2010: Living In The Future (According to 1972)

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Predicting the future is murky business.

Few ever get it right and those who try, easily fall on their futuristic little faces. Still, the absurd outcomes of playing Nostradamus can wiggle their way into the hearts and belly laughs of even the biggest nay-flying car-sayers.

Written in 1972, Geoffrey Hoyle’s 2010: Living in the Future is a breezy look at a future (our present) that achieved its Utopian ideals. It boasts all the usual futuristic staples: flying cars, efficient public transit in every city, and food that is somehow scientifically beamed straight to us. What I love about artistic representations about the future is the inability to shake the stylistic influence of the present. Hoyle gives us a look at a future that overshoots the advances of technology and undercuts the evolution of our taste. Instead, he presents a future rendered in 70s colors, with characters channeling the looks of Barry Gibb and the garb of Star Trek.

(More on Techland: The Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Books of the Decade)

But I don’t mean to say that he completely missed his mark. Quite the opposite on some issues, actually. While Hoyle did mix his version of 2010 with the 70s creed of “Lennon is so right, man” and a preoccupation with futuristic technology, presenting us with a world where people only work three days per week, children go to school via satellite and restaurants are a labyrinth of pipes containing food that is delivered via conveyor belts, he also didn’t fail to recognize some key aspects of what was to come.

“A very popular room is the library. There are no books. The floor is shaped into tables and benches. Built into these tables are hundreds of vision phones. The books, films, and newspapers are all stored in the library computer.

To select the book you wish to read, you dial the book’s number. The first page appears on your screen. You can turn the pages backward or forward by using buttons on the vision phone.”

His presentation of what would be is, at times, laughable, but his reasoning often makes sense. As for the elimination of all furniture and the mass-uniformed dress code, I think I’ll blame that on a little too much channeling of Brave New World.

(via Daniel Sinker)

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