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J. G. Ballard – First Edition Books: Identification Guide

J. G. Ballard
J. G. Ballard

James Graham Ballard (1930 – 2009) was an English novelist, short story writer, satirist, and essayist who first became associated with the New Wave of science fiction for his post-apocalyptic novels such as The Drowned World (1962). In the late 1960s, he produced a variety of experimental short stories (or “condensed novels”), such as those collected in the controversial The Atrocity Exhibition (1970). In the mid 1970s, Ballard published several novels, among them the highly controversial Crash (1973), a story about symphorophilia and car crash fetishism, and High-Rise (1975), a depiction of a luxury apartment building’s descent into violent chaos.

While much of Ballard’s fiction would prove thematically and stylistically provocative, he became best known for his relatively conventional war novel, Empire of the Sun (1984), a semi-autobiographical account of a young British boy’s experiences in Shanghai during Japanese occupation. The story was adapted into a 1987 film by Steven Spielberg starring Christian Bale. In the following decades until his death in 2009, Ballard’s work shifted toward the form of the traditional crime novel. Several of his earlier works have been adapted into films, including David Cronenberg’s controversial 1996 adaptation of Crash and Ben Wheatley’s 2015 adaptation of High-Rise.

The literary distinctiveness of Ballard’s fiction has given rise to the adjective “Ballardian”, defined by the Collins English Dictionary as “resembling or suggestive of the conditions described in J. G. Ballard’s novels and stories, especially dystopianmodernity, bleak man-made landscapes and the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments”. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography entry describes Ballard’s work as being occupied with “eros, thanatos, mass media and emergent technologies”.

J. G. Ballard is cited as an important forebear of the cyberpunk movement by Bruce Sterling in his introduction to the seminal Mirrorshades anthology, and by author William Gibson. Ballard’s parody of American politics, the pamphlet “Why I Want to Fuck Ronald Reagan”, which was subsequently included as a chapter in his experimental novel The Atrocity Exhibition, was photocopied and distributed by pranksters at the 1980 Republican National Convention.

J. G. Ballard – First Editions Identification Guide

Note: This list only includes books published prior to 1977.

How to Identify First Edition books by J. G. Ballard Guide
YearTitlePublisherFirst edition/printing identification points
1970THE ATROCITY EXHIBITIONLondon: Jonathan Cape, [1970]Boards. First published in Great Britain 1970 on © page. ALSO: Garden City: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1970. First edition in the United States of America on © page. First publication of "The New Science Fiction," a transcript of a conversation between Ballard and George MacBeth. Some minor textual changes (cf. section "Notes Towards a Mental Breakdown"). This edition was suppressed and never issued; only a few copies survive. First published U.S. edition issued later as LOVE& NAPALM: EXPORT U.S.A.
1977THE BEST OF J.G. BALLARD[London]: Futura Publications Limited, [1977]Wrappers. First published in Great Britain 1977 ... on © page. Orbit 08600 79430 (£1.25).
1962BILLENIUM[New York]: Published by Berkley Publishing Corp., [1962]Wrappers. No statement of printing on © page. Berkley Medallion F667 (50¢).
1964THE BURNING WORLD[New York]: Published by Berkley Publishing Corporation, [1964]Wrappers. August, 1964 on © page. Berkley Medallion F961 (50¢). Expanded version issued later as THE DROUGHT.
1967BY DAY FANTASTIC BIRDS FLEW THROUGH THE PETRIFIED FOREST...Brighton: Eosgraphics for Firebird Visions Ltd, 1967Broadside. Two issues, no priority:
  • (A) 50 numbered copies signed by Ballard;
  • (B) Unsigned trade issue. Text from THE CRYSTAL WORLD. Illustration by Ivan Tyrrell.
1971CHRONOPOLIS AND OTHER STORIESNew York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, [1971]No statement of printing on © page.
1974CONCRETE ISLANDLondon: Jonathan Cape, [1974]Boards. First published 1974 on © page.
1973CRASHLondon: Jonathan Cape, [1973]Boards. First published 1973 on © page.
1966THE CRYSTAL WORLDLondon: Jonathan Cape, [1966]Boards. First published 1966 on © page.
1967THE DAY OF FOREVERLondon: A Panther Book, [1967]Wrappers. This collection first published by Panther Books Limited 1967 on © page. Panther Science Fiction 2307 (3/6).
ALSO: [London]: A Panther Book, [1971]. Wrappers. Reprinted 1971 on © page. Panther 586 023070 (25p). Deletes "The Assassination of John F. Kennedy Considered as a Downhill Motor Race" and adds "The Killing Ground."
1967THE DISASTER AREALondon: Jonathan Cape, [1967]Boards. First published 1967 on © page.
1965THE DROUGHTLondon: Jonathan Cape, [1965]Boards. First published 1965 on © page. Expanded version of THE BURNING WORLD.
1962THE DROWNED WORLD[New York]: Published by Berkley Publishing Corp., [1962]Wrappers. No statement of printing on © page. Berkley Medallion F655 (50¢). Collected later in THE DROWNED WORLD AND THE WIND FROM NOWHERE. ALSO: London: Victor Gollancz Ltd, 1962 [i.e., January 1963]. Boards. No statement of printing on © page. First hardcover edition.
1965THE DROWNED WORLD AND THE WIND FROM NOWHEREGarden City: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1965First edition so stated on © page. Reprint. Collects THE DROWNED WORLD and THE WIND FROM NOWHERE. Note: First hardcover publication of THE WIND FROM NOWHERE.
1963THE FOUR-DIMENSIONAL NIGHTMARELondon: Victor Gollancz Ltd., 1963Boards. No statement of printing on © page.
ALSO: London: Victor Gollancz Ltd, 1974. Boards. No statement of printing on © page. Reissue with two stories from original edition dropped and two added from other previously published collections.
1975HIGH-RISELondon: Jonathan Cape, [1975]Boards. First published 1975 on © page.
1966THE IMPOSSIBLE MAN AND OTHER STORIES[New York]: Published by Berkley Publishing Corporation, [1966]Wrappers. April, 1966 on © page. Berkley Medallion F1204 (50¢).
1972LOVE AND NAPALM: EXPORT U.S.ANew York: Grove Press, Inc., [1972]First American Edition/First Printing on © page. First published U.S. edition; follows the text published earlier in Great Britain as THE ATROCITY EXHIBITION. Preface by William S. Burroughs appears for the first time.
1976LOW-FLYING AIRCRAFT AND OTHER STORIESLondon: Jonathan Cape, [1976]Boards. First published 1976 on © page.
1967THE OVERLOADED MAN[London]: A Panther Book, [1967]Wrappers. This collection first published by Panther Books Limited 1967 on © page. Panther Books 2336 (3/6).
1963PASSPORT TO ETERNITY[New York]: Published by Berkley Publishing Corporation, [1963]Wrappers. September, 1963 on © page. Berkley Medallion F823 (50¢).
1964TERMINAL BEACH[New York]: Published by Berkley Publishing Corporation, [1964]Wrappers. June, 1964 on © page. Berkley Medallion F928 (50¢).
ALSO: London: Victor Gollancz Ltd, 1964. Boards. No statement of printing on © page. First hardcover edition. Contents differ from Berkley version.
1971VERMILION SANDS[New York]: Published by Berkley Publishing Corporation, [1971]Wrappers. April, 1971 on © page. A Berkley Medallion Book S1980 (75¢).
ALSO: London: Jonathan Cape, [1973]. Boards. First published in Great Britain 1973 on © page. First hardcover edition. Adds "The Singing Statues."
1962THE VOICES OFTIME AND OTHER STORIES[New York]: Published by Berkley Publishing Corporation, [1962]Wrappers. February, 1962 on © page. Berkley Medallion F607 (50¢).
1968WHY I WANT TO FUCK RONALD REAGAN[Brighton]: Unicorn Bookshop, 1968Wrappers. Stapled. 250 copies printed. Two issues, no priority:
  • (A) 50 numbered copies signed by the author;
  • (B) 200 unnumbered trade copies.
First printing so stated on colophon page. Later collected in THE ATROCITY EXHIBITION.
1962THE WIND FROM NOWHERE[New York]. Published by Berkley Publishing Corporation, [1962]Wrappers. January, 1962 on © page. Berkley Medallion F600 (50¢). Collected later in THE DROWNED WORLD AND THE WIND FROM NOWHERE.

Reference:

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