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Where's My Jetpack?: A Guide to the Amazing Science Fiction Future That Never Arrived

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It's the twenty-first century and let's be honest-things are a little disappointing. Despite every World's Fair prediction, every futuristic ride at Disneyland, and the advertisements on the last page of every comic book, we are not living the future we were promised. By now, life was supposed to be a fully automated, atomic-powered, germ-free Utopia, a place where a grown It's the twenty-first century and let's be honest-things are a little disappointing. Despite every World's Fair prediction, every futuristic ride at Disneyland, and the advertisements on the last page of every comic book, we are not living the future we were promised. By now, life was supposed to be a fully automated, atomic-powered, germ-free Utopia, a place where a grown man could wear a velvet spandex unitard and not be laughed at. Where are the ray guns, the flying cars, and the hoverboards that we expected? What happened to our promised moon colonies? Our servant robots? In Where's My Jetpack?, roboticist Daniel H. Wilson takes a hilarious look at the future we always imagined for ourselves. He exposes technology, spotlights existing prototypes, and reveals drawing-board plans. You will learn which technologies are already available, who made them, and where to find them. If the technology is not public, you will learn how to build, buy, or steal it. And if doesn't yet exist, you will learn what stands in the way of making it real. With thirty entries spanning everything from teleportation to self-contained skyscraper cities, and superbly illustrated by Richard Horne (101 Things to Do Before You Die), Where's My Jetpack? is an endlessly entertaining, one-of-a-kind look at the world that we always wanted. Daniel H. Wilson, Ph.D, has a degree in Robotics from Carnegie-Mellon. He is the author of How to Survive a Robot Uprising. He lives in Portland, Oregon.


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It's the twenty-first century and let's be honest-things are a little disappointing. Despite every World's Fair prediction, every futuristic ride at Disneyland, and the advertisements on the last page of every comic book, we are not living the future we were promised. By now, life was supposed to be a fully automated, atomic-powered, germ-free Utopia, a place where a grown It's the twenty-first century and let's be honest-things are a little disappointing. Despite every World's Fair prediction, every futuristic ride at Disneyland, and the advertisements on the last page of every comic book, we are not living the future we were promised. By now, life was supposed to be a fully automated, atomic-powered, germ-free Utopia, a place where a grown man could wear a velvet spandex unitard and not be laughed at. Where are the ray guns, the flying cars, and the hoverboards that we expected? What happened to our promised moon colonies? Our servant robots? In Where's My Jetpack?, roboticist Daniel H. Wilson takes a hilarious look at the future we always imagined for ourselves. He exposes technology, spotlights existing prototypes, and reveals drawing-board plans. You will learn which technologies are already available, who made them, and where to find them. If the technology is not public, you will learn how to build, buy, or steal it. And if doesn't yet exist, you will learn what stands in the way of making it real. With thirty entries spanning everything from teleportation to self-contained skyscraper cities, and superbly illustrated by Richard Horne (101 Things to Do Before You Die), Where's My Jetpack? is an endlessly entertaining, one-of-a-kind look at the world that we always wanted. Daniel H. Wilson, Ph.D, has a degree in Robotics from Carnegie-Mellon. He is the author of How to Survive a Robot Uprising. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

30 review for Where's My Jetpack?: A Guide to the Amazing Science Fiction Future That Never Arrived

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    A fun, light look at what science fiction promised & how some of those promises are coming true. It's only a decade old, but already dated. In some ways that was good since it highlights just how fast we're moving. For instance, the changes to the space program are amazing. NASA is no longer planning to put a small colony on the moon, but leaving that to private businesses & concentrating on Mars, I believe. No mention of the Falcon rockets or how their lower stages are landing, of course. There A fun, light look at what science fiction promised & how some of those promises are coming true. It's only a decade old, but already dated. In some ways that was good since it highlights just how fast we're moving. For instance, the changes to the space program are amazing. NASA is no longer planning to put a small colony on the moon, but leaving that to private businesses & concentrating on Mars, I believe. No mention of the Falcon rockets or how their lower stages are landing, of course. There was an abundance of humor, a bit much, but all in fun, I guess. Might have been better if I didn't listen to it all at once. He also didn't delve into any subject very well. I was surprised & disappointed that he missed an entire area of fun & money in the robotic section. He concentrated on robots (not human looking) that help the elderly saying that's where the money is. I think he's wrong. Porn drove the Internet pioneering the use of credit cards, scamming search engines, & streaming video, so it's no surprise that the most life-like androids are for sex, aka sexbots. I remember the Twilight Zone episode The Lonely about a man left alone on a planet with an android. In true Rod Serling fashion, the man comes to love his only companion & eventually forgets it is only a machine. Sex is never mentioned or even hinted at. I was very young when I first watched this & it impressed me deeply. People anthropomorphize all sorts of things & nothing is easier than an android, even if it is just for companionship. Look at how much everyone loved Data on STNG or the Bicentennial Man. Drop into the current day Twilight Zone where a guy buys a sexbot customized to his specs. Maybe he's never gotten laid before, has bad skin, never goes out, & smells like a nest of dead rats, but a machine doesn't judge. He can get all the sex he wants, any way he wants & they're even putting artificial intelligence into them so they can hold conversations about literature & music. Check out Harmony (Note, that link is NSFW. Quite graphic.) a $15K sexbot that can hold conversations on multiple topics as well as provide sex in just about any manner you can think of. Since they're manufactured & customized, they are capable of some things that human women aren't, like having 3 boobs or looking like a lost love. They're not capable of much movement yet, but that's just a matter of time. This has led to interesting controversy because the biggest detractors aren't just or even usually the Religious Right (They're mostly oblivious, I think.) but are often feminists. That's rather hilarious since women have been using an artificial part of a man for at least 28,000 years & Amazon has a full selection of sex machines for them. This gal has a great answer to those women. Anyway, it's another complex social issue created by technology. Well, that was quite a digression. Back to the book. It was Sunday Supplement level, but interesting. If nothing else, it's fun to see what's out there & it was very well narrated by Stephen Rudnicki, one of my favorite narrators.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Guy Haley

    Well informed, yet overly chirpy insight into the current state of yesterday’s future today. If you see what I mean, by the author of Robopocalypse, Daniel H Wilson. A timely book this, for I have, more than once, wondered where my jetpack was. This book reminds me that life is a big swizz. Why? When I was a kid, in the 1970s, the future was all going to be space hotels and robots and food pills. After patiently waiting, I found it just simply isn’t. For this, I feel aggrieved. Wilson’s book is pre Well informed, yet overly chirpy insight into the current state of yesterday’s future today. If you see what I mean, by the author of Robopocalypse, Daniel H Wilson. A timely book this, for I have, more than once, wondered where my jetpack was. This book reminds me that life is a big swizz. Why? When I was a kid, in the 1970s, the future was all going to be space hotels and robots and food pills. After patiently waiting, I found it just simply isn’t. For this, I feel aggrieved. Wilson’s book is precisely for people who, like me, wonder what happened to the shiny tomorrow we were promised. Don’t worry, it’s coming, it just got delayed by that old pain in the arse reality. Wilson looks at a number of SF standards drawn from the more genuinely speculative arm of the genre, among them smart houses, moon bases, hoverboards, suspended animation, robots and death rays. He tells us where the tech is now, who’s working on what, and when – if – we’ll ever see any of it. If you spend time on Live Science, Space.com or other such websites, you’ll see that this is pretty exhaustive, and condenses hours worth of surfing into one handy book. It’s got plenty of random facts – like the human brain having the consistency of room-temperature butter – quotes and other informational nuggets. Great then if you can get past the hideous, eye-wounding typeface and the annoying “humorous” patter affected by the author. Each chapter is set up with a weak joke, and peppered with similar, like “Let’s just hope that NASA doesn’t use the dreadful HAL 9000 computer – that guy has a terrible safety record.” Wokka wokka wokka! Some of it’s funny, the majority of the time you feel like you’re listening to a carnival huckster with a degree. Or Fozzy Bear with book smarts. This slender volume does come with two pieces of good news. The first is that, besides picking the scab off the uncomfortable knowledge that you never did get a jetpack, it also reminds you that a second future promised in the 1970s, nuclear annihilation, also did not come to pass. The other good news is that some of the technology of the George Jetson lifestyle could be just round the corner, that’s if we don’t pollute ourselves out of existence first.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Barbi Faye (The Book Fae)

    It's the 21st century, and this book provides a humorous look at the science and the secrets and the reasons behind the greatest inventions and futuristic ideas that we never realized or got. Gypped!! However, I say that in the vein of Back to the Future, we did get TWO things that were in the movie, thirty years on, and on time. One was a flat, wall mounted television, and the other of course was the hover board. While it does not look exactly like Marty's, it is still a hover board! Marty's bo It's the 21st century, and this book provides a humorous look at the science and the secrets and the reasons behind the greatest inventions and futuristic ideas that we never realized or got. Gypped!! However, I say that in the vein of Back to the Future, we did get TWO things that were in the movie, thirty years on, and on time. One was a flat, wall mounted television, and the other of course was the hover board. While it does not look exactly like Marty's, it is still a hover board! Marty's board was hella exciting!! I think us regular folk would end up mangling ourselves in a major way!! So, for example a few things we never got were: a moon colony, the jet pack, teleportation, invisibility, x- ray specs, space elevator, ray guns, skyscraper cities, and flying cars. Most of these are prohibitive and outlandishly costly or outrageously difficult to do. A few things I think we have dabbled in though, and I will list a few, they might be able to be done: zeppelins, moving sidewalks, self steering cars, underwater hotel, space vacation, hologram, robot pet, universal translator, smart house, and a robot servant. Have you seen any of these yet? I have! But the best thing of all are the electric blue shiny pages on the side!!! All books should be sparkly!!! This is a very fun read and should not be missed. Just make sure you wear your futuristic unitard when you do!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nathan

    It doesn't matter how old you are, at some point when you were young, you probably thought that when you were older, you'd have a personal jetpack, your own robot slave and you'd be able to have sex with a toaster that looks like mom. Or something. But those wonderful developments we were all promised never came to pass. Daniel H. Wilson wants to explain why. To that end, 'Where's my Jetpack' is a mixed bag of nuts. It tackles ideas from science fiction and reality, ideas that fifty years ago se It doesn't matter how old you are, at some point when you were young, you probably thought that when you were older, you'd have a personal jetpack, your own robot slave and you'd be able to have sex with a toaster that looks like mom. Or something. But those wonderful developments we were all promised never came to pass. Daniel H. Wilson wants to explain why. To that end, 'Where's my Jetpack' is a mixed bag of nuts. It tackles ideas from science fiction and reality, ideas that fifty years ago seemed like a forgone futuristic inevitability, and then tells us what the present state of research on each subject is. Teleportation, for example; he starts with Star Trek then tells us about old men in a labratory teleporting a photon of light in 1993. Etc, etc. It's a fun book, and revealing, but people interested in a deeper examination of stuff like this might look to The Physics of Star Trek by Lawrence Krauss. Where's My Jetpack is fun, you'll be able to read it in a day, and it doesn't hurt your head. But for what it is, and for how its presented, it is remarkably unfunny... NC

  5. 5 out of 5

    Neil Pierson

    Daniel Wilson has a grievance: All of those great future gimmicks and devices that have been promised to us by books, television, and the movies--why don't we have them? Where are our bathroom-cleaning robots, our flying cars, our invisible camouflage? Why aren't we the Jetsons? This book describes the status (it's here; or it's being worked on; or it's not gonna happen) of these devices and some of the obstacles to their development. Surprisingly, there is such a thing as a jetpack. Even more sur Daniel Wilson has a grievance: All of those great future gimmicks and devices that have been promised to us by books, television, and the movies--why don't we have them? Where are our bathroom-cleaning robots, our flying cars, our invisible camouflage? Why aren't we the Jetsons? This book describes the status (it's here; or it's being worked on; or it's not gonna happen) of these devices and some of the obstacles to their development. Surprisingly, there is such a thing as a jetpack. Even more surprisingly, no one has been killed using one, at least as of the book's writing in 2007. That brings up an interesting point: How did the near future look in 2007 and how does it look now? For example, 3D printers and smart phones aren't included in the book, and "self-steering" cars were still had a long way to go. The book is written in a cheery, non-politically correct style. There is plenty of humor in spite of the author having a PhD.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Chloe

    This humorous compendium of the marvelous "Science Fiction Future Wasn't" is a little more brief than I would prefer but makes up for it with a fun tongue-in-cheek attitude and cute illustrations. Basically a series of short articles about various Sci-Fi innovations that would make our lives drastically easier (or at least so much cooler) the book looks at real-world attempts to build such things as self-driving cars (progressing pretty well), jet packs (sadly R&D on this wonderful concept is la This humorous compendium of the marvelous "Science Fiction Future Wasn't" is a little more brief than I would prefer but makes up for it with a fun tongue-in-cheek attitude and cute illustrations. Basically a series of short articles about various Sci-Fi innovations that would make our lives drastically easier (or at least so much cooler) the book looks at real-world attempts to build such things as self-driving cars (progressing pretty well), jet packs (sadly R&D on this wonderful concept is lacking), underwater cities (soon to open in sunny Dubai!), and hoverboards like Michael J. Fox used in "Back to the Future 2" (loud and slow, but they exist). It's a fun read but lacking in the detail that I would have preferred. Still, I'd keep "Where's my Jetpack" on the back of my toilet for some light reading.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Victory Wong

    Fairly modern book on how possible things that we dreamt up while fantacizing about the "future" -- in what is now, such as a jet pack, an elevator to the moon, cities under the ocean, breathing underwater, a pill for lunch instead of real food etc. It's pretty interesting and amusing, it tells you if it's possible to make, or has already been made, and in the case of the jet pack where you might steal it from should you not want to build your own. It is nicely done with very clean drawings and Fairly modern book on how possible things that we dreamt up while fantacizing about the "future" -- in what is now, such as a jet pack, an elevator to the moon, cities under the ocean, breathing underwater, a pill for lunch instead of real food etc. It's pretty interesting and amusing, it tells you if it's possible to make, or has already been made, and in the case of the jet pack where you might steal it from should you not want to build your own. It is nicely done with very clean drawings and illustrations for how-to's and I was entertained by it. An interesting note is that the cover of this particular edition, and paper is pretty high quality. Not sure why but at least it's more durable.

  8. 4 out of 5

    JBP

    This was a fun book that looks at all the fantastical elements of "the future" that was promised us in '40s/'50s sci-fi and world's fairs and what happened to those things. You know, flying cars, jetpacks, underwater hotels, ray guns, teleportation, space elevators, stuff like that. Each topic is brief and comes with illustrations and doesn't get bogged down on too much hard science as Wilson talks about how close we are to actually having one of these things in our lives. Most times we are not This was a fun book that looks at all the fantastical elements of "the future" that was promised us in '40s/'50s sci-fi and world's fairs and what happened to those things. You know, flying cars, jetpacks, underwater hotels, ray guns, teleportation, space elevators, stuff like that. Each topic is brief and comes with illustrations and doesn't get bogged down on too much hard science as Wilson talks about how close we are to actually having one of these things in our lives. Most times we are not close but a few we have now--moving sidewalks for example.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

    I felt a little cheated out of lack of domed cities and robot servitude when the year 2000 rolled around. This was a fun read about futurism from an historical perspective...and why certain things didn't come to pass in the mainstream. (And thoughts about if it ever will and what the "new" future looks like.) There's also a really interesting site called www.paleofuture.com that hosts a move called 1999 A.D. that was filmed in the sixties. It is a MUST SEE! It's actually what inspired me to get t I felt a little cheated out of lack of domed cities and robot servitude when the year 2000 rolled around. This was a fun read about futurism from an historical perspective...and why certain things didn't come to pass in the mainstream. (And thoughts about if it ever will and what the "new" future looks like.) There's also a really interesting site called www.paleofuture.com that hosts a move called 1999 A.D. that was filmed in the sixties. It is a MUST SEE! It's actually what inspired me to get this book and read it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Shelley

    This book is really just OK but I liked the concept. It brought back sweet memories of childhood, when the future seemed bright and exciting. I remember going to the 1965 World's Fair and watching The Jetsons cartoon and the original Star Trek series and believing that I would live in that type of environment when I grew up. Little did I know how depressing the reality would be. Nostalgia for those days is bittersweet... This book is really just OK but I liked the concept. It brought back sweet memories of childhood, when the future seemed bright and exciting. I remember going to the 1965 World's Fair and watching The Jetsons cartoon and the original Star Trek series and believing that I would live in that type of environment when I grew up. Little did I know how depressing the reality would be. Nostalgia for those days is bittersweet...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin

    Some of the best science fiction ever written was strangely prescient with its predictions on how the world would advance, technologically. One of the best examples of this was Jules Verne in his story From the Earth to the Moon. Not only did he figure out what it would take to get away from Earth's gravity, he predicted that the launch site would be in Florida. Ever since then, we have looked to the authors of science fiction to tell us what could be possible in the future of tomorrow. Unfortuna Some of the best science fiction ever written was strangely prescient with its predictions on how the world would advance, technologically. One of the best examples of this was Jules Verne in his story From the Earth to the Moon. Not only did he figure out what it would take to get away from Earth's gravity, he predicted that the launch site would be in Florida. Ever since then, we have looked to the authors of science fiction to tell us what could be possible in the future of tomorrow. Unfortunately, some of these predictions weren't quite realistic. While jetpacks and moon colonies sound cool in the pages of a fictional book, they just aren't practical in reality. Still, our childlike wonder and innovation tried its best to create what the science fiction authors of yore dreamt up. In Where's My Jetpack?, Daniel H. Wilson does his best to explain where all these fantastical inventions and concepts are in their process toward being fully realized. But don't worry about this being a stuffy tome full of complicated science. Wilson does a good job infusing humor with his research, which helps to show how ridiculous some of these ideas really are. My one challenge with this book came with the fact that it was published back in 2007. It's been 10 years since this book came out and now much of its research is either naively optimistic or didn't pan out. What's perhaps even more exciting is being aware of the technological developments that have made some of the impossibilities mentioned in this book at least somewhat plausible. Consequently, it's best to read this book as a snapshot in the technological timeline that is our current reality. A humorous look at the amazing technological developments inspired by sci-fi, I give Where's My Jetpack? 4.0 stars out of 5. For more reviews of books and movies like this, please visit www.benjamin-m-weilert.com

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kyle

    This was a pretty fun book. Light non-fiction. It looks at all those futuristic inventions that, decades ago, we were promised in sci-fi novels, comic books, and Epcot Centre vacations. Jetpacks, moon colonies, ray guns, ex-ray specs, flying cars, robot butlers, holodecks, and a lot more. The book discusses why some ideas failed, how some succeeded, and which ones are already a part of our daily lives. My two issues with this book are: 1)the author doesn't go far enough with his research; someti This was a pretty fun book. Light non-fiction. It looks at all those futuristic inventions that, decades ago, we were promised in sci-fi novels, comic books, and Epcot Centre vacations. Jetpacks, moon colonies, ray guns, ex-ray specs, flying cars, robot butlers, holodecks, and a lot more. The book discusses why some ideas failed, how some succeeded, and which ones are already a part of our daily lives. My two issues with this book are: 1)the author doesn't go far enough with his research; sometimes he can only talk about an invention for a page or two.... I wish he would have dug deeper, maybe interviewed some people to add more weight to the ideas; 2) The author injects a lot of humour into the book, but it is not very good humour.... a lot of puns and groaners. Still, it it connected with my inner-nerd.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    I really liked this one - even more than How to Survive a Robot Uprising . It's a great look at how technology is advancing compared to how people imagined it would be during the Space Race. It talks about what's commercially available, what's in development, and what's never going to happen in our lifetimes. It's both informative and humorous, which is exactly what I was hoping for. There are a few things that are a little outdated (it is seven years old at this time), but for the most part I really liked this one - even more than How to Survive a Robot Uprising . It's a great look at how technology is advancing compared to how people imagined it would be during the Space Race. It talks about what's commercially available, what's in development, and what's never going to happen in our lifetimes. It's both informative and humorous, which is exactly what I was hoping for. There are a few things that are a little outdated (it is seven years old at this time), but for the most part the future Wilson talks about is still in the future.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Remember the 80s, when we wondered what the 2000s would be like? Remember figuring that we'd all be wearing collarless, reflective space suits and riding hovercraft to our offices in the sky? This book answers your questions about the "science fiction future that never arrived" and more interestingly, the ones that did. (Teleportation and x-ray vision have actually been done, although maybe not how we hoped they would). This book is funny, easy to read, and informative. The author writes with fu Remember the 80s, when we wondered what the 2000s would be like? Remember figuring that we'd all be wearing collarless, reflective space suits and riding hovercraft to our offices in the sky? This book answers your questions about the "science fiction future that never arrived" and more interestingly, the ones that did. (Teleportation and x-ray vision have actually been done, although maybe not how we hoped they would). This book is funny, easy to read, and informative. The author writes with fun style and a quirky voice that would appeal for sure to any one with an inquiring mind. Bonus: teenage boys would probably drool on it.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Melinda

    I would have never picked this book off the library shelves myself, but on a recent road trip, my husband surprised us by playing this one, and I must admit, I was entertained. Not only does Wilson discuss the misguided predictions of science fiction authors of 50 years ago and where progress now stands with inventions such as jetpacks, artificial gills, underwater cities, moon colonies, turning invisible, x-ray goggles,etc., but he also presents it with laugh out loud humor. He articulates some I would have never picked this book off the library shelves myself, but on a recent road trip, my husband surprised us by playing this one, and I must admit, I was entertained. Not only does Wilson discuss the misguided predictions of science fiction authors of 50 years ago and where progress now stands with inventions such as jetpacks, artificial gills, underwater cities, moon colonies, turning invisible, x-ray goggles,etc., but he also presents it with laugh out loud humor. He articulates some interesting concepts, which I would assume to be true, and gives ample terse tidbits of information with his "fun facts to know and tell". This was enjoyable.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Charles

    Another great book by Daniel Wilson. If you've ever read sci-fiction or even glanced at the back pages of a comic book, this book is for you. The discussion of technologies we thought we would have by this time, why we don't have certain technologies and what technologies we do have is fun and informative. Most importantly I am going to get myself a hoverboard. Another great book by Daniel Wilson. If you've ever read sci-fiction or even glanced at the back pages of a comic book, this book is for you. The discussion of technologies we thought we would have by this time, why we don't have certain technologies and what technologies we do have is fun and informative. Most importantly I am going to get myself a hoverboard.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Shannan

    A fun and entertaining look at the shining future all those sci fi books and comics have been promising for decades. I laughed out loud a number of times and the narrator gives a great deadpan reading. Fun and frothy.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kristen Northrup

    Shorter and more blurby than I was expecting. Like blog entries, go figure. Clearly-explained science for us non-science folks, with a nice sense of humor. Fun random factoids that are handy at parties.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Chris Scala

    Light, fluffy, small bites, good bathroom book ;)

  20. 5 out of 5

    Zelly

    Amazing and stuff. I'm so articulate. Amazing and stuff. I'm so articulate.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    For a while this was my chosen reading matter for the smallest room. Daniel Wilson looks at all the gadgets and suchlike promised in science fiction books and films. Stuff like ray-guns, flying cars and underwater hotels. The tone is light-hearted, sometimes the humour seems a little forced. There are thirty or so chapters each exploring a different item. A chapter was usually sufficient to distract me from my early morning ablutions. There are illustrations by Richard Horne for each chapter in bl For a while this was my chosen reading matter for the smallest room. Daniel Wilson looks at all the gadgets and suchlike promised in science fiction books and films. Stuff like ray-guns, flying cars and underwater hotels. The tone is light-hearted, sometimes the humour seems a little forced. There are thirty or so chapters each exploring a different item. A chapter was usually sufficient to distract me from my early morning ablutions. There are illustrations by Richard Horne for each chapter in black, white and blue. The book published in 2007, already seems a little dated as some of the technologies like self steering cars, have made great advances in the past decade. Also, in architecture, the Burj Khalifa has sailed past Taipei 101 as the world’s tallest skyscraper. I found the book nether sufficiently serious nor sufficiently humorous for my taste. It was at best mildly entertaining.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alex Shrugged

    I took off a star because the book is somewhat dated... around 14 years old as of the writing of this review. It talked about some wonderful things upcoming in the year 202o. Well... it is the year 2021, and I don't see it. I liked the book a lot because it was a tongue-in-cheek history of science innovations spurred by science fiction promises... many of which became reality and then sputtered out. Jetpacks are the author's prime example. Jetpacks exist. They work. Why don't I have one? It is be I took off a star because the book is somewhat dated... around 14 years old as of the writing of this review. It talked about some wonderful things upcoming in the year 202o. Well... it is the year 2021, and I don't see it. I liked the book a lot because it was a tongue-in-cheek history of science innovations spurred by science fiction promises... many of which became reality and then sputtered out. Jetpacks are the author's prime example. Jetpacks exist. They work. Why don't I have one? It is because they take a lot of training to use and they don't fly very long in the air. The author goes through more examples such as 3D TV, Smellovision, hover boards and the like. Along the way the author adds his own snarky remarks. I thought he was funny. It worked. So... it is worth reading. It is dated, but not too bad. It could use an update. I might read this book again, but only for reference.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    I'd heard about this book for quite awhile and got around to reading it this summer. It wasn't what I expected, but it was perhaps what it needed to be. Really enjoyable, written with a touch of snark that I appreciated. Well worth my time and certainly sets the mind to wandering about technological rabbit holes and possibilities. I'd heard about this book for quite awhile and got around to reading it this summer. It wasn't what I expected, but it was perhaps what it needed to be. Really enjoyable, written with a touch of snark that I appreciated. Well worth my time and certainly sets the mind to wandering about technological rabbit holes and possibilities.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Steve Scott

    I listened to the unabridged audiobook. Copyrighted in 2007 (and inexplicably made references to future developments of technology expected in 2006), the book is badly out of date. The author’s humor is a silly, dated, and immature. I’d skip it.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Wright

    A slightly tongue-in-cheek look at how badly we are falling behind the promised wonders of "the future" and why. It is always fascinating to see where our trajectories diverged. A slightly tongue-in-cheek look at how badly we are falling behind the promised wonders of "the future" and why. It is always fascinating to see where our trajectories diverged.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    If this were a recent book, it would be fantastic. As it is, a lot of the info is outdated, but it still gave me some ideas.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    At 10 years old, the book is a little dated (no we won’t have a moon colony by 2018, thanks Obama!), but still a fun read (space elevators and ray guns!).

  28. 5 out of 5

    Martin Such

    Most of the tech the author is talking about has been realized. This future book is almost the past.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Desmond Rivet

    Dated, but fun. Some of these things are actually here now, like self-driving cars.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lorenzo Barberis Canonico

    The title sounded really exciting but then it turned out to be a book about how jetpacks have actually been built by DARPA and stuff…

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