Monday, 4 February 2019

Vermilion Sands by J.G. Ballard



“The geometric forms loomed and wavered in the haze, like shifting symbols of a beckoning dream.”


I went on a date the other day and the guy made the mistake of asking me what I’d been reading. Well, I said, a collection of strange science fiction short stories where the protagonist sleeps with a lot of women who are reminiscent of mythological creatures. You guessed it, there isn’t going to be a date two.
Anyway, enough of my crazy adventures, back to the work at hand. I have always been a huge fan of the dark worlds of Ballard. I don’t know what that says about me. Nevertheless, this short story collection seemed the work of a younger, more positive individual. At least he manages to have sex with almost all the weird women of the stories. That’s not to say things end well, no quite the opposite. These tales seem much more optimistic than the horrors of Cocaine Nights or Crash, for example.
Vermilion Sands is a setting, a strange and unusual place that is delivered up as some kind of symphony with contradictory movements. Art, music, philosophy and poetry play pivotal roles, as if the women characters are symbolic of creation and inspiration. I particularly loved the tale about the singing plants. Sex and death, as always in Ballard play a starring role.
The copy I read was gorgeous, part of the Vintage Futures series, it has this rather trippy cover which “animates” courtesy of an inner sheet.  I’m rather looking forward to hear the thoughts of my pseudo -book club pal Nicki on this one.
 
5 out of 5 sail away with me permanently.

 




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