Crash (J. G. Ballard novel)
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Cover of first edition (hardcover)
|Author(s)||J. G. Ballard|
|Genre(s)||Novel, Transgressive fiction|
|Publication date||June 1973|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover & Paperback)|
|LC Classification||PZ4.B1893 Cp PR6052.A46|
|Preceded by||The Atrocity Exhibition|
|Followed by||Concrete Island|
Crash is a novel by English author J. G. Ballard, first published in 1973. It is a story about symphorophilia or car-crash sexual fetishism: its protagonists become sexually aroused by staging and participating in real car-crashes.
It was a highly controversial novel: famously one publisher's reader returned the verdict "This author is beyond psychiatric help. Do Not Publish!" The novel was made into a movie of the same name in 1996 by David Cronenberg. An earlier, apparently unauthorized adaptation called Nightmare Angel was filmed in 1986 by Susan Emerling and Zoe Beloff. This short film bears the credit "Inspired by J.G. Ballard."
Plot summary 
The story is told through the eyes of narrator James Ballard, named after the author himself, but it centers on the sinister figure of Dr. Robert Vaughan, a “former TV-scientist, turned nightmare angel of the expressways”. Ballard meets Vaughan after being involved in a car accident himself near London Airport. Gathering around Vaughan is a group of alienated people, all of them former crash-victims, who follow him in his pursuit to re-enact the crashes of celebrities, and experience what the narrator calls "a new sexuality, born from a perverse technology". Vaughan’s ultimate fantasy is to die in a head-on collision with movie star Elizabeth Taylor.
References in popular music 
The Normal's 1978 song "Warm Leatherette" was inspired by the novel, as was "Miss the Girl," a 1983 single by The Creatures. Gary Numan's hit "Cars" was also inspired by this book. The Manic Street Preachers' song "Mausoleum" from 1994's The Holy Bible contains the famous Ballard quote about his reasons for writing the book.
The singer Glenn Danzig sings about this in his band Samhain's song "Kiss Of Steel" on the album "November-Coming-Fire"
- Lars Svendsen, A Philosophy of Boredom, trans. John Irons (London: Reaktion Books, 2005), 82.
- Taylor, Brett (Oct/Nov 2009). "The Forgotten Crash: Nightmare Angel". Video Watchdog (152): 12–16.
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