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Crash by J G Ballard (1 Viewer)

strangedaze

Senior Member
Ha! Score, first post.

The premise was certainly enticing - eroticizing car crashes. Edgy and gritty, you know? Showing us how technology has become the medium through which we seek pleasure with one another. Fine and dandy. My beef wasn't with the story itself (thin as it was), it was with the sexual digressions that seemed to repeat over and over, page after page.

'He smelled of semen and engine coolant.' I swear to fuck, I must have heard this expression or some variant a dozen times, with similar phrases (and sometimes whole paragraphs) rehashed over and over, as if making up for the lack of plot.

The language was also funky. Pubis? Mucuous? Sweet hell, I know Ballard used to study medicine and that the whole point of the story is to bind sexuality and technology together, but his diction was overkill. And like I mentioned before, it felt as though he was saying the same thing over and over.

I liked the book, but barely. It's only saving grace was its twisted premise and its constant lewdness, and I'm not sure whether or not it would appeal to others.

I was expecting better, but since I only paid ten bucks for it (perhaps a bit too much, I'm starting to wonder), I'm not shook up.

Stars?

:2stars:

Two stars meaning I disliked the book.

(ps 'Guest' down below was me, I just forgot to sign in).
 

Kimberly Bird

Senior Member
Hi strangedaze, could this be the same one as the movie? I'm assuming by what you have said. I can't remember much about the movie, except that it was an erotic thriller of pulp and bruises;) The woman at the end of the movie had these leg braces on from all the car accidents her and her two male lovers had over the months or years. They drove buy a horrific car crash, got turned on and had sex again. Sheesh.

Take care
Kimberly
 

strangedaze

Senior Member
The one and the same. By the by, I read in another post that you are from Edmonton. Me too! Before escaping to Ontario for school, I lived in Claireview, on the N/E side of town, by the North Saskatchewan. Small world!

Andrew
 

Kimberly Bird

Senior Member
I'll give that show a 2 out of 5 as well strangedaze. You would have enjoyed this weekend up in Clairview, Hermatige Park (Pine Creek) had a graffiti art day.

Take care
Kimberly
 

Stewart

Senior Member
strangedaze said:
The premise was certainly enticing - eroticizing car crashes.

It's been a number of years since I read this - probably just before the movie was released - but I seem to remember that it was not really about eroticizing car crashes but about the erotica of body modification through the medium of car crashes. Or, to take it to the next level, society's fixation with technology and how, as our love afffair with it grows, it begins to shape us a human beings.

The language was also funky. Pubis? Mucuous? Sweet hell, I know Ballard used to study medicine and that the whole point of the story is to bind sexuality and technology together, but his diction was overkill. And like I mentioned before, it felt as though he was saying the same thing over and over.

If it felt like he was saying the same thing over and over it probably was because the same things were happening over and over. As for the language, it was cool and technical because it is the technology that is the turn-on and for technology to be erotic the language has to be cold, harsh, metallic, careful...

I was expecting better, but since I only paid ten bucks for it (perhaps a bit too much, I'm starting to wonder), I'm not shook up.

If you want to read more Ballard - if you haven't done so already - then I would suggest getting his Complete Short Stories collection (from the 50s to the 90s) and working through them and find your favourite period of Ballard's fiction and read the novels from around that time. Early disaster novels, such as The Drowned World, are different from later experimentals like Concrete Island and Hi-rise, and different again from recent work like Millennium People.
 

strangedaze

Senior Member
i have m-people but havent had the time to read it (that and theres a long list of books ahead of it on the chopping block). your comment on body modification through car crashes is something i found really emphasized in the movie, moreso than the book, but i think youre right. i think id give it a 7/10 if i rerate it, but cest la vie.
 

Mike C

WF Veterans
Crash was a landmark novel, particularly for me.

The point of Ballard's use of words to describe sexual activity - mons, pubis, perineum, etc, and describing sexual positions by using architectural and geometric similes, was to deliberately de-eroticise the actual sexual act whilst contrasting with the lovingly graphic descriptions of car crashes, their victims and their injuries.

The settings Ballard uses - motorways, multi-story car parks, airport departure lounges, etc are indicative of the depersonalised, generic version of the world Ballard believes we are creating for ourselves.

You can't read Ballard on a superficial level without missing the point. Open your mind to your world descibed in a new way as extended metaphor.

Connor's suggested reading list is outstanding, and my prime picks would be Concrete Island and High Rise.

Ballard started out writing pure science fiction, and rose to prominence in the 60's as one of the 'New Wave' writers who had such a profound influence both on the genre and literature as a whole.

He's left SF behind now, with Cocaine Nights and Super-Cannes being effectively detective novels, but he still sees and describes the world as if it were an alien planet.

Kingsley Amis described him as one of Britain's greatest living writers, and he wasn't kidding!
 
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