10 Most Crucial British Science Fiction Novels 6

Crash

By JG Ballard
1973

The New Wave of the 1960s was by no means the total rejection of Golden Age science fiction that some would have you believe. That said, its leading lights, including the likes of Brian Aldiss and Michael Moorcock, refused to be limited by the conventions of the existing canon.

Instead, they brought a heady mix of influences to the party, including a taste for the taboo-busting experimentation of William S Burroughs, a leading light of the beat generation whose Naked Lunch was famously banned for obscenity.

The younger JG Ballard shared Burroughs’ interest in the deviant. It’s a fascination that reached an appropriately perverse peak with Crash, Ballard’s extraordinary story of car wreck eroticists, a book that moved one traumatised publisher’s reader to label its author as “beyond psychiatric help”.

Less hysterically, Crash, a chilling dissection of how technology impacts upon our lives, embodies the New Wave’s questing, questioning, counter-cultural spirit.

If you like this, why not try?
Falling Out Of Cars by Jeff Noon (2002)
Because Noon’s relentless study of a fracturing civilisation has similarly nightmarish qualities.

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