Where's My Jetpack?

Chris Higgins

A Saturday Salon article reviews Daniel H. Wilson's "Where's My Jetpack? A Guide to the Amazing Science Fiction Future That Never Arrived." But the article takes the discussion further -- author Simon Reynolds discusses neostalgia, or nostalgia for the future, a condition in which we pine for inventions or ways of being that were promised to us, but never came to pass. Remember promised innovations like Smell-O-Vision, animal meat grown in a laboratory, and...well...jetpacks? These are briefly discussed in the article, and in more depth in the book that is the article's subject.

Here's a sample from the article:

Wilson's talk of space elevators and other grandiose inventions like solar mirrors or the fully enclosed city indicates how our expectations of the "futuristic" have undergone an insidious scaling down in recent decades. Mostly, "the future" seems to infiltrate our lives in a low-key, subtle fashion. In their own way, the miniaturization of communications technology (cellphones, BlackBerrys, etc.) and the compression of information (iPods, MP3s, YouTube, downloadable movies, etc.) are just as mind-blowing as the space stations and robots once pictured as the everyday scenery of 21st century life. Macro simply looks way more impressive than micro.

Read the whole article for a taste of neostalgia.