Reading progress update: I've read 32 out of 208 pages.

The Wonderful Future That Never Was: Flying Cars, Mail Delivery by Parachute, and Other Predictions from the Past - Editors of Popular Mechanics,  Gregory Benford

Well this has turned out to be more then I bargained for! I thought this would be a quick read for me, something I'd mostly flip through, but it's ended up being extremely interesting and thought provoking. The text is very well written and is about more then 'look at the funny pictures, what were they thinking'.

 

A couple quotes to share the fun:

 

"A royal astronomer said in the 1940s that talk of going to the moon was 'bilge'. When Boeing's first airplane that could carry ten people rolled out, one of the company engineers said, 'There will never be a bigger plane built.'" ?! (Introduction)

 

"Such futures resurrected the past, allowing audiences to buy into technologies that followed well-trodden narrative paths. This helped sell technologies because if they changed only the material world--leaving social arrangements intact--these futures were easier to digest. So we saw megacities whose men wore bowler hats and attended genteel concerts with ladies whose skirts grazed the ground. Nobody foresaw rock-concerts amphitheaters with mosh pits filled by skimpily clad sybarites." (p. 21)

 

This made me think of steampunk; it seems we're doing this process in reverse or at least from the opposite end. Made me look at my love of Steampunk all over again.