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Terminal Beach

I feel like I enjoy Ballard latelybecause he is not American. He is a masterfulstoryteller with recurring themes that go through a lot of his work -- man returning to his awakened primordial identity, injury and recovery, going to meet your maker due to some sort of uncontrollable impulse. His stories are a delight. His characters, while strange and often a bit daft, are never helpless or hopeless. The ideas can be fantastical, -- as with the shortish story about a giant man who washes up on the beach and is dismembered by the townspeople as his corpse rots --or more plebian. He has a huge vocabulary that does not seem ostentatious and a lot of his stories seem to start with a very simple “what if” as in “what if the earth’s oceans dried up and almost everyone moved to remote planets? what if someone decided to stay behind.” His characters are often solitary but rarely lonely and have very rich internal lives, in any case. I loved this book from beginning to end and am looking forward to finding a copy of his new book of short stories which is 1,00 pageslong. He’s that good.