Empire of the Sun

Empire of the Sun is a 1984 novel by English writer J. G. Ballard; it was awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.[2] Like Ballard's earlier short story "The Dead Time" (published in the anthology Myths of the Near Future), it is essentially fiction but draws extensively on Ballard's experiences in World War II. The name of the novel is derived from the etymology of the name for Japan.

Ballard later wrote of his experiences in China as a boy and the making of the film of the same name in his autobiography Miracles of Life.

Empire of the Sun
Cover of the first edition (hardback)
AuthorJ. G. Ballard
Cover artistPat Doyle[1]
CountryUnited Kingdom
GenreAutobiographical, War
Publication date
13 September 1984
Media typePrint (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages278 pp (first edition, hardback)
ISBN0-575-03483-1 (first edition, hardback)
LC ClassPR6052.A46 E45x 1984b
Followed byThe Kindness of Women 


The novel recounts the story of a young British boy, Jamie Graham (named after Ballard's two first names, "James Graham"), who lives with his parents in Shanghai. After the Pearl Harbor attack, Japan occupies the Shanghai International Settlement, and in the following chaos Jim becomes separated from his parents.

He spends some time in abandoned mansions, living on remnants of packaged food. Having exhausted the food supplies, he decides to try to surrender to the Imperial Japanese Army. After many attempts, he finally succeeds and is interned in the Lunghua Civilian Assembly Center.

Although the Japanese are "officially" the enemies, Jim identifies partly with them, both because he adores the pilots with their splendid machines and because he feels that Lunghua is still a comparatively safer place for him.

Towards the end of the war, with the Japanese army collapsing, the food supply runs short. Jim barely survives, with people around him starving to death. The camp prisoners are forced upon a march to Nantao, with many dying along the route. Jim then leaves the march and is saved from starvation by air drops from American bombers. Jim returns to Lunghua camp and finds Dr. Ransome there, soon returning to his pre-war residence with his parents.

Film adaptation

The book was adapted by Tom Stoppard in 1987.[3] The screenplay was filmed by Steven Spielberg, to critical acclaim, being nominated for six Oscars[4] and winning three British Academy Awards (for cinematography, music and sound). It starred a then 13-year-old Christian Bale,[5] as well as John Malkovich and Miranda Richardson; it also featured an appearance by a 21-year-old Ben Stiller, in a dramatic role.


  1. ^ Modern first editions - a set on Flickr
  2. ^ Bruce Weber (April 21, 2009). "J.G. Ballard, Empire of the Sun Author, Dies at 78". The New York Times. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  3. ^ Janet Maslin (December 9, 1987). "Spielberg's Empire of The Sun". The New York Times. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  4. ^ Meriah Doty (July 27, 2012). "Christian Bale's first major film role: 'Empire of the Sun'". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved May 26, 2015.
  5. ^ Sharon Knolle (December 4, 2012). "'Empire Of The Sun' Cast: Where Are They Now?". The Moviefone Blog. Retrieved May 26, 2015.


  • Rossi, Umberto (2008). "Mind is the Battlefield: Reading Ballard's 'Life Trilogy' as War Literature". In J. Baxter. J.G. Ballard, Contemporary Critical Perspectives. London: Continuum. pp. 66–77.

External links

42nd British Academy Film Awards

The 42nd British Film Awards, given by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in 1989, honoured the best films of 1988.

Jeremy Thomas' and Bernardo Bertolucci's The Last Emperor won the award for Best Film.

ARIA Music Awards of 2009

The 23rd Annual Australian Recording Industry Association Music Awards (generally known as ARIA Music Awards or simply The ARIAs) took place on 26 November 2009 at the Acer Arena at the Sydney Olympic Park complex. The ceremony was telecast on the Nine Network at 8:30pm that night. The nominees for all categories were announced on 8 October, with the winners of the Fine Arts Awards and Artisan Awards announced on 10 November. Biggest winners for the year were Empire of the Sun which collected a total of seven awards.The ARIA Hall of Fame inducted: Kev Carmody, The Dingoes, Little Pattie, Mental As Anything and John Paul Young.

Alive (Empire of the Sun song)

"Alive" is a song by Australian electronic music duo Empire of the Sun. It was released on 15 April 2013 as the lead single from their second studio album, Ice on the Dune, released on 14 June 2013. It is one of the band's most known songs as it has been used and remixed all over the world.

The single was certified platinum both by the Australian Recording Industry Association and the Federation of the Italian Music Industry. It is also featured in the football video game FIFA 14.


Astralwerks is an American record label primarily focused on electronic and dance music, owned by Universal Music Group. Its material is distributed via Capitol Music Group, and releases materials mostly from EMI Music Australia. Some of the label's most popular recent releases have come from The Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim, Kraftwerk, deadmau5, Mat Zo, Porter Robinson, Empire of the Sun, Nervo, Mop, Scratte, and Halsey.Astralwerks was founded as an imprint of Caroline Records in 1993. Later in 1993, Caroline parent company Virgin Records was acquired by Thorn EMI and Astralwerks became an imprint of Virgin. Capitol Records and Virgin Records America were merged in 2007 to create Capitol Music Group after a massive restructuring of EMI Group Ltd.Below is an overview of the artists who released material on Astralwerks. A number of the acts listed below are only distributed by Astralwerks, as it licenses a number of European acts for the US market.

Empire of the Sun (band)

Empire of the Sun are an Australian electronic music duo from Sydney, formed in 2007. The duo is a collaboration between Luke Steele, of alternative rock band The Sleepy Jackson, and Nick Littlemore, of electronic dance band Pnau.Empire of the Sun's 2008 debut album, Walking on a Dream, brought the duo international success and has been certified double platinum in Australia and gold in the United Kingdom. The album provided a number of internationally charting singles including "Walking on a Dream", which peaked at number ten on the Australian ARIA Singles Chart and reached number sixty four on the UK Singles Chart, and "We Are the People", which peaked at number fourteen on the UK Singles Chart. The band's second album, Ice on the Dune, was released in June 2013, preceded by lead single "Alive" on 16 April. The band are signed to EMI Music Australia/Virgin. As a live band, they have performed internationally and are known for their flamboyant appearance and elaborate stage sets.The duo have won a number of Australian music awards, with Walking on a Dream receiving 11 nominations at the ARIA Music Awards of 2009, winning seven, including Album of the Year.

Empire of the Sun (film)

Empire of the Sun is a 1987 American epic coming-of-age war film based on J. G. Ballard's semi-autobiographical novel of the same name. It was directed by Steven Spielberg and stars Christian Bale, John Malkovich, Miranda Richardson and Nigel Havers. The film tells the story of Jamie "Jim" Graham, a young boy who goes from living in a wealthy British family in Shanghai, to becoming a prisoner of war in a Japanese internment camp, during World War II.

Harold Becker and David Lean were originally to direct before Spielberg came on board, initially as a producer for Lean. Spielberg was attracted to directing the film because of a personal connection to Lean's films and World War II topics. He considers it to be his most profound work on "the loss of innocence". The film received positive reviews but was not initially a box office success, earning only $22,238,696 at the US box office, but it eventually more than recouped its budget through revenues in other markets.

Empire of the Sun (soundtrack)

Empire of the Sun is the soundtrack, on Warner Bros. Records, of the 1987 film Empire of the Sun, directed by Steven Spielberg. The original score was composed by John Williams and recorded in September-October 1987.

The album is a 54-minute selection of music from Empire of the Sun. The order of the track listing does not follow the chronology of the film.

The album won the BAFTA Award for Best Film Music. It was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Score, the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score and the Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media.

A version of the track "Jim's New Life," performed by the Boston Pops Orchestra, was included on the 1995 album Williams on Williams: The Classic Spielberg Scores. A Boston Pops Orchestra version of "Cadillac of the Skies" is on Disc One of the 1999 double album John Williams Greatest Hits 1969–1999.

A limited edition, 2-disc edition of the Empire of the Sun soundtrack, produced and remastered by Mike Matessino, was released by La-La Land Records in 2014. This edition of the soundtrack runs twice as long as the original album. The first disc contains a full presentation of the film score (in chronological order, and including never-before-released music), and the second disc features a selection of alternate cues and other additional music.

Ice on the Dune

Ice on the Dune is the second studio album by Australian electronic music duo Empire of the Sun. It was released on 14 June 2013 by Capitol Records. The album was met with generally positive reviews from music critics, with many commenting on the progression of the group's sound from their debut album.

A trailer for the album debuted on 11 March 2013; it was produced by Kelvin Optical, a production division of Bad Robot, and was directed by J. D. Dillard. Along with this, the band released a fictional story related to the album which described a world looked over by an "Emperor" and a "Prophet".The lead single "Alive" premiered on 15 April 2013, and the album became available to pre-order on iTunes the same day. The music video for the song, filmed in Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, was directed by Charles Scott and Alex Theurer and also produced by Kelvin Optical. Both "DNA" and "Celebrate" were serviced as follow-up singles and were also released as official remix singles on iTunes.

To promote the album, the duo played a series of US festival dates, and without Nick Littlemore, Luke Steele returned to Australia on 30 May to perform at the Sydney Opera House for Vivid Sydney. The duo performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on 18 June, marking their first television appearance in the US. The duo also performed at the Australian Splendour in the Grass festival in late July.The album's cover art, designed by Aaron Hayward and David Homer from Sydney studio Debaser, won an Artisan Award prior to the ARIA Music Awards of 2013, held on 1 December. In addition, the album was nominated for Best Pop Release, Engineer of the Year (Peter Mayes) and Producer of the Year (Steele, Littlemore, Mayes and Jonathan Sloan). Empire of the Sun were also nominated for Best Group for the album, but did not win.

J. G. Ballard

James Graham Ballard (15 November 1930 – 19 April 2009) was an English novelist, short story writer, and essayist who first became associated with the New Wave of science fiction for his post-apocalyptic novels such as The Wind from Nowhere (1961) and The Drowned World (1962). In the late 1960s, he produced a variety of experimental short stories (or "condensed novels"), such as those collected in the controversial The Atrocity Exhibition (1970). In the mid 1970s, Ballard published several novels, among them the highly controversial Crash (1973), a story about symphorophilia and car crash fetishism, and High-Rise (1975), a depiction of a luxury apartment building's descent into violent chaos.

While much of Ballard's fiction would prove thematically and stylistically provocative, he became best known for his relatively conventional war novel, Empire of the Sun (1984), a semi-autobiographical account of a young British boy's experiences in Shanghai during Japanese occupation. Described by The Guardian as "the best British novel about the Second World War", the story was adapted into a 1987 film by Steven Spielberg starring Christian Bale. In the following decades until his death in 2009, Ballard's work shifted toward the form of the traditional crime novel. Several of his earlier works have been adapted into films, including David Cronenberg's controversial 1996 adaptation of Crash and Ben Wheatley's 2015 adaptation of High-Rise.

The literary distinctiveness of Ballard's fiction has given rise to the adjective "Ballardian", defined by the Collins English Dictionary as "resembling or suggestive of the conditions described in J. G. Ballard's novels and stories, especially dystopian modernity, bleak man-made landscapes and the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments". The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography entry describes Ballard's work as being occupied with "eros, thanatos, mass media and emergent technologies".

John Malkovich

John Gavin Malkovich (born December 9, 1953) is an American actor, producer, and fashion designer. He has appeared in more than 70 films.

For his roles in Places in the Heart and In the Line of Fire, he received Academy Award nominations. He has appeared in films including Empire of the Sun, The Killing Fields, Johnny English, Con Air, Of Mice and Men, Rounders, Ripley's Game, Being John Malkovich, Shadow of the Vampire, Burn After Reading, Red, Mulholland Falls, Dangerous Liaisons, Warm Bodies, and Bird Box, as well as producing films such as Ghost World, Juno, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Luke Steele (musician)

Luke James Steele (born 13 December 1979) is an Australian musician, singer and songwriter. Steele is the vocalist and primary songwriter of the alternative rock band The Sleepy Jackson and is a member of the electronic music duo Empire of the Sun.

National Board of Review Awards 1987

The 59th National Board of Review Awards were announced on December 15, 1987, and given on 16 February, 1988.

Nick Littlemore

Nicholas George "Nick" Littlemore (born 6 May 1978) is an Australian musician and record producer. As a musician, he is the frontman of the electronic duo Pnau, a member of the art-rock band Teenager and one part of the electro pop-duo Empire of the Sun. As a record producer, he has worked with Elton John, Robbie Williams, Lover Lover, Ellie Goulding, Lost Valentinos, Mercy Arms, Groove Armada and Mika. From late 2009, Littlemore had worked with the Cirque Du Soleil as a composer and musical director for the touring arena show, Zarkana, which debuted on 29 June 2011. His older brother Sam La More is also a musician and record producer.


Pnau (), stylised as PNAU, are an Australian dance music trio originating from Sydney, Australia. The trio, a duo before 2016, consists of musicians Nick Littlemore (vocals, production), Peter Mayes (guitar, production) and Sam Littlemore (production), with Sam joining in 2016. Pnau have achieved multiple successes throughout their career with their award-winning debut album Sambanova and their widely acclaimed 2007 release Pnau. They are also recognised for their heavily publicised apprenticeship under musician Elton John, who signed the duo after listening to their record Pnau. Several of Pnau's recent projects have featured John's involvement, such as Pnau's album Soft Universe and an album featuring Pnau recreations of Elton John's hits called Good Morning to the Night.Apart from being a member of Pnau, Nick Littlemore also appears as one half of the band Empire of the Sun, which has had multiple chart-topping singles. In November 2016, the new line-up released "Chameleon", the first single from their album Changa.

Two Vines

Two Vines is the third studio album by Australian electronic music duo Empire of the Sun. It was released on 28 October 2016 by Virgin EMI Records. The album features guest appearances from Fleetwood Mac's Lindsey Buckingham, Wendy Melvoin, Henry Hey, Debbie McGee and Tim Lefebvre.

Walking on a Dream (album)

Walking on a Dream is the debut studio album by Australian electronic music duo Empire of the Sun, released on 3 October 2008 by Capitol Records. The album was produced by band members Luke Steele and Nick Littlemore, along with Peter Mayes and Donnie Sloan.

Walking on a Dream received 11 nominations at the ARIA Music Awards of 2009, winning seven, including Album of the Year. A special edition of the album, containing a bonus disc of remixes, B-sides, and unreleased tracks, was released on 20 November 2009.

Walking on a Dream (song)

"Walking on a Dream" is a song by Australian electronic music duo Empire of the Sun, which was released on 30 August 2008 as the lead single ahead of their debut album of the same name (3 October 2008). The track was co-written by band members, Luke Steele and Nick Littlemore with Jonathan "Donnie" Sloan. The full Sam La More remix was made available as a free download on the band's official website.

On the Australian ARIA Charts, it reached number ten, and was certified double platinum to indicate shipment of over 140,000 units. It was listed at number four in the 2008 Triple J Hottest 100 popularity poll. "Walking on a Dream" won the category for Single of the Year at the ARIA Music Awards of 2009, and, in the following year, it won Dance Work of the Year at the APRA Awards. Although the single was originally due for release in the United Kingdom on 9 February 2009, the date was postponed until 6 July. In Europe, it reached number eight in both Belgium and Ireland; and peaked in the top 100 on the UK Singles Chart. The song was made the Single of the Week on the iTunes Store for the week of 21 April 2009. The song was also featured in the 2012 racing video game Forza Horizon and later in the 2016 Honda Civic "The Dreamer" commercial, which helped revive the song in the charts.

We Are the People (Empire of the Sun song)

"We Are the People" is a song by Australian electronic music duo Empire of the Sun, released as the second single from their debut album, Walking on a Dream. It was released in Australia on 20 September 2008 and debuted at number eighty-five on the ARIA Singles Chart before peaking at number twenty-four on 12 January 2009.

Without You (Empire of the Sun song)

"Without You" is a song by Australian electronic music duo Empire of the Sun, released as the fourth single from their debut album Walking on a Dream. The single was digitally released on the Australian iTunes Store on 25 September 2009. The CD single was released on 28 September 2009. The song was remixed for single release, making it more uptempo and upbeat.

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