Crash

Vaughan died yesterday in his last car-crash. During our friendship he had rehearsed his death in many crashes, but this was his only true accident.

– J.G. Ballard, Crash 

J. G. Ballard‘s Crash (1973) is, for me, his finest work.

Following the success of Ballard’s undeniably Science Fictional novels  The Wind From Nowhere (1961), The Drowned World (1962), The Burning World (1964, expanded as The Drought, 1965)  The Crystal World (1966) many people would argue that Crash is not Science Fiction at all.

‘Auto-erotic’

”In Crash, there is neither fiction nor reality—a kind of hyper-reality has abolished both. Even critical regression is no longer possible. This mutating and commutating world of simulation and death, this violently sexualized world totally lacking in desire, full of violent and violated bodies but curiously neutered, this chromatic and intensely metallic world empty of the sensorial, a world of hyper-technology without finality—is it good or bad? We can’t say. It is simply fascinating, without this fascination implying any kind of value judgment whatsoever. And this is the miracle of Crash. The moral gaze—the critical judgmentalism that is still a part of the old world’s functionality—cannot touch it. Crash is hypercritical, in the sense of being beyond the critical.”

– Jean Baudrillard, ”Ballard’s Crash

References
  • Ballard, J.G. (1961) The Wind From Nowhere
  • Ballard, J.G. (1962)  The Drowned World
  • Ballard, J.G. (1964)  The Burning World (expanded as The Drought, 1965)
  • Ballard, J.G. (1966)  The Crystal World
  • Ballard, J.G. (1973)  Crash
  • Ballard, J.G. (1974)  Concrete Island
  • Ballard, J.G. (1975)  High Rise
  • Ballard, J.G. (1979)  The Unlimited Dream Company
  • Ballard, J.G. (1981)  Hello America
  • Barker, Martin,  Jane Arthurs and Ramaswami Harindranath(2001) The Crash Controversy
  • Baudrillard, Jean (1991) ”Two Essays: 1. Simulacra and Science Fiction & 2. Ballard’s Crash (Translated by Arthur B. Evans) in Science Fiction Studies #55, Volume 18, Part 3, November 1991
  • Hayles, N. Katherine, David Porush, Brooks Landon, Vivian Sobchack and J.G. Ballard ”In Response To Jean Baudrillard” in Science Fiction Studies #55, Volume 18, Part 3, November 1991
  • McKee Alan (1993) ”Intentional Phalluses: The Male Sex in J.G. Ballard” in Foundation: The Review of Science Fiction #57, Spring 1993
  • Ruddick, Nicholas (1992) ”Ballard/Crash/Baudrillard” in Science Fiction Studies #58, Volume 19, Part 3, November 1992
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