Ballard ushered in the "New Wave" of science fiction. From the antiseptic fiction of the big three (Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke) came a new kind of speculation that dealt with the not so lofty goals. Not quite cyberpunk but getting there, the british "New Wave," like the French one happening at around the same time in cinema, brought things down to pavement level.
My favorite Ballard story is not one of the dark ones but a lovely gem called "The Garden of Time." Enjoy until someone tells me to take it down.