Way back in 2007, Daniel H. Wilson asked the question you weren’t allowed to ask at Boskone, Where’s My Jetpack? Short answer: The Smithsonian. Long answer: Here’s thirty things from the future that didn’t turn out nearly as cool as they were supposed to.
The book as a quick evening’s read. The more impractical something was, the funnier it is. After a while, though, the jokiness wears thin, but how else to deal with the frustration of growing up faster than the techno fantasies our fathers read as children? (And I do mean fathers.)
The jet packs that have been built turn out to be extremely dangerous and useless, and therefore Hi-larious. The underwater hotel turns out to be expensive, which is merely said. But wait, they were going to build a massive one in Dubai. Now that’s funny. The section on Teleportation had one of the better explanations of how entanglement moves information instantaneously, as well as why it’s feasible for only the simplest particles. And you get the impression that the author really, really wants the Space Elevator to happen.
While a lot of the things in the book are so pointless they are utterly cool, some of them are actually in progress, and may yet become real. Some of them are turning out downright creepy, like robots and “smart” houses keeping an eye on elders. Just when you’re beginning to think you might see them come to fruition, the last chapter shoots all the plausibility of the rest of the book in the foot by stating unequivocally, We’re going back to the Moon! No, we’re not. Would you believe Mars?
Anyway, don’t hold your breath for that jetpack.