James Graham Ballard (born November 18, 1930 in Shanghai) is a British novelist. Ballard, at eleven years old, lived through the Japanese takeover of China. He was separated from his family and moved to a civilian detention camp. These experiences were described in the semi-autobiographical Empire of the Sun (which was adapted for film). After the war's end, he was reunited with his family and returned to England. Ballard wrote about these events in his novel The Kindness of Women.
Those who know Ballard from his autobiographical novels will not be prepared for the subject matter that Ballard most commonly pursues, as his most common genre is science fiction dystopia. His most celebrated early novel is Crash, wherein cars stand-in metaphorically for the automation of the world and where city life itself is programmed to death -- dragging its inhabitants (the protagonist named after the author included) into a macabre lust. Ballard's disturbing novel was turned into a controversial, and also disturbing, film by David Cronenberg.
Ballard's fiction is literary, sophisticated, and profoundly concerned with creating cognitive and aesthetic dissonance in its readers. Because of his tendency to upset readers to enlighten them, Ballard does not enjoy a strong mass market following, but he is recognized by critics as one of the U.K.'s most prominent writers.
Novels and short story collections
Note: This is a partial list.
The Drowned World (1962)
The Terminal Beach (1964)
"The Drought" (1964)
The Crystal World (1966)
The Atrocity Exhibition (1969)
Vermilion Sands (1971)
Concrete Island (1974)
High Rise -- part of so-called "dystopian trilogy" (w/ "Concrete Island" and "Crash") (1975)
The Unlimited Dream Company (1979)
The Wind That Came From Nowhere
"Hello America" (1981)
Empire of the Sun -- historical novel, based on his own adolescence in a Japanese internment camp in Shanghai. (1984)
"The Day of Creation" (1987)
"Running Wild" (1988)
War Fever -- a compilation of essays and stories (1990)
"The Kindness of Women" (1991)
"Rushing to Paradise" (1994)
Cocaine Nights (1996)
"Millennium People" (2003)