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War Fever [Paperback]

J. G. Ballard
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Jan 1999
A collection of stories which are wide-ranging in subject matter and innovative in form. The stories in the book draw their ideas from today's headlines and, with a twist of the author's imagination, give them new perspectives.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Paperback: 182 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux Inc (1 Jan 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374525765
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374525767
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,825,717 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

J.G. Ballard was born in 1930 in Shanghai, where his father was a businessman. After internment in a civilian prison camp, he and his family returned to England in 1946. He published his first novel, The Drowned World, in 1961. His 1984 bestseller Empire of the Sun won the Guardian Fiction Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. It was later filmed by Steven Spielberg. His memoir Miracles of Life was published in 2008. J.G. Ballard died in 2009.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Sage of Shepperton 11 Sep 2012
By s k
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
J.G. Ballard was a magnificent writer. As a poet of the perverse, and a prophet of the profane, Ballard voiced the unconscious fears of modernity. And although the Sage of Shepperton deserved such encomiums, he was also a writer whose ideas could soar above the competence of his execution. And so it is here.

War Fever is a very mixed collection, a miscellany with no thematic link. Those familiar with Ballard will immediately acknowledge the territory: endless speculations on time and space, celebrity, Ronald Reagan, psychosis, murder. But, despite these repetitions, Ballard's immense investment in defamiliarisation (and the barrage of startling phrases and metaphors) unsettles the reader's predetermined views of the world. The dialogue may be dead, but Ballard's protagonists aren't noted for their depth: the ideas take precedence.

And some of the ideas are enthralling: in the title story, 'War Fever', Ballard posits the UN as encircling Beirut and prodding it into brutal civil war. By doing so, and by stoking the fires of hatred with weaponry and propaganda, the UN can observe the 'virus of war' mutating, like smallpox, and assimilate its outcomes for the benefit of mankind. In 'Love in a Colder Climate', a government resorts to enforced procreation, a strategy devised to reverse the declining birth-rate of a population rendered impotent by fear of AIDS. And, the most interesting by far, despite its brevity, has to be 'The Index', a narrative told purely through the Index of a missing autobiography. This is an ingenious narrative strategy, and one that has the reader tracing Henry Rhodes Hamilton's steps through the various entries, futilely trying to reconstruct his personal history (and that's presupposing the text proceeds in a linear fashion).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pointedly relevant 30 Jan 2011
By pppme
It's hard to believe Ballard wrote these stories before Bush (Jr), Blair, the internet, 24 hr news, twitter, phone hacking etc.; the themes they explore feel pointedly relevant today. The best kind of science fiction, these stories take place in a world that is entirely believable and familiar: just like the real world, in fact, but with one strand pulled out and examined in astute detail. Highly recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Why is existence? and other questions 14 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
J.G always poses interesting questions in all his books. SWome fantastic short stories here that will stay with you for a long time after putting it back on the shelf.
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4.0 out of 5 stars War Fever 29 Aug 2011
By Pensato
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Another excellent collection of short stories from J G Ballard ranging from the satirical "Love In A Colder Climate" (priests enforcing compulsory sexual National Service to boost a declining population) and "The Secret History of World War 3" (we miss all 4 1/2 minutes of WWW III as too engrossed in rolling news of President Reagan's health to notice)to the more terrifying vision of "The Enormous Space".

Clever use of form in "Answers To A Questionnaire" and "Index" (the stories are cleverly constructed as just that).
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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The prodigal Sun 19 Nov 1999
By cfitz@webzone.net - Published on Amazon.com
This remarkable collection demonstrates once again how Ballard is one of literature's best kept secrets. Fourteen intelligent, intense and vividly written short stories challenge our theories of the recent future. It is one of the mysteries of our own time that someone casting as long a shadow as does Ballard, is virtually unknown in his native England, let alone America. This book, with its visions of dystopia, contains some very intriguing ideas: A middle east guerrilla has an idea for ending the fighting there, only to discover that the UN has a quite different agenda. World War III is played out against the larger concerns of President Reagan's health problems. The index from an unknown and perhaps suppressed autobiography provides tantalizing details to the life and times of one of this century's most anonymous titans. Ballard shines brightest in the short form; these stories are no exception. Enjoy!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling! 19 Jan 2001
By W. John Donne - Published on Amazon.com
These are some of the most creative short stories I've read. Ever. A sailor wrecks his chemical-laden ship on a remote Caribbean island, and the island environment reacts surprisingly well. A young assassin escapes an English mental institution and begins targeting astronauts. A man locks himself in his house and locks the rest of the world out...forever. Intelligently written, well-researched, and ever fascinating, these stories represent Ballard at his visionary best. I couldn't put it down!
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good companion to other collections 18 July 2001
By Babytoxie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Ballard novels have never really impressed me - they seem too unfocused and convoluted. I am a big fan, however, of his short stories - generally well-written, interestingly plotted, and providing just the right amount of alienation, making even a mundane situation seem like an otherworldly experience. "The Best Short Stories of..." is a great place to start, with many fiction and sci-fi classics, a great representation of the short story form. "War Fever" is a worthy follow-up. I don't know why it took me so long to try these stories, but they are definitely worth it. Here, he doesn't really go out of his way to write in any established genre (sci-fi, horror), but his stories seem to drift that way ever so slightly, as if trying to just tread the edge of such. He uses some interesting variations with form as well, seeing what the reader will accept as a story: a questionnaire? An index? Both are equally valid, and Ballard uses them to great effect. Give this collection a try and see how well the stories hold up to his more classic works. I think you'll find that his output from the mid to late '80s was just as good.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dry Humor. Creepy tone. Great book. 26 Aug 2004
By Gregory Mills - Published on Amazon.com
J.G. Ballard is a rare find, a dystopian with a very, very dry sense of humor. The future isn't the bestiality of "1984" or the state mandated hedonism of Huxley's vision. Rather it comes from the constant tidal pressure of creeping suburbia puncuated with moments of surreal violence sputtered out of a TV set. Kind of like life. I recommend it highly
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ballard 101 10 Jun 2001
By Ian Mccausland - Published on Amazon.com
I'll let the scholarly types explain all the deep insight contained in these stories. All I can say is this is the collection I hand out to people who want to explore Ballard's work. Some great stories in there.
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