The great British science fiction novelist and short story writer J.G. Ballard succumbed yesterday at 78 after a long battle with prostate cancer. Throughout a career that spanned over four decades, Ballard was acclaimed for his cool, clinical dissections of future worlds, when the wonders of technology would confuse or erode human relationships. But it was two anomalous books that would win him the most attention: 1972’s Crash, an explicit provocation about the intersection of sex and automobile accidents that was subsequently adapted to film by David Cronenberg, and 1984’s Empire Of The Sun, a semi-autobiographical account of a young boy’s captivity at a Japanese internment camp during World War II. (It was also made into a movie, from director Steven Spielberg.) Other Ballard dystopian classics include his post-apocalyptic debut The Drowning World, the Robinson Crusoe perversion Concrete Island, and High Rise, a Lord Of The Flies-esque story about a self-contained building that falls into chaos. Before he died, Ballard also completed the proper autobiography Miracles Of Life.

More Ballard remembrances here.