Simon Sellars is a writer and editor based in Melbourne, Australia. He’s the author of the cult ‘theory-fiction’ book, Applied Ballardianism: Memoir from A Parallel Universe (Urbanomic, 2018), and the co-editor of Extreme Metaphors: Interviews with J.G. Ballard (Fourth Estate, 2012), a Guardian Book of the Year.
Praise for Applied Ballardianism:
A brilliantly written genre mashup, a wonderfully original mix of cultural theory, literary exegesis, travelogue and psychopathological memoir.
—PD Smith, The Guardian
At first, Simon Sellars appears to be a character in a JG Ballard novel. Then Ballard appears to be a character in a Simon Sellars novel. Then not just the characters but the whole setting and ambience appear to be at once Ballardian and Sellarsian. Then you finish the book and you seem to be a character in a novel the two of them conspired to write. And your perception of the world is never the same again.
—McKenzie Wark, author of A Hacker Manifesto, Gamer Theory and Telesthesia
An intensely worked and engaged encounter. I admired the persistence, “honesty”, and elective madness. The storms carried me through, all the way.
—Iain Sinclair, author of London Orbital, Ghost Milk and more
Applied Ballardianism is an astonishing book, part fictionalized hallucinatory memoir, part essential Ballard primer, all written in the style of the great man himself. Whether you’re new to JG Ballard or a lifelong fan, this is a thrilling read, cut through with equal parts black humor, cultural insight, and existential horror.
—Tim Maughan, author of Infinite Detail
A curious, unsettling text, full of weird obsessions and mysterious drives. Gleefully, on page after page, it tears up the conventions of literary criticism, autobiography, and fiction and spits them out the other side.
—Robert Barry, The Quietus
In Applied Ballardianism, Simon Sellars has invented a genre all his own. But what is it, exactly? Postmodern autopathography? Rough Guide to the Desert of the Real? Notes toward a mental breakdown? The missing link between Ballard and Virilio, psychogeography and edgeland studies, Mad Max and Videodrome? One thing is certain: Applied Ballardianism is the only book you’ll need when you’re marooned on a concrete island, barricaded in a high rise that’s descending into anarchy, or cast away on some Enewetak of the unconscious.
—Mark Dery, author of I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts: Drive-By Essays on American Dread, American Dreams
Along with its catalogue of wild guesses and errant interpretations, Applied Ballardianism provides a kind of screwball historiography of Ballard scholarship, with Sellars frantically dropping in on conferences and academic papers, taking the temperature of this year’s Ballard scholia, becoming increasingly depressed and disoriented by what he finds.
—Brendon Gillott, Minor Literatures
As its subtitle suggest, Simon Sellars’ Applied Ballardianism is a strange sort of personal memoir that refracts the author’s life through the lens of J.G. Ballard’s characteristic preoccupations. Applied Ballardianism is, obviously, not an academic study, but it is a compelling and illuminating glimpse into a life governed by ‘the utter impenetrability of Ballardian discourse’. It is very well-written, engaging even in its most painful moments of authorial self-revelation.
—Rob Latham, Science Fiction Studies
Written as an unflinching and self-critical semi-fictional autobiography, Sellars’ account and narrative voice reminded me more than a little of Dostoevsky’s self-hating narrator in Notes from the Underground. It’s the story of a man afflicted with symptoms of a disease we don’t yet have a name for, or the side-effects of a treatment we don’t yet have in our particular universe.
—Kate Sherrod, Skiffy and Fanty
Applied Ballardianism is an almost apocalyptic novel, occupied by paranoiacs, uncaring machines, technological ghosts, dream realities, micronations and mysterious thugs. Flickering between pastiche and collage, the world becomes violently and endlessly interconnected. This is what Sellars has done so well. He has created a perverse legitimacy in these moments, and curated these analyses so well that you might begin to believe them.
—Mike Corrao, Entropy
A rather unique book that veers between false autobiography, gonzo travel reportage and the altogether bizarre. Metafiction, literary criticism and archaeology, fictional memoir involving encounters with telepaths, violence on a worldwide scale, UFO sightings, this is a fever dream masquerading as a volume of strictly non-academic ramblings and between the lines discoveries.
—Maxim Jakubowski, To the Max