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Extreme Metaphors

4.48  ·  Rating details ·  169 ratings  ·  18 reviews
A startling and at times unsettlingly prescient collection of J.G. Ballard’s greatest interviews.

J.G. Ballard was a literary giant. His novels were unique and surprising. To the journalists and admirers who sought him out, Ballard was the ‘seer of Shepperton’; his home the vantage from which he observed the rising suburban tide, part of a changing society captured and seco
Hardcover, First UK Edition, 528 pages
Published September 27th 2012 by Fourth Estate
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May 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some things I learnt about J.G. Ballard from these interviews:

- he thought of "Gray's Anatomy" as the greatest novel of the 20th century
- he wasn't opposed to pollution and preferred concrete to meadows
- he would rather have been a painter instead of a writer
- he believed that William S. Burroughs was the most important writer to emerge since WW II
- he believed that a fertile imagination was better than any drug (in fact, he preferred whisky and soda to drugs)
- he considered the Warren Report on
J.F. Lawrence
Oct 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A user's guide to the Ballardennium, Extreme Metaphors is a collection of forensic analyses of the ambiguous, liberating, nightmarish 20th/21st century, a Freudo-Nietzschean-Jungian-crypto-leftist-libertarian hymn to the extremity of our obsessions. We inhabit the dreamworld we have made for ourselves, projected it onto external reality, and we doze happily in our consumerist, media-generated miracle of life while we harbour dreams of flying away, of atavistic immersion in a pre-human state of a ...more
Mar 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Yeah, this is really good.

Impeccably edited and collected set of interviews with Ballard including dialogues with the likes of Iain Sinclair, Jon Savage, David Cronenberg etc.

Reading this gave me a lot of fresh insight into Ballard's politics ... which seem to have drifted from right to left during his career, but certainly at times cut uncomfortably across accepted wisdom.

The content of the interviews is extremely lucid, and if these are off the cuff remarks they are often more articulate tha
KK Celine
Aug 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Filled with a number of fascinating interviews and conversations, Ballard the person is just as interesting as Ballard the author. Even if you don't care for his works, Ballard remains one of the best interview subjects ever, and that makes this book utterly enjoyable
May 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
49th book for 2018.

A remarkable collection of interviews spanning the entire breadth of Ballard's career from the late 1960s until his death in the late 2000s.

This book is a wonderful primer for complete opus of Ballard's books (without giving away spoilers to the books themselves). It's also a very humanizing. Maybe the most amazing thing I learnt was that Ballard was a working single father, who raised three young children, writing novels during the day between dropping off and picking up the
Benoit Lelièvre
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Forty years worth of conversation with a man who was as much a science fiction writers as he was horrifyingly foreseeing about this big blue spaceship we call our planet.

Ballard is extremely thorough and generous in his answers. He never has nothing to say about the conversation topics chosen by the interviewers and his thoughts are always razor sharp and informative. A few highlights:

- Saying the world would gradually phase out novels because our mass-mediatized reality is a fictional construc
Sep 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: interviews
More enjoyable than a collection of interviews has any right to be. Ballard was an interesting guy, with an individual way of looking at the world. From these interviews, I learned that:

- According to the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire, Ballard was an extrovert. He was a talkative person who liked telling jokes and could inject life into a dull party. He did not prefer reading to meeting people.

- In his 20s and 30s, Ballard wrote a ton of short stories (which I personally think are his best w
Adam A
Jul 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Sci-Fi fans are always talking about how predictive their favorite authors' stories are. Every now and then, someone's sending me a link to an article about how accurate the fictions of Asimov, Dick, Heinlein and even Roddenberry ended up being, in retro.

Well, Ballard's stories weren't known for being such; not in his science fiction cycle, not in his seemingly dystopic phase (a categorization Ballard resented), nor in his pseudo-biographies. But Ballard knew the future: he was intimately acquai
Jack Haringa
Nov 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Ballard's obsessions, prescience, and originality shine through in every interview from this massive and career-spanning collection of conversations. It's deep and thoughtful stuff, best savored in chunks rather than all at once, but the book is an indispensable addition to the collection of any fan of SF, cultural studies, and--of course--the inimitable Ballard himself.
Philip Craggs
May 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Reveals Ballard to not only be the most important novelists of the late 20th century, but also one of its most important thinkers. Every interview is a delight.
Seth King
Aug 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jan 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Unbelievably prescient and really telling of his obsessions, thought processes and literary intentions. Inspiring and full of great threads to tug on for your own work.
Nov 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Massively quotable, and good fun. A bit repetitive - not unlike Ballard's fiction.
Sep 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really interesting stuff. J G Ballard speaks with an approachable and engaging voice.

Read some of his fiction first though, without that reading these wouldn't be as interesting!
Antonio Vena
Feb 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ovviamente a volte ripetitivo, allo stesso tempo mostra la cavalcata di Ballard verso la realizzazione nella società occidentale delle sue ossessioni.
Per alcuni, magari proprio scrittori e aspiranti, dovrebbe essere vangelo.
Nessuno, tra gli speculative writers, dovrebbe scrivere e provare a scrivere senza almeno un paio di metafore estreme.
Guy Salvidge
Mar 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Ballard was as close to an actual genius as we're likely to get in the same body as a writer with a 50 year publishing career. If anything his interviews are more interesting than his novels and stories.
Jere Chandler
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Not for everyone, obviously, but it's a fascinating look into the mind of an amazingly talented writer.
Sep 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Essential insight into the mind of an essential writer. The interviews dealing with The Atrocity Exhibition are particularly fascinating.
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J.G. Ballard: Extreme Metaphors 5 25 Jan 23, 2013 11:43PM  

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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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The young adult genre continues to lead literature in embracing new voices, championing all types of diversity, and, well, just really app...
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“Before he’d even uttered a word, Don DeLillo once presented an interviewer with a card that warned: ‘I don’t want to talk about it’; Ballard, in his heyday, could talk for hours, plying his interrogators with Scotch to keep things on an even keel.” 3 likes
“I define inner space as an imaginary realm in which on the one hand the outer world of reality, and on the other the inner world of the mind, meet and merge. Now, in the landscapes of the surrealist painters, for example, one sees the regions of inner space; and increasingly I believe that we will encounter in film and literature scenes which are neither solely realistic nor fantastic. In a sense, it will be a movement in the interzone between both spheres.” 1 likes
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