Kingdom Come

September 15, 2006

Self-described moralizer J.G. Ballard has just released a new novel, Kingdom Come. In an interview today with the Independent, Ballard confesses that he doesn’t own a computer and tends to “…sort of repeat myself.” But what he’s “repeating” seems just as valid today — perhaps more so — than it was during Ballard’s heyday in the late 60s/early 70s. “I’m driving the message home,” he says:

“Consumerism creates huge unconscious needs that only fascism can satisfy. If anything, fascism is the form that consumerism takes when it opts for elective madness.” As an advertising man, the narrator, Richard, sees the possibilities. Determined to discover who killed his father, he helps to groom a cult leader from “the hospitality rooms of afternoon TV”.

“Boredom is a fearsome prospect. There’s a limit to the number of cars and microwaves you can buy. What do you do then?” asks Ballard. In the past he has predicted a future where boredom will be interrupted by violent, unpredictable acts. “Consumerism does have certain affinities with fascism,” he argues. “It’s a way of voting not at the ballet box but at the cash counter… The one civic activity we take part in is shopping, particularly in big malls. These are ceremonies of mass affirmation.” (Independent Online)

Via Beyond the Beyond.

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