In its review of Daniel H. Wilson’s Where’s My Jetpack? A Guide to the Amazing Science Fiction Future That Never Arrived, Salon asks: What happened to the future that science fiction promised us?
The obvious landmarks of tomorrow’s world never materialized: vacations to the moon, 900 miles per hour transatlantic trains hurtling through vacuum tunnels. But the absence is felt equally in the fabric of daily life, the way that the experience of cooking an egg or taking a shower hasn’t changed in our lifetime.
Today we seem to have trouble picturing the future, except in cataclysmic terms or as the present gone worse (“Children of Men”). Our inability to generate positive and alluring images of tomorrow’s world has been accompanied by the fading prominence of futurology as a form of popular nonfiction. It carries on as an academic discipline, as research and speculation conducted by think tanks and government-funded bodies.