The Catechism of Good-bye 04/19/2009
This time he found himself, as Osborne had predicted, unable to leave the blocks.
What Entropy Means to Me 04/16/2008
There's an excellent appreciation of the British writer J. G. Ballard by Thomas Jones in the current London Review of Books, and there's good news and bad news. The good news is that Ballard has written an autobiography, Miracles of Life, and it's a good one. The bad news is that he has prostate cancer that has spread to his bones, and he's not likely to survive.
Back in my late teens and early twenties, when I was a pretentious young wannabee writer (as opposed to a weary, cynical, and still pretentious middle-aged midlist novelist), three of my literary heroes were Franz Kafka, Jorge Luis Borges (who I met once), and J. G. Ballard. Maybe I should have listed them the other way round, because Ballard was my gateway drug to the other two great surrealists. I stumbled onto Ballard's SF after having exhausted the oeuvres of Asimov, Bradbury, and Clarke, and discovered a kind of writing unlike anything I'd ever read before: elegant, emotionally restrained, and both philosophically and psychologically bizarre, provoking an response that was much darker and more complex than the more-or-less gee-whiz feeling I got from A, B, and C, but still every bit as mind-blowing.
In which I mostly write about books, movies, and TV. An all-purpose spoiler alert: Sometimes I will talk about these works on the assumption that the reader's already read or seen them, so if you haven't, be forewarned.
About Last Night