Selected Non-Fiction 1962–2007

The main “fact” of the 20th century is the concept of the unlimited future. This predicate of science and technology enshrines the notion of a moratorium on the past, on the one hand, and on the other the limitless possibilities of even the most trivial situation. Above all, the 20th century is the first to realise the notion of the concept as a programmatic device, whether applied to the largest topics—space exploration, the neutralisation of emotion contained in what I have called “the death of affect”—or in the most unimportant, such as the gesture of uncrossing one’s legs, the geometry of a motor car fender, or what you will.
—from “Salvador Dalí: The Innocent as Paranoid” (1969)

J. G. Ballard was a colossal figure in English literature and an imaginative force of the twentieth century. Alongside seminal novels—from the notorious Crash (1973) to the semi-autobiographical Empire of the Sun (1984)—Ballard was a sought-after reviewer and commentator, publishing journalism, memoir, and cultural criticism in a variety of forms. This volume collects the most significant short nonfiction of Ballard's fifty-year career, extending the range of the only previous collection of his nonfiction, A User's Guide to the Millennium (1996), which selected essays and reviews published between 1962 and 1995.

In the essays gathered in this book, Ballard addresses 9/11, British politics from New Labour onward, and what he termed “the rise of soft fascism”—a diagnosis that maintains its relevance amid a shift toward right populism in European and US politics. Beautifully edited by Ballard scholar and novelist Mark Blacklock, this volume includes Ballard's editorials and manifestos; commentaries on his own work; commentaries on the work of others; reviews; and more. Above all, it makes the case for the currency of Ballard's work at a contemporary juncture at which so many of his diagnoses concerning the media and politics have become apparent. [publishers’ note]

With a foreword by Tom McCarthy.

Published by MIT Press, 2023
Essays / Literature

Price: 37€

BALLARD, James G. - Selected Non-Fiction 1962–2007