Vector #40

For an allegedly SF work by an allegedly leading writer of the genre this is a somewhat disappointing score. He certainly seems to be leading in a new direction: but it is a direction that speedily leaves the SF field enntirely for plotless and gloomy wasteland. In all of Ballard’s stories something terrible either has already happened or is happening (sometimes with no more rhyme and reason than in the ‘happenings’ that are the opop art answer to the theatre) – or things are going from bad to worse and heading for a frightful crash. The passing of the ‘sense of wonder’ has been much lamented by nostalgic readers, though it has been suggested that this is simply associated with encountering the ideas of SF for the first time, and that it still operates for many new readers. Ballard gives the impression of trying to replace it by a sense of impending doom.

Waldemar Kumming