Only a few pages in. Flashes of brilliance. He was a smart guy, this Ballard.
This is proving a challenging and thought-provoking read.
A couple of sentences I love:
- "They hung on the enamelled walls like the codes of insoluble dreams, the keys to a nightmare in which she had begun to play a more willing and calculated role."
- "For some reason the planes of his face failed to intersect, as if their true resolution took place in some as yet invisible dimension, or required elements other than those provided by his own character and musculature."
References to Hiroshima and Nagasaki are calling up memories of when I interviewed the only person to have witnessed the explosion of three atomic bombs: the Trinity test, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If you bumped into him on the streets of Moscow, Idaho, you'd find him a humble and unassuming elderly man, the kind of retired academic that litter small college towns. You might never know that as a student of Luis Alvarez he helped design the ultra-fast detonator used in the Nagasaki bomb. As a young reporter, I was a little intimidated to interview this kind of witness to real history, someone who likely had been interviewed by reporters better than me and been asked every question under the sun. So I started by asking him what he wanted to talk about that no one had ever asked him. It was a rather lazy question, and one I haven't used again, but in that moment he lit up. What he wanted to talk about was how he'd been looking for God in science -- looking in nature, evolution, biology, physics. As we progressed into the interview and talked about his work on the Manhattan Project, and how those who created such destructive forces justified what they were doing, it seemed maybe he needed to see God in his science so that he could believe what man had wrought was true and right and just.
7/6 I will pick this up again and finish it, but I'm a bit overwhelmed right now and need to de-clutter my "currently reading" list.