J.G. Ballard was born on November 15, 1930, in Shanghai, China, of British parents. While a child during World War II, he spent four years in a Japanese POW camp. This experience was the basis for the emotionally moving novel Empire of the Sun, which he adapted into a successful movie, directed by Steven Spielberg. Ballard studied medicine at Cambridge, but abandoned his studies for writing. Ballard is best known for his science fiction writings. His early works were heavily influenced by surrealism. Most of his novels deal with death and destruction of the human spirit. Novels such as Crash, Concrete Island, and High Rise portray a society that is devolving into barbaric chaos. The Drowned World describes an apocalyptic society, with a hero that ushers in the destruction of the world. In his more recent works, such as Empire of the Sun and its sequel, The Kindness of Women, Ballard moved away from science fiction, but he is still considered one of the leading authors of the genre.