Extreme Metaphors on general release

The paperback edition of Extreme Metaphors goes on sale on the 30 January, with a new cover, new design from the in-house HarperCollins team, and a rather enticing price-tag. Here’s what some of the reviewers had to say about it:

Extreme Metaphors Ballard prerelease cover

Extreme Metaphors. J.G. Ballard. prerelease cover

Extreme Metaphors is such an absorbing read. Just as the letters of certain writers – Keats, Wilde, Flaubert – have come to seem invaluable, unmissable parts of their oeuvres, so this collection of forty-odd bits of journalism can be enjoyed as a kind of protracted non-fiction novel”, Kevin Jackson, Literary Review

“Impeccably edited, the book serves as a valuable coda to one of the strangest and most haunted imaginations in English literature”  Ian Thomson, Books of the Year, Observer

“An illuminating and at times revelatory collection of more than 40 interviews given over 41 years” John Gray, New Statesman

“Several pieces are previously unpublished, or translated for the first time, and devotees will find plenty to enjoy” Andrew McKie, Spectator

“I will be very surprised if any novel this year gives me as much pleasure as this book. And I can guarantee (now that Ballard is dead) that no novel will contain so many provocative, intriguing and visionary ideas” Julian Gough, Irish Times


The Economist explains: What is skeuomorphism?

The Economist explains: What is skeuomorphism?

The Economist explains: What is skeuomorphism?

The Economist features my work on skeuomorphism today: the article is here.

Following the BBC’s article a couple of weeks ago, it’s good to see another substantial and critical mainstream analysis. I’m flattered that The Economist features my work so heavily, and even links to my last paper on the topic. Nonetheless, the debate still has to break away from the superficial before any real progress can be made. As the article notes, Apple’s new iOS7 aims “to ditch this sort of thing [skeuomorphism] in favour of an approach that arises more directly from the capabilities of hardware and software” – yet that’s exactly the point at which one could expect to see true skeuomorphs emerging.

What Apple are really ditching is a human design choice: the use of verisimilitude as a point of affordance. What they’re most definitely not ditching, or even demonstrating any awareness of, is the long-term interplay of obsolescence and cultural mimicry that drives technological evolution.




BBC News – What is skeuomorphism?

BBC News Magazine - What is skeuomorphism?

BBC News Magazine – What is skeuomorphism?

I spoke to BBC News Magazine about skeuomorphism: the article’s here. It’s quite a nice overview, and at least avoids Techcrunch’s current conclusion that the opposite of skeuomorph = ‘flat’.

If you’re interested in the more scholarly side of skeuomorphism, I’ve put an open access version of the paper I wrote for the Cologne Institute of Advanced Studies journal ‘Morphomata’ here: “Skeuomorphology and Quotation”.


CHI2013: The Future Robot Enslavement of Humankind

Partly inspired by Ruairi Robinson‘s excellent short Blinky TM, which I saw at the Rio Short Film Festival in 2011, I’ve co-authored a paper with Shaun Lawson, Conor Linehan and Ben Kirman from the Lincoln Social Computing Research Centre at Lincoln University, being given tomorrow at ACM CHI2013: Changing Perspectives in Paris (3-letter code ANS).

from Ruairi Robinson’s BlinkyTM

The Sinister Tech Research tumblr nails it. If you’re in Paris, come along. Your presence won’t change anything – the future still belongs to robots. But at least you’ll know why.

Edit, 2.5.2013: the slides are now available here, and the full paper can be downloaded here.


Interview with Imperica

Dan O'Hara Imperica

Dan O’Hara at the Virtual Futures salon, TROVE Birmingham, 24.10.12

There’s a lengthy and admittedly dense interview with me on Imperica today, covering the recent J. G. Ballard interviews volume I edited with Simon Sellars, Extreme Metaphors; the new edition of the 1995 glitchcyberpunkphilosophy classic Cyberpositive; and the dismally dim commercial colonialization of the virtual that is currently trading under the moniker ‘new aesthetic’.