JG Ballard and Forty Years of the Future


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Ballardian—resembling or suggestive of the conditions described in JG Ballard’s novels and stories, especially dystopian modernity, bleak man-made landscapes and the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments.”

–Oxford English Dictionary

“It seems to me that what most of us have to fear for the future is not that something terrible is going to happen, but rather that nothing is going to happen… I could sum up the future in one word, and that word is boring. The future is going to be boring.”

–JG Ballard, 1991

Drained swimming pools and drowned cities, crashed cars and deserted highways—the term “Ballardian” has not just entered dictionaries but also the public and media consciousness in the years since the author’s death. But by doing so there is a danger that some sense of meaning has been lost; that by becoming a soundbite to be thrown about by ...

Writing Ahead of the Future


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Something quite odd happened to me. I experienced, for the first time, the odd sensation of having something you dreamed up for a story happen in real life.

In 2011 I wrote a short story called “Paintwork” (reprinted here on Tor.com) about augmented reality graffiti. In it the main protagonist, a young artist called 3Cube, replaces the QR codes on corporate advertising billboards so that wearers of augmented reality glasses (known as spex) are lead to their artwork instead of the advertisers message. It was a fairly simple idea, based on seeing how artists and vandals in my home town of Bristol abuse the ubiquitous billboards that line our streets. I had some really nice feedback about the story, and I was pretty happy with it—people seemed to like it, and at the beginning of the year myself and some friends even made a short based on ...

The UK Pirate Radio Revolution


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It’s way past midnight and I’m crammed into the back seat of a small car we’ve hotboxed with ganja smoke. Tinny, distorted music rolls out of the car’s flimsy speakers. It’s jungle. The signal, too, is weak, and the music is drowned out by the white noise of a failing analogue radio transmission.

And then we’re rising as the car rounds the concrete spiral of a motorway overpass, escaping the damp, crumbling, claustrophobic streets below. I’m in my early twenties. I gaze out of the window, and at that second the music cuts to full FM clarity: the rattling snares and hi-hats are razor sharp, the bass line rumbles through the car, and an MC chats over it all in some mash-up of cockney and Jamaican slang. Through the windows the wall of a brutalist tower rises around us, and I realize why the music has snapped into place: up ...

Infinite Detail


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The world of Infinite Detail is a small step shy of our own: utterly dependent on technology, constantly brokering autonomy and privacy for comfort and convenience. Author Tim Maughan makes the hitherto-unimaginable come true: the End of the Internet, the End of the World as We Know It. Read an excerpt from Infinite Detail below, available from MCD x FSG Originals.

BEFORE: In Bristol’s center lies the Croft, a digital no-man’s-land cut off from the surveillance, Big Data dependence, and corporate-sponsored, globally hegemonic aspirations that have overrun the rest of the world. Ten years in, it’s become a center of creative counterculture. But it’s fraying at the edges, radicalizing from inside. How will it fare when its chief architect, Rushdi Mannan, takes off to meet his boyfriend in New York City—now the apotheosis of the new techno-utopian global metropolis?

AFTER: An act of anonymous cyberterrorism has permanently switched off the ...

10 Anime Films You Should See Before You Die


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One of the most surprising, and gratifying, things that has happened since I started my blog, Tim Maughan Books, is the positive feedback I’ve had for the anime reviews—especially from people I know are far from being massive fanboys like myself. It’s gratifying because its part of the reason I started writing them; to try and introduce the medium to people who had never really indulged in it all, at least not past perhaps watching Spirited Away with their kids.

The problem is, once you’ve had your first taste, where do you go next? Type “anime” into Google and the results are bewildering, and without a little bit of guidance and a quality filter finding something to watch can be a daunting task. So, as requested, I present my list of 10 “mature” anime films you really should see. They are in no particular order, the term “mature” is ...