alpha-60 who controls the planet.

A good critic can open a reader's eyes to subtlet...more
Charles Dee Mitchell
These are mostly short reviews written for a variety of London daily papers. The choice of review material is classic Ballard -- biographies of Nancy Reagan , Henry Miller, and the Emperor Hirohito; books on surrealism, war photography, and the Golden Age of science fiction; a review of a mail-order sex manual. There are also essays on some favored painters and review of Star Wars titled Hobbits in Space. Excellent bedtime reading.
Occasionally a bit stuffy and/or obscure (perhaps it would read differently to an native of England) but easily more than half the very short essays were entertaining and quite a few were thought provoking. One nice thing about a book of such short essays (most are less than 3 pages) is that there is less guilt when you find yourself skipping ahead to the next one after an opening paragraph or two doesn't engage your interest.
Ben Lovegrove
This is a collection of Ballard's essays and articles for magazines. They are interesting because they are quite candid, and there are rare film reviews and book reviews from newspapers. It's a very comprehensive overview of his sensibility and well worth checking out to find out more about his life and his interests.
Rather more reviews than essays here, and most of them too short to develop ideas in any depth but there are some very concentrated expressions of Ballard's core ideas in here. Mainly of interest to fans, I would imagine.
J.G. Ballard is always provocative and is a hell of a writer. In this collection of essays, he is strongest in his writings of his native Shanghai, most amusing (and often wrong-headed) in his writing on other writers (I have to assume it is a generational thing - his adoration of William Burroughs is something that I once agreed with, but now find a bit juvenile, and his view of the novel, based, as it is on the idea that Burroughs's approach is still the model of the novel of the future is dow...more
Eric Aguirre
Eric Aguirre marked it as to-read
Jul 24, 2014
David Tohir
David Tohir is currently reading it
Jul 21, 2014
Kent Winward
Kent Winward is currently reading it
Jul 21, 2014
Adam marked it as to-read
Jul 17, 2014
Kayleigh marked it as to-read
Jul 16, 2014
John added it
Jul 13, 2014
Ella marked it as to-read
Jul 12, 2014
Luca marked it as to-read
Jul 05, 2014
Gnarly Authenticity .
Gnarly Authenticity . marked it as to-read
Jul 02, 2014
Jonah marked it as to-read
Jun 13, 2014
Nathan marked it as to-read
May 17, 2014
Jimmard Jay
Jimmard Jay marked it as to-read
May 11, 2014
Bogusław Chruściel
Bogusław Chruściel marked it as to-read
May 10, 2014
Herge2014 marked it as to-read
Apr 29, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 13 14 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • J.G. Ballard (RE/Search #8/9)
  • The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction
  • Visiting Mrs Nabokov and Other Excursions
  • I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts: Drive-by Essays on American Dread, American Dreams
  • I Am Alive and You Are Dead: A Journey into the Mind of Philip K. Dick
  • The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction
  • The Mechanical Bride: Folklore of Industrial Man
  • TechGnosis: Myth, Magic & Mysticism in the Age of Information
  • Cronenberg on Cronenberg
  • The Dreams Our Stuff is Made Of: How Science Fiction Conquered the World
  • William S. Burroughs, Throbbing Gristle, Brion Gysin
  • William Burroughs: El Hombre Invisible
  • Shaping Things
  • America
  • Junk Mail
  • The Job: Interviews with William S. Burroughs
  • The Immortalization Commission: Science and the Strange Quest to Cheat Death
  • Literary Outlaw: The Life and Times of William S. Burroughs
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
More about J.G. Ballard...
Crash Empire of the Sun The Drowned World High-Rise The Atrocity Exhibition

Share This Book