‘Sex times technology equals the future’, wrote J .G. BALLARD, for long the enfant terrible of British science fiction. Now, on the eve of his 60th birthday, and with the publication of War Fever, his latest collection of short stories, the transition to Grand Old Man appears almost complete. Stuart Bathgate reports.


n her face the magi-am of bones arms a geometry of murder. After

é reud‘s explomtion within the psyche t is now the outer world of reality

A Neural Interval


hich must be quantified and eroticise ,.

espectability comes to us all in the end. For 1.0. Ballard, who celebrates his 60th birthday on 15 November, it came somewhat later than usual. Empire of the Sun. nominated for the Booker Prize in 1984 and subsequently filmed by Steven Spielberg, was the turning point, bringing to the attention of the mainstream both readers and critics the unique imagery and clinically controlled prose style which had earned him adulation in the science fiction ghetto for more

One of a series of adverts which Ballard placed in the press in the mid-60$. He applied for an Arts Council grant to help pay for the ads. They told

him to sad 0".

than two decades.

It was not just the SF label. however. which restricted Ballard‘s audience. llis activities have always come in for a fair amount of official disapproval. This. after all. is the man, who. as prose editor ofAmbir. saw the magazine lose its Arts Council grant after he ran a competition for short stories written under the influence ofdrugs. (The winner later committed suicide. ) This is the man who wrote Crash. a nightmarish novel which was returned by the publisher‘s reader with the

The List 9— 22 November I990 5