Last night I was looking around for a place to stream Alex Garland’s new(ish) series Devs in Canada, a strangely difficult thing unless I wanted to signed up for yet another streaming service. I don’t. Casting around for something else to watch, I came across High-Rise, a 2016 film by director Ben Wheatley based on the novel by J. G. Ballard. I have no intention of reviewing the film. If you are interested, Will Self has a good piece on it.
I started reading Ballard in the 1980s when I chanced across a collection called Terminal Beach. Terminal Beach remains my favorite Ballard short story. After that initial discovery, I snapped up all the Ballard I could find, usually editions with beautiful James Marsh covers. It was nice to be reminded of this author last night.
The typescript below is the first page of High-Rise with that frightening first line. I’m always fascinated by pages with an author’s marks. You can see more if you follow the link in the caption. Funnily enough, I read most of High-Rise on the sun-baked roof of a high rise in Toronto overlooking the airport. I am sure J.G would have approved.