April 15, 2014

J.G. Ballard For Kids Happened, And Should Happen Again


Techno-dystopian bears aren't just for Kubrick anymore. As this cartoon from Tom Gauld's 2013 book, You're All Just Jealous of My Jetpack shows.

I would totally kickstart a collection of J.G. Ballard-inspired Adventures of Ballard The Bear, though. I bet Ballard the Bear grows up amidst the privations of a Japanese prison camp in Shanghai would make a great movie. Spielberg's attached to direct.

Before you put Ballard on the shelf next to Cormac McCarthy's A Child's Golden Treasury of Tales from The Road, know that J.G. Ballard actually did write for kids, at least twice.

From Ballardian's roundup in 2008: In 1966, he wrote an episode for the BBC children's storybook show Jackanory, called "Gulliver in Space," which was only uncovered in 2007. [The fact, that is, not the episode itself, which appears to have been lost.] Apparently, Ballard took the gig because his kids were fans of the show.

Then in 1973, he worked on a kids book project, Next Rocket To The Moon, about an astronaut living at an abandoned Cape Canaveral. The project never happened, but the text exists in the Ballard archive somewhere.

Which, now that I mention it, is sounds like Jackanory was just a guy reading a story, maybe with pans across a commissioned illustration or two. Check out this crazy episode about the queen and tea, for example. Are we to understand that just because the BBC trashed their Jackanory archive, the "Gulliver in Space" manuscript is not in Ballard's papers somewhere? Because it should be. There's our Kickstarter project, people Right in front of us. Let's make this happen.

Buy You're All Just Jealous of My Jetpack: Cartoons by Tom Gauld at Amazon [amazon]
J.G. Ballard, you know, for kids [ballardian]

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