J. G. Ballard
HarperCollins, London, 2006; originally published 1970, English
ISBN: 9780007116867

From the Publisher. First published in 1970 and widely regarded as a prophetic masterpiece, this is a groundbreaking experimental novel by the acclaimed author of Crash and Super-Cannes, who has supplied explanatory notes for this new edition.

The irrational, all-pervading violence of the modern world is the subject of this extraordinary tour de force. The central character’s dreams are haunted by images of John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe, dead astronauts and car-crash victims as he traverses the screaming wastes of nervous breakdown. Seeking his sanity, he casts himself in a number of roles: H-bomber pilot, presidential assassin, crash victim, psychopath. Finally, through the black, perverse magic of violence he transcends his psychic turmoils to find the key to a bizarre new sexuality.

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Jonathan Barnbrook

This novel made my head explode. It contains the exact text of what would happen to me if I ever became mentally ill. It also has on every page enough concepts and amazing visual ideas for me to explore over several lifetimes. The themes contained within it distill all the important motivations, irritations, memes, and distractions of the late 20th century. The storyline about reconstructing the assassination of JFK to stop the outbreak of a third nuclear war is fantastically creative. The style of writing, which jumps from cold, analytical medical text to short-attention-span advertising-style copy, makes it a breeze to read. It’s full of madness but contains a logic that makes it a complete and self-contained work of art.

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