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"I kind of take it for granted that our great-grandchildren will regard us as a sort of precursor species. That they won't think of us as human and if we could see them, we probably wouldn't think of them as human either."
- William Gibson

Cloud Sculpting  
  Using gliders and chemical showers to shape clouds artistically.  

A retired pilot finds his way to Vermillion Sands, and meets a kite-maker. Add a beautiful but mysterious woman to the mix, and you've got a great story.

The tree gliders, brilliant painted toys, revolved like lazing birds above Coral D, waiting for the first clouds to pass overhead. Van Eyck moved away to take a cloud. He sailed around its white pillow, spraying the sides with iodide crystals and cutting away the flock-like tissue. The streaming shards fell toward us like crumbling ice-drifts. As the drops of condensing spray fell on my face I could see Van Eyck shaping an immense horse's head. He sailed up and down the long forehead and chiseled out the eyes and ears.

Technovelgy from The Cloud Sculptors of Coral D, by J.G. Ballard.
Published by Fantasy and Science Fiction in 1967
Additional resources -

I don't know if anyone has ever tried cloud sculpting. Cloud seeding (the attempt to produce or alter precipitation and weather by sprinkling materials into clouds) was done just after World War II.

Thanks to John for letting me know about the great cover art for this story; I read it in the 'Vermillion Sands' collection.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Cloud Sculptors of Coral D
  More Ideas and Technology by J.G. Ballard
  Tech news articles related to The Cloud Sculptors of Coral D
  Tech news articles related to works by J.G. Ballard

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