The late 19th century had Oscar Wilde to challenge its pieties. Our closest equivalent is British novelist J. G. Ballard, iconoclastic author of...

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The late 19th century had Oscar Wilde to challenge its pieties. Our closest equivalent is British novelist J.G. Ballard, iconoclastic author of “Crash,” “High Rise” and “Empire of the Sun.”

There could be no better introduction to Ballard’s subversive mind than “J.G. Ballard Quotes” (RE/Search, 416 pp., $19.99, www.researchpubs.com), a book of thoughts and quips, drawn from Ballard’s fiction, essays and interview comments, chosen by V. Vale — founder of RE/Search magazine — in collaboration with Ballard devotee Mike Ryan. The topics range from “Death of Reality” to “Gated Communities” to “Parenting.” The sampling below gives a flavor of the man.

• “Art exists because reality is neither real nor significant.”

• “The ultimate gated community is a human being with a closed mind.”

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• “Sex times technology equals the future.”

And to sum up: “Freedom has no barcode.”

RE/Search isn’t stopping at Ballard quotes. Next month, editor Vale will bring out “J.G. Ballard Conversations” ($19.99), 358 pages of Ballard holding forth on dreams, drugs, television, infantilization and many other topics.

Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times book critic