A User's Guide to the Millennium

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9780007292790: A User's Guide to the Millennium

A collection of essays and reviews by renowned author J.G. Ballard, spanning over thirty years and covering film, science, art, literature and current affairs.

Many touch on themes and obsessions familiar to readers of his fiction; all show the insight, wit and distinctive vision of the modern world that have characterised his work throughout his distinguished career as one of the most important voices in contemporary fiction.

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‘Few writers can write with equal facility about Elvis Presley, Norwegian lobsters and Deng Xiaoping. Ballard does so with great flair and energy in this fabulously diverse collection. It crackles with a mandarin diversity of interests, from Winnie-the-Pooh to General Schwarzkopf. As we get closer to the year 2000, Ballard offers an exhilarating account of 20th century mayhem’ Ian Thomson, Independent on Sunday

‘Ballard’s prescience about technological development seems mostrously acute. Like H. G. Wells talking to an audience of the 1900s, he gives an impression not only knowing what the future will be like, but of actually relishing its arrival. As well as the prescience and the clear autobiographer’s eye, we should also value J. G. Ballard for his sense of humour’ D J. Taylor, Independent

‘In a shrinking world increasingly bereft of original imaginations, J. G. Ballard stands alone, a bizarre visionary maverick. Cinema, surrealist painting, crime, the future, madness, sf and China - these a Ballard’s specialist subjects. Best of all in this eccentric, relaxed, always readable collection are his laconic wartime memories, the treasure house he kept locked for forty years’ Eileen Battersby, Irish Times.

‘For the reader, pleasure derives largely from coming on the unexpected on every other page, and from randomly discovering new insights into familiar topics, or introductions to unfamiliar ones. Ballard’s cool sardonic gaze, eyeing the absurdities of the late twentieth century through the distancing science-fictional viewfinder, renders tragedy almost amusing’
Times Literary Supplement


J.G. Ballard was born in 1930 in Shanghai, where his father was a businessman. After internment in a civilian prison camp, he and his family returned to England in 1946. His 1984 bestseller Empire of the Sun won the Guardian Fiction Prize. His controversial novel Crash was made into a film by David Cronenberg. His last novel was Kingdom Come, published in 2006; his autobiography Miracles of Life was published in 2008 to much acclaim. J.G. Ballard died in 2009.

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