Is there anything more charming than the past’s bright-eyed view of the future? Daniel Sinker has been blogging the book 2010: Living In the Future, a 1972 children’s book by Geoffry Hoyle that envisioned a peaceful — if simply drawn — future where autos were shipped through tubes, people boarded airplanes as they might a bus, and food is delivered by conveyor belt. Although Hoyle fell prey to the common fallacy that a future world of automated marvels goes hand in hand with a wardrobe of jumpsuits—looking like a mechanic being synonymous with scientific advances, we suppose — a lot of it is eerily on the mark, like this prophecy of Fresh Direct:
You never need to go shopping for the weekly groceries. You just dial the supermarket on their vision phone. A list of departments and their numbers appears on the screen.
When you dial the food department, you will see a picture of it. The picture shows all the different food and their prices.
You give your order over the phone and it is recorded at the supermarket by a tape recorder. Later the same day the electric delivery truck arrives with your order.
The Apple Tablet was also foretold!
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.
If you are halfway through a book and you have to leave, there is no reason why you can’t finish it when you get home. You can dial the library and the book number from home and go on with your reading.
But there are also some big misses. Despite the Aquarian optimism of the ’70s, hippies have never been cool since then.