Look up the word Ballardian in The Collins English Dictionary and you’ll find this:
- of James Graham Ballard (1930–2009), the British novelist, or his works
- resembling or suggestive of the conditions described in Ballard’s novels and stories, esp dystopian modernity, bleak man-made landscapes, and the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments
His novel Crash (1973) -which in 1996 David Cronenberg made into a movie – was turned down by a publisher’s reader with the infamous words: ‘This author is beyond psychiatric help. Do not publish.’
Oh, My… What a rejection!
Ballard’s work is hard to classify into one genre. His early career (in the 1960’s) marked by such novels as The Drowned World, The Burning World and The Crystal World is apocalyptic –or post-apocaliptic fiction.
His epic novel Empire of The Sun (1984), an autobiographical/ war novel was later filmed by Steven Speilberg and followed in 1991 by the sequence The Kindness of Women.
It was in his later novels that he turned to psychological thrillers: Cocaine Nights (1996), Super Cannes (2000) and asserted his mastery, in Millennium (2003) and Kingdom Come in (2006)
The settings of his novels are as varied as his genres. He takes us to Gibraltar, Cannes, Japanese-occupied Shanghai, Singapore, Heathrow Airport. Yet, he managed to write all his novels at this desk in his home in Shepperton, England.
Photographer: Eamonn McCabe
Ballard was known to be ahead of his times. He certainly was when he wrote this quote:
Any fool can write a novel but it takes real genius to sell it.
The first drafts of my novels have all been written in longhand and then I type them up on my old electric. I have resisted getting a computer because I distrust the whole PC thing. I don’t think a great book has yet been written on computer. The Guardian
What are your thoughts? Do you have any rejection stories to share?