JG Ballard died at the weekend. If you only know him for 'Empire of the Sun', I recommend a deeper journey into his work; if you only know him for 'Crash' - a disturbing imagining of what happens to humans when they confuse (and fuse) their spiritual longing with material things, and which, when filmed by David Cronenberg gained him a kind of notoriety which I imagine was amusing, I recommend 'Empire of the Sun'. 'Empire' is one of the darkest and most troubling stories of war and childhood. Ballard was a serious writer who cared more than most about how technology is changing what it means to be human. If he never seemed to be the cheeriest of thinkers, it's because he felt life had been so trivialised by our particular forms of media that it deserved sustained attention from a position of gravity. Short introductory Guardian piece here.