His Dark Material

PHILIP HOLLIS FOR TIME

IN SUBURBIA: Ballards Shepperton home contrasts with his grim imagined worlds

Aside from Charles Dickens or Franz Kafka, not many novelists get their own adjective. But there is Ballardian, in Collins English Dictionary: "Resembling or suggestive of the conditions described in J.G. Ballard's novels and stories, especially dystopian modernity, bleak man-made landscapes[an error occurred while processing this directive] and the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments."

A mouthful, but Ballard has earned every word of it. In 20 novels and 20 story collections over his half-century as a writer, he has created an anti-utopian gulag of ostensibly placid communities — island resorts, luxury apartment towers, high-tech research parks — where civility...

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