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The Complete Stories of J. G. Ballard Hardcover – September 21, 2009
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“Each of Ballard’s 98 short stories is like a dream more perfectly realized than any of your own....Ultimately, Ballard is simply a master story writer—the maker of unforgettable artifacts in words, each as absolute and perplexing as sculptures unviewable from a single perspective. In this book of 98 stories, there are at least 30 you can spend a lifetime returning to, to wander and wonder around.” (Jonathan Lethem - The New York Times Book Review)
“At 1,200 pages, it may seem like a daunting book for the non-enthusiast, but it provides the best angle for approaching Ballard for the first time—and displays his development into Britain's most original postwar writer...The Complete Stories of J. G. Ballard demonstrates the range and evolution of that work, and suggests that we might come up with many more uses of 'Ballardian' than we have so far.” (Fatema Ahmed - The National)
“As exotic as anyone in the aviary was Ballard, the elegant, evolving stylist, and the one with the finest ideas almost always finely executed. The full showcase of his short-form career is assembled at last in The Collected Stories, with a brilliant introduction by Martin Amis.” (Richard Wirick - Bookslut)
“[A] staggeringly great and varied volume.... The Complete Stories of J.G. Ballard offers weeks of surprise and pleasure.” (Ed Park - Los Angeles Times)
“The marvel of most of these tales is how instantly comprehensible their alternate realities are when so little is explained—and how believable they are, too, thanks to Ballard's unflappable narrative voice. With unerring instinct, he finds the ordinariness in the most preposterous scenarios, thus connecting them in detail and tone to our own reality....There are still two Ballard novels and a memoir awaiting U.S. publication. Let's hope the overdue appearance of this volume means the rest are on their way.” (Michael Upchurch - Seattle Times)
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Top Customer Reviews
Now we have "The Complete Short Stories of J.G. Ballard," tracing this major author's development during a career that spanned from the mid-1950s into the early years of 21st Century.
In 2001, Ballard said, "Short stories are the loose change in the treasury of fiction" -- this book is a tall stack of change indeed. The values of each piece vary (as must be the case, by definition, for any "Complete" retrospective), but each one will repay the investment of your reading time.
Highly, highly recommended.
If you're reading this review, you probably already know about the late Mr. Ballard's unique, dystopian, psychologically themed, often controversial sci-fi work. So I won't try to sell you on him as an author. If you like his work, you're probably already at least mildly interested in "The Complete Stories of J.G. Ballard." If you don't know or like his work--and it most definitely is not for everyone--then you'll have no interest in the book. So, assuming you're in the former category, is this a book you should consider buying?
My answer is an enthusiastic "Yes!" This collection is a fantastic volume, a fantastic value and a "must-have" for any real Ballard fan. When this massive, heavy tome arrived at my front door, I eagerly opened it, in the proper way for a new book, and then flipped through it, savoring the sheer wealth of creativity captured in small print on its 1,199 crisp pages. Then I checked the Table of Contents.Read more ›
Ballard is more like Borges or Cortazar, or Kafka, than he is like Bradbury or Heinlein. If you are expecting "Sci-Fi" stories, you might be disappointed, even though a lot of the stories involve the future and astronauts.
It might not be good for your mental health to read all of these stories in one run. I'm about 600 pages into this collection, and the accumulating weight of Ballard's obsessions is starting to make me want to take a break. It's an understatement to say that Ballard had a traumatic childhood, and I don't think it's armchair psychology to say that his writing is on one level a way of dealing with trauma. How else can you explain the endless repetition of specific images and situations? Let's see - coral reefs, abandoned swimming pools, sand, plane crashes and crashed airplanes, concrete, empty cities, astronauts, time. If anyone want to add to the list, please do - I know I'm missing a few.
Time, specifically, is an obsession. Ballard seems to see the space age as a confrontation between humanity and the mystery of time. "If the sea was a symbol of the unconscious, was space perhaps an image of unfettered time, and the inability to penetrate it a tragic exile to one of the limbos of eternity, a symbolic death in life?" I'd say that about a third of the stories in this collection deal with this kind of question. Like Kafka, Ballard used his stories to examine philosophical questions from all angles.Read more ›
This is a great bedroom night stand book. Most of the almost 100 stories are in the 10-20 page range and can be read in one sitting. The stories are short and to the point with great ideas that don't suffer from the author trying to fill a novel. The quality over the span of the stories is a lot better than most other authors could produce. There were only a handful of stories in the collection that kind of bored me. A few of the stories will be some of my all time favorite short stories. I'm going to leave this book by my bed and put away my copy of Kafka's complete stories.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Without the inclusion of YOU: COMA: MARILYN MONROE, there is absolutely no validity to the title.
An absurd omission. Like excluding Ligeia from a Poe anthology. Read more
One of the four or five finest English language authors of the 20th century.Published 10 months ago by Nick Polak
One problem with reading all Ballard's short stories in chronological order is that later in his career he would repeat himself, taking slightly different angles at the same idea. Read morePublished 10 months ago by mathew
Unique storytelling. For anyone who appreciates great storytelling, such as Poe.Published 11 months ago by Kristen
This book is a complete list of stories of this author and the style is always good for every type of lector who follows it with attention. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Edoardo Angeloni
Huge book. I've been reading one or two a day for a month now. I love Ballard and most of these stories are new to me.Published 14 months ago by Rick Rantilla
I love JG Ballard - he can do no wrong. The only thing wrong about this book, at least in the book version, is that it is so large and unwieldy. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Kindle Customer