The Wind From Nowhere (1961) is JG Ballard’s first novel, not that you’d know it from official JGB bibliographies, where it’s never mentioned, or in interviews, where Ballard continues to assert that The Drowned World was his first book.
The wind from nowhere has gone back to nowhere.
In a 1975 interview with David Pringle, Ballard says: “I don’t see my fiction as being disaster-oriented, certainly not most of my SF – apart from The Wind from Nowhere which is just a piece of hackwork. The others, which are reasonably serious, are not disaster stories.”
The book does contain some ‘empty symbolism’, and the characters sometimes articulate overlong expositions, all a bit jarring from an author who was to bloom into the master of sparse, laser-sharp, all-killer-no-filler writing.
Still, it *is* Ballard; all the classic archetypes are in place, if a little sketchily (except for the ‘Vaughan’ figure) – the bitch-as-catalyst, especially – and it does have what must be the first truly classic JGB quote, one that ranks with the pearls collected in Vale’s RE/Search book, a quote that both presages future events and qualifies current ones.
A JGB ’soundbite’ as Mr Pringle calls them… On p112 of my Penguin edition, Ballard writes: “Remember, it’s not enough to make history – you’ve got to arrange for someone to record it for you.”