... a giant on the world literary scene for more than 50 years. ... His acute and visionary observation of contemporary life was distilled into a number of brilliant, powerful novels which have been published all over the world and saw Ballard gain cult status.Best known for his novel Crash and Empire of the Sun (which was based on his childhood in a Japanese prison camp in China) Ballard began writing short stories while stationed in Canada with the RAF, influenced by the science-fiction he first encountered there.
In The Times writer Iain Sinclair gives a fascinating insight into his friend's psyche. Describing him as :
... a charming, classic English gentleman with a generous heart, a cynical take on the world and a huge sense of humour ...He notes that :
Everything that everybody else was bored by or appalled by, he was excited by. ... Living out in Shepperton for so long, he was one of the first to undersand that the psychosis of suburbia was a fascinating thing to pursue. ... He loved the edges of cities: shopping complexes, motorways and airports. He was very taken up with Watford because of its multi-storey car parks. Where other people were terrified by the consumerist culture he saw it as exciting, something he could manipulate, shredding it and making his own world out of it.In the same paper, Ben Hoyle notes that :
Not many writers are so distinctive and influential that their name becomes an adjective in its own right. J. G. Ballard, who died yesterday morning after a long battle with cancer at the age of 78, was one of them. ... “Ballardian” is defined in theCollins English Dictionary as: “adj) 1. of James Graham Ballard (born 1930), the British novelist, or his works (2) resembling or suggestive of the conditions described in Ballard’s novels and stories, esp dystopian modernity, bleak man-made landscapes and the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments.Author Martin Amis says of him :
He is quite unlike anyone else; indeed, he seems to address a different, disused part of the reader's brain.There are some touching tributes from readers on the Ballardian website.