It's going to take me quite a while to work my way through this more than 1,000-page collection.
Dec. 4, 2009 - Read "The Overloaded Man" last night. A prescient story about a man who can no longer face the demands of society and starts deconstructing and "turning off" his perception of every day objects. In the end, he disconnects from humanity, his wife and his own body. It struck me that while published in 1961, this story could have been written about the current Information Age we're living in and how we're all on sensory, information overload, and how we're all becoming fragmented and disconnected from other people because of it. I'll have to seek out some more recent interviews with Ballard and see if he expressed his thoughts on the Internet and its effect on modern Western society.
Dec. 5, 2009 - "The Intensive Care Unit" Wow. An amazing little story from 1977 that launches Ballard onto my personal list of Greatest SF Writers Ever. Even the title works on multiple levels. More disconnection, more characters dehumanized by technology and left unable to cope with personal interaction after a lifetime of sterile contact through television screens.
"Prima Belladonna" Beautiful imagery, even while it should be a bit creepy (e.g., insects for eyes). I love the idea of singing plants. This early story is much more organic than anything else of his I've read thus far. I like it.
Dec. 30, 2009 - "Escapement" The time loop is a classic science fiction trope, but I love that this one happens while the main character is watching television. He essentially becomes trapped in his own living room, alone in a four-dimensional world that is rapidly shrinking and collapsing in upon itself. The theme of disconnection as a consequence of technology beginning to emerge?