Ballard's works were odd prophecies of days to come, his earliest dealing with ecological disaster and aftermath, and later with technological glimpses of a strange future. Mixing psychology and tribulation, he was nevertheless not writing with an attempt to frighten as much as educate and stimulate the mind. Whether the center of praise or controversy, his work never failed to make one think.
I still have an old hardcover copy of his first novel, The Drowned World, and it's one of my favorite books. I remember reading it around age 12 or 13, and being fascinated by the interplay of the characters as they slowly crumbled in the face of the world they were stuck in. It led to more than a few long sessions of thought, considering the implications of such a large-scale situation, and fueled my appreciation for the concept. The more of his work I read, the more I liked.
Yes, I'm saddened that he has died, but for two things. One, as he'd been ill for many years, I'm glad that he's been released from his pain and discomfort. Two, he'll never truly die as long as his stories live...and they'll always be alive in my mind.
James Graham Ballard, 1930-2009
"An architect of dreams, sometimes nightmares"