BALLARD, J.G. Crash. London: Jonathan Cape, 1973.
8vo., original blue boards, lettered in gilt to spine with publisher's device to foot; stylised dust jacket with wrap-around image designed by Bill Botten; pp. [vi], 7-224; spine tips lightly compressed; else a near-fine copy in very good dust jacket which is a touch sunned to the spine and lower panel; lightly creased to edges and along folds; the tiniest touch of discrete blue pen to restore head and foot of spine.
First edition. Adapted into film in 1996 by David Cronenberg, starring James Spader and Holly Hunter.
A highly controversial work, exploring the experiences of a group of car-crash fetishists who become sexually aroused by staging and participating in car accidents, inspired by the famous crashes of celebrities. Unsurpsingly, opinion was highly divided upon publication, with the New York Times writing "hands-down, the most repulsive book I've yet to come across" and another reviewer returning the verdict "This author is beyond psychiatric help. Do Not Publish!".
Ballard, however, wrote of his work: "Throughout Crash I have used the car not only as a sexual image, but as a total metaphor for man's life in today's society. As such the novel has a political role quite apart from its sexual content, but I would still like to think that Crash is the first pornographic novel based on technology. In a sense, pornography is the most political form of fiction, dealing with how we use and exploit each other in the most urgent and ruthless way. Needless to say, the ultimate role of Crash is cautionary, a warning against that brutal, erotic and overlit realm that beckons more and more persuasively to us from the margins of the technological landscape."