2010 Living in the Future, 1972

Future predictions again, and this is the one I grew up with.

2010 Living in the Future, Geoffrey Hoyle, 1972

2010 Living in the Future, Geoffrey Hoyle, 1972

“2010 – Living in the Future” is a peaceful, soothing image of the future from 1972, by Geoffrey Hoyle, son of the eminent astronomer Fred Hoyle (the man who coined the term, “The Big Bang”, despite not believing in that theory himself).

I had this as a discarded library book as a child and it was one of my favourites. On the one hand, I was willing to believe that its predictions were very likely to come true. On the other, I kind of knew a lot of them wouldn’t as it would really involve the whole world being rebuilt anew, which seemed unlikely. Not only unlikely, but it was also an awful concept that old buildings, streets and the tangible traces of history would be destroyed.

It’s a product of its time in that a fairly communal style of living is hinted at, a 3 day week is still seen as the end product of technology taking over many aspects of life (if only!), and the reassuring, “it’s fine” vision of how things turn out is probably a reaction to the pessimism of the future that was pretty widespread at this point, after decades of US involvement in one war or another, and the image of nuclear war that hovered over the decade.

But it’s also very well done in many respects. Geoffrey Hoyle utterly gets the importance of computers in people’s everyday lives, in a way that even people working in the computer industry at the time didn’t always appreciate. Things like internet shopping, e-readers and watching films on computer are anticipated. Perhaps one day, school will be like this, all distance learning by webcam – although playtime would be pretty rubbish.

Incidentally, here in Liverpool, people cracked the multicoloured jumpsuit-the-whole-year-round thing way back in the 80s.

There’s a little catch up with Geoffrey Hoyle in 2010 here – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-12058575

I didn’t realise they’d reprinted the book in 2010. A nice touch. And I find it very funny they reprinted it with the title 2011 instead, so it’s still in the future.

(It reminds me of the obscure 90s comedy series Focus North, where they predict that everyone in 2011 wears silver capes, swears a lot and has webbed hands, yet in a flashback to 2009, none of that had happened yet.)

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2 Responses

  1. Steven H says:

    Always like predictions of the future – my fave caption being at the start of Escape From New York, about the crime rate in 1999 rising 600% so they just wall up Manhattan island.

    Of course to be fair in 1981 when it was made, 1999 was a fair way off yet. Tempus fudge it.

  2. Thanks for pointing me to this from my Mighty Micro post. Interesting that both Hoyle and Evans were predicting a decreased working week. I still think this has not happened because of political rather than technological failure. Governments do not properly adjudicate fair behaviour and set rules to make it happen, they let everyone to look out for themselves, so our time is stolen by others rather than being our own.
    btw the BBC news magazine article address is now slightly different: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-12058575

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