Monday, May 4, 2009

J G Ballard's "The Autobiography of J.G.B." aka "The Secret Autobiography of J. G. B******" (short story, apocalypse, free)

Illustration accompanying the reprint of the short story titled The Autobiography of JGB by J G Ballard in The New YorkerIt didn't really make sense to me, but well ... it's Ballard.

Story summary.

One fine morning, "B" woke up to strange quiet. Much of the story is of his discovery that the population of at least England & France (& perhaps the world) has mysteriously vanished without a trace (save himself)!

Fact sheet.

First published: First published: "in French in Etoile Mecanique, July 1981-March 1982" (under what title?) First English appearance in "Ambit, #96, Spring 1984".
This post is based on the English reprint that appeared online in The New Yorker, 11 May 2009, under the title "The Autobiography of J.G.B." This form of title seems to have been used for the first time by The New Yorker, which also doesn't acknowledge any previous publication.
Rating: C.
Download full text from The New Yorker.
Related: Stories of J G Ballard; doomsday fiction.


skalligrim said...

Do you have a copy of one of the pubs with the earlier story? That one was also reprinted in the April 1996 issue of Interzone. The New Yorker podcast about Ballard had the usual snobbish attitude towards s-f; basically saying his work was too good to be s-f. At least Ballard did not share that attitude.

Tinkoo said...

skalligrim: No, I don't have a copy of original publications.

I was aware of Interzone reprint.

New Yorker's snobbish attitude: I think it's different departments of a big company talking different language. The New Yorker publishes sf with such regularity that at least their fiction department doesn't seem to have any snobbish feelings about the genre; see this list of their recent fiction, e.g. I do wish, however, that they told when they were not publishing an original piece.

Morva Shepley said...

Yes, as you say, it's Ballard. Experimenting is good, but in this case I'm wondering what Ballard wanted readers to get from his story.

kirbydog said...

Ballard wanted his readers to think!!!!