Ballard: Our need for catastrophes

The cultural revolution of the 1960s had an undeniably profound impact on the people who lived amidst its birth pangs. In 1986 a film crew came to make a short documentary about the writer JG Ballard. In the interview, Ballard pointed out that the world which we inhabit requires a certain amount of oil to make the cogs go around and keep the wheels turning. For Ballard it was sex which played such a role in the 1960s, but now sex is no longer a new frontier and increasingly violence has become the oil which keeps the wheels turning. The … Continue reading

‘This book is dedicated to mankind’

Könyvfesztivál - Michel Houellebecq francia író, díszvendé

There are some novelists who can’t be avoided in the charged instability of their prose. We find this in the literature of extremes, and one such recent case is Michel Houellebecq. In Atomised (1998) Houellebecq portrays a vision of late capitalist society as in the thrall of its own decay. The chaos of the market society and its depredations has blown away the traditional order of morality. Sexual liberalism has prevailed to the extent that the very act has become a commodity in a marketplace, but this has left winners and losers. Elsewhere Houellebecq calls for a ‘sexual communism’ and … Continue reading