The Atrocity Exhibition

J. G. Ballard
The Atrocity Exhibition Cover

The Atrocity Exhibition


I think I am too young for JG Ballard - still, 40 years and more after I first encountered him. I vividly rmember this collection: have you EVER hear of a weirder title for a story than "The Assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy Considered as a Downhill Motor Race"?

Have you? OK, maybe "Repent, Harlequin! Said the Tick-Tock Man", but Ellison has always gone for splashy shock/horror.

Ballard has a spare, dry, dispassionate style and an imagination that is frankly disturbing - and the combination gives you stories that read easily, and live with you forever, while giving you a creepy-crawly feeling at the back of your head. I still cannot forget my first reading of my first Ballard story, because it disturbed me so much: a strange mandala in a desert place; a broken child in a crash helmet....

These are his freakiest stories: books like Terminal Beach, The Drowned World and the like are very different; it is in the short form that he found his true niche.

Other than being semi-autobiographical, but that is another story.