The Complete Short Stories of JG Ballard are required reading for all connoisseurs of Ballard’s writing. This compilation brings together 96 short stories drawn from previous collections of Ballard’s short stories, including The Voices of Time and War Fever, as well as four previously uncollected stories. The result is an exhilarating overview of Ballard’s development as a short-story writer, from the singing orchids of Vermilion Sands in Prima Belladonna, completed in 1956, to the millennial anxieties of Report from an Obscure Planet, written in 1992.
The Complete Short Stories confirm Ballard’s stature as a craftsman of the short story, which often suits his surreal brilliance above and beyond later novels such as Cocaine Nights and Super-Cannes. In his Introduction, Ballard reflects, “the short story is coined from precious metal, a glint of gold that will glow for ever in the deep purse of your imagination.” Time and again, whether exploring the furthest reaches of science fiction, or the banal surrealism of English suburban life, Ballard’s perverse insight lodges itself in your imagination, as he explores and often punctures what he refers to as “that over-worked hologram called reality”. This collection will delight devotees, but it will also allow readers new to Ballard to experience a short-story writer of the stature of Borges, Bradbury or Edgar Allan Poe. —Jerry Brotton