J.G. Ballard

A nattily dressed father of three, British science-fiction and international "cult author" J.G. Ballard was the picture of suburban propriety. But the orderliness of his personal life allowed him to create a surreal, visionary fiction that was often frankly pathological.

As a result of his bleak youth in a Japanese prison camp, Ballard, who died on April 19 at 78, was convinced that 20th century life was a frail shell of pretense over strong, dark, violent impulses. His prose had a lucid, often clinical air, but his characters were weird iconic figures lost in their obsessions over sex, drugs, media, massive...

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