All right, I just found out about this, and I'm at work so I can't do much justice to the event. However, the great J.G. Ballard died this morning of prostate cancer. I'll admit, I haven't read much of the man's oeuvre, but his collection of short stories, War Fever, was such a huge influence on me, one critic actually made Ballard comparisons to my first novel, Sunshine Patriots. (All right, another critic compared me to Heinlein, which forced me to actually read some of the man's work before I went on tour, but the Ballard thing holds up--minus the obvious lack of comparable talent on my part.)
I owe the man a debt of gratitude and a much better obituary. However, I will say, J.G. Ballard is an author whose words actually mattered.
Definitely check him out if you haven't already.