Rare Book of the Day – Love & Napalm: Export USA, J.G. Ballard. First Edition.

in #books4 years ago

Love & Napalm: Export USA, J.G. Ballard. First Edition.

J.G. Ballard (1930-2009) was an English short story writer, and essayist who became well-known as one of the finer writers of the New Wave of Science Fiction. His style is so distinctive that the word "Ballardian" was included in Collins English Dictionary and is defined as "resembling or suggestive of the conditions described in J. G. Ballard's novels and stories, especially dystopian modernity, bleak man-made landscapes and the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments."

In the late 1960s, Ballard began writing experimental short stories and Love & Napalm represents the best of these. It consists of a series of linked stories or "condensed novels" that explore how the mass media landscape invades and splinters the mind of the individual. The protagonist, who is a doctor at a mental hospital, suffers a breakdown and enters a world of psychosis, trying to make sense of public events by restaging them in his mind in a way that gives them personal meeting. It's a trippy little book, and fairly disturbing. With chapters titled "Why I Want to Fuck Ronald Reagan", "Plans for the Assassination of Jacqueline Kennedy", and "Love and Napalm: Export USA", and by associating the Kennedy assassination with a sexual or sporting event, the book remains controversial, particularly in the US. Doubleday actually destroyed all their first edition copies, fearing legal action, and the the true first US edition wasn't published until 1972 by Grove Press. This is that first edition, with awesome cover art:


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