Supposed Science Fiction – J.G. Ballard, ‘the poet of desolate landscapes’

‘the poet of desolate landscapes’

 

 

 

 

Fortunately for me I read some early Ballard in the ‘70’s before all the hype and surrounding mess over his work Crash, turned into a movie by Cronenberg.
He was called the ‘poet of desolate landscapes’ for a reason.
(http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/13/books/review/Lethem-t.html)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._G._Ballard

One of my favorite science fiction writers, along with Thomas Disch (particularly Camp Concentration), Philip K. Dick, and other individual books, such as A Canticle For Leibowitz. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Canticle_for_Leibowitz

Most people will recognize what Spielberg did with his quite wonderful autobiographical work, Empire Of The Sun. Excellent movie, wonderful book.

However, a book of interviews with Ballard is more than interesting and shows a prophet of the future now in his words.
Extreme Metaphors is a great compilation of the author in talks that are always interesting, and often revelatory.

Take this passage, from 1974 – (the year, not any particular book), in an interview conducted by Carol Orr, with the influence of Judith Merrill, whom I was fortunate to meet. (Along with Marian Engel, who wrote the great (and supposedly feminist) novel, Bear amongst other works, introduced by poet Gwendolyn MacEwen, to my surprise when I was first meeting Gwen, who introduced me by saying, “This is the poet I’ve been telling you about,” and having Marian interject, “Well, say something brilliant then, poet” to which I apparently satisfactorily replied since both Judith and Marian gave an approving, and raised eyebrows, nod to Gwen afterwards. *biography

“Threats to the quality of life that everyone is so concerned about will come much more, say, from the widespread application of computers to every aspect of our lives where all sort of science fiction fantasies will come true, where bank balances will be constantly monitored and at almost any given time all the information that exists about ourselves will be on file somewhere – where all sorts of agencies, commercial, political and governmental, will have access to that information.”
– Pg.58, Extreme Metaphors, How To Face Doomsday without Really Trying.
Reason enough to start to reading his books, let alone that book.

http://www.ballardian.com/extreme-metaphors-on-sale

©Dean J. Baker

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Biography

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Meeting Gwen MacEwen, Marian Engel, Judith Merrill – introduced by Joe Rosenblatt

I was reminded the other day of meeting and getting to know some women writers whose work I admired.
Specifically, Gwen MacEwen, Marian Engel, and Judith Merrill.
I’ll be writing something of an autobiography at some point which will be inclusive of a lot of things and events, personally and professionally.

I was introduced to two of these writers through Joe Rosenblatt, and Gwen MacEwen.
(One thing about Gwen is she did a reading of the book whose photo you can see here, without the book, in its entirety at a place where earlier I saw Led Zeppelin – that size venue.)

One cold New Year’s day in Toronto, I headed over with Joe Joe (for whom I’d rewritten pages, and edited a few books of his) to Gwen’s apartment on St.George St. to meet up with her, and her wonderful cat, Dingbat.

Walking in the door, Gwen called me over to the living room where there were two women sitting on the couch. Little did I know.
Next thing I hear is Gwen saying, “This is the poet I’ve been telling you about.” And then she introduced me. Marian Engel! wrote that classic, Bear. Judith Merrill.
Marian Engel said, “Hi, Dean. So you’re the poet Gwen has been raving about, saying you’re great and brilliant.”

Now I’d been reading Gwen’s work for ages it seemed, and this was the first time we met. Mr. Joe had been telling her about me, my work – and she’d pestered him to bring me over. So I was taking in the first flush of meeting a poet whose work I loved, plus getting to meet Marian Engel, whose novella Bear I thought fantastic. And I was aware of Judith Merrill through the work of other science fiction writers, and the fact that at the time she lived just a block or so away on Spadina Road.

At this point, Judith said hello, and smiled. Likely anticipating Marian’s next statement.

Marian next said, “SO, say something brilliant and notable.”

Which I apparently did, to her satisfaction and Gwen’s and Judith’s, because we all started relaxing over coffee, etc.
What was said then and other times in more detail will be in the book… though there are various representations scattered throughout my poetry.

©Dean J. Baker

*note: Works of the writers that are a must read:

Dream Craters  +  The Voluptuous Gardener, etc etc etcJoe Rosenblatt

http://www.joerosenblatt.com/

Magic AnimalsGwen MacEwen

http://canpoetry.library.utoronto.ca/macewen/pub.htm

BearMarian Engel – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marian_Engel

some of my work… http://www.amazon.com/Dean-J.-Baker/e/B00IC6PGQM