Posted January 21, 2012on:
This book is a bad buy for a book blogger. Volume 1 is so huge that it will probably take me a year or more to finish it. Meanwhile my blog will become an arid desert, deprived of nourishment, a victim of the Great World Slump, while I idle away depraved hours in the company of this prolific perfectionist.
In the introduction, Mr. Ballard accuses modern readers of having lost the knack of reading short stories. They are too used to baggy and long-winded TV soaps. Most novels, he claims, “would have been better if they had been recast as short stories.”
But the short story still survives, especially, he says, in science fiction. Not that Mr, Ballard writes science fiction. He describes the settings of his own work as “a kind of visionary present.”
I have read one of J.G. Ballard’s novels (see my earlier review of Cocaine Nights) but apparently even that, like most of his novels, was first tried out and tested in short story form.
As a devotee of short stories, I am predisposed to approve of Mr. Ballard’s observations but I would add that he neglects to mention erotic stories. Some of his stories are erotic but not as intensely erotic as the kind I prefer.
I would argue that erotic fiction works best in short story form. I have tried a few flabby erotic novels and tired of them long before the climax. There are exceptions, of course, and I’ve reviewed a few in my blog, but even erotic novelists are still intensely active in the short story form and for very good reasons.
So anyway, I’m giving this collection of not especially erotic stories 5 stars because it is brilliant, engrossing and stimulating and inspires me to go on with my own highly concentrated craft.
It’s quite good when you’re on a diet, too. Think lean!