というメイルが来たのだが、” In a tribute to recently departed Shanghailander JG Ballard”という文言を見て、吃驚。最近亡くなったのだ！ 今月初めにバラードに言及しているが*2、そのときには既に亡くなっていたということになる。
A Tribute to JG Ballard:
Screening of Empire of the Sun
Saturday, May 30, 5pm
RMB 65, includes a drink
At the Glamour Bar, 7/F
In a tribute to recently departed Shanghailander JG Ballard,
The Glamour Bar will screen Steven Spielberg's film
adaptation of his Shanghai-based novel,
Empire of the Sun.
The movie is an adaptation of Ballard's story of
a young boy's experience, first as a privileged schoolboy
in Shanghai's International Settlement,
and then as a civilian prisoner of war
in Japanese-occupied Shanghai.
Prior to the screening, author Duncan Hewitt
will share Ballard's views on the city and how
the Shanghai of his youth affected his later writing
- and how it was a precursor for the modern cities of today.
Historic Shanghai co-founder Patrick Cranley
will provide the historical context for the film.
Crash author JG Ballard, 'a giant on the world literary scene', dies aged 78The novelist JG Ballard, who conjured up a bleak vision of modern life in a series of powerful novels and short stories published over more than 50 years, has died after a long battle with cancer
Richard Lea and Jo Adetunji
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 19 April 2009 21.00 BST
The novelist JG Ballard, who conjured up a bleak vision of modern life in a series of powerful novels and short stories published over more than 50 years, died today after a long battle with cancer.
His agent, Margaret Hanbury, said tonight that it was "with great sadness" that the 78-year-old author passed away yesterday morning after years of ill health.
Hanbury, who worked with Ballard for more than 25 years, said he was a "brilliant, powerful" novelist. "JG Ballard has been a giant on the world literary scene for more than 50 years. Following his early novels of the 60s and 70s, his work then reached a wider audience with the publication of Empire of the Sun in 1984 which won several prizes and was made in to a film by Steven Spielberg.
"His acute and visionary observation of contemporary life was distilled into a number of brilliant, powerful novels which have been published all over the world and saw Ballard gain cult status."
Inspired by the popular science fiction magazines he came across while stationed in Canada with the RAF, Ballard began publishing short stories evoking fractured landscapes full of wrecked machinery, deserted beaches and desolate buildings.
Novels of disaster and experimentation, including 1962's The Drowned World and 1973's Crash, later made into a film by David Cronenberg, garnered him a growing reputation as an anti-establishment avant garde writer. Crash, in which a couple become sexually aroused through car crashes, was written as a motorway extension was being built past the end of his street in Shepperton, Surrey.
In 1984, Ballard reached a new level of public recognition with Empire of the Sun, a straightforwardly realist novelisation of his detention as a teenager in a Japanese camp for civilians in Shanghai.
It had taken him 40 years to prepare himself to tackle this formative period of his life – "20 years to forget, and then 20 years to remember," as he later put it. The novel follows a young English boy who, like many of Ballard's narrators, shares the author's name, during the Japanese occupation of Shanghai. Separated from his parents, Jim at first survives on abandoned packets of food in the deserted mansions of the international settlement, before being picked up by the Japanese and interned in the Lunghua Civilian Assembly Centre, where he relishes his unaccustomed freedom amid hunger, disease and death.
Ballard said of his childhood: "I have – I won't say happy – not unpleasant memories of the camp. I remember a lot of the casual brutality and beatings-up that went on, but at the same time we children were playing a hundred and one games all the time!"
Born in Shanghai in 1930, Ballard came to England with his parents after the war, where he became a boarder at the Leys school in Cambridge; stepping, as he put it, "out of one institution, into another." After studying medicine at Cambridge, which he dismissed as an "academic theme park", he studied English at the University of London, before taking on a succession of jobs and writing short fiction in his spare time.
His first published story, a tale of singing plants called Prima Belladonna, appeared in the magazine Science Fantasy in 1956, the same year as an exhibition at the Whitechapel gallery which marked the birth of pop art. In this and the work of the surrealists such as Max Ernst, René Magritte, Salvador Dali and Paul Delvaux he found the inspiration for what he later called a "fiction for the present day".
The young science fiction author "wasn't interested in the far future, spaceships and all that", he explained; rather he was interested in "the evolving world, the world of hidden persuaders, of the communications landscape developing, of mass tourism, of the vast conformist suburbs dominated by television – that was a form of science fiction, and it was already here".
The sudden death of his wife, Mary, while on holiday in 1964 left him to bring up three children single-handedly, but the domesticity of his life in Shepperton let Ballard's imagination break free, with his work moving towards an unsettling experimental realism which pushed at the boundaries of 1960s Britain.
His later work continued to subject modern life to its own extremes, with a sinister corporate dystopia in 2000's Super Cannes, a middle-class revolution in 2003's Millennium People and a descent into consumerist fascism in 2006's Kingdom Come. But the label of science fiction writer still stuck, much to Ballard's irritation, partly as a way of "defusing the threat". "By calling a novel like Crash science fiction, you isolate the book and you don't think about what it is," he explained.
He kept the literary world at arm's length, and refused a CBE in 2003, pouring scorn on the honours system as a "Ruritanian charade that helps to prop up our top-heavy monarchy".
He is survived by his partner Claire Walsh and three children, James, Fay and Beatrice.
• This article was amended on Tuesday 21 April 2009. We originally said that Shepperton, in Surrey, was in west London. This has been corrected.