Friday, April 24, 2009

A Ballard Bibliomancy

A bibliomancy, in case you haven't previously encountered the concept, is an act of divination.  You take a book, usually your preferred sacred text (the Bible, the Bhagavad Gita, the Koran), let it fall open to a random page, and then, eyes closed) place your finer on the page.  After which you read the discovered passage and act accordingly.  Most major religions forbid divination, of course, but bibliomancy falls into a grey area because it's employed used by the devout looking for moral guidance at a time of difficulty.

On a less exalted level, in memory of J. G. Ballard, I decided to perform a bibliomancy using a collection  of his interviews (J. G. Ballard Conversations, edited by V. Vale, RE/Search Publications).  With only the proviso that if my finger fell on something the interviewer said, I could try again, here are the first ten randomly-chosen sentences:

1.  I think realist fiction has shot its bolt -- it just doesn't describe the world we live in anymore.

2.  The Internet is like that "Democracy Wall" in Peking ten years ago, where anybody can post up anything.

3.  Immediately I think of the cyberpunks of the mid-eighties like William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, who were attacking big corporations, brand names, etc.

4.  One of these footballers turned out to be a private pilot, and on some airstrip not far from here he's got a World War II British single-engine fighter, which is the fastest single-engine propeller-driven plane ever built.

5.  There's no parental discipline.

6.  These cameras are hooked up to a license-plate recognition system and if you want to enter the zone in your car, you have to pay five pounds.

7.  One can't help wondering that.

8.  Human subjects are being exploited in just the same way that, say, animal subjects are exploited in research laboratories testing the effects of cosmetics and all the reset of it.

9.  He has a big reputation in this country over here too.

10. We drive away from the coast, away from all the concrete and [can't read this word] and huge supermarkets, back into Provence, up into the hills.

Which at least shows us how articulate the man was.  I've been interviewed pretty often, and can testify how hard it is to come up with interesting answers to every question.

(That may not be "Provence" in the last quote, though.  My handwriting is really terrible.)


No comments: