J G Ballard @ Independent

Marianne Brace “J G Ballard: The comforts of madness” http://enjoyment.independent.co.uk/books/features/article1587838.ece

新作Kingdom Comeが出たらしい。

We are sitting in the author's modest semi in Shepperton, where manufacturers have failed to "have on" Ballard. Apart from the television there's no evidence of consumer unendurables here. He doesn't even own a computer. "My three children were brought up in this house and it hasn't changed at all. Nothing has been moved for 30 years," he says.

But while things remain the same chez Ballard, the world outside has reinvented itself. Now, the landscape of greater London "lacks all the classic features of what used to be urban - the town hall, church, vicarage, public library. All these are largely gone." This fascinates Ballard. "Most English writers are not interested in change but in the social novel. That demands a static backdrop. I'm intensely interested in change - probably as a matter of self-preservation. What the hell is going to happen next?"


Two things have particularly fed his imagination. Shanghai - "a terrifically exhilarating place, a media city before its time" - was where Ballard was brought up. "It has been the main engine of my fiction. I've tried to change the world to be like Shanghai of the 1930s." His anatomical and physiological studies, meanwhile, provided "a vast anthology of images and metaphors".
consumerismとファシズムとの親和性について。先ずはKingdom Comeに登場する精神医学者Maxted博士の台詞;

In Kingdom Come the psychiatrist Maxted observes that: "Consumerism creates huge unconscious needs that only fascism can satisfy. If anything, fascism is the form that consumerism takes when it opts for elective madness."

"Consumerism does have certain affinities with fascism," he argues. "It's a way of voting not at the ballet box but at the cash counter... The one civic activity we take part in is shopping, particularly in big malls. These are ceremonies of mass affirmation."
ところで、Marianne Braceはバラードの文学について、

Ballard's work slots somewhere between Joseph Conrad and William Burroughs. His early protagonists find their own internal hearts of darkness in worlds mapped by ecological disaster, or seek new frontiers among gargantuan lizards and crystallised forests. Those frontiers become psychological in more experimental works like The Atrocity Exhibition. In the 50 years he has been writing, the dream-like apocalyptic locations have ceded to man-made enclosures where characters embrace transgressive acts just to find out whether they are still alive.
と位置づけている。ただ、”the new pathology of everyday life”というバラード自身による定義付けは、小説としてとても正統派的なものだろう。バルザックを思い出させるような。