A User's Guide to the Millennium: Essays and Reviews
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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
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Paperback, 320 pages
Published April 15th 1997 by Picador (first published 1996)
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Kim
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.
Stephen
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.
Eoghan
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.
Erik
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
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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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