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4.1 out of 5 stars
42
The Complete Stories of J. G. Ballard
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on August 7, 2015
(Correction to my review, September 2017. I owe this publication an apology of sorts. You:Coma:Marilyn Monroe - even though I originally enjoyed it in a year's best science fiction short stories anthology back in 1966 - is more accurately a chapter from the 1970 experimental novel The Atrocity Exhibit. That "chapter", along with a few others that had been previously printed as short stories, is therefore exempt from inclusion in this collection, regardless of my own preference otherwise.)

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.
And how many other of his peculiar creations might be missing (ie: Plans for the Assassination of Jacqueline Kennedy)!?

I have been a JG devotee since 1967, and believe me, that one remarkable narrative. should have been enough -
had he actually been hip back then - to shame Antonioni into giving up cinema forever.
Or, to wise up and adapt anything from the fabulous Vermilion Sands.

Maybe someday someone will actually be "New Wave" enough to do so.

In any case, though it is nice that all these stories are chronologically arranged, it would have been far more interesting to have
some brief prefatory introductions included. And, of course, ALL of Ballard's short works.
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VINE VOICEon October 26, 2009
I first learned about the work of British science fiction writer J.G. Ballard as a junior-high-school student, when I bought (for 50 cents!) a brand-new 1962 Berkeley Medallion paperback edition of his prescient end-of-the-world novel "The Drowned World" (I still have it). His surreal, evocative story of a dysfunctional group of people exploring the steaming, verdant lagoons of flooded cities on an Earth transformed into "the forgotten paradises of the reborn Sun" blew me away at the time. I eagerly bought Ballard's novels and short-story collections as they appeared for years afterwards, until I drifted away from science fiction. Now, with my interest in sci-fi rekindled and with "The Complete Stories of J.G. Ballard," I again have at my fingertips, in one convenient volume, all of his stories that made such a strong impression on me as a youth.

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. The 98 stories included were published between 1956 and 1992. All of my favorites were there--long-remembered classics such as "The Voices of Time," "The Cloud Sculptors of Coral D," "A Question of Re-Entry" and "The Cage of Sand." Looking further, I came to a sudden realization. I had never read about half of the stories--almost the entire second half of the book. So now I face the pleasant prospect of not only re-reading stories that I've already enjoyed, but also of discovering new ones for the first time. There's not much in the way of "extras" (in DVD parlance)--just a 3-1/2-page Introduction by Martin Amis and a one-page Author's Introduction written in 2001. But the stories here speak for themselves, and the book really needs nothing more. Most highly recommended.
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on March 31, 2014
I have always heard of Ballard; he was some mysterious writer lurking in the secret back rooms of science fiction. People in the know said to read the apocalypse novels. Or start with the short stories: Vermilion Sands, the Drowned Giant, Manhole 69, and so-on. The titles of his short stories seemed interesting, so went with this book.

I picked a couple of stories at random to begin, but had bad luck there. The stories were more typical science fiction fare than I was expecting. A time slippage bit- a hypnotized murderer- and a couple of others. I was looking for a more surreal and modern version of Robert Aickman. I was about to give up on it. Then I found Concentration City. Then read other fantastic ones.

That is the problem with a book like this. Ballard was a prolific story writer and a complete collection is bound to have some duds. And, in this case, there are more duds than what I was expecting. That said, when he is brilliant there is nothing like it. Highly original in ideas and images. Those that shine easily outshine the weaker stories in the bunch.
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on March 9, 2016
If you are a fan of Ballard, this is a wonderful collection of his short stories. I have always been a great fan of his writing and am rereading his books again having originally read most of them for the first time some twenty five years ago. This has given me a much greater appreciation of his later works like Cocaine Nights, Super Cannes and Kingdom Come than I had had before. Similarly, rereading the short stories has been similarly rewarding in terms of discerning developing themes and character types whilst experiencing the sheer beauty of Ballard's ability to capture scenes/events/emotions with such an effective use of the English language. The book is a sizeable tome and is really not suited for reading whilst travelling.
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on May 18, 2017
So great the read so much of Ballard's works - 100+ stories across 1100+ pages. Loved it all. Marvelously strange and provocative.
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on July 28, 2016
Read Ballard. Just read him. Dip into this, or read in chronological order. A magnificent imagination at work, reflecting the growth and development of science fiction over decades. Most of these are short, you can read one a day or ten a day. Your choice. Or you can read it all the way through in one sitting, perhaps....
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on November 12, 2014
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. The volume itself is an uncomfortable size; it would have been better presented in two volumes. Certainly not something to tuck into bed with at night -- unless you regularly tuck in with the OED. ;)
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on January 6, 2013
If you think J.G. Ballard is just airplane hangers and car crashes this will change your mind. Some of the most beautiful stories set in the future but making a statement about the here and now....and it's decay.
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on May 30, 2013
Wow, these are great stories, all here in one place and If you love the short story at all, much less "Sci-Fi" or "Transgressive Fiction"
you will need this tome, if only it was hardbound!
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on February 28, 2015
Unique storytelling. For anyone who appreciates great storytelling, such as Poe.
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