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Writing in The Independent, John Clute, an eminent scholar and historian of science fiction, eulogizes JG Ballard. I ran into Clute over the Easter weekend and he mentioned that as the designated writer of science fiction obits for The Independent, he keeps a file of pre-written -- and oft-updated -- obits for older writers and writers in poor health. I was shocked at this -- it seemed a little gruesome -- but John said, "The last thing I want is for a good friend to pass while I'm travelling or busy and for me not to be able to write them the good, full and complete obituary they deserve." Here's the results -- an obit every bit as good as a titan like Ballard deserved.
The most complete unfolding of his later sense of things can probably be found in a quite astonishing book-length interview published by the magazine Research as the self-standing Research No 8/9 (1984) but he remained unfailingly eloquent until the end of his life, as the interviews assembled in Conversations (2005) attest. "At times", he said in 2004, "I look around the executive housing estates of the Thames Valley and feel that [a vicious and genuinely mindless neo-fascism] is already here, quietly waiting its day, and largely unknown to itself ... What is so disturbing about the 9/11 hijackers is that they had not spent the previous years squatting in the dust on some Afghan hillside ... These were highly educated engineers and architects who had spent years sitting around in shopping malls in Hamburg and London, drinking coffee and listening to the muzak."

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 at 10:30:51 AM EST
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