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The Complete Short Stories

4.44  ·  Rating details ·  1,295 Ratings  ·  112 Reviews
For four decades, J.G. Ballard has been one of Britain's most celebrated novelists. From the beginning he has been equally admired for his distinctive and highly influential short stories, the first of which - "Prima Belladonna" and "Escapement" - appeared in Science Fantasy and New Worlds in 1956. Now, all of his published stories - including four not previously featured ...more
Trade Paperback, 1186 pages
Published November 2002 by Flamingo (first published December 1st 2001)
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Fabian
May 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Perfection! And indispensable--I must own it when I have enough cashola.

A "summer project" that took an eternity to "rip" through, "The Complete Stories of J.G. Ballard" is an often-recommended collection of 96 little capsules of SF, horror & fantasy. If you want to become a writer (one who usually starts off writing superb short stories), then Ballard is your main man.

I thought of the cover page (of the American Edition) while trying to formulate a cohesive review (which I probably failed a
...more
Paul Bryant
Oct 31, 2007 rated it really liked it
JG Ballard's stuff divides fairly neatly into three phases:

1) 1956-64 - At first he was writing actual science fiction, and he was really cranking it out. There are some beautiful ones in this early part, probably my favourites - "The Sound Sweep", "The Concentration City", "Billenium", "The Voices of Time". It became gradually clear - to JG and to the reader - that he wasn't really able to do the hard-sf thing (extrapolation with a lot of wires and diagrams), but instead, he was developing, slo
...more
Szplug
Jan 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been immersing myself for spells within Ballard's fictive environ, and I fucking love it there. Beautiful and limpid lyrical prose in the less-is-more vein so often found amongst those who comprise the ne plus ultra of the writer's art. I'm currently over a third of the way through it, and every single story is, in my estimation, at least good, and not infrequently ascends near or unto the rarefied airs of Hot Damn! And although the combined effects might fairly be labelled as being rather ...more
Laura Leaney
Aug 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Took me a year. Yes, a year. I spaced out the stories so I wouldn't get too Ballarded-out, but man, some of these pieces are off the charts good. Some are weird for sure - but they always made me pause to think. This happened with "Why I want to Fuck Ronald Reagan" and "The Index," both of which are surprisingly structured. Enough has been written about Ballard that I don't really want to write an extensive review, except to say that "The 60 Minute Zoom" and "My Dream of Flying to Wake Island" a ...more
Stephanie A. Higa
Wow. Two wows, in fact. A small one to me, for actually reading 1,196 pages of short stories in this era of constant distraction/instant gratification (though of course it did take several months and around six library renewals split up over two years), and two, a much bigger wow, one of the biggest wows in the known universe, to J.G. Ballard. It's an understatement to say he was a fantastic writer, though of course he was. In his writing, he cut away layers of exposition, leaving only sharp, wh ...more
Jeff Jackson
Sep 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've finished most of this mammoth tome, but I'll probably continue dipping into it for years to come. It's a catalog of new literary values and ways of telling stories that showcase a still-startling sensibility. You know, "Ballardian." Like any collection the quality fluctuates, but the best pieces remain truly visionary. And in this context, even the weaker stories play like intriguing minor variations on major themes. Pick hits: "The Beach Murders," "Notes Toward A Mental Breakdown," "End-Ga ...more
Howard Cincotta
Telling Stories: The Case of J.G. Ballard and Robert Sheckley

Can you write short stories without recognizable characters, coherent plot, or realistic dialogue?

Of course you can.

That's why God invested modernism. The list of writers who have produced such works is long and distinguished: Jorge Borges, David Barthelme, David Foster Wallace, Italo Calvino, et. al.

But what happens if you're writing in a specific genre like science fiction? Which brings us to the problem of J.G. Ballard, whose mass
...more
Marek Krushkhov
For me J.G. Ballard epitomised what I was searching for in sci-fi (but I'd rather say, beyond the mere shell of it) and this book IMO epitomised Ballard in all his magnificence and pure power of Imagination. It's like watching slow but steady evolving of ones brilliant mind leitmotifs while they are performing constant re-entry in vast array of ingenious ideas and in the most condensed form. An Eye of The Storm, The Entire City. Yes, the book is long as hell and certainly is a daunting challenge ...more
Robert
Jan 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
I may as well go ahead and review J.G. Ballard's complete stories because I've read dozens of them now and won't keep going straight through the 1000+ page edition I have in hand. I'll return to it from time to time; that's a better way to enjoy it.

Ballard was a writer of very pure imagination, and the stories that qualify as "science fiction," which I normally do not read, illustrate this best. He creates worlds that he describes with haunting beauty, few of which work out well for their inhabi
...more
Jason
Jul 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The only reason I give this book 4 stars instead of 5 is because the stories in the second half are more hit-and-miss, and somewhat less intense, than those in the first half. But there are enough masterpieces in the book as a whole, including most of the first half, to make the majority of this massive tome obligatory reading for science fiction people.
Rick Slane
Science-fiction short stories are not for me. These stories are of uneven quality. The best ones were like "Twilight Zone." I did not read all the stories. I think Bradbury and Asimov wrote better stories of this kind.
Gaz
Sep 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Easily in my top 5 books ever. I love JG Ballard, and his ideas come across best in short story form.
Max Ampuero
Sep 20, 2018 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ciencia-ficcion
Prima Belladonna 4
Escape 
Ciudad de concentración 5
Venus sonríe  5
Sumidero 69 
Pista 12 
La zona de espera 
Ahora cero  3
El barrendero de sonidos  5
Zona de terror 
Cronópolis  5
Las voces del tiempo 
El último mundo del señor Goddard 
Estudio 5, Las Estrellas  5
Final en las profundidades 
El hombre sobrecargado 
El señor F. es el señor F. 
Bilenio  5
El asesino amable  5
Los locos  4
El jardín del tiempo  5
Los mil sueños de Stellavista  5
Trece a Centauri 
Pasaporte a la eternidad 
La jaula de arena 
...more
Derek Davis
Nov 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
How many stars should you award to the best of all science fiction short story writers? Especially to a collection of all his printed stories (close to 100)?
Ballard's voice was unique and his range of imagination unequalled. As he grew older, the themes and images became more predictable – almost obsessive – but no one else has matched the quiet absorption of his examinations of time, space and mental dissolution.
He wrote few stories about space travel but many futuristic tales of an Earth in co
...more
Misha
Dec 02, 2009 marked it as sometimes-reading  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
DoctorM
I grew up reading Ballard--- from the more traditional sci-fi novels like "Wind From Nowhere" or "The Burning World" through the eerie beauty of "The Crystal World". His short story collections were filled with things that I'd read and then find myself wondering about: sci-fi or not? What is Ballard doing? Somewhere in my late teens or early twenties I realised that my vision of the world and of sci-fi had been shaped by the way Ballard's own work had changed. And once you read his Vermilion San ...more
Andrew
Sep 25, 2010 added it
Shelves: british-fiction
It took a while while for Ballard to really hit his stride, and he was much better as a conceptualist than as a storyteller. But what concepts! How to write a J.G. Ballard story: Technology + sex + Levi-Straussian anthropology + the impact of behavioral psychology on modern man. Recombine in every possible way. Wheeee!!!!

Also, this volume gives you a great perspective on Ballard's evolution as a writer, from his early sci-fi pieces to his more stylistically distinct later works, as well as a bun
...more
Manifest Stefany
Dec 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I knew this would be a great way to start the year and I was not disappointed. Hearing the evolution of his short stories from the 60's and onward was a joy. Many of the stories have become favorites I will re-read throughout my life. His view of future technological advances, seemingly from the side of those who didn't gain from them, serves as an interesting warning and thought experiment.

The two stories dealing with lives in reverse truly stood out. Like trying to read an MC Escher image. You
...more
Dragan Nanic
Jan 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The very first story in the book (Prima Belladonna) not only sets the bar so high but leaves you hooked to the strange and wonderful worlds of Ballard, starting with the still futuristic world of Vermilion Sands and ranging all the way from psychiatric explorations to a silence and dilations of spacetime.
The unbelievable consistence in quality throughout the stories regardless of the topics or the year of writing is an achievement in itself. Yes, there are numerous similarities between characte
...more
Robert
Jan 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful collection of all of Ballard's short stories. It's a huge book with surprisingly few duds. My favorites include The Illuminated Man, clearly the inspiration for The Crystal World, which includes meaning bombs like "It's almost as if a sequence of displaced but identical images were being produced by refraction through a prism, but with the element of time replacing the role of light." and The Ultimate City (which isn't using ultimate in the sense of being good...). I've read most of Ba ...more
Maggie
Jul 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I actually didn't quite make it all the way to the end, but when a book is 1000 pages, you call it done a little earlier.

I really liked this a lot. The earlier stories much more so than the later ones, definitely, though. They all seemed like prototypical Twilight Zone plots, and I mean that in a good way. Very creative, very visual, and all mildly disturbing in that TZ sort of way.

Recommend.
John Guild
Sep 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm excited to check this out. I'll probably read a story or two a day, just to see what long-term, slow-release exposure to Ballard does to my brain.

I haven't read every story in the collection, but I'm amazed by the ones that I have. There is nothing else like J.G. Ballard in fiction. His imagination is peerless. Absolutely recommended to any fan of SF or short fiction.
Mark Johnson
Jan 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An uncanny simulation of what popular literature might be like in an alternate future (not ours, unfortunately). In the interest of honesty, I admit to not having read the entire volume, but intend to in my lifetime. And if I had children, I would pass it on to them. It weighs roughly half as much as my cat and is equally unhinged.
Joe
Mar 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
up to page 196 & hugely enjoying these short stories. Will have to go out and buy this book (as I have to give it back to the library). Went and bought it, some absolute gems, a great read and truly remarkable to have been written in 1961/62.
Edward
May 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books ever. The 113th floor, the sound garden, the astronauts who worship in their grounded spaceship and the spaceman assassin gliding down to Westminster Abbey will always exist in this book.
Taffnerd
Aug 05, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Still Making time, still loving this.


"THIS is the book I want to have if I've got a cold or broken a bone or been snowed in with nothing but leftovers and bourbon.


Why don't I make time for books such as this?"
Connor
Apr 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a wonderful ride. Ballard is a master, and seeing his writing change throughout the collection was amazing. Would recommend for those looking for excellent science fiction stories with a more literary bent.
Wickovski Steve
Aug 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
My favorite collection of the great master of invention. A brilliant read if you just have time for a few pages before sleep.
Davidg
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
There was never any question that this would be a five star review. But on the other hand, it would be hard to pick out any particular story as great. What there is is one of the great imaginations; a creator of worlds - and what worlds. There is a constant reference to a post-apocalyptic world with fewer people. This varies from the sound sculptures of Vermillion Sands to the post-space Cape Kennedy. Wary isolated survivors populate these completely realised worlds.

The stories get a little stra
...more
Sebastian
Nov 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Contiene algunos cuentos que son memorables y otros que se repiten demasiado en su tema. Como adepto al horror psicológico encontré algunos relatos deliciosamente perturbadores, muy parecidos en estilo a ese gran escritor favorito mío llamado Thomas Ligotti. Sin embargo, y a pesar mío, los que tratan de temas más afines a la ciencia ficción me acercaron a un mundo con el cual no estoy muy familiarizado y encontré bellamente imaginativos. El nivel general del libro me pareció constante (dentro de ...more
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J.G. Ballard: J.G. Ballard's short stories 25 79 Aug 26, 2015 08:12AM  
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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
“Elaborate burial customs are a sure sign of decadence.” 12 likes
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