Megan Harlan
June 28, 1996 AT 04:00 AM EDT

A User's Guide to the Millennium

Current Status
In Season
J.G. Ballard

We gave it an A

Best known for his novels Crash and Empire of the Sun, English author J.G. Ballard has a magpie intellect whose full range is evident in this collection of essays and reviews from the past 30 years. Whether he’s writing about Andy Warhol (”a Valium-numbed Mickey Mouse in a white fright-wig”) or the future (”which in Britain has been dead for decades”), Ballard is at once brainy and accessible, fierce and funny. His trademark obsessions — car design, the foibles of the famous, and science fiction — animate these pages, but he offers just as many surprises, including a critique of Coke and a spirited defense of Salvador Dali. In closing A User’s Guide to the Millennium, Ballard gives a fascinating account of his childhood years in a Japanese internment camp near Shanghai during World War II, where he was ”happiest and most at home.” These are timeless, often prescient millennial meditations. A

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