A lot of kooks thought the end of the world might happen around Y2k; now we’re approaching the end of another historic cycle of sorts, and I’ve been wondering if the world really did and we somehow didn’t notice.
This isn’t unheard of. There was a Holy Roman Empire for entire centuries after anything Caesar-like disappeared, all the way up to Archduke Ferdinand. Who are we to tell ten million Hungarians that they aren’t Roman?
These thoughts kept bringing me back to J.G. Ballard. So I’ve been re-reading the Best Short Stories anthology. I’ve been emailing friends about him. Empire of the Sun was even playing at a bar I stumbled into. Ballard’s theme was that we were on the cusp of the apocalypse, and there was no place he’d rather be. Front row for the grand finale, cue the fat lady and get me another drink, the real restaurant at the end of the universe.
I’ve also been sitting on a draft of this post regarding covers of Crash for a while. I don’t think “apocalypse” is too tough to visually depict, but Ballard’s lustful giddiness and wanton abandon to a blasted future are something else altogether. Henry Sene Yee did a pretty good job with the cover you see on shelves today, and his original concept (above) was even closer to the mark. Rick Poynor wrote an exhaustive review of the many editions of Crash for Eye magazine, but arrives at the early conclusion that “image-makers have been defeated by Crash.”
J. G. Ballard died from cancer last Sunday. Whatever it was that ended, Ballard survived it, and I think had the last word on it.
Daniel Gray of the excellent Binky the Doormat notes that There was/is a competition by The Times to design the cover for a new edition of Crash… It was to be judged by Ballard himself, so it’s possible that the delay was due to his poor health. Not sure what’s going to happen to it now, but basically The Times are sitting on who knows how many concepts for the cover and aren’t making any moves to do anything with them.
Anyone know what’s going on here?
Daniel’s own entry into the competition: