8/101 Votes Alchetron
Country United Kingdom
Publication date 1971
Page count 192
Cover artist Richard M. Powers
Originally published 1971
Genre Science Fiction
Publisher Berkley Books
|Similar J G Ballard books, Science Fiction books|
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Vermilion Sands is a short-story collection by J. G. Ballard, first published in 1971. All the stories are set in an imaginary vacation resort called Vermilion Sands which suggests, among other places, Palm Springs in southern California. The characters are generally the wealthy and disaffected, or people who make a living off them, as well as parasites of various kinds.
In the preface, Ballard himself wrote: "Vermilion Sands has more than its full share of dreams and illusions, fears and fantasies, but the frame for them is less confining. I like to think, too, that it celebrates the neglected virtues of the glossy, lurid and bizarre."
A Times Literary Supplement review aptly describes the collection's surrealist mood : "J.G. Ballard is … one of the most accomplished creators of evocative landscapes in modern fiction … he achieves this effect partly by painting his desert in the manner of Dali, a mixture of appalling clarity and the exotic."
Vermilion Sands contains the following stories:
Each story concentrates on different media - in some cases more than one - and most of them focus on a particular innovative, usually rather decadent/baroque twist on an existing artistic medium. For instance:
Although the characters themselves often exhibit the same obsession, anomie and psychological disintegration typical of Ballard's characters, the emphasis on elaborate and sometimes humorously imagined art forms gives these stories a playfulness unusual in his other stories. A few other stories not set in Vermilion Sands are comparable because of their similar artistic games, especially "Sound-Sweep" (1960, on music/opera) and "Passport to Eternity" (1962, full of decadent trends and live fashions).