Ballard once said, “The only truly alien planet is Earth,” recalls Michael Dirda in his review of The Complete Stories of J.G. Ballard for the Washington Post.
Dirda sees parallels between Ballard and Philip K. Dick: many would agree. What’s surprising is his description of the contrasts in their work:
…Dick’s work is fundamentally sociable, a paean to unacknowledged goodness and the quiet satisfactions of ordinary life. Ballard’s protagonists tend to be isolated visionaries who inexorably pursue their obsessions to the point of madness or death, typically reaching self-fulfillment through nothing less than self-immolation.
By Michael Dirda’s lights, Phil Dick’s worldview sounds practically Hobbit-esque. But I don’t see Ragle Gumm or Frank Frink adjourning to the Prancing Pony for a jolly tankard of ale.
[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the link.]