Read J.G. Ballard's Tongue-In-Cheek Autobiography

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Now that J.G. Ballard is gone, people are realizing just what a breathtaking storytelling mind we've lost. Luckily, two Ballard short stories are online, and one of them is his autobiography. Sort of.

The indispensible Free Speculative Fiction Online site just posted links to two Ballard stories: One, "The Dying Fall," is about the Leaning Tower Of Pisa collapsing, and it originally appeared in Interzone in 1996, and was reprinted in the Guardian newspaper. It's savagely solipsistic, one man's self-centered interpretation of a huge disaster, and it has a nice sting at the end.

The other one, "The Autobiography of J.G.B.," is a sly trick, since it's not at all autobiographical as far as I can tell. It's the story of a man who wakes up one day to find that all the other people are gone, along with the dogs and cats. And unlike the protagonists of every other "last man" stories, he actually winds up feeling pretty okay about it. Being the only surviving human (as far as he can tell) turns out to be sort of a cushy gig, except that it leaves him with mysterious work to do — which we never learn the nature of.