Join 3,375 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Crash covers
January 19, 2011 11:32 AM   Subscribe

A collection of covers from different editions of Crash. Includes some commentary by JG Ballard.
posted by Dim Siawns (26 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
The Michael Ian Kaye and Melissa Hayden one is the best by far. I saw it in a book store and bought it, even though I already owned a copy with the Spader / Hunter still (though it serendipitously ended up playing a fortuitous part in a courtship I was undertaking at the time, I got it just for the cover, the only time I have bought a book for its cover).
posted by idiopath at 11:44 AM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Man, the second the preview editions of that book came out, every reviewer on this planet was busy crafting their own way to figure "autoerotic" into their review.

Also, this is where I tell my Crash-at-the-theater story:

I was going to see a showing of Crash at MoMA a few years ago. The line was pretty long and full of all sorts of people: tourists, hipsters, regular people, and for some reason a whole bunch of old people. And not, like, fancy rich UES museum-going old-people, with their pearls and nice pants. Just plain ole' old folks. Not the types I would ever associate with digging on Ballard or Cronenberg. And there was considerably more of them than I'd ever seen at a theater. It was a 2 PM showing so I figure hey, whatever.

So, we get in and the credit ends and the movie starts. And there's Deborah Kara Unger being fucked against an airplane in the most awesomely antiseptic sex scene ever. What do the old people do? They start leaving in droves. Like, at least a good third of the theater emptied out.

Guess who didn't pay attention to which Crash they were going to?
posted by griphus at 11:44 AM on January 19, 2011 [10 favorites]


the only time I have bought a book for its cover

I could count on, like, 175 hands, the number of times I've bought a book for its cover.
posted by kingbenny at 11:45 AM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I imprinted on the 1985 Vintage edition. (On the left here.) So I'm partial to that.

But nothing beats this cover to High-Rise.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:46 AM on January 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


I could count on, like, 175 hands, the number of times I've bought a book for its cover.

875 copies of Twilight is still one book.

...just something about that apple...
posted by griphus at 11:49 AM on January 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


The only book I ever bought for its cover was Robert Heinlein's Friday.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:50 AM on January 19, 2011


Like, at least a good third of the theater emptied out.

It's like 75$ for a MoMa membership and the screening are free for members, so retiree's probably go to every film. Hell of a deal.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:03 PM on January 19, 2011


The cover I've got doesn't seem to be represented there.
posted by kenko at 12:05 PM on January 19, 2011


So, we get in and the credit ends and the movie starts. And there's Deborah Kara Unger being fucked against an airplane in the most awesomely antiseptic sex scene ever.

Maybe it's the antiseptic part that did me in. I see Crash (the movie) as the movie where I stopped paying attention to Cronenberg films. If anyone should be able to do disjointed unhealthy sexual situations it's him, but then sex in his movies tends to be kind of messy, slimy, hairy, pulsating and swelling, even with the vcr in videodrome, not chromed up and antiseptic. I thought Crash was sort of emotionally predictable and kind of dull, and the sex was dull too.

\derail

the only ballard i've read was the Drowned World, which i enjoyed for it's boozy prose, but after awhile i just felt like i was trapped with a boring counterculture drunk. unfortunately, the selection of ballard at the local library is somehow quite limited... why would that be?
posted by ennui.bz at 12:09 PM on January 19, 2011


That 1985 Marsh cover is so...so...OMNI.
posted by sourwookie at 12:22 PM on January 19, 2011


I dunno.. I thought the scene of Ballard fucking his wife from behind while she very detachedly talks sex in very clinical terms was pretty damn hot. As well as the first sex scene between Holly Hunter and Spader in the front seat of the wrecked car.
posted by ReeMonster at 12:26 PM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Guess who didn't pay attention to which Crash they were going to?

Heh. That just made my day.
posted by Artw at 12:27 PM on January 19, 2011


Is there a term for the phenomenon in which the cover of a book that's been adapted for the screen acquires a chronic infection of the likenesses of the actors, forever altered? Because if not, there should be.
posted by Rhomboid at 12:33 PM on January 19, 2011


/derail My Crash story is that I was sitting through it sort of awkwardly with friends, and we got through it okay until the scene where Spader is fucking his wife and Spader has some line about the SVU character's penis being 'full of scars.' Then the massive gigglefest began.
posted by angrycat at 12:43 PM on January 19, 2011


Has anyone actually ever finished this novel? I mean, actually read it all, and not let your eyes get all glazy through the weird parts? Followup question: what the fuck? What is this I don't even know

I mean, I've read Dhalgren, though it took me a few tries to get started. But Crash remains opaque to me. I once got about 2/3rds the way through. My last book cull I sent it off to the used bookstore to consternate someone else.
posted by clvrmnky at 12:50 PM on January 19, 2011


What's the story behind genre fiction's covers?
posted by Artw at 12:54 PM on January 19, 2011


clvrmnky, Ballard sometimes intends that effect and Crash is probably the penultimate example. During that period he was obsessed with the idea of desensitization, that humans can get used to and tolerate nearly anything however horrible. He used to read the reports of crash testing research -- which inspired a lot of Crash the novel, as well as his infamous The Atrocity Exhibition and it's more infamous chapter Why I Want to Fuck Ronald Reagan. Thousands and thousands of pages of there was a shattered femur and a forcible translocation of the third vertebra resulting in paralysis and so on, on and on and on in very clinical detail that had to be written by someone and was obviously written to be read by someone. Or at least someone other than Ballard, who was trolling for inspiration by reading it.

The first Ballard novel I made it all the way through in a single uninterrupted pass was High Rise. Once you get what he's doing the others get easier.
posted by localroger at 1:01 PM on January 19, 2011


Yeah, I read Crash and it is a sort of endurance test in a way. It's much more challenging and rewarding than the film, but there are parts that are just a bitter slog through fields of evulsed limbs and cranial fractures and broken windows and smelly people and dicks and stuff.
posted by Mister_A at 1:14 PM on January 19, 2011


Crossed-wires discovery of the day: J.G. BallardRobert Ballard
posted by bicyclefish at 1:25 PM on January 19, 2011


and for some reason a whole bunch of old people.

Strangely enough, the I've seen the last several major releases by David Lynch in the theaters, and each one looked like a party for the old folks, especially Mullholland Drive. Goes to show you never can tell.
posted by .kobayashi. at 2:04 PM on January 19, 2011


shit I would not want to see Mullholland Drive with old people
posted by angrycat at 2:30 PM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Man, I saw the movie of this when it came out and when I drove home all the other cars had A LOT OF PERSONALITY and they were all talking to my deep limbic system somehow.
posted by rmd1023 at 2:37 PM on January 19, 2011


Mister_A: "but there are parts that are just a bitter slog through fields of evulsed limbs and cranial fractures and broken windows and smelly people and dicks and stuff"

That's the part I found most fascinating. I think there's far too much "transgressive" writing that tries so hard to show how far from reality it is, in a sort-of "Can you handle this, square?" mentality that it ends up being so over-the-top and ludicrous that it's laughable.

Whereas Ballard's starting point is that modern consumer culture is already so over-the-top and laughable that his car-crash fetishism isn't abnormal at all. Rather than shocking, I found the constant mixture of technology, anatomy, death, and sex to be, if not erotic, at least hypnotically appealing. You just can't escape it. Every time there's a clinical description of sexual acts and genitalia there's also a clinical description of the interior features of a car or its mechanical parts, and vice versa. Ballard's crystalline prose doesn't give weight to one or the other.

I think the successful part of Crash as transgressive fiction is that the constant and relentless conjunction of all the shattered femurs and vaginal secretions become less descriptions of transgressive acts, but transgressive acts themselves. That is, the prose itself becomes what Ballard calls a "deviant logic" and taps into whatever subconscious part of us that drives our consumer culture toward its perverse fetishism of technology.
posted by fryman at 3:33 PM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


My first exposure to Ballard was Empire of the Sun as a teenager. At some point I decided to read Crash, and it wasn't what I was expecting. Then I started reading Burroughs, and Crash and Ballard started to make some sense.
posted by shinyshiny at 4:19 PM on January 19, 2011


"I thought Crash was sort of emotionally predictable and kind of dull, and the sex was dull too. "

This is kind of the point Ballard is trying to make. Well, maybe not "dull" so much as "clinical" or "sterile." For all of his outre ideas and situations, he's a deeply humanistic thinker, if not a downright traditional Romantic is some regards. 200 years ago Wordsworth was bitching about the dehumanizing aspects of factories due to the industrial revolution, while Ballard is exploring how things are even worse now with a mass media co-opted by purely corporate interests.

He's one of my favorite authors with quite a range in tone and concern. His childhood semi-memoir of growing up in Shanghai and being captured by the Japanese imperial army in Empire of the Sun is good. His semi-memoir of his later life, The Comfort of Women, is amazing (including the sudden death of his first wife).

A good place to start is with a collection of his short stories, IMO. The ideas are big, but the portions are more bite-size.
posted by bardic at 8:25 PM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have the fetish-ey Allen Jones-esque one.

Ballard is such fun. I miss him.
posted by Decani at 6:01 AM on January 20, 2011


« Older Rock impresario Don Kirshner has died in Boca Rato...  |  The Origins of Oregon Trail... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments