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on 3 October 2012
An impressive selection of interviews from one of the greatest writers of recent years. The first interview is from 1967. The book contains one or two interview per year from then on. Some cover the same ground but virtually all the interviews are worth reading for his interesting insights into car crashes, inner space, advertising (wonder what he would think about the dire TV adverts of today), dunes, landscapes, art, concrete bypasses, SF etc.

Certain there are many more interviews out there as apparently J G Ballard was interviewed by some pretty obscure magazines. I would definitely buy an subsequent volumes
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 6 December 2014
It is wonderful to see the current roll out of republished versions of all these Ballard books. The introduction to this generous selection of interviews with JG Ballard argues that his interviews might even be better than his books, and the following interviews make a strong case for that being true.

Non Ballard fans are likely to find the book of sporadic interest, as Ballard casts an insightful eye over our strange ways, technology and their intersection. For Ballard fans it is interesting to see the books grouped into trilogies, and to hear how they were written. He acknowledges their repetition and lack of variation. There is a smattering about the films, and Ballard obviously knew a lot of interesting people, without getting into endless namedropping. Oddly I did not see any mention of When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth but otherwise the commentary is incredibly well researched and insightful.

It might come as a surprise just how affable and well adjusted Ballard seems to be, but then I never read his books as being unduly dark and depressing, more of a cool look at something that we ought to think about about very carefully.
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on 22 April 2014
Here, a collection of interviews from a master of the medium. No reading of Ballard can go without also experiencing his free talking self articulately explaining how the world is and will be. J.G. has gone where others dared not to tread, has excavated an extreme wilderness of the inner self. It is a world that was establishing itself with the post war era. No other writer has delved more vigorously into what it means to be Modern, what it means to be surrounded by a spaghetti of highways all around, for all life to be evaporated by the sun, or drowned by the sea, or be crystallised into the forest - global warming, industrial landscapes, psychological transformation from the outer to the inner world, through media projections and the slow motion car crash. The new world creates endless possibilities - here explored by Ballard himself talking in a highly lucid and sometimes obsessed way about the way he sees the world. Well edited with helpful introductions giving the context for each interview.
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VINE VOICEon 31 March 2015
Without doubt, JG Ballard is one of the great interviewees of modern fiction. He may be only occasionally visionary, often repetitive and sometimes provocative verging on the insane, but he's always high on entertainment value. So much so, that many readers may actually prefer reading this collection of interviews to his challenging, even opaque, brand of avant-garde fiction.

As Simon Sellars explains in his Introduction, Ballard gave over 200 interviews throughout his career (of which 43 are presented here - several previously unpublished). The interviewers themselves are of variable merit, occasionally producing results that read more like questionnaires - they generally become more accomplished as the years roll by, ending up participating in illuminating dialogue with the novelist in the final years. But the great strength of Ballard is that he'll respond intelligently, originally and at length to even the most uninspiring set of prompts.

Almost every page has soundbite potential, crackling with the kind of static that Ballard generated so effortlessly. He'll probably be best remembered for his science-fiction, but Ballard remained an alert social commentator to the end of his life, and has many interesting things to say about modern society. About how Big Brother changed during the 2000s and what it showed about social trends. Or about future world leaders, where they might come from and where they may take us: 'The thing about fuhrers and messiahs is that they always come out of the least expected places - deserts usually. But of course the shopping malls and retail parks in England in 2006 are deserts by any yardstick you care to apply.' Not always prescient, perhaps, but always engaging.

Ballard's was a unique talent that is admirably served by this skilfully edited anthology, in which each interview is succinctly introduced by two people who know his work intimately.
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I've been a fan of JG Ballard for many years, and since his death in 2009 I've missed his writing. This huge, heavy book is a collection of interviews with Ballard between 1967 and 2008, some previously unpublished, and in some ways it helped to fill that gap for me.

It isn't perfect. The interviews seem to focus on a few core books ("Crash", "Empire of the Sun", "Vermilion Sands", "The Atrocity Exhibition") and many are hardly mentioned. There is a lot of repetition, some of the interviews asking similar questions and Ballard's answers often seeming strangely rehearsed, and I hoped that the book would have helped me to find out more about the man rather than those few books, but it is consistently interesting. There do seem to be a lot of gaps in the collection though, and I cannot believe he was never interviewed during those times, and in the postscript an interview is referred to which doesn't appear in the book.

All in all it is a good book for Ballard fans to dip into rather than read from cover to cover as I did.
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on 16 August 2013
the great oracle of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st. dark and wise and prescient and witty and warm. if you've ever read any of his fiction, you must read his essays.
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on 18 March 2014
Exhaustive collection of interviews Ballard gave during his career. From big publications to small SF zines. Ballard was a good talker and generous with his ideas. At times I had to put down the book after reading a page because it contains so many ideas you have to process slowly. A must-read for lovers of Ballard's fiction and the more adventurous science fiction reader.
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on 6 January 2015
A good overview of this genre as it is in the here and now and not something alien or in outer space
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on 27 November 2012
A user's guide to the Ballardennium, Extreme Metaphors is a collection of forensic analyses of the ambiguous, liberating, nightmarish 20th/21st century, a Freudo-Nietzschean-Jungian-crypto-leftist-libertarian hymn to the extremity of our obsessions. We inhabit the dreamworld we have made for ourselves, projected it onto external reality, and we doze happily in our consumerist, media-generated miracle of life while we harbour dreams of flying away, of atavistic immersion in a pre-human state of atemporality, of smashing the whole edifice and finding jouissance in the liberating, empowering destruction of life, limb and the screens of The Great Simulacrum. Ballard doesn't hide flinchingly behind liberal progressivism and fairytales of inherent human decency; with the scalpel of his own obsessions, which are the same as yours and mine, he dissects the post-war corpse of the bright technological future the western world fantasised about before Hiroshima blew the illusion to bits in a mushroom cloud of pure death-instinct. He knows we are animals evolved just enough to cope with the needs of anthropoids that stalked the East African plains 4,000,000 years ago but who didn't quite become smart enough to cope with the creations that language and its concomitant, civilisation with its necessary discontents, made possible for the modern ape, homo ballardiensis.

All of Ballard's concerns and riffs - his ambivalent connections to SF; the collusive emptiness of the English postwar novel; The Atrocity Exhibition and the fractured consciousness of the individual in the mediascape; Crash! and the question of smashing through the illusion of society in a welter of blood, jism and twisted metal on a real and metaphorical motorway; the insurrectionary potential of a bored suburban bourgeoisie - are scrutinised and explored by and with (Ballard saw the interview process as creative and collaborative, a kind of temporary laboratory for his ideas) an impressive roster of astute interlocutors. Extreme Metaphors catalogues Ballard's philosophical interests and salient biographical circumstances (the sources of all those empty hotels and drained swimming pools)from the early 60s up to his final interview in 2008, a moving valedictory to all of us who have admired his work for so long. This collection is essential for all Ballardians, SF fans and anybody who wants to engage with the thought of one of the 20th century's most important and original social critics.
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on 16 April 2016
amazon: pay tax. give the rest of us a chance
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