The Atrocity Exhibition is a novel, or a series of short but connected stories, depending on how you decide to come at it. Traven/Travis/Tallis/etc. appears as one man, moving through different evolutionary experiments, physical and psychological. He is experimenting with his psyche, as Ballard experiments with storytelling and writing. Chapter headings like "The University of Death," "Notes Towards a Mental Breakdown" and "You and Me and the Continuum" give an idea towards the scope of the characters' inner and outer explorations. The experimental sexual interactions, recurring alternate deaths and celebrity obsessions are from lists produced by Ballard using free assocation. Glimpses of themes of many of his later works can be found in this text.
Special features of the Re/Search revised edition includes an introduction by William S. Burroughs, new notes and comments from Ballard, and four additional short stories. Notes and commentary from Ballard himself run in the margins alongside the text to which they are related. The collection of medical illustrations by Phoebe Gloeckner is impressive. Often overlooked are the excellent black and white urban images, photographed by Ana Barrado. Her pictures are purposefully "Ballardesque," showing abandoned parking lots, beaches and launch sites.