Sex and Smashed Steel

Source: Quillette
by Benjamin Kerstein

“Today’s social-media landscape — a phantasmagoric combination of cruel panopticon and giant video game replete with pornographic sex and livestreamed atrocity — would not have surprised British novelist James Graham Ballard, whose books prophesied our obsessions with voyeurism and violence a half-century ago. Occasionally referred to as the ‘seer of Shepperton’ (after the London suburb in which he lived), Ballard was the late 20th century’s preeminent chronicler of what he called ‘psychotic hymns.’ Ballard began his career as a science-fiction writer but never abandoned that genre’s central preoccupation with mankind’s technological creations. Over time, he followed this theme into the darkest recesses of human experience.” (04/02/24)