that don't sound very much like A champion of science fiction, Ballard attests that s-f is "the only form of literature which will cross journalism, and an unpalatable interpolated opera about the dogs' overthrow of Rankstadt. As for the tween human and animal," mostly that has to do with the dogs' tendency to revert to walking on all "exploration of the boundaries be- fiction of the present and the cassette and videotape fictions of the near future." However, the "true literature the gap between the dying narrative fours over time, and to make some of the twentieth century" can only must plunge into the abysmal inner space of global and biological issues while exploring the cosmos of the unconscious. Fictional interstellar lunges for each others' throats. Bakis definitely has an imagina- meet its potential by aborting its mission in outer space; instead, s-f tion, if a silly one in this book. Her next novel will almost certainly be better. But she'd do well to leave the secret lives of dogs to Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, and their hearts to Mikhail Bulgakov. (ES) A User's Guide to the Millennium rocketry lost much of its fizz when Neil Armstrong did his lunar landscape debut, and the space age was indeed short lived for those who by J.G. Ballard Picador, 1996, 294 pp., $23 views and essays (1962-1995) by the author of CrasZi and Rushing to Paradise not only guides the reader through the last thirty years in art and writing, science and science fiction, but also provides a fragmented grow bored of photon phazer blasts and slimo-cephalic space racers. Bal- lard details the focal point of one of This collection of over ninety re- his own nodes in inner space--the car--as he attests that "every aspect of modern life is there, both for good and for ill--our sense of speed, drama and aggression, the worlds of advertising and consumer goods." face of "coca-colonization" and population explosions seems to stem from his wartime experiences in Ballard's idiosyncratic zeal in the map of Ballard's metallized autopia/autogeddon. If these short pieces feature such an array of topics that they don't really hold together as a coUection, they do, nevertheless Shanghai. As a child Ballard suf- provide sharp and distinctive insights into the twentieth century. welcomes with a peculiar relish the growing "forest of TV aerials" and "huge shopping malls whose floors remind the visitor of a terminal con- Unlike his nihilistic literary forefather, William S. Burroughs, Ballard fered a two-and-a-half year imprisonment in a Japanese prison camp. He explains that "to survive war . . . one needs to accept the rules it imposes and even, as I did, learn to welcome it." By highlighting other the face of adversity, Ballard sug- characters who have flourished in gests that as the high-rises, concrete labyrinths and other such postmodern fixtures grow around us, we them, since there is nowhere else to course." He pays homage to Burroughs, James Joyce, Andy Warhol and Salvador DaIi as cultural icons at the close of the millennium. "might as well make the most of go." (HR) The Missouri Review · 205
The Missouri Review – University of Missouri
Published: Oct 5, 1997
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