Monday, April 20, 2009

Ballard of Lost Time

I pause to reflect for a moment on J G Ballard. I didn't really know Jim Ballard at all well but can't help feeling depressed about the passing of another giant. I also found out that it's Hitler's birthday. I am sure some kind of numerological, even eschatological, conclusion will be drawn from this.

Do you all remember the scene where the boy sees the distant flash of Hiroshima and doesn't know what it really is? Or the queasiness we all felt when he fingered a certain unnameable feeling people get when watching a car crash, and told us this feeling was actually sexual excitement? He was totally original, and scarier than any horror writer.

I said two words about Ballard on Facebook and Pete Young reminded me of my little homage to Empire of the Sun in my novella The Bird Catcher. Writing him into the opening of this story was like the ancient Thai tradition of wai kru, paying homage to one's teachers before beginning any creative endeavor.

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