The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

J. G. Ballard’s Crash is a story of obsession and technological horror. The novel begins with an account of Robert Vaughan’s fiery, suicidal death in a car crash. Vaughan attempted to kill Elizabeth Taylor as well but missed her limousine and crashed into a bus full of airline passengers. The narrator then gives some of Vaughan’s background. He relates how Vaughan derived sexual pleasure from car crashes and how this eventually developed into his final destructive act. The narrator also explains that Vaughan developed car-crash scenarios with various celebrities.

The narrator then goes back to explain how he became involved with Vaughan and why he understands the latter’s obsession. The story begins with the narrator describing a car crash involving himself, a chemical engineer, and the engineer’s wife, Dr. Helen Remington. Helen’s husband dies instantly, and the narrator’s legs are injured severely. During his recovery, the narrator begins to be sexually aroused when he thinks about the accident. Catherine, the narrator’s wife, begins to take a renewed romantic interest in her husband after the crash.

After he is released from the hospital, the narrator becomes sexually involved with Helen. In a sign of his growing fascination with car crashes, the narrator finds that he cannot have successful intercourse unless he is in a car. During one of his sexual liaisons with Helen, the narrator becomes aware that Vaughan has...

(The entire section is 444 words.)