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J.G. Ballard first editions

As a pioneering figure in New Wave Science Fiction, J.G. Ballard first editions span between 1961 (The Wind from Nowhere) and 2006 (Kingdom Come), often with attractive pictorial dust-jackets by, amongst others, Bill Botten.

The earlier titles are often hard to find in good condition, with his key works such as The Drowned World (1962), The Atrocity Exhibition (1970) and Crash (1973) being particularly sought-after in first edition.

Film adaptations have ensured his popularity among various generations over the decades, notably the David Cronenberg film Crash (1996), the above-mentioned Spielberg movie Empire of the Sun (1987, featuring a young Christian ‘Batman’ Bale) and more recently the Ben Wheatley adaptation of High-Rise (2015) starring Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons and Sienna Miller.

 

drowned_world-193x300Prices for J.G. Ballard first editions range from £2000+ to below £100; signed first editions obviously fetch more, especially if the earlier titles are with signatures or inscriptions contemporary to publication. Ballard was fond of inscribing books as opposed to flat-signing, and his inscriptions often add considerable extra value for the importance/relevance of the dedicatee and/or the nature of the inscription.

 

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For many the post-modern prophet of the societal apocalypse, for some best-known as the schoolboy in Steven Spielberg’s movie adaptation of Empire of the Sun, struggling to survive in Japanese-occupied wartime Shanghai, J.G. Ballard (aka ‘The Seer of Shepperton’) was a prolific author, who redefined the term ‘science fiction‘ and inspired the term “Ballardian” – resembling or suggestive of the conditions described in J.G. Ballard’s novels and short stories, such as dystopian modernity, bleak man-made landscapes and the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments.

terrifying in his ordinariness, like the protagonists of his high-rises and drowned worlds, like the man on the motorway island – Neil Gaiman

 

J.G. BALLARD IN OTHER FORMATS

J.G. Ballard was a significant contributor to early New Wave Science Fiction periodicals, such as New Worlds and Amazing Stories, which were often early champions of similarly notorious or controversial authors. These do not tend to have particular resale value in isolation, but good runs are hard to find and can fetch in the hundreds of pounds.

 
 

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