Of all of Ballard’s works, The Atrocity Exhibition (1970) has acquired a reputation for being the most difficult and the most inaccessible. Composed of fifteen short stories, or chapters, which coalesce by virtue of their very lack of narrative coherence, The Atrocity Exhibition defies the reader to make sense of its non-linear prose poetry, to dilate its textual compression, to fashion a pattern of meaning out of its dislocated and fragmented paragraphs, and to move between its desultory registers: snapshots of post-war history, pornography, violence, technology, sex and death, which impact upon one another at harsh and acutely disorientating angles. Since its opprobrious appearance on the literary scene, a culture of anxiety has subsequently arisen around the act of reading Ballard’s enigmatic fiction: ‘How is one to approach this object, this text, or texts’ asked one critic ‘How to determine this new, condensed space?’1