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Memories of the Space Age

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  124 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
This is a limited-edition collection of J.G. Ballard's short stories from Arkham House united around the theme of the failed US space program, mostly set in a deserted and desolate Cape Canaveral, with a scattering of lone ex-astronauts and others still dreaming of the Space Age.

Cover artwork 'Europe After the Rain' by Max Ernst, illustrated by J.K. Potter

The Cage of Sand
Paperback, 216 pages
Published November 1st 2002 by Arkham House Publishers (first published November 1988)
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Memories of the Space Age: Autopsy of a lost dream
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
Memories of the Space Age (1988) is a limited edition hardcover published by small press Arkham House, with a gorgeous cover of Max Ernst’s ‘Europe After the Rain’ that captures the hallucinatory, decayed imagery of J.G. Ballard’s collection. It contains eight stories written between 1962 and 1985, thematically linked around rotting launch gantries at Cape Canaveral, the failure of the US space program, dead
Feb 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
In nearly every one of these eight dystopian, post-Space Age tales of desolation you'll encounter the following:

1. At least one dead astronaut
2. Cape Canaveral, abandoned and decrepit with derelict rocket gantries
3. Antique aircraft (Wright biplanes, B-17 bombers)
4. Pallid, obsessive widows of dead astronauts
5. Sand
6. Mental instability (mania, fugues)

The stories were written between 1962-1985, an appropriate range given the popularity and subsequent decline of the US space program. Ballard's pr
Andrew Smith
Oct 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Such an interesting view of the Space Age in this collection of beautifully written and often startling stories. Ballard's melancholy and brilliantly Ballardian take is that humanity's urge to enter the cosmos is an expression of almost child-like hubris - which is bound to end badly! As someone who's spent time thinking and writing about space (cf 'Moondust'), I loved this for the brilliance of its storytelling and the way it raised unusual questions.
Nov 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
It's been awhile since I last read this, I'm surprised that so few readers have posted about it and I'll have to read it again so as to better offer something to share; right now I have to go out and keep my date with all the dead astronauts parading across the night skies, I wonder who'll have dropped out since last they passed....
May 19, 2017 rated it liked it
This was the first thing of Ballard's that I've read. He's been on my list, but most of his novels seem like more than I want to deal with right now, and I'm on a space kick, so when I came across this in the library I picked it up. First of all, congratulations are in order because I actually finished a book of short stories! Admittedly, I did skim large portions of the last few stories.
So, plus sides: I like Ballard's writing style a lot. I will probably eventually get around to reading some o
Nov 19, 2009 rated it liked it
I tracked this down as one of the books I wanted to read about the Apollo missions, and this collection (of short stories written before, during and after Apollo 11's mission to the moon) basically focus in on Ballard's feeling that humankind committed an evolutionary crime by going into space, for which we will be punished (in his imagination, it is by time lapses or "fugues" - like an illness, people increasingly lose parts of each day, as the past, present andf future flood in on one another) ...more
David Merrill
Jul 22, 2012 rated it liked it
About 15 years ago I was asked to write a review column for an e-zine that never quite got off the ground. As a result, I have 5 installments of that column languishing on my computer drive. Memories of the Space Age was one of the books I reviewed in the first installment. I've decided to "publish" them myself in the writing section on my Home page about once a month (maybe sooner, we'll see). Each installment has a theme and reviews two books that fit that theme. I took a no holds barred appro ...more
Jk Huddleston
Feb 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Ballard's bizarre psychological tales of ex astronauts, engineers and doctors exploring and encountering themselves and one another at the defunct NASA launch sites in Florida is as surreal in prose as any work by Dali or Magritte. Ballard can say more in one sentence than most writers in an entire story - blurs the present future of mankind with damning and prophetic stories of criminal ventures into space and its consequences.
Feb 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: scientastic, literary
What can I say; the dude's got his own word in the dictionary to describe his particular style. I could say: science fiction at its most elaborate and impressive. Or: the modern condition at its most stylistic and poetic. Or: each story an apocalypse come softly, dreamlike, at once horrifying and inviting. But more importantly than anything else: the man writes like a freaking magician.

Incidentally, I highly recommend Ernst Reijseger's Requiem for a Dying Planet as a musical accompaniment.
Jun 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A superb and mind bending collection.
this stories infect my imagination in profound way.

"My Dream of Flying to Wake Island"
"News from the Sun"
"Memories of the Space Age"
"Myths of the Near Future"
Feb 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
The story Memories of Space Age is a great fantasy peace. Reading by the end of the story every peace fits together perfectly to understand what could possibly have happened in the small deserted town where also the time runs abnormaly.
Dec 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
With every story I felt more and more disassociated with this world, till finally I couldn't read the last one because I had to come back from orbit! How can Ballard's words make me so damn lonely and lost! I'll have to come back to finish
Jun 07, 2009 added it
Shelves: science
I've never read Ballard...It's about time. Sci-Fi indeed.
Theo Baker
Dec 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Mostly late career, but Ballard at his best. You may actually begin to hallucinate while reading "News from the Sun."
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James Graham "J. G." Ballard (15 November 1930 – 19 April 2009) was an English novelist, short story writer, and essayist. Ballard came to be associated with the New Wave of science fiction early in his career with apocalyptic (or post-apocalyptic) novels such as The Drowned World (1962), The Burning World (1964), and The Crystal World (1966). In the late 1960s and early 1970s Ballard focused on a ...more
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