Time and Space in J. G. Ballard's Chronopolis

Ignazio Sanna


Time and space are two of the main features in Ballard’s fiction. They are also the main topic in this short story. In Chronopolis the measurement of time is forbidden. When the story’s main character, Newman, discovers the existence of clocks, he decides to defy the law to restore the previous condition. In doing so he moves from the city he used to live in to the old forsaken city. So, he moves both in time and space. He pursues the utopia of liberating time, and man, from the Orwellian prohibition of dealing with linear time. But he fails eventually, being imprisoned for having tried to break free from the State control of time. His crossing of the symbolic border between the new and the old city is a passage from a static, present time to a flowing linear time, not limited to the present. But the old Chronopolis in a sense has become a non-place, while the new one has been deprived of time, thus being characterized by non-time. Since these notions are represented by the terms, respectively, utopia and uchronia, ultimately this means a disappearing of Chronopolis on an imaginary Cartesian graph displaying it.


James Graham Ballard; Chronopolis; Chronotope; Time; Space; Science Fiction



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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13125/2039-6597/153

NBN: http://nbn.depositolegale.it/urn%3Anbn%3Ait%3Aunica-17578

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