Lies My Sci-Fi Movies Told Me

When George Orwell published 1984, in 1949, the title year seemed far enough off that anything could happen in the meantime. Then, in 1968, when Arthur C. Clarke published 2001: A Space Odyssey, the same logic was present: that in only a matter of decades, technology and scientific discovery would advance not in steps but by leaps and bounds. Finally, and closer to the hearts of this generation, Back to the Future Part II, set in 1985 (though filmed in 1989), shows us a future, in 2015, where all the kids have hovering skateboards and the movie theaters are showing Jaws 19.

It is now 2009, and mercifully we’ve only been subjected to three Jaws sequels — including one train wreck of a film in 3-D — but where are the hovering cars? And the moon colonies? The closest we’ve come to Rosie from The Jetsons is a Roomba vacuum. And the closest we had to Johnny 5 was the Nintendo Robot.

I’m starting to feel a little disillusioned. I thought I’d be in a flying car by now. Or, at least visiting the moon for a weekend get away. Like my beloved movies have lied to me.

It would appear that given enough time, science can catch up to our imaginations. There are things possible now, like transplant surgery, the International Space Station and sneakers with lights in them, that were once the things of dreams. Cellular phones do look curiously similar to those communicators from Star Trek.

I know there is stuff going on out there that will renew my faith, more on this later…

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