J G Ballard on Alien and H R Giger

leading from

"Zodiac 2000" and "Motel Architecture", and by the time that Alien came out, he was working on

Island of the Dead (fifth version) by Arnold Böcklin

"David Cronenberg’s Alien — Novelization by J.G. Ballard"

David Cronenberg’s Alien — Novelization by J.G. Ballard)

HR Giger's Homage To Böcklin

HR Giger's homage to Arnold Böcklin's Island of the Dead

"Like Swiss surrealist H.R. Giger, Ballard sees the twentieth century as a horrible, post-nuclear mutation - the monstrous offspring of that "rough beast" that slouched - not to Bethlehem - but to Hiroshima to be born.

d) See also: Alien vs Shivers vs High-Rise and Alien vs High-Rise

  1. J G Ballard:

  2. Googletranslation:
    What's your
    relationship with the Literature of Science Fiction? What are your favorite authors?
    HR Giger: Ballard, no doubt. Ballard of all! (Cinema SFX #9, Gennaio 1997)
  3. June 1988)
  4. David Pringle: Good stuff, Dom. Here's another quote for you... Ballard wrote to me on 26 February 1984, in reply to a query I'd made about a rumour I'd heard, namely that he'd been offered the job of novelizing _Alien_:

    "You're quite right about my being offered the novelization of Alien ‑‑ the shooting of the film had just been completed, at Shepperton I think, but someone brought the script over from New York. I knew nothing about the film, which I was never shown, and when I read the script I liked it even less. It struck me as an unoriginal horror movie with almost no connection with sf. They offered me $20,000 but it was surprisingly easy to turn down ‑‑ the film is very glossy, but empty at its centre. Anyway, my experiences with Hammer had put me off sf movies ‑‑ bad enough without having to novelize them, though I wouldn't mind doing the novelization of Alphaville, or even Huston's Moby Dick or Hawks's Big Sleep (Welles's Macbeth would pose some problems)."
    (e-mail sent to the JG Ballard forum at Yahoogroups in response to Wmmvrrvrrmm's post about this page here, 12th June 2014) 
  5. On page 5 of Interzone 70 we announced a competition for the best short extract from an imaginary novelization of the science-fiction movie Alien as it might have been written by leading British novelist J.G. Ballard. The prize is a copy of the new edition of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (ed. Clute & Nicholls), kindly provided by publishers Little Brown/Orbit. The response, for what was quite a demanding competition, pleased us: over a dozen good entries were received. The clear winner, however, was Lyle Hopwood, who performed a clever double-twist: she not only reimagined the novelization as having been written by Ballard (rather than Alan Dean Foster), but she reimagined the film itself as having been directed by David Cronenberg (rather than Ridley Scott).(Interzone 75, September 1993)
  6. JG Ballard: The dominant image people still have of science fiction is that provided by visual sources. This is the sad thing: it's still Star Trek, Star Wars, Alien and so on ... But I can now look back over 25 years and see that the climate has changed. Everyone doesn't automatically think of SF as being nothing but Star Wars; there's a small percentage who have realised that it's capable of producing a genuine speculative fiction about the present day. This is as you'd expect: so many mainstream writers have gone into SF -- Anthony Burgess, Kingsley Amis, William Burroughs, Doris Lessing -- that I think people are gradually beginning to realise that the sort of freedoms available to, let's say, Huxley and Orwell and Wells are available to writers now, and that one doesn't have to write within the narrow format of fifties American SF; that SF isn't just Heinlein and Asimov and Poul Anderson. ( vector96_magazine, 1979_january)
  7. Roger Luckhurst: The team had finally come together. Alien was shot in sixteen weeks at Shepperton Studios, west of London, between July and October 1978, on the sound stages where Star Wars and Superman had been filmed. It is the town where science-fiction writer J G Ballard lived, then at work on the feverish fantasy of The Unlimited Dream Company (1979) which turns Shepperton into a weird zone of eroticism and death, and just beyond the tangle of roads that featured in Ballard's piece of sex-and-death provocations, Crash (1973). (Alien( BFI film classics))
  8. Wmmvrrvrrmm: Just noticing that a reference to Ballard living in Shepperton at the time of Alien’s filming managed to get into the BFI book about Alien. 
I wonder if this BFI book author read my blog.
Then author mentions that Ballard would have been feverishly writing his Unlimited Dream Company in 1978
    David Pringle:
    Thanks for that, Dom.
According to the manuscript held (anomalously) at the University of Texas, Ballard completed his second draft of _The Unlimited Dream Company_ (341 typescript pages) in March 1978.
So I doubt he was still "feverishly writing" the book when he was approached to do a possible novelization of _Alien_.
 According to what Wikipedia has to tell us, _Alien_ was filmed over 14 weeks from 5 July to 21 October 1978. Principal photography took place at Shepperton Studios, while model and miniature work was done 30 miles away at Bray Studios. ... Editing and post production work on the film took roughly 20 weeks to complete.
    David Pringle:
    The book that JGB was actually engaged in writing while _Alien_ was shooting and in post-production, was _Hello America_.
    And to be fair to Professor Luckhurst, I should add that he said "It is the town where science fiction author J G Ballard lived, then at work on the feverish fantasy of the Unlimited Dream Company” rather than my misreading that "he was feverishly working",  but still it was the wrong book

    David Pringle:
     On second thoughts, no, I'm wrong about this. Sorry. I was getting confused between 1978 and 1979. JGB didn't start writing _Hello America_ until 1979. He was writing it when I interviewed him in June of that year. So at the time of filming of _Alien_ he was in a period between novels -- and writing the occasional short story (e.g. "Zodiac 2000" and "Motel Architecture"). (jgh@yahoogroups.com,4th April 2015)

No comments:

Post a Comment