Monday, March 27, 2006

"The Drowned Giant" by J. G. Ballard

As a medical student, J. G. Ballard would have had to perform dissection on a human cadaver, and this story shows the influence of that no doubt very formative experience. But here the giant--a colossus from another world? a Greek god? a nightmare?--is given a symbolist treatment which Kafka or Baudelaire would have had to brood long upon. Read by Scoot. Time 25:46.

The Shanghai-raised British author J. G. Ballard became known to most people outside science-fiction circles with the publication and subsequent filming of his childhood autobiography, Empire of the Sun. Those in the know were already familiar with Ballard's upending of sci-fi traditions and practical invention of the dystopian novel in such works as The Drowned World (no relation to this story or the Madonna tour). Things got weirder with Ballard by the late 1960's, with the auto-erotic novel Crash (no, not that movie, but the other movie), the very unsettling Atrocity Exhibition (no wonder Joy Division stole the title!), and our personal favorite, Why I Want to F#*k Ronald Reagan, which sent the 1980 Republican National Convention all atwitter. (Plan for the Assassination of Jacqueline Kennedy is pretty good, too.)

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