This article examines the relationship between the actual and fictional archive and science fiction. It highlights the role of technological obsolescence and anachronism as it appears in the writing of JG Ballard and Jacques Derrida in order to argue that the process of media transition, destruction and disinterment are integral to representations of the imaginary archive. The author examines Derrida’s deconstruction of Freud’s archive in order to identity his use of ‘retrospective science fiction’ and underline the term’s importance in addressing media transition in relation to the archive. It then takes the archived remains of Ballard’s unfinished short story in the Vermilion Sands collection to link the phenomenology of writing technology with processes of collecting, construction, disinterment and destruction. It concludes that Derrida’s retrospective science-fiction model might be reversed to consider the archive in terms of its post-archival function.
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