The Assassination of J.G. Ballard Considered As A Metafictional Homage

by Jens Alfke ⟿ April 21, 2009

“Some people have suggested that mental illness is a kind of adaptation to the sort of circumstances that will arise in the future. As we move towards a more and more psychotic landscape, the psychotic traits are signs of a kind of Darwinian adaptation.” —1998


Numerous studies have been conducted upon patients in terminal paresis (GPI), placing the author J.G. Ballard in a series of simulated auto crashes, e.g. multiple pileups, head-on collisions, motorcade attacks (fantasies of Presidential assassinations remained a continuing preoccupation, subjects showing a marked polymorphic fixation on windshields and rear trunk assemblies). Powerful erotic fantasies of an anal-sadistic nature surrounded the image of the award-winning novelist.

J.G. Ballard And The Conceptual Auto-Disaster.

J.G. Ballard died yesterday in his last car-crash. During his life he had rehearsed his death in many crashes, but this was his only true accident. Driven on a collision course towards the royal limousine, his car jumped the rails of the London Airport flyover and plunged through the roof of a bus filled with airline passengers. The crushed bodies of package tourists, like a hæmorrhage of the sun, still lay across the vinyl seats an hour later. Holding the arm of her chauffeur, the Princess Diana, with whom Ballard had dreamed of dying for so many months, stood alone under the revolving ambulance lights, a gloved hand to her throat.

Could she see, in Ballard’s posture, the formula of the death he had devised for her? During the last weeks of his life Ballard had thought of nothing else but her death, a coronation of wounds he had staged with the devotion of an Earl Marshal. The walls of his apartment near the film studios at Shepperton were covered with the photographs he had taken with his zoom lens each morning as she left her hotel in London, from the pedestrian bridges above the westbound motorways, and from the roof of the multi-storey car-park at the studios. The magnified details of her knees and hands, of the inner surface of her thighs and the left apex of her mouth, he matched at his apartment with the photographs of grotesque wounds in a textbook of plastic surgery.

Yesterday his body lay under the police arc-lights at the foot of the flyover, veiled by a delicate lacework of blood. The broken postures of his legs and arms, the bloody geometry of his face, seemed to parody the photographs of crash injuries that covered the walls of his apartment. Twenty yards away, illuminated by the revolving lamps, the princess hovered on the arm of her chauffeur. Ballard had dreamed of dying at the moment of her orgasm.

Before his death Ballard had taken part in many crashes. As I think of Ballard I see him in the stolen cars he drove and damaged, the surfaces of deformed metal and plastic that for ever embraced him.

The Voices Of Time.

You’re not alone, Ballard, don’t think you are. These are the voices of time, and they’re all saying goodbye to you.
Every particle in your body, every grain of sand, every galaxy carries the same signature.
You know what the time is now,
so what does the rest matter?


[For the perplexed or appalled: This is a pastiche assembled out of bits of Ballard’s best-known works, with the names changed around. I claim no ownership of these words nor personal identification with their opinions.]