J. G. Ballard

The Synthetic Landscape – J.G. Ballard’s The Terminal Beach (1964)

We are living in J.G. Ballard's world, that much is clear. So precise were Ballard's not-so-future predictions that it is beyond cliché to link our current political, technological, architectural and even social states to the man's writing. But, outside of his great 1970s social-dystopias and his morbid retail-park nightmares of the millennial period, Ballard's shorter writing has just as much to say about our time as his more famous novels. This may be because we have moved on so very little from the period of Ballard's most popular writing but it fails to lessen the effect of reading his work; forever inducing a look up from the page just to check that he's not still about, somehow taking notes as the world beyond merges with his words. This feeling occurred for me most powerfully a few years back, not in front of a London high-rise or in the cavern underneath a motorway as is to be expected, but whilst visiting the ex-weapons testing facility of Orford Ness in Suffolk. Equally, it was not a novel of Ballard's that had given rise to this feeling but a short story of his written in 1964; the strangely melancholic The Terminal Beach. Read More