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Author J.G. Ballard dies, age 78

AUTHOR J.G. Ballard, a survivor of a Japanese prison camp in Shanghai who reached a wide audience with the autobiographical "Empire Of The Sun," died on Sunday, his agent said. He was 78.

Ballard was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2006. He had been ill "for several years" and died in London at the home of his long-term partner, his agent Margaret Hanbury said.

Ballard was born in Shanghai and was interned here in a prison camp by Japanese troops in 1941 - which he drew upon in his 1984 novel "Empire of The Sun," adapted as a film by Steven Spielberg.

Known for his dystopian narratives, Ballard was also admired by such rock bands as Radiohead and Joy Division and by songwriter-producer Trevor Horn, who said Ballard's short story "The Sound-Sweep" inspired the Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star."

Ballard's 1973 novel "Crash," which explored contentious themes about people who derive sexual pleasure from car accidents, was also made into a film, by David Cronenberg in 1996.

Ballard would eventually be deemed worthy of his own adjective, "Ballardian," defined by the Collins English Dictionary as "resembling or suggestive of the conditions described in Ballard's novels and stories, esp. dystopian modernity, bleak man-made landscapes and the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments."

The writer moved to Britain in 1946, where he lived until his death.


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