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The miracle of Mr Ballard,
This review is from: Miracles of Life: Shanghai to Shepperton : an Autobiography (Paperback)
I read my first Ballard stories about 16 years ago and was mesmerised by his slightly off-kilter worlds. Recently flicking through the collected short stories I was amazed to find them still just as compelling. Reading these stories from the 1950s you hardly get a sense that they were written over 50 years ago. This is why Ballard is unique. Other Science Fiction writers of the period tended to concentrate on the technology of the future or on the society and politics of the future. Ballard was more interested in the inner world. This has given his writing a greater longevity.
Miracles of Life is a wonderful autobiography of one of the greatest British writers of the last century. Whether or not you are a fan of his work this is a fascinating read. The style is very different from that of his novels and short stories. Ballard's fiction can be quite surreal but this book is written in a simple style describing his childhood in Shanghai, including a couple of years interned by the Japanese during the war. He then goes on to describe his beginnings as a writer, his interest in psychology and art (particularly surrealism), the death of his wife and the years as a single father.
He never complains about the difficulties he has faced, always focusing on the positive. For people who are interested in his work there is plenty of insight into the influences which have fed into his unique style of writing. This is one of the best biographies I have read for years.