English | ePUB | 248.73 KiB
James Graham “J. G.” Ballard (15 November 1930 – 19 April 2009) was an English novelist, short story writer, and essayist. Ballard came to be associated with the New Wave of science fiction early in his career with apocalyptic (or post-apocalyptic) novels such as The Drowned World (1962), The Burning World (1964), and The Crystal World (1966). In the late 1960s and early 1970s Ballard focused on an eclectic variety of short stories (or “condensed novels”) such as The Atrocity Exhibition (1970), which drew closer comparison with the work of postmodernist writers such as William S. Burroughs. In 1973 the highly controversial novel Crash was published, a story about symphorophilia and car crash fetishism; the protagonist becomes sexually aroused by staging and participating in real car crashes. The story was later adapted into a film of the same name by Canadian director David Cronenberg.
In this hallucinatory novel, the car provides the hellish tableau in which Vaughan, a “TV scientist” turned “nightmare angel of the highways,” experiments with erotic atrocities among auto crash victims, each more sinister than the last.
James Ballard, his friend and fellow obsessive, tells the story of this twisted visionary as he careens rapidly toward his own demise in an intentionally orchestrated car crash with Elizabeth Taylor. A classic work of cutting edge fiction, Crash explores the disturbing potentialities of contemporary society’s increasing dependence on technology as intermediary in human relations.
Fabian: Not a novel really—see it as an extended erotic poem instead. It’s a pretty cool experience, & fantastically odd; it’s a journey of infatuation into the erotic element inherent in all car crashes. Like a dada experiment with clashing ideas and absurd pop symbols, everything is sensuous, even human defects are seen through a wholly unique filter, in sharp contrast with the immaculate beauty of the automobile. Sex, like driving, has plenty of potential energy that’s stored up—the want for a release is, then, the only viable option. A madman wrote this, it’s inexplicable—as if some alien entity tabulated, like the great Marquis himself, acts of perversion and undoubted sin, an tells us these snippits of porn, the hidden truths, in explicit detail. Death is seen as the ultimate goal, as the final & most amazing of all orgasms. “Crash” seems to have been written by one of M. de Sade’s devious, more artistically postmodern, cousins.
The danse macabre: all the hallucinations culminate in acid trips, in wreckage, in homosexual liaisons, naturally. Truly a tremendous, astute piece of contempo art. It’s the ultimate fetishist novel.
Varma: I know this avant-garde novel is supposed have opened up brave new vistas in dystopian fiction, by “boldly going where no man has gone before”. The courage of J. G. Ballard has to be admired the way he links violent death with sex: his narrative structuring is exemplary. However, I simply could not get into the book even after three or four tries. The characters were extremely unlikeable: the main premise was bizarre: and the story failed to hold my interest. I did not finish it.
So I will have to give this a miserable one-star rating. I cannot honestly recommend it to anyone. The only thing is, the reactions these type of novels create are highly subjective: so should it prove to be your cup of tea, it may even come up with five stars.
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