Memoir from a Parallel Universe
400 pp., 5 x 8 in,
- Published: April 13, 2018
- Published: December 21, 2018
An existential odyssey weaving together lived experience and theoretical insight, this startling autobiographical hyperfiction surveys and dissects a world where everything connects and global technological delirium is the norm.
The mediascapes of late capitalism reconfigure erotic responses and trigger primal aggression; under constant surveillance, we occupy simulations of ourselves, private estates on a hyperconnected globe; fictions reprogram reality, memories are rewritten by the future…
Fleeing the excesses of 1990s cyberculture, a young researcher sets out to systematically analyse the obsessively reiterated themes of a writer who prophesied the disorienting future we now inhabit. The story of his failure is as disturbingly psychotropic as those of his magus—J.G. Ballard, prophet of the post-postmodern, voluptuary of the car crash, surgeon of the pathological virtualities pulsing beneath the surface of reality.
Plagued by obsessive fears, defeated by the tedium of academia, yet still certain that everything connects to Ballard, his academic thesis collapses into a series of delirious travelogues, deranged speculations and tormented meditations on time, memory, and loss. Abandoning literary interpretation and renouncing all scholarly distance, he finally accepts the deep assignment that has run throughout his entire life, and embarks on a rogue fieldwork project: Applied Ballardianism, a new discipline and a new ideal for living. Only the darkest impulses, the most morbid obsessions, and the most apocalyptic paranoia can uncover the technological mutations of inner space.
An existential odyssey inextricably weaving together lived experience and theoretical insight, this startling autobiographical hyperfiction surveys and dissects a world where everything connects and global technological delirium is the norm—a world become unmistakably Ballardian.
Applied Ballardianism is an astonishing book, part fictionalized hallucinatory memoir, part essential Ballard primer, all written in the style of the great man himself. Whether you're new to J.G. Ballard or a lifelong fan, this is a thrilling read, cut through with equal parts black humor, cultural insight, and existential horror.
Tim Maughan, author of Paintwork and Infinite Detail
In Applied Ballardianism, Simon Sellars has invented a genre all his own. But what is it, exactly? Postmodern autopathography? Rough Guide to the Desert of the Real? Notes toward a mental breakdown? The missing link between Ballard and Virilio, psychogeography and edgeland studies, Mad Max and Videodrome? One thing is certain: Applied Ballardianism is the only book you'll need when you're marooned on a concrete island, barricaded in a high rise that's descending into anarchy, or cast away on some Enewetak of the unconscious.
Mark Dery, author of I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts: Drive-By Essays on American Dread, American Dreams
At first, Simon Sellars appears to be a character in a J.G. Ballard novel. Then Ballard appears to be a character in a Simon Sellars novel. Then not just the characters but the whole setting and ambience appear to be at once Ballardian and Sellarsian. Then you finish the book and you seem to be a character in a novel the two of them conspired to write. And your perception of the world is never the same again.
McKenzie Wark, author of A Hacker Manifesto, Gamer Theory, and Telesthesia
This is a book of critical epistemology, of questioning what it is we know, what it is we can know, about and through literary texts. The refracted fluorescence of our own critical passions and compulsions visits us outlandishly, like lights in the sky.
… a brilliantly written genre mashup … a wonderfully original mix of cultural theory, literary exegesis, travelogue and psychopathological memoir.
An intensely worked and engaged encounter. I admired the persistence, “honesty,” and elective madness. The storms carried me through, all the way.