J. G. Ballard

Literary Birthday – 15 November – J. G. Ballard

J. G. Ballard was born 15 November 1930, and died 19 April 2009.


  1. Once it gets off the ground into space, all science fiction is fantasy.
  2. I’ve never suffered from writer’s block. I have plenty of ideas, sometimes too many. I’ve always had a strong imagination. If it dries up I’ll stop and look for another career.
  3. But I wouldn’t recommend writing. You can be a successful writer and never meet another soul. I’m not sure that’s a good thing.
  4. Fiction is a branch of neurology: the scenarios of nerve and blood vessels are the written mythologies of memory and desire.
  5. Sooner or later, everything turns into television.
  6. If their work is satisfying people don’t need leisure in the old-fashioned sense. No one ever asks what Newton or Darwin did to relax, or how Bach spent his weekends.
  7. Given that external reality is a fiction, the writer’s role is almost superfluous. He does not need to invent the fiction because it is already there.
  8. Any fool can write a novel but it takes real genius to sell it.
  9. 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.
  10. I work for three or four hours a day, in the late morning and early afternoon. Then I go out for a walk and come back in time for a large gin and tonic.
  11. I believe in the power of the imagination to remake the world, to release the truth within us, to hold back the night, to transcend death, to charm motorways, to ingratiate ourselves with birds, to enlist the confidences of madmen.
  12. I felt the pressure of imagination against the doors of my mind was so great that they were going to burst.
  13. We live in a world ruled by fictions of every kind – mass merchandising, advertising, politics conducted as a branch of advertising, the instant translation of science and technology into popular imagery, the increasing blurring and intermingling of identities within the realm of consumer goods, the pre-empting of any free or original imaginative response to experience by the television screen. We live inside an enormous novel.
  14. Sooner or later, all games become serious.
  15. I think the enemy of creativity in the world today is that so much thinking is done for you.

J.G. Ballard’s Desk

‘I have worked at this desk for the past 47 years. All my novels have been written on it, and old papers of every kind have accumulated like a great reef. The chair is an old dining-room chair that my mother brought back from China and probably one I sat on as a child, so it has known me for a very long time.’

J. G. Ballard was an English novelist, short story writer, and prominent member of the New Wave movement in science fiction. His best-known books are Crash and the semi-autobiographical Empire of the Sun, made into a film by Steven Spielberg, based on Ballard’s boyhood during the Second World War.

His work has given rise to the adjective ‘Ballardian’, defined by the Collins English Dictionary as ‘resembling or suggestive of the conditions described in J. G. Ballard’s novels and stories, especially dystopian modernity, bleak man-made landscapes and the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments’.

In 2008, The Times included Ballard on its list of ‘The 50 greatest British writers since 1945’.

Source for Author’s Image

Fair use


Source for Author’s Writing Desk/ Source for quotes

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 15th November 2012