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"I can remember when the first pulsars were discovered. I was able to go and sit down and listen to graduate students talking about what their theories, to explain what pulsars really were."
- Vernor Vinge

Sand-Yacht (Land Schooner)  
  A vehicle that used wind power upon its sails to move on the land.  

Ballard uses the similarities between the sea and vast desert sands to great effect in this story.

Every summer during the season at Vermillion Sands, when the town was full of tourists and avant-garde film companies, I would close my office and take one of the beach-houses by the sand-sea five miles away at Ciraquito. Here the long evenings made brilliant sunsets of the sky and desert, crossing the sails of the sand-yachts with hieroglyphic shadows, signatures of all the strange ciphers of the desert sea. During the day I would take my yacht, a Bermuda-rigged sloop, and sail toward the dunes of the open desert. The strong thermals swept me along on a wake of gilded sand.
From Cry Hope, Cry Fury!, by J.G. Ballard.
Published by Mercury Publications, Inc. in 1966
Additional resources -

Compare to the Sand Ship from Ray Bradbury's 1950 story collection Martian Chronicles.

How old is the tradition of land sailing? I have no idea, but I'm sure it predates Ballard's reference. Here is a picture of some land sailors in the UK enjoying a sail next to the sea.

(Land sailing in the UK)

There is a tradition of land sailing in the United States from the 1960's. The yachts appear to be very similar to ice boats, except that they use wheels instead of blades. I did ice boating in the 1960's; you can really build up some speed on a reach.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Cry Hope, Cry Fury!
  More Ideas and Technology by J.G. Ballard
  Tech news articles related to Cry Hope, Cry Fury!
  Tech news articles related to works by J.G. Ballard

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